The academics, the athletics and the extracurricular — there are many reasons to go to boarding school. Students flourish in the rich culture of learning, friendship, arts, athletics and intellectual discourse. Why? At these 24-hour, intentional communities, student’s growth and development are front and centre.
Students at boarding schools are often exposed to a multitude of activities. This ensures they have well-rounded education, complemented with pursuits such as fine arts, painting, sports, dance, drama, and so forth. With big classrooms hosting a smaller ratio of students, this ensures each and every child gets equal attention in class.
They naturally inculcate a sense of punctuality and discipline in pupils as they are made to follow and maintain a schedule as to when they wake up, study, eat, and sleep. There are rules both within the school and in the hostels that each student follows diligently. It all comes together to groom them into more responsible, independent and confident individuals in future.
Here are four well-rounded boarding schools that produce all-rounded graduates:
Hargrave Military Academy
A Hargrave Military Academy graduate is instantly recognisable. He exudes leadership, character and quiet strength in his faith. He is prepared for the rigours of college and to face life’s journey with determination, perseverance and resolve. He goes on to be a leader in his home, his church, and his community.
At this Virginia-based institution steeped in history and tradition, regarded as one of the best college-prep boarding schools in the US for grades 7 to 12, boys grow into young men and form bonds that last a lifetime with fellow cadets, faculty, and staff. The academy’s distinctive four pillars of academics, sports/athletics, character and spiritual development are fully integrated into a challenging and purposeful curriculum.
Its military model combines structure, routine, accountability, leadership, teamwork, decision making and personal pride to holistically develop a young man to their fullest potential. Every Cadet has a team of genuinely concerned teachers, coaches and staff dedicated to their individual success, ready to invest time outside of the classroom to mentor, lead and engage with cadets. A robust athletics programme provides opportunities for physical development and to teach sportsmanship through team sports, intramurals, and extensive recreational activities.
The result? Cadets who realise their individual potential, owning their self-confidence through an appropriate recognition of achievements. All academy graduates progress to college, part of a brotherhood that endures well beyond graduation. An alumnus Rocky Billing says, “Hargrave was one of the best gifts my father gave me. Looking back now 18 years later, I know Hargrave definitely helped in making me the man I am today.” To learn more about how Hargrave Military Academy develops young men into leaders of character who are prepared for lifelong success, click here.
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 and are able to 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 9 through to 12 — plus a postgraduate year — get to take part in an empowering combination of experiential learning and outdoor experiences. Both the arts and athletics are embraced here — this means students can hike, ski, compete in writing and poetry contests, star in a performance, learn a new instrument, and win regional athletic championships. An iconic centrepiece of the campus is the on-campus ski hill where many students enjoy a Sunday afternoon during the winter months.
Its small size and emphasis on relationships ensure every student is known personally by teachers which allows for tremendous academic and personal growth. Through its signature MAPS (My Action Plan for Success) program, 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 program is housed in the Center For Learning at Vermont Academy which is the office responsible for student growth and learning.
The instructional approach here is guided by the following pedagogical values: student-focused, growth-oriented and active. With small and tight-knit classes, students receive the personal attention needed to discover their potential and develop a love for learning. Every day the academic program is challenging students to expand their thinking through active, hands-on learning experiences. To learn more about Vermont Academy’s Education for Life, click here or connect with the admissions office here.
Blue Ridge School
As an all-boys institution in Virginia, Blue Ridge School (BRS) provides small class sizes and co-curricular programmes to help boys from 23 states and 17 countries, between grades nine to 12 reach their potential through personalised, structured, innovative learning practices in a college-preparatory, all-boarding community. A small student body of under 200 call BRS their home away from home.
The school’s 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and an average class size of eight, allow deeper connections between students and teachers. BRS promotes a well-rounded education through their curriculum such as English Language Learners Program (ELL); Foreign Languages; Mathematics; Outdoor Education; Performing and Visual Arts; Science; Social Studies and Technology. The school also caters to students with learning disabilities and attention difficulties through its Fishburne Learning Center.
“Blue Ridge has definitely made me a more well-rounded student. Being a scholar has always been a goal of mine, but Blue Ridge has also allowed me to participate in activities I most likely would never have had the opportunity to partake in,” shares student leader Franck Germain.
The BRS experience extends to a wide variety of activities, societies, athletic fixtures and facilities on campus — meaning students do not have to set foot off campus to learn and grow. Here, students are encouraged to express themselves through a choice of music, drama or visual arts.
Over 200 bright and motivated students with learning differences and 68 faculty and staff trained to equip them for college — since 1930, the Forman School has been transforming lives. Located on New England’s prep school campus in Litchfield, Connecticut, Forman School attracts local day students and boarding students from more than 25 states and 10 countries.
Here, high school students and postgraduates with diagnosed learning differences – such as dyslexia and ADHD – learn by exploring abundant academic, artistic, athletic, and social opportunities. Open to any students entering grades seven to 11, Forman’s four-week summer programme is a coed boarding and day camp that provides insight into the School’s innovative teaching techniques.
Forman is a place where every student is known well, connection amongst students and faculty feels like family, big dreams and aspirations are fulfilled, and students are cared deeply about. “I haven’t seen anybody on campus, teacher or student, who hasn’t been transformed,” said Bill Bucklin, Forman’s English teacher.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International