THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
he reasons Foreign
choose the board-
ing school route
are as varied as the
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.
Boarding schools are a very important option for FS children.
Here are some tips on applying.
BY JOHN F. KROTZER
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-