Public, Private or Boarding School
Boarding schools today are much different than they used to be, and poles apart from stereotypical Hollywood images, such as havens for children of privilege or refuges for troubled teens. New research proves that contemporary boarding schools serve a diverse body of motivated and well-rounded students who study and live in supportive, inclusive academic communities where they learn about independence and responsibility - traditional values that help them achieve success at higher rates than private day and public schools students - in the classroom and beyond.
The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), the non-profit membership organization for independent, college-preparatory boarding schools, commissioned Art & Science Group, a market research and consulting firm based in Baltimore, to study the subject. The results of their detailed assessment debunk many of the misperceptions about boarding schools and offer new insight into the strengths - and advantages- of boarding schools today.
1. Boarding school students and alumni are overwhelmingly satisfied with their academic experiences
For most teenagers - and their parents - it is the high-quality academics that motivate them to apply to boarding schools. About 60% of students enroll in these institutions primarily because of the promise of better education. Those surveyed reported significant enthusiasm for the classroom instruction they received.
· 95% say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their academic experience, compared to 86% of private day or public school students
· 91% report that their schools are academically challenging, compared to 70% of private day and 50% of public school students
· 90% report having high-quality teachers, compared to 62% of private day and 51% of public school students
· Boarding school students spend about 17 hours per week on homework, compared to approximately 9 hours by private day students and 8 hours by public school students
· 75% of boarding school students report being surrounded by motivated peers, compared to 71% of private day and 49% of public school students
· 90% of mid-career and 80% of late-career boarding school graduates say they would repeat the boarding experience
2. Boarding school students use their time more productively than private day and public school students
In addition to enjoying the benefits of serious education and dedicating significantly more time to their studies, boarding school students participate more in extracurricular activities than other students.
· 12 hours per week are dedicated to exercising or playing sports in boarding schools, compared to about 9 hours in private day and public schools
· Boarding school students spend about 6 hours per week on creative endeavors like performing music and painting, compared to 4 hours by private day and 5 hours by public school students
· 35% of current boarding school students spend 7-14 hours per week on nonathletic extracurricular activities like student government and clubs, compared to 27% of other students
· Boarding school students spend considerably less time watching television - about 3 hours per week, compared to 7 hours among private day and public school students - a pattern that continues throughout life
3. Boarding schools encourage positive personal development
The study indicates that boarding schools play a direct and influential role in shaping the personal values and ethics of their students, fostering a wide array of desirable traits in a supportive and motivating environment. Boarding schools place as much importance on character development and growth as they do on academic success.
· About 70% of boarding school students say that boarding school helped them develop self-discipline, maturity, independence, and the ability to think critically
· 77% of boarding school students say that their schools provide opportunities for leadership, compared to 60% of private day and 52% of public school students
· About 75% of boarding school students say that their schools provide a supportive environment, compared to about 70% of private day students and 50% of public school students
· Boarding school students enjoy more time with teachers, coaches, and staff members outside class than private day and public school students - about 9 hours per week compared to 4 hours
· About 26% of boarding school students say there is “some” cheating at school, compared to 60% of private day and 54% of public school students
4. Boarding school students are better prepared for college
As they learn how to live and study independently and self-reliantly, boarding school students
develop the skill sets necessary for success in college.
· 87% of boarding school graduates report being very well prepared academically for college, compared to 71% of private day and 39% of public school alumni
· 78% of boarding school graduates say that they were very well prepared for the non-academic aspects of college life, such as independence, social life, and time management, compared to 36% of private day and 23% of public school students
· 41% of boarding school students say that their college or university guidance counselor was very helpful in exploring college options, compared to 23% of private school students and 13% of public school students
· 50% of boarding school graduates earn advanced degrees, compared to 36% of private day and 21% of public school alumni
5. Boarding school alumni advance more quickly in their careers and are more philanthropic
Research shows that students who graduate from boarding schools achieve greater career
advancement than private day and public school students, and are more actively involved in
· By mid-career, 44% of former boarding school students achieve positions in top management, compared to 27% of private day and 33% of public school graduates
· By late-career, 52% of former boarding school students achieve positions in top management, compared to 39% of private day and 27% of public school graduates
· Boarding school alumni are more philanthropic: by mid-career 60% give to social service organizations, compared to 46% of all others; 58% to political parties, compared to 33% of all others; and 52% to their colleges, compared to 35% of all others
The study provides data that debunk many of the false stereotypes and long-held
misperceptions regarding boarding school culture.
Boarding schools are homogenous.
59% of boarding school students describe their schools as having students from many races and ethnic groups as opposed to 19%
of private day and 39% of public school students.
Boarding schools are for problem students who are being “sent away.”
60% of respondents applied to boarding school primarily because of the opportunity for better education.
Boarding schools are places where students get into trouble.
95% of boarding school students say that their social lives do not revolve around drugs and alcohol, compared to 82% of private day and public school students.
Boarding school students have troubled home lives.
86% of boarding school students report being very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their family life.