The Difference Between Private School and Boarding School

Written By Maryam DiMauro

What are the differences between boarding schools and private schools?

There are a lot of things they have in common, but there are many ways in which each has a different educational experience. In this blog we will explore the difference between the two and some of their similarities.


The main difference between boarding schools and private schools is the living accommodation. Students in boarding schools live on campus during the school year in dormitories, at times with teachers called Dorm Monitors.  In regular private schools, students are able to live with a host family and commute. Some boarding schools have an option to live with host families, but most students decide to live full time on campus.

Boarding schools offer an immersive experience of being in school all year long. There is a lack of family support but you do have ways to get closer to your peers, as you live with them year round. There are a lot of fun activities offered during the weekend and also many study support systems. However, you are still just another student whereas in a regular private school under EduHup, you have Program Managers who are available 24/7 to offer support.

Tuition and Fees

Due to the fact that you are living on campus, tuition and fees at boarding schools can be a lot more expensive than regular private schools. 

Elite boarding schools are very hard to get into, and competition is very fierce. Most religious private schools are far easier to be admitted; however, if there is an emphasis on STEM, the acceptance rate can be lower.  Both institutions have smaller class sizes than public schools, which allows for an immersive educational experience.

Applying to Boarding Schools can be as complex as applying to college, although luckily EduHup has facilitated the process, offering easier applications.  If you decide on a boarding school, make sure you check their profile on EduHup to see the unique requirements and if you are a good match for the school.  Once you have decided on a boarding school, it is important to look at the TABS application form to simplify the admission process.  If the school is not listed, make sure you download the application on the school’s website or contact them through EduHup.  During your final application, you must include a copy of your student records and SSAT ( Secondary School Admission Test) scores. Most boarding schools will also require TOEFL examination results as well. 

The SSAT is required for both private and boarding schools.  The   SSAT test is made for students who are applying to school from grade 9 through 12. The test has math components, reading,  vocabulary, and an essay.

Extracurricular Activities

Both institutions will offer great unique extracurricular activities including many art programs and a diversified sports program. Boarding schools are more likely to offer more options during the weekend and on campus, though. Due to the fact that everyone lives on campus, it is easier to meet and practice for sports and music programs if you are at a boarding school.

Many private schools offer the ability to compete locally in sports programs, too; but, they also come home to have dinner with a loving host family. This might help ease the sense of homesickness, culture shock, and loneliness that often can happen with International Students.

Supervision at all hours

Teenagers often need supervision, and both private schools and boarding schools will offer this in different ways.  Host families will offer a loving environment for students, and program managers provide an extra layer of support. At a boarding school,  there are strict rules and regulations that the student must abide by, such as when they go to sleep or what they do after school. Their Dorm Monitors are well versed on how to handle teenagers and can prevent situations as well as offer support.  Boarding schools also offer impressive academic support after hours. 

Private day schools will offer International Students a level of independence and an ability to explore the towns in which they live.  It also greatly depends on the student’s personality; their strengths, weaknesses and how they adapt to situations will help students make a decision.

Family Support
Strong relationships with host families can often lead to stronger emotional and academic development. With the one on one support, this will often help when a student is struggling through academia or personal problems.  When students are in a day school, there is also an ability to get away from the rigorous environment of the school and do fun things with their host family. 

In a study done in 2004, TABS offered a study called the Truth About Boarding School, and polled 2,700 students. In this study, there was a greater number of students who were satisfied with the experience of a boarding school over a regular private day school. 


Boarding school can offer a way for students to learn valuable life skills by learning how to take care of themselves and be independent.  Their friendships will also be strong and long-lasting. There are lifelong friendships and bonds, as everyone is away from home and can understand each other. However, as an International Student, the culture shock and lack of privacy might be difficult to handle.

Ultimately, whether you choose a boarding school or private school, the decision to choose a private school will further enrich the student’s life and experiences and create paths towards growth that will be beneficial their whole lives.




We are an independent (private) school, but not a boarding school. Our school works closely with agencies around the world who help us support the student when they arrive through their home stay. Additionally, I worked for 10+ years with students and host families, so I'm an extra level of support and always willing to help students when they need guidance with communicating with their host family.

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