By Mitch Hurst
By Mitch Hurst
Parents on the North Shore and in Chicago can learn more about the top private boarding schools in the country by attending either of two events taking place in Lake Forest and Chicago. The first will be at Lake Forest Country Day School on September 17 and the second on September 18 at the Catherine Cook School in Chicago.
The events are sponsored by the Ten Schools Admission Organization (TSAO), a consortium of private boarding schools in the northeast that holds events around the country to promote the value of a boarding school education and the benefits for high school students and those looking for a gap year of learning before they enroll in a college or university.
The organization says boarding school offers students an immersive, experience-based learning opportunity within a supportive and diverse community of students and teachers. It is a close-knit community of learners who study, play, and live together that is conducive to shaping forward thinking students who are better prepared for college and life beyond.
Each TSAO member school offers a wide range of experiences and traditions and each of them embody the highest standards of personal and academic excellence. As a group, TSAO offers access to comprehensive information about unique benefits of the boarding school.
The 10 schools TSAO represent include Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut; Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts; The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania; The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut; The Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey; The Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut; Phillips Academy- Andover in Andover, Massachusetts; Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire; St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire; and The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut.
The events offer an opportunity for parents and students to talk to the admissions staff of the schools and learn more about the unique aspects each school offers.
“All TSAO schools believe in finding families and students who never would have thought boarding school would have been of interest or an option to them,” says Jeff Beaton, Chief Enrollment Manager at Choate Rosemary Hall. “We understand that parents or guardians allowing a student to attend boarding school and living away from home earlier than they would have thought takes incredible trust and openness.”
It’s TSAO’s goal to share the benefits of boarding school and how it can be a transformative experience for students who want more opportunities to engage in their academic and extracurricular life.
“We want students from different backgrounds and perspectives,” Beaton adds. “A student’s culture coming from the Midwest is very different than someone from New England, California, or Singapore and it is important for all of our schools to have the Midwest perspective in our communities.”
Most students from the Midwest do not know about boarding school or it is not something that is top of mind when thinking about high school opportunities. TSAO schools are places of difference—opinion, culture, background experience, Beaton says. Students from the Midwest bring a completely different perspective that is important when creating a community.
Each school that is part of TSAO offers students a unique experience. Choate is a forward thinking, innovative school that allows for its students to be their authentic selves in a community where they feel supported yet challenged to step outside their comfort zone. The school encourages students to bring their interests and passions, but they shouldn’t be defined solely on who they are as a 13- or 14-year-old.
“We want them to explore, make mistakes, have an open mind and growth mindset, and try things they would have never tried to truly understand their strengths, weaknesses, and interests as they head into the future,” says Beaton. “Choate wants to prepare its students not just for college or university but for life. Our goal is to instill true life-long learning.”
Amanda Bohnsack is Director of Admission at Deerfield Academy, an independent boarding school founded in 1797. The school’s student body includes 655 students from 36 states and 47 countries. Bohnsack says Deerfield and the other TSAO schools value the learning that is fostered on campus when students bring a wide variety of life experiences along with common values around education to the classroom.
“Students from the Midwest represent a wonderful part of our country and bring their own experiences, passions, and viewpoints to our campuses,” Bohnsack says. “We’ve had so many terrific families from the Chicago area who bring their incredible work ethic, humility, and curiosity to our campuses— that’s why we keep coming back.”
The Ten Schools Admission Organization events will be held on September 17 at 4 p.m. at Lake Forest Country Day School in Lake Forest, and September 18 at 7 p.m. at Catherine Cook School in Chicago. For more information and to register, visit tenschools.org.