Boarding schools abroad: A guide to the application process
16 February 2016
Boarding school has long been a popular option for parents who want their children to experience secondary school in their home countries, or elsewhere, while the family is based in Hong Kong. Times have changed since boarding schools were made up of cold and draughty halls run by even colder housemasters; today’s schools are modern, comfortable homes away from home. Here we profile a range of overseas schooling options, and take a look at the application process and other issues.
Tips on Applying
When people think about applying to boarding schools in America, they often start preparing for the application process in the autumn of the preceding year (September 2016 for September 2017 entry). The reality is that the process should start much earlier – as early as 18 months in advance. CAROLE BIRD of Apple Ivy gives us five reasons why.
#1 Application Deadlines
Applications are usually due in mid-January. Therefore, the end of the year can be a stressful time as students start preparing their applications, while keeping up with regular usual homework and so on. Starting the process early can help make it less stressful.
#2 SSAT Preparation
Students typically take the SSAT exam during the October-January time period. With the autumn season being so busy, taking a prep course beforehand (in spring or summer) can help alleviate some of the time constraints, and help students maximise their scores.
#3 School Visits in HK
Many schools travel to major cities in Asia to host receptions and conduct interviews from October through December. To prepare for these visits, students need to first identify schools where they would like to apply and then properly prepare, which is best done over a longer period of time.
#4 Summer Activities
Summer programmes are a great way for students to get a taste of boarding school life and some exposure to the American school system and culture. Many US boarding schools begin accepting applications for summer programmes in January, and spots can fill up by late March.
#5 Visiting Schools in the US
Some families plan visits to prospective boarding schools. This gives the students a chance to visualize themselves at the schools, which can motivate them during the application process.
Apply Ivy offers a free initial consultation to help you get a head start on successfully applying to boarding schools. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit applyivy.com.
For those looking for the best of British boarding in Asia, Marlborough College Malaysia has a lot to offer. We spoke with housemaster SCOTT HAWTHORN to find out more.
“A student’s school years have the potential to really shape the people they will become. Boarding school gives them an opportunity to not only work with others, but to live with them too, and through that experience they learn the value of community.
As well as a strong tradition in academics, Marlborough’s strengths lie in its approach to pastoral care. The school works on the philosophy that ‘every student matters’, and the learning doesn’t stop once the school day is over. Living in such a close-knit community promotes independence, patience, and compassion, and helps students to develop their social skills in a unique way – which often leads to lifelong friendships.
When it comes to activities outside of the classroom, the school takes a holistic approach. Boarding students are expected to try creative activities, with involvement in music, drama and public speaking. Co-curricular activities before and after school range from fitness clubs every morning to social groups and societies. Weekend outings and special events like boarders’ suppers and socials, barbecues, and birthday celebrations at the Housemaster’s House, are where students learn to interact with one another and allow them to practice appropriate conduct in social settings and work on their communication skills – essential for all teenagers!
When children are out of comfort zone they learn more about themselves and their capabilities, and this is an excellent foundation for life after school.”
Visit marlboroughcollegemalaysia.org for more information about boarding at Marlborough.
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