Teen Boarding Schools

Teen boarding schools come in many shapes and sizes, finding the right boarding school for your struggling teen can make or break their educational experience. Keep reading for information on types of boarding schools for teens before choosing a boarding school.

A boarding school is an academic institution that provides room and board and supervision for students who live on campus, rather than at home. Americans attend boarding schools in the United States and abroad, with the U.S. boarding schools making up about a quarter of those worldwide.

If you’re considering a boarding school for your teen, this article introduces the various types of schools that you may wish to consider. Depending on the circumstances, you might find that a type of school that is not typically considered a school for troubled teens is the perfect fit for your child.

What Boarding School Can Mean to a Struggling Teen

All boarding schools allow a teen to spend a substantial amount of time in a new situation with a concerted focus on his or her future. If the teen is having trouble dealing with a parental divorce, hanging out with a problematic crowd, or bored in school, the change of scene and culture may be therapeutic in an of themselves.

Boarding school of any type can give a teen a chance to start over - to establish a new way of being, to choose new friends, to escape expectations and stereotypes. It’s not always good to escape one’s history, but sometimes it can be a gift.

A school that provides a focus on anything the teen excels in can also make a huge difference. Take a kid from a city public school where everyone makes fun of golf or horseback riding and send him or her to a school where these sports are respected and practiced, and things may look a whole lot different. Take the boy who wants to be a dancer and is the butt of jokes and send him to a performing arts school, where his gifts are cultivated, and his world may look a whole lot better.

As you consider teen boarding schools, read the admissions requirements carefully to make sure that the school is a good match for your child. Many boarding schools are not equipped to deal with a full range of student issues: specifically, a number are not suited for students with learning disabilities (while others cater specifically to such students), and it’s better to rule out schools that aren’t a good match early in the process. A list of boarding schools is available at the Peterson’s website: petersons.com You may also want to try the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) school search here: nais.org

Types of Boarding Schools for Teens

Boarding schools are typically boys only, girls only, or serve both boys and girls. Boarding schools may have day students as well as boarding students, or boarding students only. Boarding schools for teens include junior boarding schools, which may go up to grade nine, as well as senior boarding schools, which are often simply called “boarding schools.”

A number of military prep schools are boarding schools, combining a college preparatory academic course with a military atmosphere. There are also sectarian boarding schools, in which the academics are presented in the light of the identified faith. At some sectarian schools, students of other faiths are admitted. There are also military prep schools that have a faith affiliation.

Some boarding schools have an academic focus. These are usually called college preparatory schools or college prep schools. Their aim is to have all their students a) graduate, b) be accepted to college, and c) be accepted to really highly-regarded colleges. These schools often have extracurricular activities and Advanced Placement classes, and may also have study abroad opportunities.

Some college preparatory boarding schools have a second focus on a particular area. This could be a sport in which all students participate, or an area of studies that is emphasized - anything from technology to performing arts. For a student with a particular gift, these schools can advance pre-professional training while also giving a solid academic foundation.

Therapeutic boarding schools combine an academic curriculum with a mission to address specific student needs, whether behavioral or other types of issues. Examples of issues these schools may be geared to help with include ADHD, eating disorders, depression, and drug abuse. The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) provides a directory that may prove useful: natsap.org

Related Article: Public Schools for Struggling Teens >>