While first-class tuition and the finest academic qualifications are needed to succeed, strength of character and skills such as communication, teamwork and resilience, to build happy, fulfilling and worthwhile lives are equally as important. Boarding schools have been strongholds of character development. Character is particularly central to boarding schools — a belief that the true pursuit of excellence requires a synthesis of strong intellect and purposeful personal growth.
Educational experience at boarding school is a precursor to life after school. 87 percent of students who went to boarding school were more prepared for college and are more likely to earn more advanced degrees like a Master’s or PhD, and advance to more prominent roles in their careers and communities.
Every child needs a good school as much as a loving and caring home to grow in. Families provide a support system that is hard to replicate — but boarding schools around the world have shifted their focus to creating an atmosphere that embodies the characteristics of a family-based environment. Here are a list of schools that have created a welcoming community and home-away-from-home for students:
Riverside Military Academy
Riverside Military Academy (RMA) is the nation’s preeminent military school for boys. Academic programmes are rigorous, athletics are competitive and discipline is strictly enforced. Make no mistake — this is an elite college-preparatory academy that prepares students for success in university and beyond.
Located on a beautiful 200-acre campus in northern Georgia, RMA is where over 500 cadets in grades six to 12, representing 30 nations and 30 states, are transforming into future leaders. The RMA Leadership Development Programme organises all cadets into a leadership structure that is modelled after a United States Army Battalion hierarchy. This structure is the catalyst for all rank-assignments, assigned duties, subordinate/command relationships, and leadership opportunities within the Corps of Cadets. Cadets are immersed in challenging conditions which become more complex as they progress in their abilities and experience — with every challenge, they learn and implement the art and science of leadership.
The academy’s military edge fosters courage, discipline and determination — but it is by no means its defining feature. RMA is a military school for teens unlike the rest — it’s a private school, all-boys school, and boarding school — all in one — where the heart, body, soul, and spirit are educated. Here, they have an unparalleled venue to hone their creative talents through activities in visual arts, drama, music, and video production, among others.
As Director of Admissions Ben Allen says, “Riverside Military Academy is unique from other military schools in that it teaches students the personal values of honour, patriotism, and selflessness not only through the discipline and structure of a traditional military school environment but also through every facet of cadet life.” Learn more about how RMA encourages exceptional academic achievement and personal growth here.
Church Farm School
Uniquely diverse. Financially accessible. More than US$5 million in grants and scholarships to leading colleges and universities awarded annually. US$15 million investment in campus modernisation. Robust performance in rankings. 100% acceptance rate to top-ranked universities. Church Farm School (CFS) in Exton, Pennsylvania stands out in how it provides real and meaningful opportunities to motivated, hard-working boys from all around the world.
“Our tagline, Inspiring Boys — Fulfilling Dreams, speaks of our desire to find the most inspirational boys from all races, creeds, cultures and economic circumstances and, in turn, inspire them to make their dreams a reality through a rigorous academic curriculum, engaging campus life, highly competitive athletic programme and service to the greater community,” says Head of School Reverend Edmund K. “Ned” Sherrill II.
This private, college preparatory boarding and day school for boys in grades nine to 12 is home to 75 faculty members and 200 students from across the country and around the world. Core values of integrity, responsibility, respect and brotherhood permeate all aspects of CFS. Here, education is facilitated by a rigorous curriculum that fosters outstanding academic development, with a strong focus on STEAM and ethical leadership — all of which contributes to graduates winning acceptance to top universities such as Johns Hopkins University, Cornell University, Swarthmore College, the University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse University, UC Berkeley and more.
CFS is also recognised on top schools lists such as Most Beautiful Private High School in Pennsylvania; Top 10 Chester County High Schools and Top 10 Boarding Schools in Pennsylvania. An extraordinary educational opportunity awaits at CFS — contact the school here or learn more about its wide range of financial aid here.
The Stony Brook School
The Stony Brook School (SBS) is nestled on a beautiful 55-acre campus on the north shore of Long Island and 55 miles east of New York City, which is one of the most culturally diverse and popular cities in the world. At its gates is a direct train to Manhattan and all the cultural, culinary and educational benefits of New York City. Across the street is a major university with resources at pupils’ disposal. Within walking distance, there is a beach to swim, sail or simply relax. It’s an unbeatable location, but that’s not all this college preparatory, co-ed boarding and day school for grades seven to 12 has to offer.
At SBS, character comes before career. This Christian institution’s chief concern is the moral, intellectual, and spiritual growth of its students, which underpins its curriculum, pedagogy, residential life, mentoring and coaching. The results? Pupils who feel valued and loved. “The Stony Brook education is designed to help students flourish, which means to be in a period of highest productivity, excellence, or influence,” says Head of School Joshua Crane.
This, by no means, lessens its commitment to academic excellence. On the contrary, SBS’s track record shows graduates winning admission to prestigious universities before progressing to meaningful and profitable careers. Personalised instruction, smaller classes and a smart use of technology make this possible. Students are also guided by the gospel teachings of Jesus Christ but are free to maintain their personal spiritual beliefs.
The Mini-Courses programme offers 75 electives across a wide variety of disciplines for students who want to engage in project-based learning, interdisciplinary studies, research projects, internships, field trips, off-site labs, and academic competitions. Together with friends from 19 countries and 11 US states — as well as master teachers, coaches, and mentors — pupils here live like a family and learn from those who come from different backgrounds and bring different perspectives. To learn more about how SBS prepares pupils for life, click here.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
Every student is unique. Their educational journey and experience should be too. Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy understands that what makes students unique is what makes them exceptional. Its rigorous college prep curriculum prepares them not only for success at top universities, but equips them to be individuals who approach life with curiosity, creativity, and competency. Students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to apply new solutions to complex problems. They are invited to conduct independent research projects, run small businesses, learn in a teaching kitchen, participate in real-world internships, perform on stage, and win in athletics. Students learn outside the walls of the classroom during Intersession, engineer and build robots, and serve hundreds of hours at home and abroad. Through it all, they are challenged to grow spiritually and develop a resilient faith. Each student’s experience is as unique as they are.
CHCA believes education should be dynamic and immersive. Students are encouraged to question, consider, discover, test, fail, and thrive, all while working with phenomenal Christian faculty. Specialised certificate programmes and broad advanced course options ensure students gain extensive knowledge to build a critical, solutions-focused mindset. The global network that will inform their future begins now, and CHCA provides them with the academic foundation they need to find the greatest measure of success.
Study abroad is challenging. The choice to immerse in another culture and academic environment is both exciting and daunting. CHCA is here to help. CHCA provides international students with an extraordinary level of care and attention. Full-time international department staff is on-site and involved in every aspect of every student’s experience. Its dedicated team will guide families through application, host family placement, academic course selection, social engagement, cultural immersion, administrative guidance, and college counselling. Each child will be seen and known, and guided and supported in a personalised experience while CHCA keeps parents informed of their progress every step of the way. CHCA is a team, and every family is an important part of that team, and its school community.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International