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Pros and cons of boarding school

A broad look at the big concerns

What are the pros and cons of boarding school? Families need to create their own list, based on the needs of the family and of children. As a starting point, though, here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of sending children to boarding school. Click on the links for each to learn more.


Boarding school offers many distinct advantages unavailable anywhere else.

Unique education and opportunityBoarding school offers a completely unique education experience, with many advantages over other education experiences. 

Traditional standardsMany boarding schools, perhaps especially those with longer histories in Canada, honour and maintain the traditions that they represent.

Close community of learnersStudents join an academic community that respects learning and can be transformative. 

International and global perspectivesIntensive international programs are a priority for boarding schools.

Daily routine that invokes self-disciplineStrict routine and independence from parents fosters self-reliance among boarding school boys and girls.

Academic development like no otherBoarding school fosters a supportive "all in this together" community where kids have opportunities to learn collaboration. 

Unique social and personal developmentThe boarding school environment offers opportunities for personal growth and social development that are unavailable through other means.

MentorshipTeachers and older students in a boarding school environment are uniquely supportive of younger students.

An environment of learning outside the classroomThe immersion in school life offered by boarding allows a holistic approach to learning that extends well beyond classroom walls.

Culture of collaboration and responsibilityThe boarding school environment encourages all children to learn more about how to work well with others.

Cross-curricularThe extra time allowed by boarding school allows for fuller integration of curricula and programs.

Academic innovationA number of top boarding schools are often ahead of the curve in terms of creating or integrating innovative education techniques and improvements. 


No school is perfect, and parents and students considering boarding schools need to be aware of some concerns.

More expensive than other private education optionsOf course, boarding school is more expensive than other education options (although room and board is included in the cost).

The presence of bullying and related problemsBoarding school are not immune to problems with bullying (as is sometimes documented in the media), but they are also uniquely well-positioned to deal with bullying through innovative programs that help students integrate. 

Moving away from home can be very difficultThis is the biggest challenge of boarding for many students, but of course this also fosters independence and personal growth. 

Boarding too young can lead to "boarding school syndrome." This is a documented problem, and parents need to be wary of sending kids to school too young or when they have not matured enough. 

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