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What’s the Difference Between Boarding School and Public School?

Posted by Francisco Sauceda on Jun 8, 2021 2:02:00 PM



When considering educational options for high school, there’s a lot of uncertainty when it comes to boarding schools. What are the advantages? Why would anyone choose to attend a boarding school instead of a public school?

Let’s break down the big differences between attending a boarding school and a public school and address some of the advantages that a boarding school can offer.

1. Independence and Self-Discipline

One of the things that all students gradually learn on their own during their high school career is independence. Boarding school students are asked to do this immediately upon enrollment in different ways and are strongly guided by faculty and staff throughout the learning process. At boarding schools like St. Lawrence Seminary High School, students are responsible for getting themselves out of bed, on time for class, doing their own laundry, making sure they are taking care of their after-school activities, and completing 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.

This self-discipline helps students long-term because it teaches valuable skills that most public school students don’t have the chance to truly develop until college. It also gives boarding school students a leg up when they do attend college or other post-graduate paths. They have more experience setting their own schedule and budgeting time than their peers.

2. An Immersive Education

One of the biggest advantages of a boarding school is that a student is much more immersed in education. This doesn’t mean that boarding school students have more work and are expected to be learning every second of the day – it means that their teachers are also their support network and that their education integrates into their “non-school” time as well. Students at boarding schools have the unique opportunity to learn in a personalized, hands-on way and be able to easily and directly reach out to teachers and peers for homework help, guidance, and support.

3. Support Life Values

One of the biggest reasons students and parents choose a boarding school is because they want a supportive environment for their teenager that will promote their shared family values. A public school is obliged to remain neutral and likely will not have a theme or focus as strong as that of a charter school, private school or boarding school. These often times stem from a form of religion, for example, St. Lawrence Seminary which is a Catholic high school.

Schools with a religious focus can be of tremendous value for students, since they are able to explore and learn more about their faith in a supportive environment. At St. Lawrence Seminary, the catholic faith is at the core of all education, extracurriculars, skills programs, dorm life, and life lessons that students learn and participate in during their time on campus.

4. Superior Education

Studies show that private school students graduate at higher rates than those of a public school due to an enriched curriculum. Private school professors and educators are highly skilled, experienced and committed to the excellence and success of each student they instruct. Typically, studies show graduation rates higher in private schools, including the 100% graduation rate at St. Lawrence Seminary High School, a catholic all-boys boarding school. Course options and curriculum are challenging at St. Lawrence Seminary, and students develop a love of learning with a focus on secondary education that lasts well into their lifetime.

The benefit of this type of challenging education for students is that they are prepared for life after high school and have learned discipline, humility and faith with correlation to the knowledge gained through a STEM/STREAM curriculum. Boarding schools teach self-discipline since students live away from home for the first time and are have to learn to manage their schoolwork and daily life in a round-the-clock immersive, educational environment.

Along with these benefits, some of the other benefits from a boarding school include:

  • Class size: A significantly smaller class size means that students get much more attention and individualized education.
  • Friendships: Boarding schools usually have fraternities to encourage friendships and networking across grades, which leads to lifelong bonds.
  • Extracurriculars: While public schools may offer a wider variety of opportunities, along with it comes more competition among students. Boarding schools can offer a wide array of activities and easily create more opportunities to match student interests. Students can seek to join groups without fear of rejection due to capacity as well as seek leadership opportunities, especially to those to whom it might not come naturally to.
  • Diversity: In some areas, public schools often find themselves lacking in diversity. A boarding school is going to strive to have a diverse student population economically, culturally and ethnically.
  • Mission: Both public and boarding schools have mission statements, which may have overlap, but their ability to achieve and assess these goals within their individual students will be vastly different.

These are just some of the benefits a boarding school education can offer to students. For more information about St. Lawrence Seminary High School 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 the Midwest, across the United States, and from around the globe. 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