Boarding Schools Offer a Promising Alternative

There are two common misconceptions about boarding school: that they are either the realm of the very wealthy student or the severely troubled student. But the truth is, boarding school can be an excellent option for almost any student – and it’s often the perfect solution for a student who has started to make questionable social decisions, disregard grades or shirk previously accepted responsibilities (behavior that is often a pre-cursor to more serious emotional or behavioral difficulties). Students like these can reap tremendous – even life-changing – benefits from a boarding school that focuses on building well-rounded, confident students.

Q: How do I know if my teen is at risk?

Taken one at a time, the initial signs of at-risk behavior might not look like much – a slow decline in academic performance, a change in your teen’s social group, or an increasingly lackadaisical attitude towards school or household rules. Taken as a group, however, these same developments can indicate the beginning of more serious problems, including more dangerous behavior like tobacco, drug and alcohol use, peer hazing and violence. Although jumping to conclusions can be counter-productive, if your teen exhibits any of these (or more serious) warning signs, it’s always a good idea to initiate a constructive, non-confrontational conversation with your teen about your concerns.

The following list provides a starting point for assessing your teen’s behavior. At-risk behavior includes (but certainly isn’t limited to):

  • Growing disregard for authority or rules
  • Loss of interest in activities he/she previous enjoyed (suddenly quitting a sports team or club, for example)
  • Signs of clinical depression
  • Failing or rapidly declining grades
  • Frequent expressions of concern from teachers and advisors
  • Anti-social behavior or a sudden change in social group
  • Belligerence or refusal to acknowledge your authority
  • Dishonesty

Q: My teen’s behavior is concerning, but not dangerous. What are my options?

If you are seriously concerned about the direction of your teen’s behavior, you may want to consider seeking outside assistance. In addition to professional counseling, you might investigate “whole education” boarding schools – schools that provide structured complete academic, social and extracurricular social programs. Schools like Oakley School offer a comprehensive college prep curriculum along with programs and opportunities that are designed to develop the whole student. Unlike therapeutic or interventional programs, whole education schools like Oakley simply offer the community, structure and space for students to internalize positive emotional and behavioral change. If your teen daughter seems to influenced by her peers and is changing her focus from academics to boys, boarding schools for girls offer an excellent environment to get her back on track for college.

Q Why are boarding programs more effective than day programs for at risk teens?

Whole education boarding schools offer several great advantages, primarily because they are residential. As well as giving you renewed peace of mind, boarding schools give teens the chance to make a completely new start by removing them from the social, domestic and environmental factors that may have influenced their behavior initially.

Thanks to the constant support of teachers and advisors, teens are exposed to strong value and belief systems and a model for how to live responsibly within a community. While they encourage and nurture a teen’s sense of independence and responsibility, residential programs do so within a highly structured community framework: in other words, boarding schools create positive opportunities for teens to explore, experiment and test their limits without resorting to dangerous behavior.

Learn more about Oakley School in Utah