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“Parent fit” for a boarding school

GMTplus7GMTplus7 60 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Junior Member
There has been lots of discussion about what is a good fit for the child. But “parent fit” is a factor, too, in selecting a school. Here are some thoughts on issues that might matter more to parents than to their kids:

Financial Aid
Generally the schools with fattest endowments are the ones that are best able to give generous FA; however, there are surprises. You need to look a bit closer than just the overall size of the endowment and the percentage of kids on FA.

If you calculate avg FA budget/student, some standouts emerge. Emma Willard’s 'FA budget/student' is in the same class as that of Groton, Deerfield, Choate which have an 'endowment/student' 3-4 times the size of Emma Willard's.

Disciplinary Policy
How strict/forgiving is the school? Some schools have one-strike-you’re-out policies regarding substance abuse. What jibes with your philosophy?

Commuting logistics
How much access do you want? Do you want to watch DC play sports on weekends? Will the cost of airline tickets be a significant burden?

Health Services & Orthodontics
What health services are available on campus? How does the school address severe medical emergencies? Are there nearby orthodontists & dentists?

Engagement with the school
How well does the school disseminate news to parents? Are you a helicopter parent? Some schools welcome parent engagement more than others. Is there an active parents network?

Ratio of boarding:day
There are positive & negative biases about the % of day students. Day parents have the potential to volunteer their support to the school’s operations. A high % of day students also means that the campus empties out at night/weekends.

Teenagers and Cars
Are the students allowed to keep car on campus? What is the policy for students driving other students?

What is the school’s policy for dorm visitation, sex, birth control?

Attrition rate
How many students leave? And are the reasons mostly involuntary (expulsion for academic dishonesty, substance abuse) or voluntary (homesick, medical issue like eating disorder)
edited May 2013 in Prep School Parents
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Replies to: “Parent fit” for a boarding school

  • Charger78Charger78 3 replies0 discussionsRegistered User
    I've long suspected that the "Dating" issue is way under-discussed. Good questions, GMT+7, and the "handbooks" I have seen actually vary quite a bit on the answers. All schools are "addressing" the broader issues in a programmatic way, but we parents are seldom aware of the actual program, or of the details of what is lived day to day. I suppose those with older students may get stories that testify to school culture and norms, but my children are not much in that category yet. The non-fiction I read in books about prep schools makes it seem that the adults often give the kids a wide berth to learn from their own experiences, though I've always heard about the favorite advisors/teachers who typically help with "personal problems". SAS has at least one teacher who will spontaneously digress outside of the class curriculum on the topic of safe sex, as I heard from three boys last weekend. That's fine with me. Stories like this help in trying to figure out the "parent fit".
    edited May 2013
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  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 60 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Junior Member
    An awareness issue: the selective schools often have PG's and a significant proportion of "repeats". This translates to a wide age range among the students. The students at DS's school get counselling about age-of-consent
    edited May 2013
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