Reading the brochure of a school and physically visiting are completely different – the former gives you a brief understanding of the school from the school’s perspective (i.e. what the school claims and wants you to see) and the latter allows you to gain first hand exposure into what the school really is like. It is the best time for you to figure out if the school would be a great fit for your child. I have come up with a list of questions that you might want to consider when visiting a boarding school.
About the School
You most likely have already researched into the school thoroughly, hence why you are visiting the school in the first place so use this opportunity to confirm your understanding and ask anything that was unanswered through your research. Some questions that you might want to consider include:
- What is the academic curriculum that you school follows?
- What are the sports available to students?
- Any extracurricular activities that students can participate?
- What are the entry requirements / admission process? Is there any particular qualities that you value most in a student?
- How big are the classes? (See if you can just visit any classes especially of any subjects that you are most interested in.)
- What do students do after class during the week? What’s a typical day like?
- Do you have any contacts in universities / industries? (Also enquire about which universities do their students attend)
The most important part regarding visiting a boarding school is to see the boarding environment. Ask about the possibility to visit the dormitories (most schools are more than happy to arrange this) – try to see a few of them to get a representative picture of the living situation. You may also wish to ask about any boarding rules (e.g. when and how you can contact your child) and support mechanisms in place for students (e.g. homesick).
- What proportion of the students are boarders?
- How many international students do you have? (You can also ask how the distribution of nationalities of students – some schools might have a larger proportion of, for instance, Asian students.)
- Support mechanisms in place for students who are homesick?
- What’s the food like? (You might want to enquire about the possibility of trying a meal there)
- What kind of weekend activities can students participate in?
- When can I contact my child?
In addition, you might want to also ask the following:
In case of emergencies:
- What type of medical facilities do you have?
- Where is the nearest hospital?
- Are there trained staff on duty 24/7?
- Where are the nearest shops?
- How far is city centre from the school?
- Can students go outside of school and the rules associated?
Hopefully the above questions would act as a great starting point. Enjoy your visits to boarding schools!
Educated at Badminton School, Kitty obtained a First Class Honours degree in Biomedical Engineering, followed by a MSc degree specialising in Medical Physics, both from Imperial College. Kitty has experience teaching students subjects such as Maths, Sciences, as well as educating young children Programming. As the former Departmental Representative of her degree, she also understands university admissions and is well placed to assist with school and university applications.
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