Seven Benefits of Boarding School

By Darryl Gangloff

Boarding school offers students an experience unlike any other: to immerse themselves in their education, grow within a supportive and diverse community, and position themselves for success after school. Statistics show that boarding school students feel more prepared for life after graduation, are more likely to earn advanced degrees, and rate their school experience as very satisfactory.

Let's explore seven of the top advantages of a boarding school education.

1. Challenging Academics

A boarding school education is known for being more challenging than a private day school or public school. For example, at our Connecticut private boarding school, our college preparatory curriculum uniquely emphasizes rigorous academics and experience-based learning. An experience-centered environment helps students grow in self-discipline and develop a strong work ethic that will prepare them for higher education. In fact, 78% of boarding school students reported feeling prepared for college versus 36% of private day students and 23% of public students.

2. Peer Learning

In a boarding school setting, you live, play, study, and socialize among your peers. A diverse boarding school setting with students from different backgrounds offers a special opportunity for growth and learning. Students can expand their perspectives and horizons as they learn together both in and out of the classroom.

According to a study conducted by The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), 78% of boarding students reported being motivated by their peers, a number significantly higher than the 49% of public school students. When you live and learn together in a community, you motivate and grow together, too.

3. Smaller Class Sizes

Small class sizes can make all the difference in a student's success. When students have the chance to interact with their peers and teachers, they engage with the subject material more closely — a dynamic that makes the information more likely to stick. Teachers and students develop a closer mentor relationship within a smaller classroom. In addition, students often feel more confident and comfortable voicing opinions and sharing their answers.

Boarding schools typically offer this advantage over public school classrooms. At Hotchkiss, where the student body is approximately 600, the average class size is just 12 students. This gives everyone an opportunity to have their voice heard and learn from the perspectives of fellow students.

4. Personal Growth

Living away from home and residing on campus in a dorm setting provides invaluable opportunities for personal growth. Boarding school students tend to develop life skills such as time management, work ethic, and independence in an accelerated manner than a public school student.

While they receive ample care and guidance from teachers, administrators, and dorm parents, as well as their families, boarding students must take an added level of responsibility for their education. This growth is part of what helps many boarders feel adequately prepared to step into college, where these skills are necessary to succeed.

The accessibility of extracurricular activities and clubs means that students must make key time management decisions to prioritize their commitments and create a balanced schedule.

5. A Learning-Conducive Atmosphere

A boarding school is a hub for learning. Many schools offer ample spaces for students to stretch themselves and put their classroom learning into practice. This includes facilities like performing arts spaces, science labs, athletic fields and courts, and more. At The Hotchkiss School, we prioritize the arts through spaces designed for photography, dance, music, theater, and media, and the sciences with unique facilities including an engineering, fabrication, and exploration lab as well as an observatory. 

Hotchkiss also offer a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, climbing walls, fitness center, and more to allow students to pursue many athletic opportunities all year long. Most boarding school students find themselves with abundant opportunities to learn and grow through a culture of acceptance and encouragement.

6. Advanced Co-curricular Activities

When you live on campus, you have access to a world of choices for both advanced learning and personal growth. With clubs and activities from language learning and competitive athletics to STEM project clubs and the arts, every student has a chance to get plugged in with their niche interests. This is easier than ever at a boarding school, where residential living encourages students to pursue their hobbies and join groups that match their passions.

Hotchkiss offers more than 60 student clubs and community service organizations, many of which are diversity-focused and award-winning. The opportunity to stretch themselves through extracurriculars means boarding students can develop new skills, try different activities, and discover more about who they are.

7. Social Maturity

Learning and living among a diverse group of peers has the potential to lead to disagreements. Yet this dynamic paves the way for broadened world views and social maturity. Students learn valuable life lessons about connection and conflict. As a result, they're often more socially prepared and ready to embrace a world full of different people with contrasting points of view.

Boarding school often leads to a stronger sense of community. At Hotchkiss, approximately 96% of our student body lives on campus. When you share life and grow up together outside of the constraints of a private day school or public school setting, you build a sense of belonging and community that is unparalleled. Not to mention, much more fun!

Experience Boarding School Benefits at Hotchkiss

We believe that boarding schools offer a unique opportunity for students to deep-dive into learning and community. At Hotchkiss, our rigorous academic standards are complemented by an emphasis on each student's personal development and preparedness for their next step in life. If you're considering a boarding school in the Northeast, we'd love to answer your questions and give you more information about our campus and culture. Apply today!

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About the Author

Darryl Gangloff is the marketing and communications content strategist at Hotchkiss. He has nearly 20 years of experience in communications and journalism and holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Marist College.