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JUNE 2016





he reasons Foreign

Service parents

choose the board-

ing school route

are as varied as the

students themselves:

unsuitable school-

ing at post, special

needs support, gifted student opportuni-

ties and the need for stability have all

been regularly cited.

In my conversations with these

parents, one thing that most have in com-

mon is that boarding school was not part

of their child’s long-term education plan.

Something happened, and suddenly

boarding school was an option they

needed to evaluate quickly!

Such was the case with us when we

John F. Krotzer is a Foreign Ser-

vice family member and, most

recently, the community liaison

officer at Consulate Mumbai.

He and his family are heading

to Beijing for their next posting.

Applying to

Boarding School:

Lessons Learned

Boarding schools are a very important option for FS children.

Here are some tips on applying.


learned in 2014 that our next post was

going to be Beijing. While the interna-

tional schools there look great, the req-

uisite language programmy wife would

enter meant that our oldest daughter

would end up attending three different

schools during her last three years of high

school—a very unappealing proposition

to any teenager.

We jointly decided that boarding school

in the United States would be the best

option for her, and I began to quickly learn

as much as I could about the process.

I spoke with the State Department’s

Family Liaison Office and the Office of

Allowances, and I networked with as many

boarding school parents as I could find.

(The Facebook page “AAFSWBoard-

ing School Parents,” for which I am an

administrator, was unfortunately not yet

in existence, but is now a great network

and resource.) I also did a lot of research

online, particularly about the application

process and about college placement by

the schools that interested our daughter.

Ultimately, she applied to five schools

in New England, interviewed on campus

at each of them, and waited patiently. We

were very optimistic, as she was an honor

student with great grades, very strong test

scores and lots of extracurricular success.

To our surprise, she was admitted

to only one school and waitlisted at the

other four. Despite all of our research, we

discovered a number of key things about

the boarding school application process

too late. As a result, we experienced

several “aha” moments—some good, and

some not so good—over things we really

wish we had known about earlier.

While some of these discoveries are

more relevant to students applying to so-

called “elite” schools in the United States,

several are applicable to all types of

boarding schools worldwide. I hope a few

of these lessons will be helpful to those

in the Foreign Service thinking about

boarding school in the future.

“Need-Blind” vs. “Need-Aware”

We have all heard howmost colleges

are “need-blind” in admissions, mean-