US boarding schools
The US has some of the world’s best boarding schools because of their supportive staff, meticulous academics and outstanding co-curricular activities. Source: Middlebridge School/Facebook

When people think of boarding schools, classically British, Harry Potter-type environments typically come to mind. However, the US is home to several boarding schools that are just as renowned for their picturesque surroundings. They also boast meticulous academics and outstanding co-curricular activities.

American boarding schools create well-rounded learners, equipping them with character, discipline and the critical skills to become self-sufficient. Academically, a core curriculum lays a solid foundation while a suite of electives nurture aspirations. When students are ready to take their next step, college counsellors step in to guide them to the right path.

Here, students develop further with no shortage of clubs, activities, language classes, athletics, and STEM programmes. In the process, they forge connections that will last them a lifetime. After all, boarding schools are known as the home away from home of diverse student bodies that are ever-willing to share cultural perspectives and forge lifelong connections. What better way to prepare for a lifetime of global success?

Since the US is filled with boarding schools skilled in developing lifelong learners, here are four top picks to help you narrow down your options:

Middlebridge School

If you seek a highly individualised coeducational boarding and day programme for students ages 13 to 18, and postgraduates, with learning differences, head to Middlebridge School. An education here — in Narragansett, Rhode Island — promotes students’ academic, social and emotional growth.

US boarding schools

Nestled in Southern Rhode Island in the oceanside town of Narragansett, Middlebridge School is known as one of the leading programmes in the country for students with learning differences. Source: Middlebridge School

A potent combination of a nearly 1:1 staff-to-student ratio, diverse enrichment electives, comprehensive facilities, and college-level courses makes this possible.

Here, whether it’s in English, Mathematics, Science, History, Art and Technology, or Physical Education and Wellness, you’ll find dedicated staff collaborating with students. Together, they explore content, share ideas, and build skills in a safe and highly interactive environment.

Over 250 enrichment electives complement this, as do daily tutorials — that focus on study skills, executive function, and metacognition — and social-emotional intelligence courses.

These lessons come to life in small classes, well-equipped facilities and the great outdoors. At its new gymnasium and fitness centre, art building, soccer field, agricultural programme and gardens, students built their physical finesse. Over at its recording studio and science building, they forge their artistic and intellectual skills. Within its 38-acres scenic campus located in Hazard Castle, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, they set off on outdoor adventures.

In short, there’s never a dull lesson, or even day, here. Those who want to take their academics further can intern with local businesses, take college classes for credit at local organisations, or support community service programming.

All of this makes Middlebridge the ideal stepping stone to life at college and university. To take a virtual tour, click here. Learn more about admissions here. Note that the first step in the admissions process for Middlebridge requires up-to-date neuropsychological, psychological or psychoeducational tests with Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children scores.

The Forman School

 Set in Litchfield, Connecticut, the Forman School provides a holistic academic experience to its 236 students. A Forman education is immersive, collaborative, and nurturing. Forman is a place where every student is known well, connection amongst students and faculty feels like family, and big dreams and aspirations are fulfilled.

US boarding schools

A Forman education is immersive, collaborative, and nurturing. Source: The Forman School

“Forman holds true to the rich traditions of a college preparatory boarding school while also providing an innovative and dynamic academic programme designed to bring out the best in each student,” says Adam K. Man, Head of School.

The classic college-prep curriculum sets the foundation, equipping students with the knowledge to excel in English, mathematics, history, and science. Here, the goal is to ensure young talents diagnosed with learning differences such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, ADHD, and executive function deficits are guaranteed the four-year college experience they deserve — and more.

At Forman, academics come first, but extra-curricular activities are just as important. From traditional interscholastic sports to surprising options like culinary arts and theater, there’s something for everyone. That’s not all. Don’t be surprised to see boatbuilding, rock climbing, dance, recreational skiing and snowboarding, and white water kayaking on the school’s activity list.

Buffalo Seminary

If you want to experience the power of an all-girls education, then the Buffalo Seminary (SEM) is the school for you. SEM’s cozy campus is located in the Elmwood Village neighborhood of Buffalo. Students benefit from the school’s easy access to museums and libraries for research, world-class art galleries, music and theatre, and internships. Here, you will learn and grow alongside 172 students from eight different countries including Australia, China, South Korea and Vietnam.

US Boarding Schools

At SEM, you can expect standards but not standardisation. Source: Buffalo Seminary

At SEM, you can expect standards but not standardisation. Students learn through the Harkness Discussion method — a teaching and learning method involving students seated in a large group, to discuss ideas in an encouraging, open-minded environment. Each student is also required to complete a Capstone Project. This project includes original research, community service, performance, studio production, or entrepreneurship,

Every girl is provided with a comprehensive programme that prepares her well for both college and lifelong endeavors. Students are offered honors and AP classes and explore over 68 diverse electives from astronomy to financial algebra, and computer science to Mandarin. “The intimacy of classroom and one-on-one opportunities to build relationships with teachers and faculty encouraged me to cultivate my own voice and find my niche,” says alumna Elizabeth Lewin.

At the heart of the SEM athletics experience is inclusivity. 33 student-run clubs and 17 athletic teams — SEM provides students with the opportunities to participate in physical exercise no matter what their athletic interests.

Hebron Academy

 What you do at Hebron Academy defines who you become. That’s why students are encouraged to try it all and find where they fit — not just in this “boarding summer school” but in life. Over 50 after-school and co-curricular offerings await bright, energetic young people eager to grow into the best version of themselves.

US Boarding Schools

Athletic and outdoor pursuits are aligned with academic excellence at this US boarding school. Source: Hebron Academy

A large part of learning takes place in the great outdoors of Maine, whether students are training in sports or exploring natural wonders. Athletic performance is aligned with academic excellence; hence, organised sports is a large part of the Hebron experience. Students get into more niche sports such as mountain biking, lacrosse, tennis, and snowboarding, even pursuing it competitively.

The adventure doesn’t end there; they also surf the waters of Maine, hike and climb new peaks, and hit the ski slopes as part of a robust outdoor programme. These opportunities facilitate a well-rounded self-discovery experience that begins to form an individualised pathway to higher education and career. International students, in particular, enrich their lives by trying things they never did back home. It’s how students from Mexico discover field hockey, and how students from tropical countries experience winter sports.

In the classroom, a 6:1 student-faculty ratio ensures teachers are able to guide each student based on their abilities and needs. All of this takes place in a progressive boarding community, where students learn to manage their own time, health, wellness, and success. Dive deeper into how the Hebron Academy supports its students on the official website.

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