What You Must Know Before Applying to Boarding School in U.S

It is always a dream for your child to attend boarding schools in USA from Nigeria, but before you start thinking hard about it; you need to know that boarding school has many criteria before applying.

Yesterday a good friend of mine called to let me know that his son had been accepted to boarding school in America. When my son considered going to boarding school in the U.S some years ago, I really didn’t know the process involved and I contacted friends, consultants, discussion forums and boarders themselves to teach myself about the process and the advantages/disadvantages of boarding school in the US.

One surprising thing I found out was the sheer volume of boarding schools throughout America. The United States of America seems to have hundreds. Therefore, it is important to know very well what your child and you are looking for when you’re choosing a boarding school in the U.S.

Foreign websites like Boardingschoolreview.com lists many schools of varied categories including single sex, coed, military etc. Another resource will be the TABS website. The Association of Boarding Schools has a membership of about 300 boarding schools, including schools not only in the US, but from other countries like Canada, England, Switzerland and Jordan.

A lot of boarding schools in the U.S have a website, which you can find more information and contact admission personnel who are able to answer your questions directly. The boarding schools usually are very prepared to send catalogues and other instructional materials to prospective students.

One important question you may want to ask is all about their application requirements, especially testing like the Graduating High School Admission Test (SSAT) or Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE). Both tests are approximately 3 hours long, so preparation is important. Order or download the boarding school guides which are available on the school’s websites.

Also Amazon.com has reviews of several prep books for these tests. If your child is going to sign up, he has to know about the type of questions he is likely to face.

It is also recommended that he gets familiar with test taking strategies since they have to do that with time management and question choices or question omission as points are deducted from the tests taken for wrong answers. If you’re able to afford it, get yourself a reliable tutor to guide your son or daughter with all the practice tests.

Of course, the result of the standardized test isn’t the only criteria for the boarding schools in the U.S use to decide admission. Therefore, don’t harangue your son or daughter if he did not score in the 99th percentile. The selection process is not predicated solely on academics and the admission results are definitely unpredictable.

The following points below should be taken into consideration too:

  1. The boarding school application itself,
  2. The college transcript,
  3. Recommendation letters from certain teachers,
  4. Feedback from interviews conducted (sometimes they are done via telephone)
  5. Test scores

Moreover, the test is not the only element to be considered and believe it or not, there will be cases where a child who scores in the 99th percentile, is not admitted. It is necessary that your child is being himself in the application and allow school admission officers to get yourself a genuine feel of whom he or she is and why they want to be admitted in their school.

Discussion forums like collegeconfidential.com were very useful in completing my understanding of the experiences of applicants, successful and unsuccessful alike. Many participants there highlight the importance of visiting schools to determine their suitability.

For international students like you this is not an option, but interestingly, many schools actually invite successful international applicants to visit before they indicate their acceptance.

Yes, many of these schools are well endowed and they don’t mind paying for trip tickets and also other expenses for this reason because they are keen for their school population is diverse.

This brings me with a final word on tests. Remember if you are an international student and English isn’t your first language, then your Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) would be required for.

The issue of cost of attendance to these schools is itself a whopper and surely a serious topic by itself. All I can say about the cost of attendance is that lots of the boarding schools in America do provide schools funding (scholarships) and their policies in regards to could be done best by contacting the colleges/university.


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