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JUNE 2017





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

regularly cited.

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

evaluate quickly!

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-

lar 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. 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 Consulate

Mumbai. He and his family are now in Beijing. The complete article appeared in the June 2016 FSJ .




Applying to Boarding School: Lessons Learned