WHAT IS LIFE LIKE AT BOARDING SCHOOL?
By Patrick Ho | Senior Admissions Counselor, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions
Sending your child all the way to America is admittedly not an easy process. Even as a day student in Hong Kong, you worry about what your child learns in school, how they get along with friends, or whether they are doing fruitful things with their spare time. Getting regular updates from your child will only be more painful as at boarding schools, where if you’re lucky, will only be limited to a 30 minute WhatsApp call every night. For many parents, this is not enough to satiate their concern for their child. To put parents’ mind at ease about what goes on in a boarding school, we answer the most often asked questions about what life is like at a boarding school.
Can my child wander off campus?
Each school has specified rules and instructions concerning leaving the school campus. For schools that are located rurally with literally nothing within 1 mile, there is little reason for them to venture off campus. However, for schools that are located within walking distance to the nearest town, there are specific instructions as to what you can or cannot do. Most importantly, parental permission is always needed for students to go off campus.
Can they stay up late and not go to bed?
At the end of the night, students will be fairly exhausted. Their day starts off at 8am for breakfast and a full schedule of classes, sports, extracurricular activities, homework awaits them until the end of the day at 9-10pm. Lights out is when they’re expected to go to sleep and generally at some schools, the Wifi shuts down, and since some schools have terrible cell phone networks, their phone is useless at this stage. Dorm parents will also walk around in the dorm, so if they hear noise or see light coming from rooms, then they may be in trouble!
How many people will be living in a room?
For younger students, they will usually share a room with one other student. As they get older, the school gives them the option to live by themselves or continue sharing a room with someone. Getting along with your roommate is important so boarding schools smother this process by sending out surveys before they match you up with roommates to make sure you are paired up with the most compatible partner.
What do they do on the weekends?
A lot happens on the weekends! The Residential Life Coordinator plans weekend activities on and off campus to cater to each student’s needs. Early in the week, activity options will be posted on an activity board, allowing students to sign up for them. These range from playing sports, doing community service, going on trips to the mall, museums, movies, outdoor adventures, mini tournaments or learning arts and crafts at school. Trust me, students won’t get bored!
Will my child be bullied?
From speaking to students who have attended boarding schools, there have only been outlier cases of students being bullied. The majority, if not all, have thoroughly enjoyed their boarding school experience. The embracement of diversity is important to boarding schools as students come from 20-30 different countries. Moreover, when you speak to admission officers, one trait they particularly look for is simply, “Is he/she a nice kid? Do I want to bump into him/her every day?”. As boarding school is such a small community, building a harmonious community is of upmost importance to them.
Will my child be exposed to alcohol and drugs?
In many respects, your child is whole lot safer at school where she cannot drive or go to somebody’s house and get into who-knows-what. Even if somehow, if alcohol and drugs make it onto campus, drugs, drinking and smoking are not permitted in a boarding school. Zero tolerance is the rule, meaning students won’t get a second chance if they are found to have possession of alcohol and drugs.
Mr. Patrick Ho
NACAC, Associate Member of IECA | TEFL
BCom(Finance), University of Sydney
- 7+ years of experience in admissions consulting service with 100% success rate
- Proven track record helping students gain admissions to prestigious boarding schools including Blair Academy, Choate Rosemary School, Loomis Chaffee School, Kent School, Peddle School, Stevenson School, The Webb Schools, CA and Westminster School.
- Had over 75% if his students accepted to a Top 50 U.S. College including Yale University, MIT, Boston University, University of Chicago.
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