“Having your adolescence at an all-male boarding school is just crap.”
Benedict Crumberbatch, Actor
The Pros and Cons of Boarding Schools
Boarding school is a certain type of school where the kids actually live on the school premise, in contrast to day school where kids come back home every day.
Boarding school has a long tradition in some countries. However, over the past decades, it lost part of its popularity.
Even though boarding school has some advantages, there are also serious downsides related to it.
In this article, the pros and cons of boarding school are examined.
Pros of Boarding Schools
- Unique education possibilities
- Community feeling
- Friends for a lifetime
- Future business connections
- Students may actually feel at home in school
- Increases sense of responsibility of children
- Contributes to the independence of pupils
- Fosters discipline
- Decision-making is encouraged
- May prevent kids to do stupid things
- Students may be more eager to learn
- Boarding school traditions
- Students from all over the world
- Personal development programs
- Innovative teaching techniques
- Students can have a mentor
Unique education possibilities
One major advantage of boarding schools is that they provide their students with high-quality and also with unique education possibilities.
Boarding schools often have quite high standards and teachers are often experts in their field. Thus, pupils will be able to get a quite good education, which may give them pretty good career opportunities afterward.
Moreover, they may also be able to join courses that would usually not be offered in conventional schools. Thus, students may be able to broaden their knowledge through the attendance of boarding schools.
Since children spend all day and night in boarding schools, they also develop a strong feeling of community. Some children will build pretty strong connections to their roommates and their teachers.
This strong connection to the institution may increase the students’ motivation and their learning behavior since they will actually enjoy their stay in boarding school.
Friends for a lifetime
Boarding schools are also known to form quite strong bonds among students. Many children find friends for a lifetime in boarding school and they will stay in contact with each other also when they finally leave boarding school.
Really good friendships are rare and therefore, this can be seen as another important advantage boarding schools can offer to their students.
Future business connections
Boarding schools do not only promote friendships, they are also known to provide their students with excellent networking opportunities.
Since many kids in boarding schools come from wealthy families and will have pretty decent jobs afterward, chances are that those connections children make early on in their lives will lead to a strong business network once they grow up.
This may give these children pretty good job opportunities and a strong network for the rest of their lives.
Students may actually feel at home in school
Some children also enjoy their stay in boarding school more compared to staying with their parents. Thus, some children might actually feel like boarding school is their home.
Especially those students will have a great motivation to study hard since they will really identify with their school, which may lead to better grades and better job opportunities afterwards.
Increases sense of responsibility of children
Children who attend boarding school may also be more responsible compared to children who attend conventional schools at the same age.
This is true to the fact that children in boarding schools have a quite strict curriculum and are expected to learn and study hard in order to sustain the good reputation of the institution.
Thus, children in boarding schools are often told how important it is to study hard and those children will develop a strong sense of responsibility to comply with the rules due to that.
Contributes to the independence of pupils
Since children in boarding schools will not have their parents around who will do the laundry and also organize their daily life, they have to grow up faster and will become more independent in a shorter period of time compared to children who attend day school.
A high level of independence is quite an important characteristic which helps in all parts of daily life. Thus, children who attend boarding school may develop this important characteristic faster and may be able to succeed in life better on average.
Discipline is another trait that is taught to students in boarding school. Teachers in boarding schools often pay close attention to the behavior of their students and a lack of discipline is often punished in a certain way.
Therefore, children will learn a high level of discipline at a quite early stage, which may also benefit them their whole life since discipline is a key feature for success.
Decision-making is encouraged
Children in boarding schools are also often encouraged to make their own decisions from a quite young age. Since decisions determine how our future life will look like, it is quite important to give those kids the opportunity to make those decisions so that they are also prepared to make difficult decisions once they turn into grownups later.
May prevent kids to do stupid things
While many teenagers consume plenty of alcohol and drugs, children in boarding schools are often quite restricted in this regard and supervisors take great care to assure that there are no such substances inside their institution.
Hence, while other kids may develop alcohol or drug problems or even addictions, children in boarding schools may be better protected against this problem.
Students may be more eager to learn
In general, due to the high level of discipline students are taught on a daily basis, they are more likely to study hard and to learn quite fast. This may give them an important advantage when it comes to college applications.
Kids from boarding school may also have it easier to keep up with the strict pace of some elite universities since they learned from an early age on to study hard while other kids from conventional schools may have a harder time adapting to the learning pace in college.
Boarding school traditions
Some boarding schools also have quite nice traditions which have been practiced centuries ago and will still be celebrated. For students in those boarding schools, this can be quite exciting and can also broaden their horizon since they will get a better feeling of how life looked centuries ago and what was important to people in former ages.
Students from all over the world
Boarding schools are not only meant for local children, they also have plenty of partnerships for international students. Thus, there is often a big variety of different cultures in boarding school, which can be quite interesting and also quite beneficial for students since they get to experience different cultures over time.
Personal development programs
Boarding schools also often promote a variety of personal development programs. For your future career, it is not only your knowledge of hard skills that makes you succeed in the corporate world. It is also important how you present your results, how you communicate to clients and so on.
In order to perfect all of this, it is crucial growing on a mental level. Boarding schools recognized that and children are taught from an early age on what is important in this regard so that they can incorporate those characteristics into adulthood.
Innovative teaching techniques
Boarding schools are also known to be quite innovative and to provide students with the latest technologies in order to improve the learning experience.
This can be quite beneficial for students since they will be able to get to know the latest innovations in time and will often have an advantage over other students regarding technological knowledge. In turn, this may translate into better job opportunities.
Students can have a mentor
Mentoring is also a popular thing in boarding schools. Many successful people claim that it is important to have a mentor in order to really learn what it needs to be successful in our current society.
Boarding schools provide children with a mentor who takes care of them and who is there to answer questions and to assist them with all kinds of issues.
Cons of Boarding Schools
- Tuition fees can be quite high
- Being away from your family
- Children may get homesick
- No clear separation of school and leisure
- Difficulties to find friends outside boarding school
- Also difficult for parents
- Quality of boarding schools greatly varies
- Some kids may not feel comfortable
- Pressure on kids may be high
- Gender separation
- Mental issues
- Special talents may not be supported
Tuition fees can be quite high
As we have seen before, boarding schools can have many important advantages for children. However, there are also some issues related to boarding schools. For example, boarding schools often have pretty high tuition fees which can be as high as 50,000 USD per year.
Thus, only quite privileged children from wealthy families might have the opportunity to attend those schools. Paying this sum of money will never be possible for a middle-class family.
Therefore, boarding schools may be reserved for kids from rich families, which could be considered to be unfair since every kid should have similar educational opportunities.
Being away from your family
Another disadvantage of boarding schools is that children are away from their families all year long. This can be quite problematic since parents and children may miss each other quite a lot and many families may not be able to emotionally deal with this problem.
Some children will also never be able to form a strong connection to their parents since they will simply not see them too often from an early age.
Children may get homesick
Some children may also not be able to deal with being away from home at all. They may get homesick and may not be able to concentrate and learn since they always think about going back home. Therefore, for some children, boarding schools will simply not be the right place to grow up since they will not be emotionally stable enough.
No clear separation of school and leisure
Opponents of boarding schools also often claim that there is no clear separation between school and leisure in boarding schools and that this might not be healthy for children in the long run.
In their eyes, children should have a clear cut when school is over and should focus on playing outside and other things instead of staying on the campus all day long.
Thus, this lack of separation of school and leisure time may be emotionally challenging for some kids.
Difficulties to find friends outside boarding school
Even though there are often quite strong bonds and friendships between children in boarding school, those kids will have almost no friends outside boarding school since they simply live on campus and will not be able to leave it too often.
Thus, apart from the connections in boarding school, those kids may be quite lonely. This may be especially bad for kids who have difficulties to find friends in boarding school since they might end up with no friends at all.
Also difficult for parents
Sending your kids to boarding school may not only be difficult for your children, it might also be a large emotional burden for you. Imagine your kid will stay in boarding school all year long and you will only see it a few times a year.
Chances are that you might be quite sad and regret that you sent your kid to boarding school sooner or later. Thus, before sending your children to boarding school, make sure that you are emotionally ready for it.
Quality of boarding schools greatly varies
Although boarding schools are known to provide high-quality education, there are also some schools around which only provide quite poor education levels.
Thus, before choosing a boarding school, make sure that you read reviews and also talk to your family and friends in order to ensure a high-quality education for your children.
Some kids may not feel comfortable
Depending on the character of your kid, boarding schools might not be the right way to go. For instance, some children are not ready to leave their parents behind at a quite young age.
They rather want to stay at home and attend a regular school. Thus, you should really figure out if your kid has the characteristics and the mental strengths for boarding school before deciding to send your child there.
Pressure on kids may be high
Before sending your kid to boarding school, you should also consider the fact that the pressure on children in those schools can be quite high and that this may lead to serious health issues for those children in the long run.
Some institutions are quite strict regarding their rules and also demand excellent academic results from their students in order to sustain their good reputation across the country.
Although academic excellence can be a good thing, too much of it might lead to excessive pressure which might even emotionally harm children.
Many boarding schools also have strict gender separation. This may be considered to be problematic since if children are not able to talk to other children of the opposite gender, they might not be able to emotionally develop in a healthy manner.
It can also be considered to be quite outdated to separate children from the opposite gender. Thus, gender separation may be another serious downside of boarding schools.
Like in many other schools, bullying is also a problem in boarding school. However, it can be even more severe in boarding schools since children have to stay on campus all day long and even have to sleep there.
Therefore, if children are victims of bullying, they might have a quite hard time in boarding schools since they will not have any time off at all.
Due to homesickness or bullying, some children may also suffer from serious mental issues. This may include depressions or also eating disorders.
Since their parents are often hundreds or even thousands of miles away, children in boarding schools may feel quite lonely and may not be able to get proper assistance in order to solve their problems.
Special talents may not be supported
Even though the education levels in boarding schools are often quite good, the focus in boarding school is often set on mainstream education and children who have special talents may not be supported sufficiently.
Therefore, for instance, children who might have had the opportunity to become world-class athletes in a certain niche sport may not be supported sufficiently in this area and may not be able to convert their talent into a profession later on.
Boarding School Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Boarding School Pros||Boarding School Cons|
|Unique learning opportunities||High tuition fees|
|Good career prospects||Children live away from their parents|
|Friends for life||Not suitable for all children|
|Community feeling||Parents may not be ready for it|
|Learning of responsibility||Mental issues|
|Decision-making is often encouraged||Bullying problems|
|Discipline is taught||Special talents may not be supported|
|Mentorship||No clear separation of school and leisure|
|Traditions||Quality of boarding schools varies|
Should you send your kid to boarding school?
Whether you should send your child to boarding school is a difficult question. Although boarding schools have many important advantages, there are also some serious problems that can’t be overlooked.
Before making a decision, make sure to check out all the pros and cons of boarding schools and also talk to your child about it. Only then will it be possible to do what’s best for your child and also for your family.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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