4 UK boarding schools that prepare students for university and beyond 
Source: Shutterstock

When parents search for the best international boarding school to send their child to, there will be many different factors that sway their decision.

One key factor is how well a school prepares its students for higher education.

The top concerns for parents would be: How does the school support students during the university application process? How does it help students transition to more independent living?

For the latter, boarding schools typically fare better than day schools. Dubbed by education expert Robert Kennedy as a “stepping stone” to university, boarding schools are where students learn how to live away from home in a more supportive environment.

“Dorm parents play a large role in student lives, reinforcing good behaviours and helping students develop life skills like time management, work-life balance, and staying healthy.”

“An increase in independence and confidence are often reported in students who attend boarding school,” he says.

Another key factor that parents may deem important is the variety of student activities.

For instance, parents may question the number of activities on offer on and off campus. Or, they may want to analyse the array of campus community initiatives.

Boarding schools usually leave very little time for boredom. Extra time is typically channelled toward  co-curricular activities so students can achieve personal growth. Research has found that these forms of non-formal learning promote higher academic achievement, instils discipline and teaches life-long skills.

As Kennedy sum it up: “I like the fact that a boarding school offers everything in one neat package: the academics, the athletics, the social life, and 24-hour supervision. That’s a huge plus for busy parents,”he says.

Here are 4 boarding schools in the UK that prepare students for university and beyond…


It would be hard to overstate the value of a good school. It’s the bedrock to academic success in university, the anchor we look to in future personal tribulations and the determinant on how our professional lives will pan out.

Source: Prior Park College

For the best start to university and beyond, Prior Park College in Bath, UK is the independent senior school to go to.

One of the UK’s largest, co-educational schools for 11-18-year-olds, this is where pupils receive an outstanding, well-rounded education and a vast amount of co-curricular opportunities.

For international students, there is extra support provided in the form of English as an Additional Language (EAL) curriculum, which includes coaching for the Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) exam, IGCSE English as a Second Language and International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Careers Education begins in F3 (Year 8) and covers a range of work-based topics to help students develop future goals and to sharpen their soft and hard skills.

All of the above make for an impressive university application, as the trajectories of past students demonstrate.

“Most of our students go on to top universities to achieve excellent degrees, building on their love for learning that began here at Prior Park,” says Headmaster Ben Horan.

Prior Park College is hosting a Sixth Form Information Evening on October 6th and an Open Morning on October 10th, where you can get a tour of the school and ask staff any questions about life at Prior. Find out more information here.


Sherborne School in Dorset is an HMC (the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference) independent all-boys full-boarding and day school where students enjoy a learning environment full of community care and opportunity.

uk boarding

Source: Sherborne School

At the School, the faculty works hard to pair the academic curricula with the School’s rich tradition of sporting and musical excellence.

So by blending these learning activities, Sherborne boys benefit from an interdisciplinary education and achieve great things in a range of sporting disciplines, from rugby to rifle shooting and from polo to athletics.

Sherborne is also a place of growth, transformation and family. During good times and bad, Sherburnians know they are cared for and that the whole community is looking out for them.

“The thing that I’ve noticed about Sherborne is the kindness of everyone here. I live in France and chose Sherborne because one of my best friends from prep school came here. It’s proved a brilliant decision: I’m enjoying every element of School life,” says Third Form student Theo.


Located in Bath, England, Kingswood School is a day and boarding school that balances academic rigour with pastoral care so pupils get to develop in all aspects of their lives.

With an extensive range of co-curricular activities, pupils are encouraged to discover new activities and hobbies that are not only good for their physical and mental development but become lifelong interests.

On-site boarding activities include early morning yoga, swimming, tennis, cricket, hockey, community games, music practice and weekend sports fixtures.

On weekends, boarders can also go to town and explore the beauty of Bath in groups and with prefects.

Source: Kingswood School

By supporting students to fulfil their career goals and providing a variety of fun activities, Kingswood encourages learners to develop into well-rounded and capable young people, ready to tackle the challenges of secondary education and beyond.


Badminton School is an independent day and boarding school for girls aged three to 18, located just minutes from the centre of Bristol.

Built from a culture of mutual respect and tolerance, the School challenges pupils to fulfil their potential, be intellectually curious and attain a fun learning experience.

From a young age, pupils are taught to think about the needs and concerns of society at the local, national and global level, and are expected to get involved with a range of community service and charitable projects.

Badminton School also has a strong history of innovation.

Despite being small in size, Badminton encourages students to pursue big opportunities at elite universities and top-quality colleges.

Hence why Badminton girls leave the School feeling supported, prepared and inspired to take on their next challenge.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International.

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