THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
he reasons parents chose the boarding school route
are as varied as the students themselves: unsuit-
able schooling at post, special needs support, gifted
student opportunities and the need for stability have all been
In my conversations with these parents, one thing that
most have in common 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
Such was the case with us when we learned in 2014 that
our next post was going to be Beijing.While the international
schools there look great, the requisite 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
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
“AAFSWBoarding School Parents,” for which I am an adminis-
trator, was unfortunately not yet in existence, but is now a great
network and resource.) I also did a lot of research online.
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 extracurricu-
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. I hope a few of these lessons
will be helpful to those in the Foreign Service thinking about
boarding school in the future.
John F. Krotzer is a Foreign Service family member and,
most recently, the community liaison officer at ConsulateMumbai. He and his family are now in Beijing. The complete article appeared in the June 2016 FSJ .
FROM JUNE 2016
Applying to Boarding School: Lessons Learned
BY JOHN F. KROTZER