The admissions process for private boarding schools can be competitive. Boarding schools now have a global focus and are accepting many international students. The addition of students from all over the world has broadened the culture at boarding schools and has enriched the education of American and international students alike. It has also meant that students from all over the world are vying for spots in U.S. boarding schools, particularly at the top boarding schools. In addition, even though many boarding schools cost over $40,000 a year, the schools have tried to provide financial aid, particularly to families who make less than $75,000 a year. The result is a broader, more diverse student body.
As private schools are more international and diverse than ever before, they are able to often have their pick of students. Here are some of the qualities schools are looking for:
Quality #1: Maturity and Independence
Life at boarding school requires a good deal of independence and maturity on students' parts. While there are dedicated teachers and faculty to help students, it is the students themselves who must make sure they work with their teachers and ask for help when needed. Boarding schools encourage students to be self-starters rather than the kind of students who sit back and wait for teachers to help them.
In the admissions interview, boarding schools may ask potential students if they are ready to take on independent work, and they may try to assess how mature students are. Applicants and their parents should also realistically determine if students are able to take on the independent life of a boarding school student and embrace it. While there are teachers to help students in boarding school, students must be willing to often approach teachers to ask for help or to try out a new activity or take a new class. Students must also be willing to meet new peers and be comfortable living with people they don't already know.
Quality #2: An Appreciation for Diversity and Global Awareness
Today's boarding school students have often become more diverse and international. Boarding schools pull students from all over the world, and students in these schools should embrace diversity and a global outlook. High school is a time for students to explore other cultures and even potentially to study at a semester school. Students who can embrace different cultures and ways of being are better able to take on not only the rigors of college studies but also life in an increasingly global and interconnected world, and boarding schools are looking for their students to be open to different cultures.
Quality #3: Interest Beyond the Classroom
As tomorrow's leaders will have a global focus, today's best students have a focus not only on the classroom but also on the world beyond. As discussed above, the best boarding school candidates embrace diversity and have a global perspective. They also have extracurricular interests that go beyond studying. For example, students may be interested in a particular sport or artistic endeavor that will help them adjust quickly to life at the boarding school and make new friends with whom they have something in common. These interests will also help ensure that a student is a good fit with a school. The fit between the student and school is all-important. It means that the student is likely to do well and enjoy the school. Students who mesh well with their school will likely do well in the process of college admissions and beyond, so boarding schools are looking for students who are likely to fit in on their campus and enjoy their time there.