Boarding schools have long been praised for offering students small class sizes, close alliances between students and teachers, and rigorous academics. What hasn’t been known is exactly how much boarding schools benefit students in the long term. However, a study carried out by The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), an association of 300 boarding schools, validates the advantages of a boarding school education.
Their study surveyed over 1,000 boarding school students and alumni and compared them to 1,100 public school students and 600 private day schools. The results suggest that boarding school students are better prepared for college than students at private day schools and public schools and that boarding school students also make faster progress in their careers. Here are some of the other results of the survey:
The study conducted by The Association of Boarding Schools found that 54% of students at boarding schools currently report being highly satisfied with their academic experience, as compared to 42% of students who attend private day schools and 40% of students who attend public schools. Overall, students now at boarding schools gave higher ratings than students at other types of schools to their teachers, the academic challenges of their classes, and the motivation of their fellow students.
In addition, boarding school students reported that they are better prepared for college than students from public or private day schools. The study carried out by The Association of Boarding Schools found that 87% of boarding school students reported that they were very well prepared to take on college academics, as compared to 71% of students from private day schools and 39% of students from public schools. In addition, 78% of students at boarding schools said that the daily life at boarding schools helped prepare them for other aspects of college life, such as exercising independence, handling their time well, and doing well with college social demands. In contrast, only 36% of private day school students and 23% of public school students reported that they were ready to tackle college life with success.
Benefits Extending Beyond College
Interestingly, the study showed that the benefits of having attended boarding school extended well into adult life. For example, boarding school alumni/ae tended to attend graduate school in greater numbers: 50% of them earned advanced degrees, as compared to 36% of private day school alumni/ae and 21% of public school graduates. And once they earned their degrees, graduates of boarding schools earned top positions in management to a greater extent than their colleagues—44% did so, as compared to 33% of private day school grads and 27% of public school graduates. By the end of their careers, 52% of boarding school alumni had achieved top positions, as compared to 39% of private day school graduates and 27% of public school graduates.
Boarding school alumni say in remarkable numbers that they enjoyed their experience at school, and, in fact, an overwhelming number—90%--say that they would repeat it. It is clear from the survey that boarding schools offer not only top academics but also lifelong benefits and a close-knit community that students and alumni enjoy for a lifetime. While many parents choose boarding school mainly for its educational value—in the TABS study, the promise of a good education was the primary reason parents chose boarding schools for their children—it is clear from the survey that the schools offer much more than just the experience in the classroom. They also offer students the ability to exercise independence, work closely with their teachers, and enjoy friendships that often last a lifetime.