How does Boarding School Prepare You for College

College prep boarding schools offer a unique experience, offering academic challenges and opportunities for personal growth that’s at a different level from what you’d get at other kinds of public or private day schools.

Beyond rigorous academics, many boarding prep schools offer co-curriculars like clubs, weekend activities, spring trips abroad and leadership programs.


Academic Advantages of College Prep Boarding Schools 

Boarding school students are enrolled in academically challenging courses with low student to teacher ratios. Because of this, at college prep boarding schools, you will receive personalized attention that isn’t available at many other public or private schools.

At Army and Navy Academy, for example, students have a period of time set aside each day for mandatory study, and teachers are available for after-school tutorial and scheduled evening office hours. Boarding school students learn the importance of studying and they are also encouraged to seek support from faculty, both of which are necessary to do well in college level courses.

The academic advantage at college prep boarding schools extends beyond college and into graduate school. TABS reports that 50% of boarding school alumni go on to attain advanced degrees, compared with 36% of graduates from private day schools and 21% of graduates from public schools.

Social Advantages of Attending a Boarding Prep School 

Boarding prep schools also offer social advantages for middle school and high school students. Students are required to develop independence, while living away from home and they learn how to make decisions about time management, organization, and social activities.

College prep at a boarding high school helps students prepare students for college life. Boarding school students are able to transition because they have already experienced boarding school campus life, and have learned how to balance their day between academic, social, and physical activities.

As evidenced by the rising freshman drop-out rate in college, the newfound independence, social demands, dorm life and rigorous academics can lead some college students, who have never lived away from home, to higher stress and significant challenges. They’re sometimes unable to manage the freedom and the responsibility that comes with it.

College prep programs for high school students also instill a sense of responsibility and an awareness of consequences for one’s own actions, whether good or bad. This provides the foundation for making independent, sensible decisions and wise choices, a real advantage in the social situation while in college.

The values and skills learned at college prep boarding schools like Army and Navy Academy, an all-boys school for grades 7-12 in California, create the foundation for a successful future in college and beyond. Check out the information below to see how college prep programs at boarding schools will help you gain a number of competitive advantages. .

10 Ways College Prep Boarding School Programs Help Students 

  1. Build a Strong High School Record – First and foremost, college prep boarding schools offer programs that will help you develop a path to college. By the time you apply to college, you should have a list of accomplishments and records to attest to your academic and personal growth (e.g. student government, clubs, sports). Make sure you have both strong academic records, as well as a high level of involvement in co-curriculars.
  2. College Prep Courses Help You Get Ahead – Advanced Placement (AP), Honors classes, and rigorous academics all prepare you for the rigor in college classes. Many western boarding schools for instance follow the University of California entrance requirements to ensure students take the requisite courses to gain admission to top colleges and universities.
  3. Specialized Programs Offer Support  – If you have learning differences, make sure you get support in high school so you are prepared for college. Some boarding schools offer Learning Strategies Programs for students with ADHD, Dyslexia, and other learning differences. If you are an international student, look for boarding schools with ESOL or ESL programs. These specialized programs can make a real difference in your high school academic preparation for college.
  4. Real World Skills Ignite Your Interests – Many boarding schools offer specialized electives, courses, and programs that align with student interests. Participation can help prepare you for college courses and set your application apart. Look for areas that interest you such as: computer science, cyber security, aviation (pilot’s license programs), business, entrepreneurship, and leadership training.
  5. School Counselors Help You Find the Best College or University – At college prep boarding schools, as a high school student, you will be required to apply to a certain number of colleges or universities. Some boarding schools might also insist that you build your list to ensure acceptance to a minimum number of institutions of higher education.
  6. Personalized Academic Counseling Creates a Path – At prep boarding schools, you will meet with school counselors individually as well as in workshops. School counselors will help you figure out colleges that fit best in these three categories: reach, target, and safety. You will most likely be required to apply to at least a couple in each category.
  7. Learn About the College Application Process  – College prep boarding school programs are set up to encourage students to push their full potential, set goals, and fully understand the college application process. School counselors know how to find the best colleges for you: academically, socially, and athletically. Whether you are considering The Ivy League, public or private universities, ROTC or the service academies, school counselors will provide guidance and support in your selections and throughout the college application process.
  8. College Prep Programs Begin Early – Applying to college requires meeting specific deadlines, so effective time management is essential. To avoid last minute planning, boarding schools in the U.S. begin college prep early in the freshman year, ramp up the process in the junior year, and provide guidance on deadlines, applications, college essays, college campus tours, college interviews, SAT/ACT test prep, AP and Honors classes and much more. Just by virtue of attending a boarding school, you will learn how to structure your time and manage your priorities in your freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years of high school.
  9. ACT and/or SAT Test Preparation Programs Prepare You – While attending a boarding school for high school, you will go through specific test preparation and many boarding schools are designated ACT and/or SAT test sites. Boarding schools also offer college prep programs to learn how to address the stress and anxiety of test-taking, general test-taking tips, and specialized SAT and ACT test prep programs.
  10. Learn About College Scholarships and Financial Aid. Boarding schools for high school understand the importance of education as an investment. You will learn how to find and apply for financial aid and scholarships if you wish to do so. Boarding school counselors also typically offer workshops for parents to help them learn about FAFSA (financial aid applications), (to find college scholarships), and other key information and resources.

According to The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), 87% of boarding school students report being very well prepared for college academically and 78% say they were very well prepared socially, compared to 39% of public school students in both categories.

Attending a boarding prep school leads to greater academic preparedness and personal independence, making you uniquely ready for the college experience.

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