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People Are Sharing Their Honest Opinions About Boarding School After Attending, And It's Pretty Eye-Opening

"The number of people I knew on financial aid and full rides greatly outweighed the super-wealthy."

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Boarding school is one of those things that you have probably heard of, but no one really understands unless you've been to one yourself. So, we decided to ask the BuzzFeed community about their honest experiences with boarding school, and their responses were enlightening.

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Here's what they shared:

1. "Many of us didn't get in trouble because we didn't have time. Six hours of practice PER DAY (or writing, or making art if that was your major), in addition to a full schedule of punishing, college-level academics, three hours of homework minimum, AND extra classes in your art area that would often go late into the evening..."


"They scheduled social events and teachers held evening 'tutorials' (like a movie in French for French class), and we got a breather day in the middle of the week that we spent catching up on practice, homework, more arts/rehearsals, and private meetings with teachers if they felt you needed coaching on your work."


2. "We learned to stick to a proper schedule to stay on top of homework, we made our beds every morning, had to sort our own laundry, iron our uniforms (shocking number of boys didn't have the slightest clue otherwise), learned basic cooking, etc."


3. "People always ask me if it was like Hogwarts. Minus the witchcraft and wizardry, there were quite a few similarities! For example, my school was split into societies. You would then spend a week leading up to spring break competing in tournaments, such as wrestling, diving, and other sports..."

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"The final night, students from each society would perform a monologue and whoever won usually won the entire competition! It provided so many awesome memories and I will forever be proud of my school."


4. "Most people think I got 'sent away' to boarding school because I’d been a bad, bad girl. In fact, I was dying to go. It was basically like being at sleep-away camp all year long, except with classes instead of activities. When fall rolled around, I couldn't wait to go back to school. Boarding school was some of the best years of my life, where I made the best friends of my life. Even 20+ years later, I still consider my boarding school friends my family."

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5. "It was an all-girls school, so while they freaked out about boys on the premises, we had a surprising amount of privacy among ourselves. Pretty sure they would’ve been shocked about the amount of same-sex experimentation going on!"

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6. "Honestly, it was closer to prison than anything else. My family lives overseas and my grandparents unfortunately passed away before I was 15 (who were my relatives in the country), so I was there all. The. Time. Everyone else would be able to leave on the weekends and go home, or see family, and I would just be left mainly alone. It was seriously crap!"

"Also, my school was for seriously affluent families, but I was on a scholarship and a siblings discount, but the wild parties and money-gets-you-out-of-anything attitudes that you often see on TV and movies is, in some cases, eerily accurate. Especially if a family is a school sponsor or benefactor! Money rules."


7. "Fun story on the food: there was a prison not too far — a bad one. Both my school and the prison used the same catering company. The food was graded and although the prison got grade D, we got grade F, so we were literally fed worse than rapists and murders at one of the country's most expensive schools."

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8. "Houseparents were a huge presence, so it's a bit weird when I don't see one in TV or films."


9. "At my boarding school, because you lived there, staying ‘after school’ for detention wasn’t exactly much of a punishment. Instead, you were given a number of days of ‘sign-ins’ where you had to be up and signing a book in the deputy headmistress's office at 7 a.m."

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10. "Day students and boarding students are considered to be socially separate. It would be rare for a boarding student to be 'accepted' into a day student’s social circle."


"I think the actual divide was because some day pupils had zero interest in what boarders were up to, and some boarders barely paid attention to day pupils. Nothing malicious, though. Just simply a lack of interest from either side in each other."


11. "Any time you leave your dorm room, you need to sign a form stating when you left, where you were going, and when you would be back. Violations resulted in you being 'grounded' to the dorms on a weekend day and could even progress to probation. Definitely no sneaking out for parties or with friends!"

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12. "People who lived in the town knew who the students were and would call the school and report you if they saw you drinking or smoking, which would result in suspension or expulsion. We also had dorm parents and curfews, and the school was extremely old with creaky floors, so it was hard to sneak around. That’s not to say we didn’t occasionally sneak a little liquor in on the weekends and party (quietly). Also, we had ugly uniforms and the food really sucked. Not to mention weekly chapel meetings."

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13. "The hardest part was the institutionalization. When you live with your family, your parents can make rules that are right for you as an individual. They can give you an excuse to get out of school sports, or you can have a mental health day away from school if you need it. When you’re living in an institution, you don’t get those personal allowances, you just have to follow those one-size-fits-all rules. That can be pretty tough — you start to feel kind of invisible. Like your individuality doesn’t matter."

"I don’t think I enjoyed it much at the time, but I’m weirdly nostalgic about it now. The living accommodations weren’t particularly luxurious, but the old buildings were lovely and the grounds were humongous. Most of the girls were the daughters of farmers and graziers who didn’t have access to great schools in the outback. I was nowhere near as rich as most of the students, but I don’t remember feeling like it made a difference."


14. "It’s not a big happy family in the dorms. The girls' dorm was full of drama, sometimes even required faculty involvement to defuse situations."


15. "I went to boarding school for high school. The first misperception is that it was a behavioral decision. I went to a prestigious school, it wasn’t like military school. We didn’t have proms or homecoming (I still don’t even get what homecoming is), but fun was had nonetheless..."

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"We learned a great deal of independence, traveled, met students from around the world. It was very casual, no letter grades and very art-centric. I had large dorm rooms every year and great classes. I will say the rich kids tended to be messed up and they did a lot of drugs. You can make lifetime friends there, it really just depends on the type of boarding school."


16. "I went to middle school for two years and then a boarding high school. Everyone thinks it’s just a bunch of rich kids doing drugs (there is some of that). But my school was stricter than my home life most of the time. I was busy usually from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and had Saturday classes."


17. "People always think that everyone was SO rich, and that must mean my family was so rich, when in fact, the number of people I knew on financial aid and full rides greatly outweighed the super-wealthy."

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18. "My thirst for reading led me to a novel about an all-girls boarding school and I remember how much I enjoyed reading about the wonderful adventures the characters had. Then one day at school, we were all called for an assembly to learn about boarding school! I applied without much expectation, as I didn't fully wrap my mind around what a tremendously life-changing chapter of my life I was about to enter..."

Priscilla Ramcharan

"I attended my first choice school in CT and just as I was fully supported back home in NJ, I was warmly welcomed, helped to settle in, and had such a helpful community to spend my high school years. Years later, I realized that I must have really enjoyed the novel about boarding school, because I certainly must have manifested my own incredible experience."

—Priscilla Ramcharan

19. "The dorms are usually hideous cinderblock buildings from the '70s, and a hall counselor inspects your room once a week for cleanliness and contraband. Ever see that on TV?"


Note: Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.

Did we miss any misconceptions? What surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments below!