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What is Boarding School Really Like?

Posted by Francisco Sauceda on Jul 7, 2020 5:51:00 PM

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For most people, boarding school is a little mysterious. While pop culture has dramatized boarding school stories, the reality is quite different. Boarding school offers an immersive educational experience that is both challenging and rewarding for students. And with very small class sizes, an excellent college matriculation rate and a diverse student life environment, boarding school is not to be passed on lightly. So, what is boarding school really like?

When comparing boarding school to private or public high school, most people want to know what day-to-day life is like for the students. Boarding schools are known for small class sizes, diverse student bodies, and highly experienced faculty. But they also provide students discipline and independence as they live away from home for the first time.


Class sizes are much smaller at boarding school than public school. According to recent studies, 90% of students at a boarding school say they had great teachers and were challenged academically.  For example, at St. Lawrence Seminary the class size is 8:1 with a 100% graduation rate. Expect more work, but also more personal attention and support.

Student Life 

Student life is in many ways a precursor to college in that students are on their own for the first time. Boarding school offers greater guidance and the structure of a focused, closed campus. Many students maintain daily and weekly communication with parents and family throughout the school year. Extracurricular activities and sports are wide ranging and often included in tuition, so students can explore and find new interests and talents.

After school each day, many students take part in arts, athletics and specialized extracurricular clubs during the afternoon. Later, they have dinner with friends and faculty, followed by evening study.


Boarding schools offer the greatest diversity available. The student body and faculty are from all over the world with differing backgrounds, interests and experiences. This creates meaningful opportunities to interact with people you may not have met in a primarily geographically based student body.

College and Beyond

Graduation rates are higher at boarding schools than at both public and private schools. Boarding school students do spend more time on schoolwork but also report academically motivated peers.  

Students that graduated from boarding school reported much higher college preparedness than both public and private school kids, likely because they already have been immersed in a challenging academic environment, living in a dorm setting, much as they will in higher education. 

In short, boarding school is a good fit for students who desire a more fulfilling and involved style of education. For more information about St. Lawrence Seminary and the benefits of a boarding school education, download our FREE Parent's Guide.

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St. Lawrence Seminary is an all boys Catholic boarding school located in Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin. We welcome students from Minnesota, Illinois and across the United States. Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the example of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Lawrence Seminary provides a residential college preparatory education in a living Catholic community nurturing mature, well-rounded men of faith. See if St. Lawrence is right for you and your son.

Topics: Boarding School for High School, Residential Life & Co-curricular Activities