Be part of a holistic, character-building boarding experience at these leading institutions 

US boarding schools
When you join a boarding school, you join a 24/7 community that’s built by you, for you. Source: Justin Sullivan / AFP

So many of young people’s hopes and dreams are based on which college they get into – a good school, the right school, an Ivy League school, an alma mater, a nearby public university with a great reputation. College admission is competitive, and, at many times, intense; but through a myriad of academic, chapel, service, artistic, and athletic programmes, boarding schools have the right tools to prepare and guide students to their dream colleges. 

Boarding schools are built on the pillars of opportunity, providing a rigorous academic environment where excellence is both modelled and expected, and offer abundant opportunities for students to nurture their intellectual curiosity. The result? A vibrant community where individuality thrives and life-long friendships are forged. 

When you join a boarding school, you join a 24/7 community that’s built by you, for you. A strong community is important in helping students to grow and develop their sense of self and to act with honour and moral courage as they tackle challenges together and learn from each other as they go. 

Here are four US boarding schools that provide a holistic boarding experience and character-building learning journey. 

The Vanguard School

US boarding schools

Source: The Vanguard School

The Vanguard School

The Vanguard School is where students who excel are acknowledged, applauded and celebrated and those who don’t are encouraged, inspired, and supported.

When a child faces learning or social challenges, it’s easy to fear there is no way to overcome them. The Vanguard School defies such pessimism. It is certainly not short of zeal and teaching talent to realise its mission: to help guide students in the development of their character and academic potential through academically rigorous, content-rich educational programmes. This is where individualised, purposeful, and academically-oriented education meets a safe, supportive, and compassionate community.

Every Vanguard pupil can reach out from their comfort zones to take on new challenges and accomplish their goals in a family-style environment. Diversity is emphasised here too — as reflected in its teaching, social immersion, culture, and talent pool.

Faculty and alumni are proud of Vanguard’s distinctive evaluation of skills that starts as early as admissions. Every student is met where they are and have a “learning plan” to propel them into their highest attainable learning levels.

Here, learning is tailored to each student’s needs. Students are tested during admissions, as they enter each academic year, and collectively in the last term of school in April. Currently, the school has students with IQ levels from 70 to 140, the norm here. “By emphasising individualised attention within the context of a small classroom environment, Vanguard provides for the academic, social, and personal growth of each student,” explains Head of School L. Shannon Graves.

The Vanguard School offers independent, coeducational, boarding and day education, catered to students in grades six to 12. Each student receives an individualised curriculum, bolstered by an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, small classes and technology to keep them engaged.

The 77-acre campus is home to 120 students and supports outdoor activities all year round. Here, teamwork, sportsmanship, and character are nurtured. Students get to choose from a range of sports including soccer, basketball, tennis, archery, swim, golf and more. To learn more about the Vanguard School’s rigorous classical education that paves the way to college admission, a multitude of career fields, and a successful life, click here.

Lawrence Academy

US boarding schools

Source: Lawrence Academy

At the Lawrence Academy, education isn’t hoarded, but shared. “We believe in a healthy and intelligent approach to life, and we apply that belief every day through tending to the students in our care with a sense of generosity, optimism, and genuine interest.”

Around the table, in the classroom, in laboratories, on fields, in studios, on stage and in the dorm, students at the Lawrence Academy find friends and classmates who are smart, caring, opinionated, funny and talented in so many different ways. 

The school adopts a student-centred teaching method that focuses on knowledge, confidence, and empathy through its academic strength in courses such as Arts, English, History, Language, Math, and Science. Options are plentiful — in classes and in activities. Students choose academics, arts and athletics based on well-established interests.

Here, students are encouraged to step out of their comfort zones and push boundaries. After immersing themselves in Lawrence’s opportunities, in and out of the classroom, students graduate with the confidence in themselves and the competence to succeed at the most selective colleges and universities in and out of the country.

Mount Pisgah Academy

US boarding schools

Source: Mount Pisgah Academy

Life at Mount Pisgah Academy (MPA) is collaborative, not competitive. Located in Candler, North Carolina, the Academy is a Seventh-day Adventist boarding school for grades nine through to 12. Students come from all over the nation and from around the globe, bringing incredible and diverse talents, perspectives, experiences, and interests. At MPA, you’ll find a place full of opportunity, challenge, and friendship. 

Here, education is built upon a curriculum with breadth and depth. Students learn hands-on in small classes with the latest technology. Peek inside a classroom and you’ll see an intimate group of passionate students discuss, analyse, listen, laugh, strive and thrive.

Students find support, challenge, and inspiration in partnership with a brilliant faculty whose enthusiasm for their disciplines is surpassed only by their passionate commitment to their students through a curriculum that’s selectively curated. 

At MPA, well-rounded graduates are produced as students turn practice into performance — be it in academic, arts or athletics. Acrosports, choir, school band and photography are some of the organisations students can choose from. And in the court or on the field, students take their pick between soccer, volleyball, softball or football. 

Garrison Forest School

US boarding schools

Source: Garrison Forest School

When you come to Garrison Forest School, you’ll find a place full of opportunity, challenge, and friendship. Students are taught by present and passionate faculty members on a historic and beautiful campus, in a close and caring community, and with a compelling and relevant mission. 

GFS prepares students in and out of the classroom to thrive in a complex, changing world through a rigorous curriculum. Here, learning is active, deeply engaging and wonderfully challenging — be it by engineering your own catapult design for a STEM competition or creating a service club to address public health issues.

While academic life is paramount at GFS, there’s so much more to each day than time spent in a classroom — there are art clubs and athletic activities to enjoy, new friends to meet, and fresh ways to serve the community. Dance, riding and polo are some of the programmes catered to the students. 

From participants in intramural programmes to elite athletes preparing for competitive careers at the college level, GFS students are taught the value of health and wellness, the importance of a lifelong commitment to fitness, and the enjoyment that participating in all forms of athletics can bring.

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