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Boarding Schools: Making the Difference in the Development of Young Adults

  Publisher : Bernice   30 March 2022 00:00

Many people ask me, “why boarding school” … if the curriculum is the same as a day school, won’t the educational outcomes be the same?  Well, in fact, not at all.  At Merrick Preparatory School we have a maximum capacity of 60 boarding students and 20 day students … young men and women from all around the globe: different countries, religions, languages, cultures, races and all the diversity in perspective, approach and knowledge that comes with that.  At a day school, you just cannot create that kind of diversity … and with diversity comes understanding of difference, compassion, and the development of global citizens.  At Merrick Preparatory School we ensure roommates are from different countries and speak difference languages; we have seating arrangements in the dining hall so that students from different grades and backgrounds sit together; in our Houses we ensure different genders, grades and cultural backgrounds mix; in class we encourage students to critically analyze problems and present solutions from their cultural, country and religious perspective to create the greatest diversity of thought, understanding, dialogue and debate. But it does not stop there. 

Evening Study, evening and weekend activities (both formal and informal), time “hanging out” in the snack bar or playing games together … all these moments create opportunities to share perspectives, understanding, and awareness.  And our local day students from the greater Merrickville area “travel the world” each day with their peers, classmates and friends from around the globe; learning and exploring together in the safe confines of our beautiful historic campus on the shores of the Rideau Waterway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the town voted the prettiest in Canada.

Boarding schools also develop resilience and independence in students.  Every year I have parents tell me “I gave you my child and you returned a thoughtful, inquisitive, respectful and engaged young adult”.  Our students must clean their rooms and do their laundry.  Our Leaders of the Week organize the week’s events and are responsible for cleaning the dining hall and snack bar after every meal, including wiping down tables, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, taking out garbage and recycling.  It is their home and they must take ownership and responsibility for it.  Research has shown that boarding students:

  • Do more than double the amount of homework than day students, increasing their skills, knowledge, and confidence
  • 75% of boarding students say their peers motivate them, versus 49% of day school students
  • 78% of boarding students say they are prepared for university, versus 23% of day school students
  • 50% of boarding students earn advanced degrees, versus 21% of day school students
  • 90% of boarding students report having high quality teachers, versus 51% of day school students
  • 90% of boarding students say they would repeat their boarding school experience
  • 70% of boarding students say there is no cheating in their school, versus 26% of day school students
  • 41% of boarding students say their guidance counselor was very helpful, versus 13% of day school students
  • 70% of boarding students say boarding school helped them develop self-discipline, maturity, independence, and the ability to think critically
  • 95% of boarding students are very satisfied with their academic experience
  • 52% of boarding students achieve top management positions in their career, versus 27% of day school students

These statistics are taken from a wide variety of students, many attending larger boarding schools.  At Merrick Preparatory School, with 60 boarding students, 20 days students, average class size of 10 students, one-on-one daily Advisor support, our outcomes are even more spectacular.  Boarding schools provide a rich, diverse, and broad-spectrum experience beyond the classroom, resulting in broad minded, compassionate, engaged global citizens.  Merrick Preparatory School is Distinctly Canadian, but Uniquely Global because of its boarding program.

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