If you are thinking about sending your child to a boarding school (in the US), you’ve come to the right place. The US has a long tradition of boarding schools, dating all the way back to its beginnings, and over 300 of them across the country. Though Hong Kong has outstanding international schools, expat life often lacks the stability (studies- and friendships-wise) necessary for really thriving as an individual when you’re a teenager – boarding schools, on the other hand, catalyze this process of self-discovery and development.
Though it might seem scary – emotionally and financially – education at top boarding schools is an outstanding investment in your kiddo’s present and future both. Besides gaining the best possible preparation for the best of the best universities in the US and abroad, top boarding schools are an experience like no other – one filled with support, friendships, guidance, exploration and positive, empowering challenges.
Without further ado, here is our list of top 10 boarding schools in the US. All of the below schools offer premier academic, artistic, athletic and personal development opportunities, routinely sending their students to Ivy League schools and other prestigious universities around the world. There are also ample financial aid programs so don’t cross anything out based on costs just yet!
Here are the questions to ask when considering boarding schools!
Founded in 1778, Andover is the oldest boarding school in the US. Their values, however, respond beautifully to the modern world: it strives to embody the ideal of non sibi, “not for self,” intentional teaching, learning and engagement guided by a sense of responsibility toward the global community and natural world. It’s an inclusive school with students from 51 countries, with 47% receiving financial aid. It offers over 300 courses and over 20 Learning in the World programs. Find out more about admissions here!
Phillips Academy Andover, 180 Main Street, Andover, Massachusetts, 978-749-4000, www.andover.edu
Except in name, Exeter is similar to Andover in terms of a centuries-long tradition (since 1781) and breadth of knowledge and opportunities it offers its students. It offers its students 450 courses in 18 subject areas and the opportunity to study on five continents through global programs. Instead of traditional classrooms and student-teacher roles, it uses the Harkness method, a teaching/learning method built around democratic student discussion. Another peculiarity is that it has the largest secondary school library in the world! Find out how to apply here and read about financial aid here.
Phillips Exeter Academy, 20 Main Street, Exeter, New Hampshire, 603-777-3437, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.exeter.edu
Deerfield has a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, extensive co-curricular program, and supportive residential environment. It is set in a historic village surrounded by a river, hills and farms, which offers plenty of space for its exceptionally diverse sports facilities! 90% of Deerfield Academy’s students and 98% of the faculty live on campus, making the school an exceptionally communal space, which is also reflected in its emphasis on the importance of volunteer work and community service. Learn about admissions here! The school also has a deep commitment to affordability and offers need-based financial aid.
Deerfield Academy, 7 Boyden Lane, PO Box 65, Deerfield, Massachusetts, 413-774-1400, email@example.com, deerfield.edu
Personally supportive and academically challenging, Choate attracts intellectually gifted students from diverse background who are committed to serious study, which, in the case of Choate, extends far beyond the classroom. The school offers 8 signature programs that include Environmental Immersion, Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies, Arts and Advanced Robotics Concentration, a term spent abroad and more, as well as 32 different sports! Interestingly, Choate doesn’t require applicants to submit test scores – they see the submission process as holistic. Read everything you need to know about admissions, tuition and financial aid here!
Choate Rosemary Hall, 333 Christian Street, Wallingford, Connecticut, 203-697-2000, www.choate.edu
Built on the model of a family, Groton keeps its campus tight-knit and its community small, with an exceptional student to faculty ratio of 4:1, to offer individualized education. Nevertheless, it is also a thoroughly inclusive and diverse space with a Headmaster who believes that diverse backgrounds, experiences and interests are crucial components of an excellent education. The campus was recently renovated and expanded to provide even more opportunities to its students who consistently achieve outstanding outcomes. Get more info on admissions here!
Groton School, 282 Farmers Row, Groton, Massachusetts, 978-448-3363, www.groton.org
Milton has a “dare to be true” motto, encouraging creative and critical thinking – this results in fantastic student engagement with over 40 student organizations, 10 student-run publications, 10 major theatre productions, 100 orchestra members and 100% of students participating in intramural, interscholastic or physical education classes. Outstanding facilities and discussion-based learning further facilitate this direction of development that has been leading a solid number of Milton’s students into Harvard each year. Learn about admissions and financial aid here!
Milton Academy, 170 Centre Street, Milton, Massachusetts, 617-898-1798, www.milton.edu
Hotchkiss has been accepting international students for over a hundred years and is one of the most diverse schools in the US. Not only that, affordability is one of its founding principles, along with academic distinction achieved through experience-based education (notably, 72% of faculty members hold advanced degrees, it has over 40 student performances a year, and over 60 athletic teams). The campus is located in one of the most extraordinary landscapes in the Northeast and encompasses Fairfield Farm, a 287-acre plot where students can learn first-hand about organic, sustainable agriculture and farming – the farm supplies 30% of dining hall produce. Get more info about admissions here!
Hotchkiss School, 11 Interlaken Road, Lakeville, Connecticut, 860-435-2591, www.hotchkiss.org
Canterbury School prides itself on creating a community based on its Five Values: Honesty, Respect, Compassion, Spirituality, and Self-Reliance. Though guided by its Catholic heritage, Canterbury encourages and inspired student to become moral leaders in a complex, secular world. The school has recently been expanded into 22,000 sq ft of newly constructed space and renovated to implement smart technology. There is a strong emphasis on Advanced Placement with 55 AP & honors classes on offer. Learn about admissions here!
Canterbury School, 101 Aspetuck Ave, 06776 New Milford, Connecticut, +1 860-210-3800, www.cbury.org
St Paul’s School is one of the most selective schools in the US. It implements a co-called SPS 360 approach to learning that integrates social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual growth into every aspect of each student’s life. It instills students with values-based skills that last a lifetime and give them the tools to navigate challenges on all fronts later in life. The studies are intertwined with performing arts, religious services and community engagement, as well as state-of-the-art athletic facilities. Find out more about the school, admissions and financial aid here!
St. Paul’s School, 325 Pleasant Street, Concord, New Hampshire, 603-229-4600, www.sps.edu
Lawrenceville School emphasizes community and a sense of belonging and centers everyday campus life around its 18 Houses that create tight-knit communities within the larger system. Like Exeter, Lawrenceville pairs a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum with the Harkness system of learning, a collaborative, discussion-based approach that teaches students how to think and encourages them to share their perspectives, ideas and learn from each other, developing active listening and critical thinking. The school has alternative energy resource and waste reduction programs, a sustainable agriculture farm, a transformative travel program, an outdoor classroom for alternative physical activities and many other opportunities for holistic development! Find out how to apply here!
Lawrenceville School, 2500 Main Street, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, 609-895-2030, www.lawrenceville.org
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