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Now that you’ve decided to explore a boarding school education for your student, which steps should you take?

First, determine the school criteria that is most important to you, such as:
• School location (country, region, or state) and preferred climate
• Campus size, student body size, co-ed or single sex school, and cultural diversity
• Campus amenities, such as technology lab, performing arts center, sports facilities
• Faculty to student ratio and average number of students in each classroom
• Educational background and experience of faculty; faculty involvement in following current educational trends; faculty participation in industry research
• Type of curriculum and teaching style offered (International Baccalaureate [IB]; experiential learning; global curriculum; common core curriculum)
• Strength of the academic program, including the number of Advanced Placement and Honors courses offered
• Foreign languages and opportunities for international travel offered
• Learning support services available to those students with learning and cognitive processing challenges, such as attention deficit disorder), dyslexia, delayed processing, etcetera.
• Emotional and mental health support for those students with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions
• Extracurricular activities, such as sports, arts, recreation, and clubs
• Caliber of colleges to which the school’s students are accepted
• College placement guidance and support
• Cost of tuition, books and supplies, athletic equipment, uniforms, and travel
• Appeal of wearing a designated school uniform versus formal, business, or casual attire

Next, you’ll want to conduct an online search to determine which boarding schools meet your criteria. The most efficient online tools for conducting boarding school research include:

• Boarding Edu: https://www.boardingedu.us
• Boarding School Review: https://www.boardingschoolreview.com
• Niche: https://www.niche.com/k12/search/best-boarding-high-schools/
• The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS): https://www.boardingschools.com/find-a-school/guided-search.aspx

Additional online resources include articles from publications, such as Business Insider, Forbes, Town & Country, and U.S. News & World Report. You can read reviews of the boarding schools submitted by students, parents, and faculty posted on Boarding School Review, Niche, , and Yelp.

It is important that you research the schools’ admissions criteria to determine if your student has the required grades and test scores. Since the schools require an application fee, which can become quite an expense when applying to several schools, it is important that you apply to those schools that are the most likely to accept your child.

The top-ranked boarding schools are highly selective, with some accepting less than 15 percent of applicants. This makes these schools as challenging to gain acceptance to as elite colleges.

The bulk of the schools to which the student applies should be those where he or she meets the academic admissions criteria. The student may also opt to apply to two or three reach schools where the pupil does not meet all of the academic criteria, but the student may be a good fit for the school in other ways, such as by being a strong athlete, performing artist, or technology whiz.

If your student’s goal is to attend a top-ranked boarding school, then applying to 10 to 12 schools is reasonable in order to reach this goal. If the student’s goal is to attend a good or solid boarding school that is not top-ranked, then the student should apply to eight to 10 institutions.

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