A good boarding school facilitates development of individual students in multiple areas. Parents most notably seek out schools with reputations for high academic achievement, and many boarding schools are able to deliver a high-quality college preparatory curriculum. After all, you as the parent are paying extra for the best preparation possible for your child's success, and access to a quality college education is one of the most defining characteristics of success in today's society. But what makes the best boarding school?
I would challenge you to look at more than just SAT scores, Advanced Placement courses and scores, and college acceptances. Yes, these are important, and should be considered, but they should not be the sole consideration. In addition to academic achievement, many parents also look for a school that will foster character development, safe and healthful living situations, and opportunities to develop beyond the school's curriculum. Such opportunities might include field trips to museums, opportunities to learn to work with their teammates, or opportunities to contribute to the community.
The dorm environment is critical--and by that, I mean more than the physical rooms. I mean the expectations that are set for the students, and the manner in which the adults treat the students, and the students treat each other. A good living situation helps establish a stable environment in which the child will be able to take advantage of all the opportunities offered.
Character development involves a nurturing characteristics such as discipline, determination, and teamwork, and will help the child to succeed independently of their academic success. It will earn them respect and desirability in the eyes of future employers, and is in some ways even more critical than their academic success.
Many boarding schools are able to do a good job a number of these areas. However, the best boarding school for your child will excel in all of these things, and finding a school that really does so is more difficult. When considering boarding schools for your child, look into each of these things separately. Will your child's academics, extracurricular activities, and dorm life all support your child's growth? Furthermore, will your child leave the school with the best possible character and attitude towards his or her future? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you may have found the best boarding school for your family.