Boarding Schools

Boarding Schools For Troubled Youth

What are Boarding Schools?

Many people have asked us, what are boarding schools? In this article we will discuss specifically what boarding schools for troubled youth are. There are several different types of boarding schools, but almost all boarding schools have the students reside on campus and provide academics to those individuals. Keep reading to learn more about boarding school options for troubled youth, military boarding schools, all-girls or all-boys boarding schools, and more.

What are the different types of Boarding Schools?

College-Preparatory Boarding Schools – these schools specialize in preparing students for college or more likely university. A college-preparatory boarding school is good for students whose goal is to achieve academic superiority. Classes tend to be typically smaller than public schools. College-preparatory boarding schools are not appropriate for students who struggle with drugs or alcohol or have emotional or behavioral problems and thus would not be a good option for troubled youth. College-prep boarding schools typically have a traditional academic school year. Some college-prep boarding schools specialize in different areas such as:

  • All-boys or all-girls boarding schools – more boarding schools are moving away from the single sex boarding schools, but there are still several out there. These schools are good for students who do not want the opposite sex distraction.
  • Military boarding schools – these boarding schools add the military structure while preparing students for college. See Military Schools.
  • Creative Arts Boarding Schools – these boarding schools teach and prepare students for specialized careers such as musicians, actors, creative writers, and dancers. These schools are good for students who are artistically inclined and who plan to attend a specialized college, university, or music conservatory.
  • Christian Boarding Schools – these boarding schools include a religious component to their schooling. These schools are good for students who want to make sure that religion is part of their life while at school.

Junior Boarding Schools – these boarding schools are for student who are in 8th grade or lower. Some junior boarding schools do provide living acommodations while others, especially for younger elementary school aged children, may be strictly a day school that doesn not keep kids over night. A junior boarding school may take troubled youth or youth that need some specific direction. With focused curriculum and 24 hour a day supervision, these schools are designed to help boys and girls learn and grown not only academically but also socially and emotionally. At a junior boarding school children will learn responsibility and learn how to make good choices.

Therapeutic Boarding Schools – also known as Residential Treatment Centers – these boarding schools add a therapy component. Therapeutic boarding schools are designed specifically to provide structure, discipline, and supervision for toubled youth dealing with substance abuse issues, learning difficulties, or behavioral problems that keep them from leading a normal, productive life. As with any boarding school, potential candidates and their families will want to research the school and staff in-depth to find out if the school is accreditated and if the teacher and staff are certified to other the kind of care and/or treatment that will be required by the troubled youth.

Specialty Boarding Schools – also known as Behavior Modification Schools – These schools specialize in students who are having emotional and behavioral problems and having a difficult time in a traditional school setting, but do not necessarily require therapy. These schools are typically long term and have a major emphasis on character building for troubled teens. Specialty boarding schools are usually year-round schools. Speciality boarding schools can also be any boarding school that has a major area of focus religion, arts, military, or any other special interest.

How much do Boarding Schools cost?

Boarding schools costs range from under $2,000 to over $6,000 a month. Because most boarding schools include academics, they qualify for educational loans like those offered from PrepGATE or SalleMae. Some boarding schools may offer financial aid, scholarships, or other tuition assistance programs. Boarding school costs are going to vary a great deal depending on the type of program they offer.

Programs For Troubled Teens

Finding The Right Treatment Program

Finding the right treatment program is critical to the success of your teen’s recovery. For severe cases of defiance, drug use, or behavior disorders we recommend gathering resources and meeting with your local therapist. Gather as much information as possible using the web, friends, family, or church groups. We’ve never heard that any one was too prepared. Read on to learn more about what questions to ask and information to research to find the best treatment program for your struggling teen.

Through the process of gathering information please keep in mind that there is no such thing as a quick fix to these problems. Your teen’s behavior problems didn’t happen overnight and it won’t be fixed overnight. Some residential treatment centers or teen help boarding schools have average stay lengths of 12 months or more. This ensures a lasting change in the troubled teen behavior, not just a temporary fix that will only last until the teen gets back into his/her regular environment.

There are several things to keep in mind if you are considering teen help schools or treatment centers:

  • Will the school or program provide my teen the proper therapy, if needed? If your teen is already meeting with a therapists you may want his/her therapist to talk with the potential therapist to make sure he/she will be able to help your teen with the specific issues that are going on. Along with this, find out how long the therapist has been practicing, what type of training/education, and other qualifications the therapist has to help troubled youth and if possible have your teen meet with the therapist to ensure that they are a good fit. The success of the therapy can be influenced by the kind of rapport the therapist and patient are able to establish.
  • Is the teen help treatment center licensed (specialty boarding schools are typically not required to hold licensing as they don’t provide therapy)? Making sure they are licensed tells you that they are meeting certain established guidelines for acceptable discipline and treatment of your teen. There are many horror stories of teen treatment programs that have reportedly abused teens in their programs. Find out as much information as possible about how long they have been in business, how many complaints of abuse have been reported, etc. Check to see if the business is licensed through the state or Department of Health and Human Services.  Find out about living conditions, diet and nutrition, and the environment they will be exposed to. There are several independent, non-profit organizations that do accreditation for mental health programs and providers, some of these include: the Joint Commission (JACHO), the Council on Accreditation (COA), and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Check with these organizations to see if the teen help programs you are interested in are listed with them.
  • Does the treatment program or specialty school have an aftercare/follow up program? If so, for how long after successful completion? Finding a program that will help your teen transition back to his/her home, school, and regular environment is a big part of preventing relapse. For many teens it is easy to make big changes in a controlled environment but when they go back to the same setting and friends they were around before it is hard for them to maintain those changes. Some programs offer services to help the teen make that transition without falling back into old habits and problems.
  • Is the staff properly licensed/trained? We talked about this a little before regarding therapy but it is a good idea to know what kind of emergency medical training the staff has, what kind of teaching credentials the educators have, and what kind of background checks are done on all employees of the facility to ensure they are not hiring people with a history of violence and/or abuse. You need to know that your teen will be protected and helped in a safe environment.
  • It is always recommended to walk through the teen help facility before placement. If you can’t do it – try to send someone in your place. If you are able to tour the facility, visit as many areas as possible. See where the teens sleep, eat, spend their free time. Even tour the kitchen facility to make sure it is clean, well stocked, and suitable for the number of people housed at the facility. Check out the shower facilities to make sure they are clean and provide adequate safety and privacy. Find out how bullying is prevented and handled – on the occasion that it does occur.
  • Once you find a facility that you feel is a good choice for you and your teen, always ask for references from other parents who have made the same decision. Find out the pros and cons. How long their teen was there, how long the teen has been out of the program, and how successful they felt the recovery was. Ask about any complaints they, or their teen, have about how he/she was treated and the overall success of the program. You may also want to find out what type of communication you will have with your teen while in the program. Will you be allowed to see or talk to your teen? What about email, texting, regular mail, or other forms of communication. It is comforting to be able to talk to your teen from time to time to make sure their basic needs are being met and that they are not being mistreated. Remember, they may not be “happy” but as long as they are not being mistreated, they are likely doing okay. Making hard chances is bound to cause some discomfort and unhappiness but there is no excuse for abuse. Also find out if there were any promises made that did not happen, make sure the program is offering what they say they are.
  • Does the teen help school or treatment center have verified statistics showing that they are experienced in helping troubled teens? Don’t just take their word for it. Find out about outside 3rd party services that have reviewed the program and verified the success stories. It is easy to make up statistics or fake testimonials that sound good but having the facts to support those statistics is another thing.

As you can see, finding the right treatment program for your troubled teen is not a quick, simple process. It is going to take some time and research. But remember you are investing a lot of money and making a life-changing decision that can have life-long effects for your teen. Simply choosing the one treatment program closest to home or cheapest in price is not likely to provide the best results. Having done all the research and checking will help you rest assured that you have made the right choice even when your teen is saying he/she hates you and you have ruined his/her life. When you are confident in the choice you make you will have the strength to endure the hard times knowing the end result will be worth it!

Boot Camps

The Juvenile Boot Camp Debate

The use of the term “teen boot camp” is still being debated. The media tend to focus on the “in your face” element of teen boot camps — the element that professionals who work with teens like the least.

Dr. MacKenzie, who has been studying adult boot camps since 1987, holds that defining the term “boot camp” has been a major issue and remains one. Her 1991 survey of adult boot camps (MacKenzie and Souryal, 1991) found some common boot camp characteristics, including:

1. A military-style environment.
2. Separation of boot camp participants from regular prison inmates when they are housed in collocated facilities.
3. The participants’ perception that boot camp is an alternative to a longer term of confinement.
4. Some hard labor.

The most noteworthy finding from Dr. MacKenzie’s survey, however, was that boot camp programs differ widely, particularly with regard to the amount of time participants spend in therapeutic activity and in the aftercare they are provided.

The definition of teen boot camps given by OJP in its Fiscal Year 1995 Corrections Boot Camp Initiative: Violent Offender Incarceration Grant Program includes the following elements:

1. Participation by nonviolent offenders only (to free up space in traditional facilities for violent felony offenders, i.e., those who have used dangerous weapons against another person, caused death or serious bodily injury, or committed serious sex offenses).
2. A residential stay of 6 months or less.
3. A structured schedule stressing discipline, physical training, and work.
4. Participation by juveniles in appropriate education opportunities, job training, and substance abuse counseling or treatment.
5. Provision of aftercare services that are coordinated with the program that is provided during the period of confinement.

In the 90s the military-style boot camps became popular. Several daytime talk shows like Dr. Phil showed uniformed men yelling at and intimidating teens and adolescents into behaving in the way they wanted them to. The problem with this type of boot camp is that the teen was learning to behave in a particular fashion when in a controlling and intimidating environment. They were not learning how to make good decisions in the environment they would return to upon leaving the camp. Because the scope of this type of boot camp was so limited, long-term change in the participants was often very limited. Coercing a teen to behave through fear and intimidation is not likely to change any core beliefs or teach them any life skills that will help them in the daily challenges they will face outside of the program.

Too many parents think that a boot camp will be a quick fix for negative behavior patterns that have developed over months or even years. Unless, or until, the juvenile learns to cope with and make consistent good choices in their regular environment, lasting changes are not likely to occur. Most of these behaviors have developed overtime as a method of adapting to and coping with life. Adolescence is, arguably, one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. Along with new types of responsibility and freedom comes many choices about behavior, friends, priorities, values, and how one will spend his/her free time. Most teens start looking to peers or role-models outside of their home and can be greatly influenced by these people. If a teen starts to identify with the “wrong crowd” and finds the belonging they are seeking they will likely follow the actions and behaviors of that crowd, even if it doesn’t coincide with the values and lifestyle they were raised with.

For parents that feel like their teen is out of control and don’t know where to turn for help, boot camp is one option; but remember that until the underlying concerns and issues the teen is dealing with are addressed, long-term change is unlikely. A good place to start is by simply talking to your teen. Try to understand the emotions and fears that are driving the undesired behavior and ask them if they are ready to make a change. Often the teen wants out but doesn’t know how to make the change. If they know they have the help, love, and support of a parent or trusted individual they can make radical change, without a boot camp or other program. If your teen does open up to you, be sure and follow through with the support they need. This may require changing schools, spending more time talking and listening to your teen to help them learn basic choice and accountability and decision making skills that will help him/her achieve desired results. Bad behavior is most often a cry for attention, providing adequate time and attention may be all that is needed. Consult with a therapist for professional counsel on what is the best option for the troubled teen in your life.

Residential Treatment Centers

Youth Program Life

Academics at the featured youth programs:
All students can earn high school credit while at these youth programs. Most of these youth programs are accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. Students are evaluated upon entrance to the youth program and then placed in an ambitious course of study. In order for the student to earn credit for a class and move to the next course at the youth program, each class must be passed at a level of 80% or better. Credits will transfer to any college, university, and local high school. Students can also earn a diploma directly from the youth program.

On and off grounds activities provide a proper balance of recreation, exercise, learning, personal development, and social opportunities. Initially all activities are on grounds. Over a period of time, students earn the privilege of participating in off grounds activities near the youth program. All of the youth programs are located where there are a variety of activities.

Behavior Modification-
High standards exist at all these youth programs. Inappropriate behavior at the youth program is confronted, given consequences, and redirected, while appropriate behavior is reinforced and rewarded. The Programs offer tight supervision around the clock. Each student follows a vigorous daily schedule and a firm set of rules at the youth program. A merit system is used at each youth program requiring each student to earn their status and privileges. As students advance, each level offers additional privileges motivating the student to work harder. The youth program becomes the testing ground to ascertain each student’s level of commitment toward changing past behavior.

Personal/Emotional Development-
At the youth program students participate daily in tightly-integrated Emotional Growth and Personal Development Courses. These courses effectively utilize resources such as: professional audio and video tapes, selective reading material, and daily progress review sessions. During these sessions, students begin to learn what is and what isn’t working in their lives and how to make necessary changes.

Student Seminars-
Students participate in a series of seminars specifically designed for each of these youth programs. While the student is completing their seminars, the parents are invited to parent seminars. Then students and parents are invited to attend effective Parent/Child Workshops. These are designed to assist each family in rebuilding the family unit and become the foundation for the After-Care Program.

Misconceptions of these youth programs-
These youth programs often get confused with “tough love” options such as teen boot camps, juvenile boot camps, military schools, and wilderness programs. These specialty boarding schools and treatment centers are effective in helping troubled teens with behavior and conduct disorders. We do not promote youth boot camps, juvenile boot camps, military schools, or wilderness programs as they have not been proven to be as effective as these treatment centers and boarding schools.

Boarding Schools

Christian Boarding Schools

Introduction to Christian Boarding Schools

Many Christian boarding schools are simply college preparatory private residential schools with a faith affiliation. They may provide a classical education, adding Latin and Bible studies to the list of core classes, and they often serve the high school grades (9–12) or middle school and high school (7–12). Christian boarding schools with a college preparatory bent have many denominations, including the following:

• Baptist
• Calvinist
• Eastern Orthodox
• Episcopal,
• Free Methodist
• Moravian
• Non-denominational
• Presbyterian
• Roman Catholic (including spiritualities linked to specific orders such as Augustinian and Dominican)
• Seventh Day Adventist
• Society of Friends/Quaker
• United Methodist

In Canada, you can find Anglican schools.

Various Types of Christian Boarding Schools

Christian boarding schools come in a number of different types. While some people may think of Christian boarding schools as college prep schools, with an emphasis on academics and faith, while there are many such schools, there are other possibilities.

One of the other types of Christian boarding school is the Christian military academy. Many of the US military boarding schools have a faith affiliation, though this is not always clear from their names. Many are non-denominational, while some are explicitly Episcopalian, Methodist, or Presbyterian.

There are also Christian therapeutic boarding schools, designed to help teens with a variety of issues in a therapeutic setting that is overtly Christian as part of its philosophy. If a child has grown up in a faith-filled environment and/or takes his or her faith seriously, choosing a faith-linked program can help support the child when he or she needs help. As with Christian college preparatory schools and Christian military schools, Christian therapeutic boarding schools may have a particular sect affiliation—for example, Evangel House Christian Academy is affiliated with the Assemblies of God—though many are non-denominational.

Choosing a Christian Boarding School

The type of Christian boarding school that might be helpful to a particular student will depend greatly on what kind of help is needed. For example, if the student was born outside of the United States and needs ESL support, this can be provided in a variety of Christian academic settings, including Randolph-Macon Academy, a military academy that do not have any therapeutic element. A child with an eating disorder, however, may require a therapeutic setting with a specialty in that particular issue, and the non-denominational Christian Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating Disorders might be an appropriate placement. For a defiant teen, parents should look not at a military academy, but at a therapeutic school with that focus, because military academies—Christian and otherwise—are not accredited for nor licensed to provide therapeutic treatment, but rather focus on academic excellence and leadership skills.

Because not every Christian boarding school is clearly identifiable by its name, it is useful to avoid assumptions and/or to use sources, such as accrediting agencies, The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP), and Boarding School Review to help

Boarding Schools

Boarding Schools For Girls

Boarding schools for girls can be either all-girls boarding schools or coeducational boarding schools. This article reviews boarding school basics, the pros and cons of boarding schools for girls, and how to find a boarding school for your daughter.

What Is a Boarding School for Girls?

Boarding schools come in many shapes and sizes, some of which may be surprising to you. While many people are well aware of private boarding schools, did you know that there are public boarding schools? Public boarding schools were first established in the nineteenth century to serve particular populations, including orphans from the Civil War and young people who were hard-of-hearing, deaf, had low-vision, or were blind. In the twentieth century, a spate of public boarding schools for gifted and talented students opened, many having a focus in science, math, and/or the arts. The charter schools known as SEED (Schools for Educational Evolution and Development) are also public boarding schools.

Private boarding schools, too, are of many different types. There are stateside boarding schools and international boarding schools, college preparatory schools, military academies, sports-focused boarding schools, subject-area-focused boarding schools, and therapeutic boarding schools, and any of these may be all-girls or coeducational. There are also 5-day boarding schools and 7-day boarding schools, and one boarding school (Think GLOBAL) that holds classes in a different country every trimester, so that by the time students graduate high school, they have lived in 12 countries. Aside from therapeutic boarding schools, which aim to assist a student with problems or issues while keeping up academics, all of these types of boarding schools aim to provide an elite level of academics, qualifying their students for acceptance into the top colleges and universities.

Pros and Cons of Boarding Schools for Girls

Boarding schools for girls can provide a top-quality education for a girl who is academically gifted and ready to move out of her family home and accept the responsibilities and discipline of making her own way. Young women who lack discipline, are struggling academically, or are experiencing other social or emotional issues may be assisted by a therapeutic boarding school, or one of the other types of boarding schools only if it is well-equipped to support her. Shy, private girls who need time to themselves or who prefer to live at home are likely to find boarding school a challenge, if not an impediment.

Finding a Boarding School for Your Daughter

Your state’s student assistance corporation or the guidance office of your daughter’s current school may be able to provide catalogs and search materials to start you off. If you are doing an Internet search, try these sites:

-The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) lists boarding school networks, which often provide a searchable school directory, here:
-Boarding School Review has a search tool that lets you use some well-conceived filters to narrow your search here:
-National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) provides a search for licensed and accredited therapeutic schools and programs here:

Boarding Schools

Boarding School For Boys

Boarding schools for boys can be either all-boys boarding schools or coeducational boarding schools. This article reviews the basics of boarding schools for boys, including the pros and cons and how to find a boarding school for your son.

What Is a Boarding School for Boys?

The boarding schools for boys that most people are familiar with are the boys-only and co-educational schools generally called college preparatory schools (or college prep schools) and military academies. These schools have a long tradition of educating academically gifted students and helping ensure them a chance to go to the most highly-regarded colleges and universities through the employment of highly-qualified staff, maintaining small class sizes, providing the opportunity to participate in elite-level sports training and competition in well-appointed facilities.

Public boarding schools, present in the United States since the late nineteenth century, are less well-known. Originally organized to educate children orphaned by the Civil War or experiencing difficulty with hearing or sight, public boarding schools in the twentieth century made a move to provide top-level education to public school students with gifts in the areas of science, mathematics, and the arts.

Other types of boarding schools for boys include schools in which academic focus shares pride of place with focus on participating in a particular sport, for example, ski racing, on an elite level, as well as private boarding schools with a subject area focus-whether science and math, the arts, or sustainability-and boarding schools for boys that combine an academic program with a therapeutic program designed to assist and treat with problems ranging from learning disabilities to mood disorders to substance abuse to destructive, self-destructive, or defiant behaviors.

Pros and Cons of Boarding Schools for Boys

Academically-focused boarding schools for boys can provide a fine education and promote acceptance at a top college or university for a boy who is very good in school, self-disciplined, and prepared for independence and the responsibilities of leading his life away from his family. Young men who are troubled or struggling would not do well in these settings, including the military boarding schools, which are-overall-not designed for the student having academic or other difficulties. Such students may, however, benefit a great deal from a well-chosen, licensed and accredited therapeutic boarding school setting.

Finding a Boarding School for Your Son

The student assistance corporation in your state or the guidance department of your son’s current school may be able to provide information and assistance in helping you seek out a boarding school for your son. If you are searching on the Web, these sites may be helpful:

-The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) lists boarding school networks, which often provide a searchable school directory, here:
-Boarding School Review has a search tool that lets you use some well-conceived filters to narrow your search here:
-National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) provides a search for licensed and accredited therapeutic schools and programs here: