Boarding schools in the US are among the world’s best, thanks to their rigorous academics and excellent co-curricular offerings that help mould well-rounded students. Many of these schools encourage students to dig deep and empower themselves, prompting better student outcomes.
According to a study by The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), 91% of boarding students said their school was academically challenging compared to 70% of private day students and 50% of public school students. Furthermore, 87% of boarding school graduates said they were very well prepared academically for university.
Excellent academics aside, boarding schools in the US are also known for developing students’ growth outside the classroom via clubs, activities, and language classes, competitive athletics, STEM excellence, and artistic development.
What’s more, students at boarding schools enjoy these offerings while mixing, mingling, and forging lifelong connections with a diverse group of peers. This paves the way for broadened world views and improved social maturity — both of which could benefit pupils in our increasingly borderless world.
There are a plethora of dynamic boarding schools across the country. To help you narrow down your options, here’s a list of some of the US’s best:
Located just 60 miles from Boston, students between grades nine and 12 have the opportunity to explore their way to academic success at Cushing Academy. The school’s 162-acre campus is home to students from over 30 countries and 30 US states. Here, students quench their intellectual thirst through a combination of outstanding academics while enjoying Cushing’s robust athletic, artistic, and cultural offerings.
And the best part? Every international student that arrives here is ensured a seamless transition into their new life. A dedicated faculty offers day-to-day support to aid with cultural adjustment, homesickness, and academic planning. ESL classes are also available to non-native English speakers.
By opting to board, pupils enjoy this personalised guidance 24/7 — alongside 92% of Cushing’s student body who currently live and learn within an inclusive community. Together, they identify and explore their talents, abilities, and interests around campus.
Cushing offers extensive programmes in both visual and performing arts. Aspiring athletes are equally spoiled for choice with the school’s state-of-the-art athletic facilities. Meanwhile, those who love community involvement stay engaged through various activities, clubs, and organisations.
In the classroom, Cushing’s signature academic curriculum spans foundational courses, honours classes, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and independent study for a total of 210 minutes a week. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor throughout their schooling experience to ensure they remain on track.
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Set on 240 acres of expansive lawns and beautiful wooded hillsides in Newton, Pennsylvania, George School offers its students far more than picturesque surroundings. A global school with local roots, this Quaker, co-educational boarding and day school invites students from all walks of life to partake in a rigorous education while enjoying an all-American environment.
Currently, they have over 500 students in grades nine through 12 who are thriving in the most authentic way possible; 28% are international, representing 37 countries, while 41% are domestic students of colour. Here, students can customise their learning, enabled by Course Planning, which meets the needs of every passion, interest, and goal. George School is among the first boarding schools in the US to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Today, it boasts a 95% completion rate — one of the world’s highest. It also offers over 20 Advanced Placement courses.
Their stellar academics, combined with an exceptional team of college counsellors, often lead to outstanding results. Every senior student secures placement, while some secure several. They progress to institutions like Brown University, Columbia University, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and McGill University, among others.
George School has years of experience when it comes to producing impressive student outcomes. Historic? Yes. Traditional? Far from it. Here, authenticity comes first alongside key Quaker values: simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and service. Collectively, this is how a George School education builds character.
Located at the foothills of the Green Mountains in Saxtons River, a gorgeous corner of New England, Vermont Academy is where students are supported to be their best selves. Here, students flourish academically, emotionally, and physically in preparation for college.
At this private boarding school, over 200 students from 20 states and 21 countries in grades nine through to 12 — plus a postgraduate year — get to take part in an empowering combination of experiential learning and outdoor experiences.
Its small size and emphasis on relationships ensure that teachers know every student personally, paving the way for academic and personal growth. Through its signature MAPS (My Action Plan for Success) programme, students work on documents that allow advisors, teachers, coaches, and parents to give feedback to them and help keep track of their progress.
These documents cover several areas, from student self-assessment of strengths and weaknesses to learning preferences and goal setting with action steps for success. “My first week at Vermont Academy, I began working with my advisor on my MAPS plan. It was a great way to start thinking and talking about my future and the classes that interest me,” says alumnus Will Svensson.
The MAPS programme is housed in the Center For Learning at Vermont Academy, responsible for student growth and learning.
If you’re looking for a small school with big opportunities, look no further than Oldfields School. This independent boarding and day school for girls grades eight to 12 empowers students to be their authentic selves.
This School’s advisors help students navigate every aspect of life at Oldfields. Such deep connections are also formed in residential life, where one can bond with a roommate from Rwanda or by mentoring an incoming freshman. Traditions — such as Green and White teams and the Big Sister/Little Sister programme — allow even more powerful connections to form.
As Oldfields’s culture is rooted in kindness, it’s unsurprising why students develop strong relationships with their caring educators or peers. Students will have the same opportunities as everyone else regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, age, nationality, ideology, sexual orientation, gender identity, and ethnicity.
Here, anyone can make an announcement at the Morning Meeting or become the All-School President. Students are also encouraged to engage in community service, from feeding the homeless in Baltimore to tackling period poverty in Thailand.
All of this fuels the Oldfields mission to educate and care for the whole girl. Whether they’re into riding, interscholastic sports, or exploring Oldfields’ location in the heart of Maryland’s horse country — nestled near major cultural centres such as New York City, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and Baltimore — there are always opportunities to grow in mind, body, and spirit.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International