Most boarding schools prepare their students for college level work. Hence the name, "college prep" or "prep" which you will see in many school names. Most boarding schools are coeducational. But there are about a hundred schools which are single sex schools. They accept and teach only boys or girls.
There are several types of boarding schools. Alternative and therapeutic schools serve specific needs such as emotional and disciplinary issues. Still other schools offer programs for students with special needs such as dyslexia, ADD/ADHD and other learning differences. They have the skilled, highly credentialed staff to ensure the best possible outcome for your child. They focus on college preparation as well. Military schools combine academics and the military training many young people and their parents demand. As you will see when you review the boarding school profiles on this site, there literally is a school for every need and requirement.
Some schools are purely residential.
Other schools are a mix of boarding and day students. A true boarding school has most of its students resident on campus. But if a school happens to be located in a town or other major population area, it could have a significant percentage of day students. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but it does change the complexion of the school and its life. Why? Because day students leave at the end of the academic day. While they will come back for sports and extracurricular activities, they are off campus evenings and weekends.
All schools choose their own curricula.
The state in which a school is located will have legislated minimum requirements for curriculum content which every school must meet or exceed. 99% of boarding schools exceed those minimum requirements. There are several flavors of academics to be found in boarding schools. The broad cataegories are traditional and progressive. Within the traditional schools you will find test-based curricula including the popular Advanced Placement curriculum and in a handful of schools the International Baccalaureate program. Progressive schools don't believe in tests as a rule. Students are prepared for college level work, of course, but the approach is student-centered as opposed to the traditional teacher-centered approach to learning.
Most schools are staffed with well-qualified teachers.
Peruse boarding school profiles on this site and look for the percentage of teachers with advanced degrees. The numbers are usually quite high. Why? Because schools demand the high quality teaching which your child receives. Teachers with advanced degrees usually have a wealth of experience and knowledge in their subject area as well as in the art of teaching.
Most schools offer tuition discounts for siblings.
Most boarding schools will give you a discount if you have more than one child attending the school. They will also generally give you a discount for cash payment of your tuition. Tuition bills are rendered twice a year. Paying them in two payments will result in savings. See your financial consultant for advice on how to take advantage of discounts available to you.
Schools offer generous financial aid programs. While the programs vary from school to school, always ask about financial aid.
Most schools have extensive athletic facilities.
Sports is not an add-on or an extra at a boarding school. It is an integral part of the program every boarding school offers. Obviously some schools have more and better athletic facilities than others. But the point is that every student is required to participate in sports. Most schools set aside one afternoon a week for sports. Saturdays are major sports days as well. Depending on what part of the country you are in, the sports lineup will include everything from hockey to crew. Participation is at several skill and competitive levels with intramural and varsity sports hugely popular. As a result you will find indoor track and field facilities, natatoria, basketball, squash and badminton courts, golf courses, equestrian facilities, soccer and field hockey fields, hockey rinks, rowing facilities and much more.