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Mixing it Up: Why Diversity is Key for Boarding Schools

Boarding schools celebrate diversity of all kinds, whether it be of religion, race, socioeconomic status, cultural background, athletic ability, national origin, hobbies… the list is endless. These also happen to be the ingredients for the best learning experiences, in which students learn not only from their teachers but also from each other.

When it comes to diversity, international students are a valued part of the equation, and many institutions have robust international programs to support them. Studying in another country enables students to learn about other cultures and, in the process, they discover more about themselves. At the end of four years, students graduate with a broadened perspective, cross-cultural understanding, and a global network of friendships to last a lifetime.

Here is a look at how different campuses embrace diversity:

Religious Diversity

Boarding schools with faith are rooted in tradition while welcoming students of all religious backgrounds. Exposure to different belief systems is a valuable experience that fosters acceptance and teaches a strong sense of values.

Episcopal High School was founded in 1839 by the neighboring Virginia Theological Seminary to prepare young men to enter the seminary. Episcopal is now coed and carries on the traditions of faith, ethical leadership, and spiritual growth. Episcopal invites and welcomes students from all religious backgrounds.

Saint John’s Preparatory School provides education based in Benedictine values, which can be applicable to all students regardless of their religious background. Students from around the globe come together as a school that emphasizes community, hospitality, citizenship, and integrity.

Diversity of Offerings

The Mountain Campus Semester Program  at Burr and Burton Academy is a unique and holistic educational opportunity. Each term, a small group of students comes together on the academy’s Mountain Campus to engage in a semester-long study of the surrounding landscape and community— its past, present, and potential for the future. Classes are blended with extensive fieldwork, local resources, and professionals to enhance the learning experience.

Diverse Leadership

Inspired by its motto “Learning Through Living”, Indian Springs School uses a democratic approach that lets students voice their diverse opinions. Attending this unique institution offers a taste of small town life and politics. A school constitution sets the rules and a weekly town hall meeting led by a student-elected mayor gives students a voice in shaping their community.

Global Diversity

The Winchendon School sets the bar high when it comes to welcoming students from around the world. These students are truly a multicultural bunch: 40% are international and hail from 20-22 different countries. Class sizes are capped at around seven, which gives plenty of opportunity for students to bring their diverse perspectives to classroom discussions.

Idyllwild Arts is another exemplary global institution; nearly 50% of students come from 36 countries to take part in the school’s outstanding artistic education.

Socioeconomic Diversity

Springdale Preparatory School opens its doors this year and aims to create an international community of students from all over the world to foster global education. Director of Admissions Glenn Singer elaborated: “It’s our intention to be an international, global community. We are going to be recruiting as such and doing it intentionally.” The school  welcomes students of all socioeconomic backgrounds and grants financial aid to 75% of students.

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