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TOEFL Tip #55: Picking The Boarding School That Is Right For You!

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on August 3, 2009

This article was written by Heather Johnson, CEO and Founder of Heather Johnson Associates. You can visit her company at

When I was a boarding school admission officer, the range of questions I would answer from families would sometimes surprise me. However, there were some concerns that would repeatedly surface. For students, as much as they might be interested in the idea of going away to boarding school, they were usually very concerned about leaving their friends from home. For parents, there were always questions about how their child would be supported and guided when they, as parents, were not there to do that themselves.

Of course there is not one set answer to either of these concerns, as they are particular to the individual student and to the individual school. Therefore, it’s most important to keep your eyes and ears open when visiting a school to see how these questions will best be answered for you. As a student you know best what makes you feel comfortable. Would you rather be a large fish in a small pond or doesn’t that matter to you? Is there something in particular that you would like to participate in at your next school? Maybe a single-sex environment is more comfortable for you than one that is co-ed. Perhaps you love the idea of “dressing up” for school in khakis and a blazer or a skirt and jacket; on the other hand, it’s quite possible that you would feel much more comfortable in different clothes.

The truth is that while traditional boarding schools are college-preparatory in nature, there will be many variations on this theme. You might be very conscious of the names of some schools, yet the best fit for you may be a school you have never heard about before. A visit to your schools of interest is most important. Ask to meet a coach or instructor of a sport, activity or of a class that interests you. Ask your student tour guide what his/her transition was like to boarding school. Ask your admission officer all of the additional questions you have to see how you might fit into this particular place.

Boarding schools are full of students who can become lifelong friends like your friends at home. They are also designed to be places that are supportive and guide students in their pursuits of intellectual and extra-curricular interest. It’s all about finding the right “fit.”

Categories: Admissions Advice,Industry Issues

2 comments so far. Leave a comment.

  1. zhang

    wrote on August 6, 2009 at 10:23 am

    some schools on my list offer PTE english exam. do your website have PTE test preparation service

  2. Heather Johnson

    wrote on August 10, 2009 at 7:54 am

    I’m not familiar with the PTE English exam; could you tell me what that stands for?

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