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What's the Difference Between Private School and Boarding School?

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All boarding schools are private schools, but not all private schools are boarding schools. So, what are the main differences between them?

These two educational systems share a lot of similarities, but here are a few major aspects that set these schools apart and will provide students with unique experiences at each educational setting.

Lodging

The primary difference between boarding school and private school is where the students live during the school year. At boarding school, the students live in dormitories on campus, sometimes with teachers as dorm monitors. At regular private schools, students generally live in their own homes and commute to campus every day. Some boarding schools do have the option for students to live at home, but most generally decide to stay on campus.

Tuition & Fees

Because students are provided with dorm rooms and meal plans at the school, tuition and fees at boarding schools are typically going to be higher than those of private schools. Private schools still do charge several thousand dollars a year to attend, but it’s not quite as much as the amount that boarding schools charge. Both boarding schools and private schools do sometimes provide scholarships for gifted students who cannot afford the tuition.

Selectivity

Elite boarding schools are widely known to have low acceptance rates and admission is highly competitive. Most religion-affiliated private schools usually do not have a competitive admission process, but if the private school has an emphasis on math, science, or the arts, their acceptance rates will be lower. Boarding schools and private schools both place high importance on small class sizes because they believe that students will learn better in a more intimate environment.

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