Almost all boarding schools seek to create a diverse school community. Oak Hill Academy, with a current student body that represents more than 25 States and 15 countries, has incredible diversity. As a Baptist boarding school, you might be surprised at the spiritual background diversity found among the student body at Oak Hill. Being situated on the low end of national boarding school costs means there is a great deal of economic diversity here as well.
From my seat in the admission office, I notice trends. We have a lot of inquiries from certain regions of the country and I’ve uncovered some thought-provoking dynamics to explain these pockets of frequent interest. For example, we recently enrolled a student from a large metropolitan area of Texas. The challenge this family faced when beginning their boarding school search is reflective of somewhat limited choices in their region. There were plenty of highly academic, rigorous college prep boarding school options closer to home, but they were seeking a college prep environment that would meet their student where they are, and not overwhelm them with a competitive climate. Many of these Texas boarding schools are very LARGE, raising the question: is everything really bigger in Texas? The small private Christian day schools they searched in their area seemed not to offer the individual approach they were seeking. So, they expanded their search and realized that geography should take a back seat to finding the right fit. (To address these parents’ pain point of “when will I get to see my child?”, Oak Hill Academy’s school year is scheduled to mirror that of colleges, which allows for periodic long holiday breaks and transportation coordination.)
While there are many boarding school options found in the Northeast, Oak Hill Academy’s location in Southwestern Virginia, near the intersection of Tennessee and North Carolina, positions us in a region with statistically fewer boarding school options. It is interesting to note that while we are a Virginia boarding school, Oak Hill enrolls as many, if not more, students from North Carolina as Virginia in a typical year. We maintain the specific mission of providing an option for under-performing students to find their “Turning Point” in a boarding school environment with a decidedly college-going culture, but one that is not “sink or swim.” So each year we have several boarding school students from places like New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New England.
We are not seeking to become the most popular boarding school in our region. Instead, Oak Hill Academy will maintain its ongoing mission, now 139 years in, to be the area’s best option for a boarding school that provides a specific environment for personal and academic GROWTH.
Very often we are found by families who do not see, in their region of the country, this unique boarding school option. Please call or email to discuss your student, our unique mission and whether we are “worth the trip.” Many have determined that we are.