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Making the decision to enroll in a private, Catholic high school is an exciting one, but it also comes with its questions and challenges. Light on The Hill is designed to keep prospective and current students — and their parents — up-to-date on news, thoughts, and events relevant to the mission and values at St. Lawrence Seminary High School. 

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5 Differences Between Boarding School and Private Day School

C1 img_adj 08.jpgIt’s safe to say that at the core, all schools strive to educate their students and prepare them for success after graduation.

It’s also true that each school takes various approaches to help their students reach their goals, and when it comes to boarding school versus private day school, they can have many similarities but they can also be very different.

1. Boarding schools provide teacher accessibility.

In short, living where you are learning brings more unique advantages.

Boarding high school and private day high schools are both well known for their academic excellence and ability to prepare the students for college. Both types of schools use technology inside the classroom and encourage group work in order to help build a productive learning environment for students and teachers.

Boarding schools, however, have a unique feature when it comes to teacher-student relationships. Teachers at boarding schools are much more accessible to their students, as they are on campus longer than a normal school day. Students also have more access to each other, which can lead to more regular study groups during off-hours.

2. Boarding schools allow for easier bonding between peers.

It’s common to grow close to a group of friends in high school through shared life experiences, and it’s common to make arrangements outside of school to spend time with friends. But at boarding schools, students not only live with friends but also with teachers and staff members that help make the high school experience unforgettable.

3. Boarding schools focus on co-curricular activities.

Another big part of the high school experience (besides the academic preparation) is what a student chooses to get involved in outside of the classroom.

What students choose to participate in helps create memories with friends that will be cherished for years and exposes students to experiences that help them learn their own passions and talents.

Co-curricular involvement for students at boarding schools, more so than at a private day school, helps develop relationships, memories, and skills that will last a lifetime specifically because the opportunities are designed specifically to do so. There are also off-campus co-curricular opportunities for the students who want to get involved in the community.

Note: Want to know more about the co-curricular activities at St. Lawrence Seminary High School? Check out our Fast Facts page!

4. Boarding schools encourage proactivity and self discipline.

One of the things that all students gradually start learning during their high school career is independence: Working on class projects, not asking for a parent or guardian’s help, getting themselves to sports activities, or getting to an event with friends. Students strive for independence, and with that comes the ability to manage time more efficiently.

Boarding school students are asked to do this immediately upon enrollment in different ways. At boarding schools like St. Lawrence Seminary High School, students are responsible for getting themselves up for class, doing their own laundry, making sure they are taking care of their after-school activities, and doing their homework and projects. This can be a tall order for freshmen who are new to the schedule of a boarding school, but boarding schools have systems and steps in place to help their new students acclimate to the demands of living independently.

5. Boarding schools place emphasis on family bonds.

Family plays a large role during the high school years of a student. Families provide support and encouragement at co-curricular activities, meet for parent teacher-conferences, and provide everyday company. As day school students strive for independence, they might distance themselves from their family to go to events with friends. They might choose to hang out with their friends over going to a relative’s house.

But students at boarding schools aren’t going to be around their parents, siblings, or other family on a daily basis, which often leads students to want to be around family as much as possible when they are home.

Students also create a “second family” at boarding school: A support system of individuals, faculty, and fellow students that provide them with the necessary emotional support that a family does on a daily basis. When a student becomes a senior at a boarding school, they might find it harder that they would expect to say goodbye to their second family upon graduation.

St. Lawrence Seminary High School offers a great holistic program for young men. Students enter the world after graduation knowing they can make a difference. Choosing which school to attend can be hard, so getting to know all your options and understanding what a boarding school can offer is a must.


Are you interested in learning if boarding school for high school is right for you or your son? Check out our latest resource - The Boarding School Decision Guide - to help you learn if boarding school is a good fit for you!

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Get the Guide