Your child’s education is one of the most important investments you can make as a parent. And with numerous schooling options between public school, private school, and boarding school, it can be hard to determine the best choice for their future.
Once considered the top educational choice, boarding schools have been a staple in academia for decades, if not centuries. Although boarding schools are tried and true institutions that still produce some of the top tier students, they can come with a hefty price tag. And before you go ahead and sign over that tuition check, it’s important to consider a few factors regarding whether your child should attend.
An Investment That Lasts a Lifetime
If there’s one thing that’s true about an education, it’s that you can never take it away from someone. This is an investment that’s going to benefit your child for life, and ultimately, will play a major role in preparing them for a sound future.
According to the National Association of Independent Schools, there is an average of 7.6 students per teacher in boarding/private schools, meaning that children in these academic settings receive an exceptional amount of individualized attention. Small classroom sizes are one of the biggest plus factors of boarding schools, as small class sizes foster closer relationships, deeper engagement, and ultimately, allow teachers to cater to children’s unique learning needs. Many parents who choose to invest in boarding school education strongly believe that the classroom environment is worth the price of admission.
According to NAIS’s most recent report on the cost of attending these schools, the average financial aid package was $23,143, covering a majority of the average tuition of $29,300. Considering that price is one of the biggest boarding school deciding factors, this is a good sign, but is contingent upon the specific school you’re looking at as well as how they assess and structure their financial assistance. Make no mistake, this can be a great investment into their education, but beyond just learning, you have to consider the social aspect of boarding schools, as well.
The Social Effect
It’s no secret that sending your kids away for the majority of a school year is going to play a role in your family’s dynamic. As Psychologist Dr. Joy Schaverian points out in her synopsis of, what she’s coined as ‘Boarding School Syndrome,’ separation from family can produce long-term effects on a child’s development.
Dr.Schaverian’s main observation in this phenomenon is that boarding schools aren’t designed to play the role of a parent, or even to raise children, and as such, the children have to adapt to their surroundings. They’re more likely to feel separation anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem due to both their current environment as well as because of being away from home. Additionally, her theory also suggests that a lot of young people are expected to numb these feelings or face ridicule from their peers, which can normalize unhealthy ways of dealing with emotions.
This isn’t to say that every child will suffer from separation, but that potential outcome should definitely play a role in the decision-making process. If the school is far away or has limited visitation times, it may be worth waiting until your child is older before sending him away.
Weighing The Pro’s And Con’s
While there’s a whole laundry list of things to consider in choosing between boarding school, private/day school, or even public school, setting your child up to receive the best education experience for them should be the driving force behind your decision. Although some public schools have poor reputations, many public school districts offer educations that are on par with private schools. Although boarding schools were once considered the best pipeline to college, public schools are quickly catching up. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the past decade has seen a 25% increase in college enrollment, a strong indicator that universities are taking an array of students. Additionally, many public school districts boast competitive numbers regarding their teacher to student ratio, enabling students to receive specialized classroom attention. Plus, public schools are a melting pot of diversity and experience..
There are several factors to consider when thinking about where to send your kid to school, but really, it all boils down to one thing: where is your child not only going to be at the best school...but receive the best educational experience to meet his or her unique needs?