Boarding school shows or university fairs are an effective and efficient way to do your initial research. You can find out more about a British boarding school or university education and what to expect. They are a great way to talk to a range of boarding schools or UK universities face-to-face, without flying to the UK. You will be able to talk to lots of boarding school or university options in one place, without the hours of travel from one school or university to another.
Here are a few tips from our team of expert British education consultants on how to prepare and hence how to make the most of the time you have invested in attending. You can also use some of the questions below for reference when you are talking to boarding schools or universities at the show.
If you’re looking for further education advice and guidance, feel free to get in touch with our friendly team.
Which boarding schools or universities are attending?
Not all will be there. Look at the event or show website and do some research on the boarding schools or UK universities that will be in attendance by looking at their websites and/or reading reviews from parents and alumni.
How academic are they for entry?
There are both selective and recruiting boarding schools and universities. It is important to match your academic aspirations with the schools and universities you plan to apply to. It’s important to challenge yourself to achieve the very best grades you can, aiming for a place at as academic a boarding school or university as possible, but also be realistic in your range of options that make your shortlist. Have some challenging options as well as at least one backup option.
Should I take a boarding school league table or university league table with me?
No. Keep an open mind so you don’t miss out on some great options which you may never have heard of. Researching boarding schools or universities at a show is about talking face-to-face with people at the event, who are experts in their field. They will answer your questions, straight from the horse’s mouth. Use this opportunity to grow your knowledge of the sector, so keep an open mind. You may meet someone who inspires you to try a course you have never heard of or to look at boarding schools outside your initial search area of London and the South. This will enable you to make more informed decisions on which boarding schools or universities to add to your shortlist for further research after the event.
What type of boarding house structure or university accommodation options are offered?
Boarding schools sometimes have a different boarding house for each year, with your child moving each year or two. Housemistress/masters will change each time they move. Some boarding schools have a family approach to boarding with children of all ages in one boarding house and your child keeps the same pastoral support team throughout their time at school. Some boarding schools offer in-house dining and others a central cafeteria system. Ask about the structure of boarding at the schools you talk to and start to get a feel for your preference for your family.
Some universities have a collegiate approach to accommodation, more like a boarding school. Others have halls of residence for year one. Researching accommodation and location is an important part of deciding on the right university for you. Have you been to the UK before and hence, might a more supported accommodation approach be a better way to build confidence in a new country?
Where are they located?
If you plan to study there, how can you get there if you are flying to the UK from overseas or travelling from London by train? Do you prefer a city or more rural location, perhaps on a campus? Is the very large location in London the right one for you?
Do they offer the subjects or courses that you are interested in?
For a boarding school, what GCSE subjects are offered? Do they offer the IB, if you are interested in this as an alternative to studying A levels in the sixth form? For expert advice on choosing the right boarding school for sixth form study, as well as deciding to study IB or A levels, click here.
For university research, do they offer undergraduate courses and subjects you are interested in? What grades do you require for entry to these courses?
This part of your university research can be tricky as there is so much information about UK universities and courses on the internet. Our team of experts can assist you with choosing the right course for university, as well as steering you towards where to do your research without getting confused or bogged down in hours on Google. Click here to find out more.
Do they offer a certain sport or activity that you would like to nurture your talent in, or perhaps you’d like to try something new?
Boarding school or university is all about extending your life skills and making the most of new and exciting opportunities. It’s important to give some thought to what you plan to do outside the classroom or lecture theatre and ensure these are part of the programme offered by the boarding schools or universities you talk to. For example, if you’d like to learn to row, it helps to be located near a river with a boathouse and tuition in rowing nearby. Plenty of boarding schools and universities offer this, so research them well.
What school year can you join boarding school?
Should you join boarding school at age 11 or 13? What curriculum will you study at prep school, as a way to get the right teaching and opportunities to support your future school applications to top boarding schools via Common entrance, ISEB pre-test or via entry assessment and interview?
These are all important questions to ask and will vary depending on how old your child is, how many children you have and whether they are boys, girls or both. If you are an expat and are planning ahead for when your current employment contract comes to an end, choosing to educate your children in a boarding school in the UK can avoid worrying about mid-year transitions or a last-minute panic over a return to the UK. The more time you allow ahead of choosing boarding, the more choice you will have for your school options.
How can our team of British education consultants help you
Planning when to join boarding school can be confusing, so it is important to remember you’re not alone and to ask for help. Please get in touch so we can help you plan the best route and option for your child and family.