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When hearing the words “boarding schools,” many people picture a cold and cruel place where evil stepmothers send unwanted children to be rid of them. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, and boarding schools are the victim of many commonly held myths and misconceptions. Here are four ways that boarding school is vastly different from what you may think.

Only Rich Kids Can Go
Boarding schools offer many different types of financial aid and assistance for families. Merit scholarships are also common, allowing any serious and hard-working student a way to attend private school. According to the Independent Educational Consultants Association, 40% of boarding school students are receiving some type of financial aid. Boarding schools couldn’t be happier about making a quality education available to more students.

Boarding School are for Kids with Problems
There are many boarding schools in the world designed to accommodate children who are having trouble at home or in school. These schools are categorized as therapeutic boarding schools and may not be for every student. Some of these schools incorporate counseling into their curriculum, while others may have hold to a Christian worldview in their quest to change struggling teens into functional adults.

Though therapeutic boarding schools exist, there are, however, many college preparatory schools that focus on getting their students the education they need to be coveted candidates for colleges. These schools provide excellent education and are geared towards good students looking for new challenges. Understand that boarding school is not synonymous with reform school, and many boarding schools offer top tier education for students looking to apply to colleges and universities.

Boarding School Is Isolating
Many parents feel that their kids won’t be exposed to people from different cultures or walks of life at boarding school. There is also a fear of isolation. In actuality, boarding schools offer many social activities and about one quarter of the students attending them are students of minority groups or internationals. Boarding schools often offer a more diverse culture than public schools and create an excellent environment full of activities where your children can meet new people and form lasting friendships. Schools like Admiral Farragut Academy encourage students to explore the local landscape and engage in relaxing activities, and they also provide students plenty of time to visit family.

We Won’t Get Family Time
It is true that your student won’t be home with you every night if they attend boarding school, but modern technology makes keeping in touch easier than ever before. Most schools provide internet access and students and parents can use online programs like Skype or cellular phones to chat with their child every day. When the school is close enough, many students go home every weekend to spend time with their loved ones, and schools understand the need for families to spend holidays together and share in important family events.

If you’re considering boarding school for your child, try and schedule a time to visit the school. This is the best way to see what life on campus is really like and ask any questions you may have.