The American media has done a very poor job of accurately portraying boarding school students. Most boarding school students come from the homes of hard-working parents who want the best education and related opportunities for their children.
Boarding school students can be gifted, or experience learning challenges. Some students come from homes with two parents, while others come from single-parent homes, or homes where two families are blended. These pupils can be raised by heterosexual couples, homosexual couples, biological parents, adoptive parents, or extended family.
Some students wish to escape the confines of small-town life, while others seek refuge from city dangers at boarding schools located in safer suburban and rural communities. Students may pursue boarding school to seek stability and structure that may be lacking in their home environment, while others wish to escape the perceived restrictions of potentially over-involved or overbearing parents.
Preparatory boarding schools are typically comprised of students from most states in America, as well as a vast representation of countries around the globe. Boarding schools are committed to diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness.
Not all boarding school students come from wealthy families. Boarding schools seek financial diversity in their student bodies, and thus accept students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Most boarding schools offer financial aid and scholarships. Some schools that have large endowments accept a high percentage of students seeking financial assistance in order to diversify their student bodies.
Boarding schools seek students who bring something of value to the school. These schools are more interested in students who pursue their passions, rather than pupils who engage in a long list of unfocused extracurricular activities in order to look good on paper. The student who is a gifted athlete, debater, or musician is preferred over the student who belongs to ten extracurricular clubs, yet doesn’t have much to offer the community.
Prep schools are comprised of faculty and staff who are extremely compassionate, yet realistic about the nature of adolescents. These professionals have seen and heard it all, and tend to take a very grounded approach to guiding young people. Their utmost concern is the safety and stability of their students, followed by their mission to shape open-minded, respectful, and motivated youth who are driven to make positive changes in the world.
Most students return home after their first term away at boarding school more mature, emotionally intelligent, and respectful of others, which greatly eases the discord that is common in the parent-adolescent dynamic.
The message here is that there is no “typical” boarding school student. Pupils who attend these schools are a fair representation of the diversity we find in the world today.