Little Steps recently met with Daniel Szeto, Founder & Director of Foundation Global Education which specializes in working with parents considering sending their children to boarding school in USA, UK, and other global and regional boarding schools in the region. As a boarding school alumnus, a dad who has experience in sending his own children to boarding school, and an expert in the field…he gives us insight into boarding school life, the application process, and tips when considering this schooling option.
It varies from country to country! The two major boarding systems are USA and UK. The USA boarding high school goes by grade with the typical starting age around age 14 or Grade 9 and they continue through Grade 12. In the UK, the system goes through Grade 13 of 5 years. Boarding typically starts at age 13 for UK. There are also Junior Boarding Programs which typically start at age 8 (Age 6 in the USA) and Prep School in UK age 8 and goes to age 12.
* The majority of families applying to boarding schools are looking to apply for High School.
* A lot of drive from China is coming from parents, but Chinese students are very motivated to seek a higher education.
For parents or students who are not 100% on sending their kids to boarding school, they should look into a summer school option where they can try out the boarding life in a short term summer schedule. For parents concerned about sending their child to boarding school, the recommendation is to visit the school, take a tour, get more familiar with boarding school life and what the school offers.
It's important to understand the needs of families and students and the wants of parents as well...and match them with the right school. Boarding schools are not homogeneous and every school has a different culture. Matching is very important.
The best outcome of the boarding school experience is personal growth and maturity. The big difference for boarding students is that after the school day, they are required to be independent and rely on themselves and learn that they are on their own. They need to learn how to cope with the world around them. It gives a young teenager a great opportunity for growth, building friendships, and learning more about themselves. They learn about themselves at a much faster speed.
If we are looking at application deadlines, parents typically should prepare for the application process around 8-9 months before the deadlines. Applications are typically in December for USA with the process shorter (12 months). The UK application process is typically longer (18 months) with assessments starting at the beginning of the academic year. For other countries and Hong Kong boarding schools, typically the process is around 6 months.
Typical schools start with a school assembly of some kids followed by classes till around 2:30pm or 4pm with a lunch break and other breaks between classes. After school, boarding students typically change and head to their after school activities. Sports can be a huge aspect of boarding school life but there are plenty of other non-sport activities too such as Performing Arts. After School Activities are a huge part of boarding school life. Some kids have Saturday morning classes. Sunday morning offers trips for students such as hiking, shopping, exploring.