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Congratulations! Your child is well on their way to completing a wilderness program where they achieved their goals, fostered relationships, and elevated their self-esteem and discipline capabilities. They have grown accustomed to daily routines and a structured schedule, so the next appropriate step for their development will be placement in a residential program, such as a therapeutic boarding school. These programs are a less restrictive long-term approach to your child’s progression. 

Before you enroll your student in a therapeutic boarding school, make sure to thoroughly research the school online, including reading reviews from parents and students; ask the admissions representative questions about the program; and visit the campus. Additionally, hiring an independent consultant can save you tremendous time and ensure that you are sending your child to a reputable school.

When working with the school’s representative or an independent consultant, ask for links to public information about the school such as any complaints, violations, or actions filed against the program. Also ensure you understand the curriculum and identify the certification levels of the teachers. If your child is going to require therapy while at school, ask about the credentials and therapeutic approach of the counselor. If your child requires medical care, ask about the school clinic and related staff, as well as community resources. For example, is there a nurse available 24-7? If your child becomes seriously ill or injured, is a physician available for consultations? Where is the closest hospital?

The last step is to visit the school to tour the campus and meet with the admissions representative. This is the only way to gain a true sense of the school and whether it is a good fit for your student. While on campus, observe the students. Do they seem happy? Are they engaging with faculty and staff, and vice-versa? Are there plenty of activities to keep the students entertained and out of trouble? Are the facilities adequate? Does the food look nutritious and appetizing?

Remember to trust your gut when researching and visiting schools. If something doesn’t sound, look, or feel right, then it probably isn’t. It’s best to then move on to other options.

This article was written by Dorien Simon, Founder of Score Student:

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