Does a Boarding School’s Location Make a Difference?

Location, location, location: it’s a slogan that realtors love to use, but what about boarding schools? Does location matter?

Most parents and students look for a history of stimulating academics and college prep, a wide range of sports and activities, and a safe, welcoming environment. Location is often briefly considered concerning travel time, but there’s more to it than that.

Here’s what you should think about when considering a school’s location.

How Far Away Is Too Far Away?

This is a question that every family must determine together. Coming home every weekend for family time is a perk that many students treasure. For some parents, it’s more practical to have the family get together for much more extended periods, like during seasonal breaks and over holidays.

Parents must decide how far they want to drive to pick up and drop off their student. Depending on the school, 5 hours or more is no problem for some parents, whereas others prefer to keep their student much closer at hand.

The possibility of flying back and forth also expands one’s opportunities, since it typically cuts travel time in half. Still, other families will place no location limits on heir quest to find the perfect boarding school and are willing to enroll their child abroad for a unique experience.

Location-Specific Recreational Activities

Boarding schools take sports and recreation very seriously. Clubs and sports help to build camaraderie among the students at all grade levels and give students a welcome break from the rigors of academia.

If there’s a sport or activity that your child just can’t live without, this will often be a determining factor in your choice of boarding school. For example, California college prep schools along the coast can offer surfing, sailing and other water activities, while schools located in the more mountainous region of the state can offer hiking and climbing on a regular basis.

Likewise, boarding schools located in urban environments typically have no problem providing gym-based sporting activities, but sports like crew, equestrian and golf require more space and are more likely to be offered in suburban or rural schools.

The Mental Influence of a School’s Location

Boarding schools offer a learning environment that caters to each student’s needs in a way that other schools cannot. Location is often a major part of creating this environment. The serene, tranquil nature of most boarding school campuses allows students to relax and focus on their studies eliminating most distractions.

Thus, a school’s combined location and ambiance should be taken into consideration. Each student is a little different, and some thrive on excitement and activities. Perhaps an urban school with many “field trips” to local museums and theatres would be a better choice than one surrounded by acres of rolling fields. On the other hand, a student whose creativity is inspired by the tranquility of nature would love the exact opposite situation.

Not everyone will be happy in the same location. Remember that choosing a boarding school is a highly personal decision that should be made with the student’s well-being in mind.