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What is a Boarding School? Benefits, Types & Considerations

what is a boarding school

Welcome to today’s class session! We can’t wait to teach you all about boarding schools.

There are often preconceived notions about boarding schools that may cause hesitancy in your educational decision for your child. We’re here to answer the question “What is a boarding school?” and share the advantages of boarding schools for your child. Let’s get this lesson started. 

What is a Boarding School?

So, what exactly is a boarding school? Before we begin learning about the many types of boarding schools, let’s define exactly what classifies as a boarding school.

Commonly, a school that offers the option for students to live on its campus is known as a boarding school. These types of schools often have more rigorous requirements for students to fully prepare them for life after school. 

Keep in mind that some boarding schools accept daytime-only students as well. If you happen to live nearby and would like your child to attend the program without living on campus, the school may provide that option to you. There are many benefits for day students to be part of a boarding school such as the depth and breadth of weekend activities and making friends with students from all over the world.

The Different Types of Boarding Schools

Just like learning styles, there is no one-size-fits-all boarding school. Each type of boarding school focuses on a certain specialization. We’ll be focusing today on the key components that make each type of boarding school stand out. By the end, we hope you’ll be prepared to select the right boarding school for your child. 

College Preparatory

As Hollywood’s favorite type of school, these boarding schools often have a very specific reputation. However, college preparatory schools aren’t just like the movies. These boarding schools are intended to prepare students with all the skills and knowledge they’ll need to thrive in the college setting. They offer advanced courses, SAT prep, and plenty of extracurriculars to keep students busy. Typically, this type of boarding school is a secondary school geared toward high school students, though some offer programs for younger children as well. You’ll also find many of these schools offer programs for students with ADHD or other learning disabilities. 


The myth of military schools being for troubled teens is well-known, but it’s just that — a myth. This type of boarding school is actually similar to that of a college preparatory school but with an ROTC focus. They offer rigorous classes, extracurricular activities, and a high level of daily structure for students. All-girls, all-boys, and co-ed military schools are all viable options for preparing your child for college or a career in the military (or both!). 

Fine Arts

If the performing arts is a passion of your child’s, you may want to consider a fine arts boarding school. Music, theater, dance, acting, and more are integrated into the day-to-day program at a fine arts boarding school, so your child has the opportunity to explore all their interests. Your child will receive a quality education and a chance to shine on stage with this type of boarding school. Since these boarding schools focus specifically on performing arts students, they tend to be more selective in their admissions. 


Let your All-Star shine on the soccer field at a sports boarding school. Many of these programs focus on specific sports, so you’ll want to investigate which boarding school matches your child’s interests. Keep in mind that not all of these programs prioritize academics first as they concentrate on training world-class athletes. If your child is looking to go pro or play their way to the Olympics, this type of boarding school may be the best fit. 


Religious boarding schools offer a unique experience for children of all denominations. When researching religious boarding schools, you’ll need to choose one that best aligns with your family’s beliefs. These programs offer opportunities for daily prayer, worship services, and additional religious celebrations. They may also incorporate theological courses into your child’s schedule. 


Some children require additional emotional support during their educational journey. Luckily, there are therapeutic boarding schools that place an emphasis on treatment programs alongside academic success. If you feel this may be the best fit for your child, be sure to make sure that the school is state-licensed and follows proper protocols.  


For younger students ready to take on the boarding school curriculum, a junior boarding school may be the best option. These schools typically cater to 7th–9th-grade students, though some may take younger. You can find this type of boarding school offering all-girls, all-boys, or co-ed programs meant to aid younger students with key developmental skills. Your student can prosper in a safe and welcoming environment at a junior boarding school. 

The Benefits of Boarding Schools

Now that we’ve covered the types of boarding schools, let’s dive into the benefits of boarding schools. There are plenty of advantages to sending your child to a boarding school, and we’ll be going over just a few reasons why boarding school might be right for your child.  

Smaller Class Size

Since boarding schools tend to accept a smaller percentage of students, class sizes are able to remain small as well. As a result, students are able to better connect with their fellow peers and teachers, receiving the attention and assistance they need to succeed. Classrooms are staffed with trained professionals ready to help students thrive both academically and personally. Consider class sizes and what type of classroom setting each boarding school offers before choosing a school for your child. 

Safe Environment

With many students choosing to board on campus, you’ll want to find a campus that emphasizes student safety and provides an immersive community experience. Boarding schools like Stuart Hall offer a safe community where students can comfortably walk into town, spending their free time studying at coffee shops or adventuring around the area. Take some time to explore the campus and area around your top boarding school choices to ensure your child will be safe in their new environment. 

Overall Development

Boarding schools were designed with students’ overall development in mind. There is a strong emphasis on the educational experience through rigorous classes and plenty of resources for your student to prepare for life after boarding school, but that’s not all. Boarding schools are also focused on personal development through extracurricular activities, clubs, sports, and more. Students have the chance to become leaders, team players, and well-rounded individuals. Your boarding school choice should prioritize personal growth at the same level as educational development. 

Experience the Stuart Hall Boarding School Life

That concludes our lesson for today! We hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about what a boarding school is and the many types of boarding schools available. At Stuart Hall, we’re committed to providing your student with an all-encompassing educational experience. We aim to foster independent, self-aware, and motivated students both inside and outside of the classroom. 

Request additional information or explore all that Stuart Hall has to offer!