A boarding school is a private school where students live during the school semester. Parents send kids to boarding schools for a variety of reasons, including academic proficiency, discipline problems at home and as a life experience. Relative to traditional public schools and other private school options, boarding schools have advantages and drawbacks.

Personal and Academic Development

Boarding schools often provide a number of advantages that aid in students' personal and character development. Small classes are common, which means students get more one-on-one attention. The quality of instruction is often strong as well, and instructors have significant expertise in their subjects. Boarding schools also place an emphasis on discipline and character development. Students learn to live on their own and take on the responsibilities of being independent.

Community Experience

Boarding schools are communities in and of themselves. Students live in dorms or residential buildings with other students. They get to know them and interact with them more regularly than they typically would in a conventional school setting. The faculty and staff are also typically very involved in the community and want to help students have a positive experience. Sports, extracurricular activities and additional academic experiences are commonly available in boarding schools.

Financial Challenges

The costs of boarding school vary, but they are expensive in many cases. Schools can cost $2,000 to $6,000 per month, or even more in some cases. Many schools do offer academic and need-based scholarships and financial aid to help lower-to middle-income families. However, these families still have a hard time providing the same level of academic support, clothing and other items that wealthier families can provide their students.

Academic and Personal Difficulties

While boarding schools can serve as a major character builder, they aren't for everyone. Some students struggle mightily with the academic rigor and strong discipline standards. Boarding schools usually want to maintain their reputations to keep prices high and to keep students coming. Some students also struggle with being away from home for extended periods without close family support and involvement. If students go to a distant boarding school, it is also difficult for parents to visit regularly.