Coed Boarding Schools

Once unheard of, coeducational boarding schools are now very popular. There are many types and kinds of coed boarding schools. This article helps sort them out for you.

 Types of Coeducational Boarding Schools

Coeducational boarding school can be college preparatory, can focus on building excellence in a particular subject area—like music or mathematics, may help train students to an exceedingly high level in a particular sport, like equestrianism, can take place in the disciplined atmosphere of a military academy, or can be combined with therapeutic treatment. In any of these cases, an affiliation with a religious sect can color the atmosphere. There are, for example, religiously-oriented college preparatory schools, military academies, and therapeutic boarding schools.

One of the main categorizations of coeducational boarding schools is public and private. While there are many private boarding schools that are for boys or girls only, public boarding schools are uniformly coeducational. It’s also important to know that coeducational may mean several things. In general, it means separate dorms, for a start. But sometimes there can be elements of the program, large or small, that male and female students do not participate at the same time, and in some cases, though the boarding school is technically coeducational in accepting boys and girls, they may be on separate campuses entirely. This is, as a rule, only the case in therapeutic boarding schools at which—while both boys and girls may receive treatment—it is more productive to have them separate.

Searching for Coeducational Boarding Schools

Finding a complete list of any type of boarding school can be a challenge. The National Center for Education Statistics provides a private school search that allows a filter for coed schools, but no means to distinguish boarding schools, and requirements that require going state-by-state as the largest area. clearly does not list all boarding schools. The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) has a valuable search for therapeutic boarding schools. It lists over 90 coeducational schools and programs, but it’s not known if there are other accredited coeducational boarding schools that are not listed.

Given what’s available, an analysis of the coeducational boarding schools included in ( ), though it is incomplete, still helps provide a general sense that the majority of the coed boarding schools in the United States are in either the Northeast or, secondarily, on the West Coast. There are none showing in Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, and few in Wyoming, New Mexico, Iowa, and Indiana. The programs listed in NATSAP, on the other hand, heavily favor the South and West, with the largest number of programs in Utah.

If you are looking for a coeducational boarding school, another source to help your search is the list of Boarding School Networks on the website. This list includes a number of organizations of boarding schools and provides links to their websites.  While this does not provide you with a comprehensive search, the names of the boarding school associations (like “Association of Military Colleges and Schools in the United States” AMCSUS or Southeastern Association of Boarding Schools, SABS) may help in a focused search.