Boarding school can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. If you do not have a mentor or any idea of what to expect, it can be quite the challenge. Being away from home, the academic expectations, and meeting a whole new group of friends is a lot to handle. The good news is that you are not alone.
Riverside Military Academy is here to help with numerous resources that will give you a sense of what awaits you. Don’t worry - there are several things you can do to prepare yourself for the experience. Here are some tips on how to prepare for your first year at boarding school.
Know what to expect
Boarding school is a big decision, and it is easier when you know the reasons for attending and what to expect. It is important for the parent and student to understand the decision-making process. Discussions between the student and their parents should be open and honest. Parents need to present the positives to their child and make boarding school an experience their child can look forward to.
Understand that there will be challenges. Boarding schools often have higher academic expectations for their students and strict rules that must be followed. Look at the school’s website for resources. See if you can connect with a former or current student. Even if you chat with someone who went to a different boarding school, you can get some insights into daily life. Parents are encouraged to learn about the school and culture along with the student. Keep the lines of communication open with your child so you understand what they are experiencing.
Get familiar with the school
Part of your education process is understanding the school’s traditions, campus, and culture. These can bring a level of comfort. Read brochures and subscribe to newsletters. Join social media pages. Often, the academy will give information on daily life and what to expect.
Maps of the area and campus will tell you where your dorm is, how to get to the cafeteria, and walking paths to your classrooms. Check out all areas of interest and make plans to visit in person.
Arrange a school visit
You’ve seen the school online, but you will get a much better idea of what to expect if you arrange a school visit. Take time to walk the campus, look at the dorm rooms, and get comfortable with the surroundings. Get familiar with the school by exploring all that it has to offer. You can then go home and imagine yourself in your new place. You can decide what to take to make the space your own. You can envision what your new daily routines will be and prepare yourself mentally.
Once you know what to expect, you need to prepare yourself for campus life. Parents need to teach students basic life skills. Teach them how to do laundry, how to cook a simple snack, and what to pack in their school bag. Nurture decision-making skills by having the student decide what clothes and personal items to take as well as what classes or clubs to sign up for. Students are going to need specific skills. You might want to equip your child with a phone to stay in touch, a laptop to do their homework, or stationery to write home with (don’t forget to include stamps). Make sure they know how to use technology and software. Teach them organizational skills as well.
Adopt a positive mindset
Yes, you can do this! Decide that you are going to make the most of your experience. Have an open mind. Make a plan for when times are tough. Know the reasons for choosing the boarding school and take advantage of the opportunities presented. You are ready for a new adventure!
Establish a routine
Once you are settled into your dorm room, it’s time to make a plan for your new life. Making a routine will help you adjust and settle in. Boarding schools will have guidelines and established schedules set up for students. Times for classes, meals, study, and extracurricular activities are arranged, but plan what you might do in your downtime. Make sure you know your schedule and can stick to it. Find a friend and hold each other accountable. Have pride in yourself and the confidence to succeed.
Get enough sleep
Your routine will need to include plenty of rest. Getting enough sleep is vitally important for your mental and physical health. Develop morning routines to make sure you are fresh and ready for the day. Develop evening routines to wind down and stay well rested.
Join a group and make new friends
Once you are at boarding school, do not hesitate to join groups that interest you. This will allow you to make friends and feel included. Keeping busy will keep your mind occupied and alleviate the missing home feelings. If it’s an option, find out who your roommate is before you arrive. Chat with them about common interests. You will then at least know one person before you arrive.
Get to know your teachers
Boarding school offers exemplary education. Your teachers will be happy to meet with you one on one. Ask lots of questions about what they expect, what you’ll be studying, what interests you, and more. They have a lesson plan, but they are willing to work with you to make your learning experience special. If you are struggling, reach out to them quickly. They want to see you succeed and will be proud of your initiative.
Make the most of your time
You are now equipped with the basics of getting started with your first year of boarding school. It can be a wonderful experience, but it’s all up to you and your attitude. Go in with an open mind and take advantage of all opportunities. Boarding school is a stepping stone in your life. You will make connections that will last a lifetime.
Are You Ready for the Boarding School Experience?
Now that you have these handy boarding house tips under your belt, do you feel more ready for the next step? Riverside Military Academy offers a unique, challenging learning environment along with the care and guidance of expert teachers and faculty. We’d love to have you join our community. To learn more, request more information
or schedule a tour
of our beautiful Georgia campus - or apply today