To board or not to board? Choosing the right school for your child
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To board or not to board? Choosing the right school for your child

To board or not to board? Choosing the right school for your child

Defined as a residential school where pupils live and study during the school year, boarding schools supply a different style of education as pupils live with other pupils in boarding houses and experience an immersive social atmosphere.

For parents, there are various reasons for wanting to send their child to boarding school, such as a stellar academic reputation, good extracurricular activities and for their child to become independent and well-rounded.

Yet, there are also fears of Joy Schaverien’s boarding school syndrome seeping into students’ minds and affecting their academic success.

Packed with their fair share of pros and cons, a common decision-bending question for parents considering boarding school life is, “To board or not to board?

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How do parents find the right school for their child? Source: Shutterstock

To board

In response to a parent’s letter, international college admissions consultant Gerald Bradshaw advised that boarding schools are booming with educational advantages.

Noting that smaller class sizes allow teachers to provide individualised attention, Bradshaw explains that learners get extra access to their professors and an extended period of learning time.

“Every student has weaknesses and because of the small class size and student/counsellor ratios, top boarding schools are uniquely qualified to help students find those weaknesses (be they social or academic) and master them. Many boarding school teachers and counsellors have connections at top colleges which will help your child in the college admissions process – something that public schools normally cannot offer,” he says.

Industry connections as a leading component to the boarding school experience is another motivating factor to be mentioned.

With the extra time to nurture students’ skills and the diverse connections boarding school educators are exposed to, learners are often considered to have the upper hand.

There is also the 360° individualised support approach to consider, developing well-rounded students.

Not to board

As educators and parents already know, boarding schools don’t suit every type of student.

As qualified Psychiatrist, Dr Sagar Mundada explained, not all children grow to become more independent, disciplined and well-rounded after going to boarding school – this also depends on their personality.

Speaking to The Swaddle, he says that “In a sensitive, isolated, emotionally scarred child, the chances of developing childhood depression, anxiety disorders, and social phobias are very high.”

Being away from home can also affect students’ mental states, even with the 360° support circle.

Anxiety may also arise when they have to leave the school and make informed decisions about their higher education progress. Away from the caring boarding school co-ordinators and the campus bubble, the outside world can certainly seem intimidating to some former boarders.

On the other hand, it may push them to take control of their choices and become resilient workers.

So, now your aware of all the perks and the downfalls, one point still remains: to board or not to board? That is the question.

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