Boarding schools in USA. Full reviews

Features of American secondary education

If talking about private boarding schools, the main feature of the American educational process is the active participation in the education of the students themselves. The student in American schools is not an object of education that needs to be taught according to a set procedure but an object of study that chooses for itself what it wants.

After the elementary school, the student comes to the secondary school and decides for himself what subjects he wants to study. Of course, there are compulsory subjects (no one would leave an American student without math or English, even if he wanted to), but in general, the child has the opportunity to choose those subjects that interest him. By choosing what to study, students take some responsibility for their own education early on - this is important to maintain motivation.

Education in American boarding schools is not only about education, but also about the development of the personal qualities necessary for life. This is largely accomplished by the structure of the educational system. For example, there is no curriculum in American schools because everyone has his or her own schedule and chosen subjects. As a result, students in each class find themselves in a new team and learn to interact with different people. This skill is useful for everyone, regardless of his future career.

The recipe for education in American boarding schools is compiled roughly according to the following formula - maximum practice, only necessary theory. For us Americans, the usual lecture format is just one of the possible teaching methods, not the most common, by the way. As soon as students learn to write, they actively participate in discussions, carry out their own research, and write their first scientific papers based on their results. Some of the necessary routines, such as developing counting skills, are set up by various computer programs. All private boarding schools in the United States are fully equipped: interactive whiteboards, projectors, iPads for each student, multimedia centers - active use of technological innovations in the learning process.

Advantages of studying at a private boarding school in US

  • Certificates

Private schools in the USA teach national and international systems. At NAE, students study International Baccalaureate (IB) and American High School Diploma (Honors and AP) courses.

The International Baccalaureate is considered one of the most prestigious and high-quality education systems in the world. The IB diploma is highly regarded by college admissions committees because it ensures that students can handle even the most difficult academic courses. Statistically, the highest percentage of admissions to the world's top 100 universities is for IB graduates.

The High School Diploma - the U.S. National High School Curriculum - has three levels of difficulty: Standard and two Advanced - Honors and AP. The High School Diploma is recognized by all U.S. universities and most universities around the world, and passing Honors and AP-level courses is a definite advantage for admission to undergraduate programs. Public universities place a higher value on honors, and elite private universities place a higher value on AP.

In addition to the type of certificate, the reputation of the school issuing the certificate is also important. For example, all NAE boarding schools - The Village School, Windermere Preparatory School, and North Broward Preparatory- -are all known for the high quality of instruction they receive at a secondary education level that is not in doubt with college admissions committees.

  • Approach to Learning

In American private schools, a child's individuality is crucial. There is no single standard curriculum that fits everyone - after all, different students have different abilities, interests and needs. Schools develop individualized curricula for each individual. For example, upon entering any NAE school, a child is given an entrance exam, on the basis of which he is helped to choose the best level of difficulty for each subject and to define academic goals. This means that the 200 students in the stream will have their own schedule, including mandatory courses and separate sets of subjects that may vary in difficulty level.

This approach allows you to achieve better results with less pressure: on the one hand, the child devotes more time and energy to in-depth study of specialized subjects, on the other hand, he masters difficult subjects at a comfortable level and systematically improves his Performance. Foreign students receive additional language support and, if necessary, can improve their knowledge of the language while fully mastering the main curriculum.

Creative and sports activities are also integrated into education: they do not interfere with the compulsory curriculum, broaden the horizons and allow each student to follow his or her own interests.

  • Cooperation with universities

Education is not effective if it is disconnected from the real world, which is why private schools partner with universities and businesses to provide students with rewarding experiences beyond the standard curriculum. At NAE schools, the STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering and Math) program was created in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which is considered the best university in the world in the technical sciences. The program also integrates arts education, in conjunction with The Juilliard School, a leading university in the areas of dramatic arts, music and dance skills. And such cooperation is not just a formality: university professors come to the school, participate in the development of teaching methods and check the quality of teaching programs.

  • Campus Facilities

American private schools are professionally equipped campuses with modern, well-thought-out educational infrastructure. There are inevitably science laboratories, creative activity centers, sports complexes, etc. For example, the Cypress Center for the Arts in Windermere is not only a performing arts hall, but also a full-fledged 535-seat theater equipped with professional technology. The NAE School partners with some of the best tennis, golf and swimming academies in the United States to help kids play the sport at a professional level. It also has everything you need for sound engineering, playing instruments, ballet and many other activities.

In addition, the NAE Boarding House is Apple certified, provides laptops and tablets for students to study on, and children's sportswear is developed by Nike experts.

The extensive infrastructure not only makes staying at the school a comfortable and exciting experience

  • Personal Development

Another important feature of boarding schools is the strong emphasis on the development of critical thinking, flexible skills and universal values. Children are taught to think, analyze information, and draw their own conclusions. NAE students acquire 21st century skills including empathy, motivation, self-control and the ability to identify emotions, and the ability to relate to others. Private schools create an environment where children learn to make informed choices and take responsibility for their decisions, and learning in a multicultural environment helps foster tolerance, teaches to find a common language with representatives of different national traditions and respects people with boundaries from other countries.

Private schools in the United States place great emphasis on the formation of humanistic values in their students. Thus, NAE partners with UNICEF to engage students in discussing and addressing important social issues in society. Some students go to Tanzania, where they teach English to local children, help build schools, and do other useful work. This volunteerism not only develops important personal qualities and a sense of social responsibility, but is also important in forming an attractive resume for admission to a prestigious university.

U.S. Boarding School Accommodations

Most students live in boarding apartments in private schools. The same form is essentially the only form available to foreign students. Some schools offer homestays, but this option is less common.

Boarding schools have a completely enclosed area, so students live and study in buildings within walking distance of each other. Living conditions can be described as excellent - usually double or single rooms with a bed, a closet and a desk for studying. Dorms have common and game rooms, as well as kitchens and patios where you can hang out with friends after school.

Boarding school life in the United States gives your child the opportunity to participate in all the other activities that interest him. For example, taking courses, playing music or painting, including on evenings when the full-time students have left campus.

Any additional activities are taken seriously here - the boarding house has a first-class sports infrastructure, theater, and art studios. Success in sports or creativity may be an added advantage when applying to American universities.

How to get into a private boarding school in the United States?

Private schools in the United States accept foreign students from the age of 12 - in this case, the children live on campus. From the age of 14, students can attend day schools and live with foster families.

However, most students choose to live year-round: private school campuses have excellent facilities. Children live in comfortable dormitories, and the campuses have cafeterias, athletic facilities, libraries, auditoriums, and often extensive walking parks. Despite the apparent freedom, students are closely monitored by curators: living in boarding apartments has strict rules, and failure to comply can result in flying outof the school, even if academic performance is perfect. However, all the rules and restrictions are geared towards one thing only - the development of the child's abilities, his self-determination, academic excellence and social adjustment. So for most students, the campus becomes a complete second home.

The U.S. private school competition has a maximum of 10 students per spot. Upon admission, all students (Americans and foreigners) must

  • fill out a questionnaire

  • provide academic transcripts from the past 3 years.

  • Attach a recommendation from their teacher.

In addition, most private schools require students to take the SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test), which allows you to determine general performance in exact sciences and to determine knowledge of and fluency in the use of English. Because the SSAT is a standard school test and is not appropriate for foreigners, many schools require international students to submit SLEP or TOEFL scores. Some schools accept students with insufficient knowledge of the language, but only six months to fully master English, otherwise the student may be dismissed.

After the packet of documents has been sent and the selection committee has made an initial decision on the candidate, an interview (usually by phone or Skype) is held with the child. The conversation not only determines the level of knowledge, but also a general assessment of the student's suitability for this school: how goal-oriented and motivated he/she is, what interests he/she has, whether his/her professional interests fit the requirements. Specialization of the school, etc.

The average cost of a school in the United States 

The United States is a rating country: here you can find statistics on almost every fact, including data from the field of education. Of course, there are data about the cost of attending a private high school in the United States: according to Private School Review, the national average in 2022 is $11,603.

However, these numbers are only a guideline. Many factors will affect the final cost.

In addition to the program itself, parents will have to pay for food and insurance, textbooks, uniforms, participation in cultural activities, creative activities, additional English classes, etc. for their children. Of course, the cost of education is influenced by the number of classes, the quality of infrastructure, the living conditions in boarding apartments, and the professionalism of the teachers by the equipment.

In 2022, the average cost of education will be $10,596 (for a full year) for elementary schools and $15,077 for high schools.

Education in U.S. public schools is free. However, they are only available to foreign students if their parents move to the United States.

The cost of education can vary from state to state - this must be taken into account when choosing a school.

The five states with the highest tuition costs are

  • Connecticut - $26,430 on average

  • Columbia - $24,709.

  • Maine - $22,285.

  • Vermont - $22,219.

  • Massachusetts - $21,932

New York ranks seventh, with an average tuition of $19,064 per year in that state. The most expensive private school is in Connecticut: Pinnacle School, which costs $96,200 a year to attend.

The top five states with the lowest tuition costs are

  • South Dakota - $3,624 on average

  • Nebraska - $3,797.

  • Wisconsin - $4,574.

  • Iowa - $5,261.

  • North Dakota - $5,360

Keep in mind that the rankings only take into account the average cost of education. Considering boarding house accommodations, you will have to pay more for foreign students anyway.

Cost of studying at a good American school

A good American private school education is much more expensive than the average figure shown in the statistics. For example, a year of high school can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000 per year.

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