Deciding to attend a boarding school is a huge step for your family; one that requires a lot of research. A huge part of this research is connecting with boarding school admissions officers (AOs). These representatives can answer all your questions about the application process, life at boarding school, subject selection and more. Even if studying at a boarding school is an exploratory discussion for your family, make sure you are prepared when you connect with AOs so that you make the most of your time with them.
Here are five ways to ensure that the meeting with the AO is productive:
1) Knowing why your family is considering a boarding school:
Regardless of whether you and your child are just exploring the option or are sure that boarding school is the right decision, AOs invariably ask “Why are you considering a boarding school?” As a family, you and your child need to be prepared to answer this question and be honest with your response.
- “We are currently exploring this option and came to meet you to learn more.”
- “Traditionally, everyone in my family has attended a boarding school, so this is a natural step for me.”
- “I believe that I can hone XYZ skills better at boarding school.”
- “We want the international curriculum and a school that does it best.”
- “We want our son to grow up without external tutoring so he has time to participate in more extracurricular activities.”
- “I want to get rid of all the time wasted in travelling back and forth from school and make better use of my day.”
- “We don’t want to risk school shutdowns and a return to virtual learning.”
- “I look at boarding school as a stepping stone to university.”
2) Carry your child’s latest report card and passport copy:
Boarding schools are very particular about entry age. Carrying your child’s passport verifies the date of birth and determines whether the boarding school will accept your child next year, or in a few years. This will also help you plan in advance for your child’s application.
The most important component of the boarding school application process is your child’s academic ability. Boarding schools want to ensure that each student is going to cope academically at their institution. Carrying your child’s latest report cards with you will let the admissions officer see their academic standing. Also if there are any anomalies, they can be explained during the meeting.
3) Bring your child’s resume:
If your child has a resume, please carry it with you. If they haven’t created one, that’s ok. Ask them to make a list of their extracurricular activities beforehand. These will be great talking points when the AO asks them what they do outside of the classroom. Moreover, they can ask the AO about how they can continue to pursue these activities at boarding school. Listing down their interests in advance means you will not forget to ask about a particular activity.
4) Understand the school’s curriculum:
It is important that you and your child understand which curricula each boarding school is offering. Here is an example of some boarding schools and the curricula they offer:
|Boarding School Name||IGCSE||IB||A-levels / PreU’s||APs / American|
|The American School In Switzerland||X||X|
Also, if your child has any specific questions about which subjects they want to study, they can ask for more information during the meeting.
5) Have additional questions ready:
The idea of an AO meeting is to ask questions about the boarding school application process, life at boarding school, safety, pastoral care and much more. So think about what you and your child want to know more about and have a list ready so that you optimize your session.
Typical questions from parents include:
- “How many students at your school are boarders versus day scholars?”
- “How many international students are there? How many Indian students attend?”
- “What happens on the weekend for international students? How many students stay on campus?”
- “How much support does your school provide for students who want to apply to US universities?”
- “Is your school an SAT/ACT test centre?”
- “Is there a dining hall in the house or is there a common dining hall?”
- “We are vegetarian. Will there be options for my child?”
- “Do you serve alcohol at school for students who are of legal drinking age?”
If you are considering a boarding school for your child, don’t miss out on meeting some AOs from top British boarding schools in April at The Red Pen’s Boarding School Fair. Meeting them face-to-face will not only give you a chance to ask your questions but also give you an idea of the application process. Make sure that you have registered to secure your spot!
At The Red Pen, we work with you to understand if this is the right decision for you and your child. Moreover, once you have decided to apply, we support you with the full application process. To know more about how we can help you, get in touch with us.