• Boarding School
  • College Prep
Four Ways Boarding School Students Have an Edge in College

Fostering innate independence at every level is at the core of a boarding school education. Whether it’s getting to class on time, self-managing a busy school and extracurricular schedule, or living with a group of their peers, students who spend their high school experience in a boarding school setting are 78% more likely to feel confident in college and beyond, compared to just 23% of public school students. Establishing independence early is critical for future success.

"Boarding helped me prepare for college in many ways, but I think the most important thing was being able to adapt and live with a group of people I didn’t previously know.  It also helped me create good study habits. As a student-athlete, my days were sometimes hectic with games and practices, but being able to stay organized and have pre-set times to study and focus on homework was crucial to my success. Having an idea what boarding life was like already allowed me to easily transition to college life in the dorm."  -- Joseph De Los Santos ’13, Puerto Rico | Eastern University


How specifically can boarding school prepare your child for college?  Here are four ways boarding school sets students on an early path to success:

1. Time Management

College can present a rude awakening to students who are used to having parental reminders for important dates, required practices, or homework deadlines. One’s ability to succeed is undeniably linked to one’s ability to properly plan and execute. Time management is perhaps the most crucial skill teens must acquire before heading into the real world.

In a self-regulated space, like a boarding school, students quickly learn how to manage their days and nights. Study halls, access to on-campus learning resources, and trusted dorm parent relationships help them learn how to prioritize their time in a way that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. 

2. Relationship Building 

The social pressures for teens are mounting at record speed. With constant connectivity through technology, teens talk to each other all day but rarely seem to communicate. According to Pew Research, 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, with half being online “almost constantly.”

While teens are advancing their technological prowess, they’re losing the ability to connect on an empathic, personal level. And unfortunately, they don’t understand how critical those skills are to creating healthy personal and professional relationships. Boarding schools allow students to live within their society, not just viewing it from behind a glowing screen. At Perkiomen, for example, our small-scale campus creates opportunities for interaction from middle to upper school, and between faculty and students. Advisor/advisee mentorships provide direction and support as well as a comfortable space to practice communication with trusted adults and peers. 

3. Healthy Habits

The earlier children adopt healthy habits, the more likely they are to maintain it into adulthood. From a well-balanced diet and personal hygiene to a good night’s sleep and fitness regimen, countless studies have been conducted about the importance of establishing a foundation early on in life.

Boarding school environments ease the transition into college by offering autonomous daily living with the support of a knowledgeable staff to guide students in a healthy direction. Schools are well equipped with health and wellness facilities, nutritious dining options and, most importantly, the space for a child to grow into these habits naturally. At Perkiomen, we have a full staff of nurses, school counselors, and dorm parents with the experience to support the well-being of our students throughout the day, and the school year.  Programming on mental health and nutrition is integrated into our Advisory wellness curriculum, with input from students on the topics they want to learn more about. 

4. Cultural Consciousness

Developing a worldview isn’t an accident. Parents and teachers instruct young people about different cultures – trying different foods, learning a new language, or visiting other countries on vacation. But there’s no match for an experience that is at once immersive, inclusive, and diverse.

American boarding schools offer a variety of curricula to suit the social activist, the culturally curious, the student who is ready to change the world. It starts by learning and living among a diverse student body and is extended by providing unique opportunities to participate in culturally-relevant activities, like the Mid-Autumn Festival or Lunar New Year celebration. Perkiomen School currently has students from 28 different countries. Students are encouraged to have open and honest dialogues about their identities and cultures, while being mentored by teachers and administrators. At Perkiomen, our differences aren’t just affirmed, they’re celebrated and cultivated.


“Boarding at Perkiomen School prepared me for college both academically and socially. At Perkiomen I developed study skills, learned how to keep myself on task, and juggle multiple activities. Socially, Perkiomen prepared me for residential life and living in a dorm. I had a strong understanding of how to successfully live away from home and how to access resources when you need them.” -- Halle Brown ’17, Upper Montclair, New Jersey | Smith College


If you would like to explore Perkiomen School as a future-focused option, we invite you to Uncover Boarding

Perkiomen School is grateful to be a part of The Association of Boarding Schools and The North American Boarding Initiative, who provide research and resources about Boarding School to interested students and families. Boarding schools today serve a diverse body of motivated students who study and live in supportive, inclusive academic communities, where they learn independence and responsibility. Research has shown these values help them achieve success in the classroom and beyond.


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