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Guide to Picking the Best Boarding School in Virginia

boarding schools in virginia

Boarding school is an all-immersive educational experience!

School days are filled with learning challenges that stoke critical thinking skills. And, when the end-of-day bell rings, the momentum continues with engaging extracurriculars.

The boarding school experience nurtures an excitement for life-long learning, develops critical social skills, and encourages independence. This all takes place under the caring guidance of trained faculty and staff who want to see your child succeed.

Boarding school is a unique educational environment ideal for many students. For this reason, we created this guide to help you pick the best boarding schools in Virginia.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Boarding School

There are quite a few factors to consider when choosing the best boarding school for your child. These may vary depending on your personal circumstances, but the four listed below are an excellent starting point for your research. 


Get ready for some detailed note-taking because we’re talking all about curriculum.  

The best Virginia boarding schools understand that a one-size-fits-all approach is not necessarily beneficial to successful education. When researching curriculum, find a school that recognizes the individual needs of each student. Students, faculty, staff, and parents should partner to identify the student’s areas of improvement and areas that can be nurtured to excellence.

Every child is capable of thriving with the appropriate support and environment!  


Location. Location. Location. It’s a vital deciding factor for many families in the search for a boarding school. Parents often want a school that is far enough away from home to foster their child’s independence, but is closer than they would be willing to send them to college. While parents of boarding students enjoy avoiding the hassle of daily drop-off and pick up, many prefer to be close enough for an occasional weekend visit.

Likewise, a boarding school’s environment can affect this decision. Living in a safe, walkable town with coffee shops, bookstores, and cultural opportunities near campus may be more enjoyable than a remote, desolate school. Having natural resources nearby for outdoor education and adventure would be an added bonus.

Day students lucky enough to live near a boarding school benefit from many advantages over public school. These include fostering friendships with a more diverse, often international population, developing closer relationships with teachers who are also coaches and activity advisors, and participating in weekend activities with boarders.

Discuss the options with your child. Then, decide as a family if a nearby campus is best for your child’s lifestyle or choose to explore a new area at a more distant school. 

Campus Culture

Whether you’ve decided to be a full-time boarding student or a day student who heads home at the end of the day, you’ll want to look for a boarding school in Virginia that cultivates a welcoming and inclusive environment.

Boarding schools offer an extraordinary experience in which students have the chance to foster relationships with their peers and create life-long memories. Finding an established culture that feels like home is an essential part of the decision process. Students this age should also seek out a culture that allows them to explore their budding sense of identity and to express themselves without judgement among supportive peers and faculty.

Extracurricular Activities

Lastly, campus involvement is an excellent way to encourage continued lifelong growth. Most Virginia boarding schools have extracurricular activities to some extent, so be sure to research and collaborate with your child to find the school that offers the athletics or clubs that match their interests. 

Next Steps in Selecting a Boarding School in Virginia

Before you begin this process, take a moment to consider the key factors you would prefer when making the final decision. Establishing those guidelines will increase the efficiency of your search. 

1. Research Schools

Research is a great start to any great paper, project, and, yes, boarding school search. Start by making a running list of private boarding schools in Virginia that you believe could be an ideal fit.

The initial discovery process is a free-for-all that gives you a chance to discover any potential schools that meet or exceed your standards. You’ll have time to refine your list as you see fit, but for now, take the opportunity to dive into schools’ websites and check out their unique features.  

2. Refine Your List

You wouldn’t turn in the first draft of a research paper, would you? Once you’ve created a comprehensive list of Virginia boarding schools that may even mildly meet your expectations, refine your list.

This is your opportunity to set clearer guidelines for what you believe will be a beneficial program. During this stage of the decision process, research the expectations of the boarding school as well to ensure that you meet their standards in the same way they meet yours. 

3. Go on a Campus Tour

Though numerous boarding schools in Virginia offer insightful virtual tours, exploring the school in person if possible offers an unmatched experience. A campus tour can introduce you to the culture and be an informative encounter to know if a student is compatible with the school.

Plan your visit ahead of time and consider leaving extra time in your schedule to explore the surrounding area to familiarize yourself with the community. 

4. Submit Your Application

After you’ve completed your research and found the best boarding schools in Virginia based on your preferences and matching requirements, you can begin the application process.

Each school may have a specific application system, and you’ll want to spend some extra time ensuring that your child has thoroughly completed the application. From there, it’s a waiting game as schools review your profile.

Experience the Rich Tradition of Stuart Hall

This lesson on the boarding school selection process is done, but the fun has just begun. There are many boarding schools and amongst the best boarding schools in Virginia is Stuart Hall.

At Stuart Hall, you can trust that your child will receive the highest level of care and education. We thrive on encouraging students worldwide to grow through a campus life full of creativity, curiosity, and contribution.

Request information about Stuart Hall’s rich history and start the application process today.