Does boys boarding schools conjure up images of institutions like the one in “A Separate Peace” or “Dead Poet Society”? There’s a lot more to boys boarding schools than that, and this article lays out the range of choices available.
Types of Boys Boarding Schools
Boys can attend boarding schools that were designed for boys only, or that offer a coeducational education, making both, in a certain way, “boys boarding school.” Even among schools that only accept boys, there are distinctions to be made. There are boarding schools that include the traditional years of high school, many that offer a post-graduate year, and there are junior boarding schools. There are boarding schools that have a religious affiliation, and those that are secular. There are boarding schools that allow students to board for 5 days and return home at the weekend, and 7-day boarding schools. There are boarding schools well equipped to deal with learning issues, such as learning disabilities, and those that are not.
College Preparatory Boys Boarding Schools
When most people think of boys boarding schools, it is the well-furnished college preparatory school, with classes in Latin, high academic standards, and a panoply of sports teams that most imagine. These schools, often well-endowed and with an excellent faculty, are considered effective by those who rank them if most of their students go to the Ivy League, MIT, and/or Stanford or if they have the highest standardized test scores and the smallest class sizes. But there are other attributes that can make such schools attractive, and many happily graduate from those that don’t attain a top-30 or top-100 ranking.
Military academies, contrary to what many believe, are not the place to send young men who need to be made to “straighten up and fly right.” Rather, they are, like college preparatory schools, institutions with high academic standards. They seek not only to educate their students to a high level, but also to provide them with leadership skills, achieved in part through a more or less military atmosphere. Junior ROTC may or may not be an obligation of enrollees.
Therapeutic Boarding Schools
Therapeutic boarding schools are specifically designed and equipped to help the student how is struggling. Using a variety of philosophies—from 12-Step, to Bible values, to wilderness experience, to various other therapeutic models—young men are counseled and assisted to overcome difficulties as diverse as addiction, rebellion, mood disorders, low self-esteem, and more, while continuing their education. Quality therapeutic boarding schools hold both an accreditation for their academic program, and a license for their therapeutic program, as well as employing licensed staff on both the clinical and the educational sides of their programs.
Special Focus Boarding Schools
You can also find boys boarding schools with a special focus on a particular academic area or areas—such as mathematics, science, and/or engineering—or the arts, such as performing arts or visual arts. There are also boarding schools with a focus on the environment or sustainability, or fine-tuned sports programs, in any area from climbing to cycling to water polo.