How to Use a Pros and Cons List for Choosing a Boarding School

Are you looking to send your child to boarding school? Not sure which one to choose? If so, you should consider utilizing the pros and cons list method. 

Wondering how to use a pros and cons list to choose a boarding school for your child? Then read on. We’re going to get into the details below!

Using a Pros and Cons List: The Basics

Using a pros and cons list to decide on a boarding school is fairly simple. Identify all of the boarding schools that you’re at least marginally interested in and write them down on a piece of paper.

Then, underneath each school name, create a pros and cons outline. Leave space so that you have room to jot down further information. 

Next, start researching each school, identifying the key characteristics of each. Then, determine whether those characteristics are positives or negatives, and record them in either the pros or cons section under the designated school. 

Once you’ve created your full lists of pros and cons, position them next to each other. Then, scour over them, comparing them against one another. Do this until you’ve narrowed down your options, choosing your favorites in the process. When you’re finished, you’ll have a list of schools for your child to apply to. 

Characteristics to Consider

When assessing a boarding school’s pros and cons, there are a number of characteristics you should consider. The most important of these characteristics include the following. 

Unisex or Coed

Some boarding schools are unisex schools. In other words, they only allow students of a certain gender to attend them. So, whereas one boarding school might be boys-only, another boarding school might be girls-only. 

At the same time, there are a great number of coeducational boarding schools. These schools allow students of all genders. 

Decide which type of school is best for your child and attach this characteristic to either the pros or cons sections of your prospective schools. 

School Size

Some boarding schools have less than 200 students in total. Other boarding schools have over 800 students in total. Neither student body size is superior to the other but you and your child may have a preference. 

Generally speaking, smaller student bodies allow for greater attention for each student. This can be beneficial if your child needs extra help with school work. 

Large student bodies, on the other hand, generally offer more diversity. Not to mention, they can make it a little easier to forge friendships. 

Read up on the advantages of different school sizes and decide which is best for your child. It will vary from kid to kid. 

Tuition Cost

One of the most important things to consider is the tuition cost. Some boarding schools charge as little $9,000 a year for tuition. Others charge as much as $90,000 a year for tuition. There’s obviously a huge gulf between these two figures. 

In fact, some boarding schools might be so expensive that you have to write them off entirely. So, taking this characteristic into consideration can help you to narrow down your list of schools substantially.  

Need help paying for boarding school? This resource could offer some assistance. 


Boarding schools offer all types of extracurricular activities, with some schools offering more than others. You’ll want to read up on the extracurriculars offered by each school and assess whether they might your child’s needs. 

Some extracurriculars to look out for include theater, debate club, sports teams, horseback riding, choir, band, photography club, and chess club. Note, however, that the best boarding schools offer much more than this, and can have clubs for even the most specific of activities. 

Religious vs Secular

There are both religious and secular boarding schools out there. If your child attends a religious boarding school, he or she will be expected to take part in worship, regardless of whether or not he or she believes in the religion. If your child goes to a secular boarding school, he or she will have no obligation to practice any sort of religion. 

Note, it’s not uncommon for non-religious students to attend religious schools. There can be some benefits to them, including close proximity to home and lower tuition costs. 

Teacher Quality

Not all teachers are created equal. It doesn’t matter whether it’s public schools, private schools, boarding schools, or otherwise, teacher quality will vary from school to school. For this reason, when searching for an appropriate boarding school, you need to get a feel for the quality of its teachers. 

Some schools make a point of hiring strict, regimented teachers. Others make a point of hiring laid-back, creativity-inspired teachers. Some schools have small budgets, and so have trouble hiring the best of the best. 

Take these things into account and decide what you can and can’t live with. Your child doesn’t necessarily need to have the best teachers in the country. You might instead put a priority on extracurriculars, for instance. 

Dorm Quality 

When a child goes to boarding school, he or she is likely leaving home for the first time on his or her own. As such, the quality of his or her dorm is important. You don’t want your child to feel uncomfortable, after all. 

Make sure that the dorms have the standard amenities, and make sure there’s some sort of out-of-the-classroom support system in place. Many boarding schools employ dorm parents as a means of mentoring and watching after their students. The quality of these dorm parents can make or break the experience for your child. 

Learn more about boarding school life at

Looking for Similar Info?

Now that you know how to use a pros and cons list to help you pick a boarding school, you might be looking for more education-related information? If so, you’re in the right place. Our website is chockful of it. 

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