Secretly thinking of a boarding school? Nervous about leaving family and friends? Confused about the merits of leaving home before university? Not sure about what your friends and neighbors will say about this option? Wondering why you even considered this boarding school nonsense in the first place?
Relax. Every student that chooses to go to a boarding school initially had the same questions and anxieties. In fact, I would be worried if you didn’t have these questions! At my school, Brentwood College School, we only accept students who choose to be at our school. If they are being sent to us, we don’t accept them. It is that simple. It makes for a happy school and my first piece of advice, if you are looking at the possibility of a boarding school, is first and foremost, make sure you look at schools with a similar philosophy. It makes all the difference to the tone on campus.
If you are satisfied that you have found some good boarding school options and have researched them well, then here is a checklist to give you an indication of whether or not you should look further into it:
1. Are there members of your family that would not be supportive if you decided to attend a boarding school?
2. Do you feel your current education adequately prepares you for where you want to go in life?
3. Are you engaged with your current education? Feel challenged? Motivated? Interest in school has rarely waned?
4. Is the number of students in your class small enough to make it conducive to learning effectively?
5. Are all the programs you are interested in easily available at your school?
6. Is the atmosphere of your current school one that makes it easy to remain motivated, work hard and try new things?
7. Are you satisfied by the teachers’ willingness to provide extra help and support when needed?
8. Does adjusting to a completely different lifestyle where you live, work and play in the same location, make you weak in the knees?
9. Does gaining independence at such a young age and losing some privacy make you shudder?
10. In your heart of hearts, would you really rather just stay home with your family?
If you have answered ‘no’ to most of these questions, perhaps it is time to take the discussion further. In my humble opinion, out of all of them, the first one is the most important. Going to a boarding school is not an individual decision; it has to be right for everyone in your family. Talk it through with them and good luck!