Junior Boarding Schools

Find out which Boarding School is right for you

Setting your Middle Schooler Up for Future Success

Is a junior boarding school the right fit for your child and values?

BBR Education asked Stuart Rosenwald, Associate Head of School & Director of Secondary School Counseling of Fay School (the first junior boarding school in the US), about the benefits of this educational path.

This is what he had to say.

Choosing the educational experience that you want for your child is one of the most personal and challenging decisions that you face as a parent. When is the local public school good enough, and at what point in his or her education does your child need more? Private middle schools that offer boarding programs—also known as as junior boarding schools—understand that middle school is a critically important time to lay the foundation for future success, through developing academic skills and study habits, building confidence and independence, strengthening social skills, encouraging creativity, and rewarding effort.

Here are five reasons why a private junior boarding school can make a difference for your child:

1. Small classes offer big opportunities.

One of the great benefits of a junior boarding school is that you’ll find small classes where every student is known and valued as a member of the school community. Teachers are able to help each student reach his or her academic potential, while students become active participants in their education and develop poise and confidence in expressing their ideas. Middle school is a time to expand horizons, and students in junior boarding schools participate in required extracurriculars such as athletics, the arts, and community service.

2. Character matters.

In an environment where your teacher may also be your coach, advisor, dorm parent, and lunch companion, students in junior boarding schools learn how to interact with and present themselves to adults as a part of their day-to-day routine. Students at junior boarding schools live in an environment that emphasizes the development of social maturity, and where the values of honesty, responsibility, fair play, and manners take center stage.

3. Experts can help you select the right secondary school for your child.

Having dedicated counselors to help your family navigate the secondary school application process is incredibly valuable, and many junior boarding schools have staff on hand to help. The counselors provide a comprehensive approach to the secondary school application process, combined with the personal knowledge and understanding of each child’s strengths and interests. This results in a significant advantage for parents who are committed to helping their child find a secondary school that is a great match.

4. Students are supported and nurtured in a connected community.

The small size and interconnected nature of a junior boarding school environment helps ensure that students don’t slip through the cracks academically or socially. Many schools offer a strong advisory program that pairs each student with a faculty advisor, who serves as a counselor and point person for that student’s team of teachers. The sense of connectedness expands beyond the classroom, where the experience of living and learning with students from diverse backgrounds and cultures builds empathy and cross-cultural competency. Teachers support students who need help with homework at night, and weekends are packed with a variety of fun and enriching activities, from movies and plays to travel and volunteer opportunities that continue to expand students’ perspectives.

5. Secondary schools know you can do the work.

When it’s time to apply to secondary school, students from junior boarding schools often have a distinct advantage over other applicants, as they have already proven that they can successfully meet the challenges and demands of a private boarding school environment. Competitive secondary schools understand the academic rigor of top private middle school boarding programs and value the social maturity and diverse interests of their graduates, making them sought-after applicants.

BBR also interviewed some additional junior boarding schools worth considering:

Indian Mountain School in Lakeville, Connecticut has created a unique campus community with an emphasis on educating the whole child. Since nearly half of its boarding students are international, the school welcomes diversity and offers a strong balance of academics, arts, and athletics for a supportive and well-rounded student experience.

Fostering student curiosity, individuality, and community engagement are hallmarks of Rectory School, located in Pomfret, Connecticut, offers a coed junior boarding program focused on encouraging students to try new things, get involved in several activities, and discover their true interests.


Ready to find the best program for you?

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