Oak Hill Blog

What’s boarding school like in the U.S.?

What comes to mind when you hear “boarding school”?

For some, it’s representative of what’s watched on television. Halls filled with drama. Teenagers from elite families who are constantly in trouble.

While this may be entertaining to watch (looking at you, Gossip Girl), it isn’t accurate. Not for most boarding schools, at least.

So, what is boarding school really like in the U.S.?

In all honesty, the majority of boarding schools in the United States have a stronger focus on community and academics.

It’s hard to paint one image to represent the environment of all U.S. boarding schools. It depends on a student’s goal. There are boarding schools that are in more densely-populated cities, and schools that are in more remote areas. Luckily, the U.S. has plenty of options when it comes to what type of environment you’re looking for. For example, Oak Hill Academy is located in the Blue Ridge mountains, so nature is a huge component of students’ daily lives and hands-on curriculum.

While it may be difficult to summarize the environment of all U.S. boarding schools, it’s easy to say this: boarding schools are centered around academic excellence.

What about the daily life of boarding school students in the U.S.?

Again, it’s virtually impossible to speak for all schools.

At Oak Hill Academy, a typical day starts at 7:50 a.m. for breakfast, then students are at class from 8:30 until 3:20 with a break for lunch. After class, students have tutorial options with teachers, followed by a variety of extracurricular activities, clubs and sports. Upper classmen (juniors and seniors) often go to the college lab, our interactive college guidance office, to work on university applications and résumés.

Many U.S. boarding schools have social media accounts to showcase their campuses and students’ daily lives. To really get a glimpse of a U.S. boarding school’s campus culture, we recommend following schools that pique your interest and see if you can envision yourself there.

Follow Oak Hill Academy to stay tuned for future blog posts and campus updates!