The 3 Biggest Boarding School Myths Debunked

Whether it’s through popular culture or just general misinformation, the boarding school experience sometimes gets misrepresented. 

At Church Farm School in Exton, Pennsylvania, we’ve been providing a boarding school, college preparatory education and opportunities to young men for more than 100 years. 

So what are the three biggest boarding school myths? Let’s break them down...

“Boarding school is for kids who have no motivation.” 

Boarding school isn’t for students who need to get back on track. Boarding school, in most cases, is for students who are motivated to live and learn independently and prepare for college.  

Going to boarding school generally puts students at an advantage as it can provide exceptional academics alongside real-world preparedness through character development, self-discipline, competitive athletics, and many unique opportunities that aren’t available at most high schools. 

Church Farm School is for smart, highly motivated young men in grades 9-12. Our students are held to high standards academically and in regard to their conduct, participation in campus life, and self-management.

There is a business casual dress code, leveling the playing field as far as what students wear while also setting the stage for life outside of high school and college.

A typical Church Farm School graduate is passionate about learning and many of them have spent their middle school careers preparing for boarding school. Through the influences of academics and student organizations, chapel, campus athletics, and individual mentorship, they are well-rounded in mind, body, and spirit. They’ve been surrounded by a diverse student body with different perspectives and beliefs, making them compassionate citizens of the world. Because they’ve been held to a higher standard throughout high school, they continue to pursue excellence in college and careers.

Find out more about the Church Farm School boarding experience by downloading our parent guide.

“You live at school?  You must never get to do anything fun.”

Believe it or not, most boarding school students have very active social lives.

Boarding school provides a great opportunity to build meaningful friendships and mentorships, as students live together, learn together, and grow together, and there are plenty of things to do for fun!

Church Farm School students have events scheduled every weekend of the school year, including dances, performances, ski trips, and trips to New York City and Washington, D.C. Events are also planned on campus such as video game nights and pick-up sports activities. Students can always travel home on the weekends (with permission) except during All School Weekends.

Weekdays and weeknights keep students busy from 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. with classes, meals, extracurricular activities, athletics, and evening study hall. At Church Farm, dormitories are cottages with 18 boys in each, and cottage life becomes family life, with movie nights, special dinners, and birthday celebrations. Each cottage has a movie room or game room for downtime with friends.

Church Farm students enjoy a sprawling 150-acre campus, which is conveniently located in Exton, Pennsylvania, not too far from the major metropolitan areas of New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

We’re always working to improve the Church Farm student experience and we’ve recently completed some campus renovations, including our new Buck Family Center for the Arts, which features a ceramics studio, digital photo lab, music tech classroom, and woodworking room. 

“You go to boarding school? Your family must be really rich.”

Yes, a boarding school education can sometimes cost as much as a college education, but some boarding schools offer financial aid, scholarships, and other tuition assistance, making the experience possible rather than impossible. 

Part of Church Farm School's mission is making our boarding school experience accessible. We award financial aid to a wide range of incomes, as we consider a family's household finances and expenses when calculating awards. Even if a family isn’t sure they would qualify for financial aid, we always encourage them to apply.

Our tuition costs include fees, books, room and board, meals, and the provision of a laptop computer. Incidental costs may include trip fees, music lessons, laptop insurance and weekly allowance. 

Ukashah Shabazz, a Church Farm School graduate of the class of 2015 says, “What made me choose CFS was that it didn't feel like any other place. I didn't find the stereotypes of boarding school here and it felt so refreshing in comparison to the other places I visited. At CFS I was able to find a community that I connected with intrinsically because the uniqueness of the school community and student body reflected my own unique values and perspectives.” 

Can you see your son thriving at an all-boys boarding school? Visit Church Farm School -- in-person or virtually -- and see what our boarding school experience is all about!
The Church Farm School is an independent boarding and day school for boys in grades 9-12 located in Exton, PA. Founded in 1918 to provide an excellent education to young men from limited means, Church Farm School now serves boys from a range of socio-economic circumstances who are seeking an extraordinary educational opportunity. The school offers a challenging college preparatory curriculum and an exceptional level of personal attention, with class sizes averaging between just 7 and 12 students.