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20November2016

Boarding school, a great option for parents seeking a holistic education for their children

by The Red Pen

Have you ever considered sending your child to boarding school? Historically and even today, children are enrolled in boarding schools because:

  1. Local schooling options are not of high quality
  2. Families feel that the experience of boarding school builds character and makes their children more independent
  3. Because family circumstances (health, work, etc.) are such that children’s care and education is better executed in a residential schooling environment than at home

However, recently other reasons are becoming equally compelling and often mean that families are considering boarding schools abroad as well as international boarding schools within India.

Among the reasons I hear most often is that parents want their children to experience a more holistic education and feel that even the ‘best’ schools in India are too focused on academics. Whether you feel that this focus robs children of their most carefree years or whether you believe that your child is simply not academically oriented, it is a fact that boarding schools have robust, in-built extracurricular programming that is a way-of-life on campus. For example I recently visited Charterhouse Boarding School outside London where all students, in addition to their rigorous IB or A level curriculum, are required to participate in seasonal sports and music.

Similarly the Northfield Mount Hermon boarding school in Massachusetts requires all students to engage in work on campus, which goes beyond simply tidying up the boarding house, to include farming of food and tending of livestock on the school’s 215 acre campus.

India’s oldest residential school, Woodstock in Mussoorie, includes an outdoor education component for all students. Such an environment helps students discover themselves through various dimensions so that when they complete their education they have a multi-faceted view of their strengths and interests.

Other families look to boarding schools abroad because they feel it will give their students an edge in an increasingly competitive college admissions process. For example, from all of India each year, Harvard University admits only approximately four undergraduate students, whereas each elite boarding school in the US will send four or more per school. Similarly in the UK, Oxford and Cambridge admit several students per year from the country’s top boarding schools.

Of course there are no guarantees and no matter the geography students must have top-notch academic marks, extracurricular activities and more to be admitted. But by the numbers, these international boarding schools represent a proven track record of sending several of their best students to top universities, in comparison to the few Indian schools, which send one or two students per year.

Whatever your reason for considering boarding school, there is no doubt that these institutions have a lot to offer. And with a large influx of international students from China and Russia, many schools actively seek well-prepared Indian students who can diversify their international student body (sometimes with scholarship too!).  If this sounds like an opportunity you might like to explore, contact some boarding schools for more information. All will be forthcoming with details about their admissions process, cost and offerings to help you make this crucial and potentially transformative decision.

To learn more about applying to boarding schools in India and globally please send an email to inquiries@theredpen.com

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