Ways to try boarding school before commiting

Giving the boarding school experience a try before committing for good: information and advice on how to help your child decide whether boarding is for them.
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Attending a boarding school for the first time is a big step in any child’s life. It may be possible for a prospective pupil to have a taste of life as a boarder before a final decision is made.

Can my child try out boarding?

Starting life at a boarding school can be daunting prospect for new pupils and their families.

Often it is the first time that children have lived away from home and naturally they will be apprehensive about the change.

Open days are a good chance to get a taste of academic life at the school and to see the facilities available.

However, it’s hard for prospective pupils to get an idea of what boarding is really like if they only visit for a few hours during the day.

For this reason, most schools will be happy to arrange an overnight visit for prospective students before they make a final decision about whether to attend or not.

A visit like this gives the child the chance to see what life is like at a boarding school outside of class, the routines and rules that are in place and most importantly, the atmosphere amongst the fellow students.

It can also be a valuable opportunity for the child to talk to current students and boarders without his or her parents there.

It should come as no surprise that prospective pupils will have different priorities than prospective parents!

Other ways to experience boarding life

Although a taster day as a boarder can be a positive experience, your child will never get a real feel for whether they are suited to boarding until they attend the school.

Therefore, it’s important not to place too much emphasis on just a one day visit. However, there are other ways of trying out boarding that can help you make the decision.

For overseas students, a good way to get a taste of the boarding school experience is to attend a short English language summer course in the UK.

Many boarding schools now run their own courses or supply accommodation for outside providers.

This gives prospective boarders the chance to live for a few weeks as a boarder, improve their English before starting the school and even meet some of their fellow classmates before term starts.

Schools will be available to provide you with information on the particular arrangements for taster visits and summer schools that they offer.

Admissions offices understand it‘s a huge decision, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you are interested in letting your child give it a go before making a final choice.

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