What Are Boarding Schools: All You Need To Know

Are you considering whether or not to send your child or ward to a boarding school? Then you should read this article as it gives you more insight into all you need to know about boarding schools.

The concept of boarding school is not new. It has been in existence for ages, and many individuals spent a considerable part of their academic life in boarding schools. But the concern for many parents is if boarding schools are good or bad, particularly for their children.

It may be difficult to jump to a conclusion as to whether boarding schools are good or bad. What is best is to consider your child’s personality before deciding what type of school to enroll your child in.

In addition, for parents who may have tight work schedules, boarding schools may be a safe option for their children. This way, your children are being monitored and cared for while you focus on your work. However, you should find a means to balance your work activities and cater to your children.

Finally, boarding schools instill certain qualities that prepare students for college and life in general, but they also have some disadvantages.

This article explores the details of what boarding schools are, their advantages and disadvantages, and important things to do when you enroll your child in a boarding school.

What do boarding schools mean?

Boarding schools are academic institutions where students live in the school’s residential houses while they study. They are campus-like institutions of learning but for secondary students. Students who attend boarding schools are regarded as boarders.

Basically, students live together, share the same meal, and have classes together.

Also, boarding schools appoint teaching staff as dorm parents or residential advisors to monitor and supervise boarders’ activities and act as quasi-parents.

Furthermore, students in boarding schools do not go home until an academic session is over. As such, they leave only during vacations, summer holidays, or in special cases of health challenges.

The variant of a boarding school is a day school. Boarding schools operate exactly like day school, except that day school students go home every day at the end of school activities.

Some boarding schools mix day and boarding students, while some are purely residential. To sum it up, the primary purpose of boarding schools is to make students not just academic excellence but to become well-grounded and complete individuals.

Characteristics of boarding schools

1.  Residential houses

They are sometimes referred to as dormitories or hostels. These are shelters provided by the school to house every student. Usually, hostels are compartments of many rooms.

The school appoints teachers or employs individuals who act as dorm parents, housemasters or mistresses. They monitor and supervise the activities of students within the hostels.

Also, the staff is assigned students in groups to whom they act as quasi-parents. They care for students as school parents. Students can also meet them for help or guidance.

Libraries, common rooms, and dining rooms are either located within the dorms or separated.

2. Ownership

Boarding schools are either privately owned by individuals or public, owned by the government.

3. Regimented lifestyle

Boarding houses have a slated time for everything they do. There is virtually time for almost every activity from waking, eating, reading, and sleeping.

4. Types of boarders

There are different types of students in boarding schools. Some go home every weekend,  some at the end of an academic term, while others go home at the end of an academic year or session.

Some schools have options of allowing day students to board during exams period. This way, both parents and children can choose an option that suits them best.

5. Gender

There are two types of boarding schools when it comes to gender, which are single-gender and co-ed boarding schools.

Single-gender boarding schools allow one type of gender, either male or female only. They believe that students will perform better academically when there is no distraction from the opposite sex. Also, it is a way to curb sexual activities within the school environment.

In contrast, a coeducational or co-ed boarding school is a mix of both males and females. Although both genders live in distant-separated residents, they take classes together.

These schools believe that interaction between male and female students is an integral part of their childhood. Also, it aids competitiveness, equality, and respect for each other.

Types of boarding school

There are various types of boarding schools that fit both students’ and parents’ varying needs and requirements. They include:

1. College-prep boarding schools

These schools employ advanced-level curricula and courses in preparing students to meet college admission requirements.

In the same vein, they imbibe in students the knowledge and character they need for college. A large number of boarding schools are college prep.       

2. Therapeutic boarding school

These are schools that shape the behavior of students with psychological difficulties resulting from substance abuse, childhood experiences, etc. They also cater to children with cases like dyslexia, ADD, and other learning disabilities.  

Students living with psychological difficulties may find it challenging to focus on their academics or learn at the same pace as others. Through therapy, therapeutic schools help students overcome these difficulties to learn better.  

3. Military boarding schools

As the name implies, these are boarding schools that Include military training as part of their extracurricular activities. Although they prepare students for college education, they are also a good breeding ground for students who may want to join the force career-wise.

They prioritize discipline and inculcate leadership skills in students. As a result, children who attend military boarding schools tend to be organized, smart, and thorough.

4. Religious boarding schools

These schools consider religious beliefs and values important and include them in students’ routines. Their goal is to build morally upright students and encourage students to hold fast to religious teachings and beliefs.

They primarily prepare students for college but at the same time are suitable for those who may seek a career along religious lines.

5. Special needs boarding school

These are schools specially made for children with disabilities such as the blind, deaf, or children with ADD or dyslexia. They employ staffs who are experts in handling individuals with these special cases.

Most of these institutions are driven by the passion to bring education to special children.

Advantages of boarding schools

Sending your children to a boarding school may be a good decision considering these advantages.

1.  Self-reliance and independence

A noticeable benefit of boarding schools is that they make children independent and disciplined. Students have to do their laundry, look out for themselves, and take decisions on their own.

Sometimes they make mistakes and have to own up to them and learn from them. All these help them to become self-reliant and responsible.

2. Respect for time

Students live a regimented lifestyle in boarding schools. They have time to study, eat, bathe, sleep and wake up; as such, they develop a strong sense of punctuality and timeliness.

3. Self-confidence and socialization

Students are compelled to co-exist and interact with other students in boarding schools. Through this introverted and overly self-aware, children can build confidence while socializing with others. They also learn how to communicate with others effectively.

4. Organization

Students of boarding schools tend to be more organized than day students. They have to do everything themselves. For instance, they take care of their books, clothes, provisions, etc. This prompts them to become organized.

5. Better academic performance

Boarding school students tend to perform better than day students in their academics. This is because boarding schools regulate distractions from televisions, games, and mobile phones. Also, there is a time set aside for study, which is compulsory for every student.

Furthermore, students can meet with teachers to put them through complex topics during their leisure time. In addition, they have access to colleagues or senior students who can put them through.

In addition, compared to day school, the number of students is smaller. This makes lectures more effective and inclusive.

6. Tolerance and multicultural acceptance

Students in boarding houses learn to co-exist peacefully with other students regardless of background, culture, or race. This helps them to learn new cultures and become culturally diverse.

Disadvantages of boarding schools

While there are many advantages to boarding schools, there are also some disadvantages to it, which include:

1. Peer pressure

One of the most common cons of boarding schools is that students can easily be pressured into doing activities that are not healthy emotionally and physically.

Everyone wants to feel loved and accepted, especially teens. As such, they are prone to peer influence because of their naivety and exorbitance.

2. Self-Isolation

For introverted children who love their space or are scared of the crowd, enrolling in a boarding school may make them draw back into their shells.

Also, a student may withdraw if he doesn’t get the expected acceptance or friendship from others.

3. Risk of bullying

A significant problem often faced by students in boarding schools is bullying. Despite several attempts to end bullying in the school, it has not been possible to stop it. Therefore, students may be bullied by colleagues, seniors, or even teachers.

4. Feeling of separation

Both parents and children may find it challenging to cope with living separately. Some students get sick, and some parents may feel empty inside.

5. Difficulty in adjusting

Some students find it hard to live a regimented life. They love their free time and enjoy doing what they want. Also, adjusting from home life to school life and vice versa could be an issue for them.

6. Inadequate guidance

While boarding houses provide students with quasi-parents and employ the services of counselors, it may be difficult for them to reach all of the students.

On the other hand, some students may find it hard to open up to other people except their parents. As such, they may not get the guidance they need.

Steps To Take When Sending Your Child To A Boarding School

It is important to note that not every child can cope in a boarding school. While some may love the idea, others may dread it, and some may be indifferent about their school choice. Therefore, you need to take steps before and after sending your child to a boarding school.

1. Talk it out with them

The first step is to talk to your child about their school choice. It would be selfish to force decisions on a child, and the results may not be palatable.

As such, if you are considering the option of a boarding school, you should let your child know why you are taking such a decision.

2. Visit and call regularly

While your child is in school, try to surprise them with a visit and make time to talk to them regularly. Ask questions about their well-being, academics, and friends.

3. Be watchful

It is important to be sensitive to your child, particularly during vacation periods. Ask questions when you notice a strange change.

Also, if your child seems isolated and frightened at little things, take time to know what might be wrong.

Finally, create time to talk to them extensively, take their concerns seriously, and educate them about dealing with specific situations.


Are boarding schools good for every child?

No. Not every child can cope in a boarding school. Therefore, you should consider the child’s personality before enrolling them.

Why should I send my child to a boarding school?

You should enroll your child in a boarding school if you have a tight work schedule. However, you should discuss this with your child before making your final decision.

Is boarding school good?

Yes. Boarding schools are good because they make children self-reliant and responsible individuals.

Final Thoughts

Sending your child to a boarding school is a good choice. However, you should check your children’s personalities and make sure you look out for your children if you send them to a boarding school.

Secondly, give your children proper orientation about what to expect in a boarding school. Thirdly, do proper research on the history of the boarding school you want to enroll your child in and ensure that your choice for them fits their need.

Lastly, are you wondering which is better between private and public schools? Check this article on why private schools are better than public schools.

I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading.