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Boarding Schools in Canada: What You Need to Know

boarding schools in canadaMore and more Canadian high school students are taking advantage of the opportunity to enroll in boarding school. In fact, 4,666 boarding students were enrolled in member schools of the Canadian Association of Independent Schools in 2008-2009. Currently, boarding schools are available in eight of the 10 Canadian provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. But a Canadian boarding school education is anything but provincial.

Types of Boarding Schools in Canada
Canada offers college prep boarding schools and junior boarding schools that are either single-sex or coed. Some Canadian boarding schools are religiously affiliated, typically with the Anglican or Roman Catholic Church. Therapeutic boarding schools are available as well, including one military school: Robert Land Academy, an all-boys' boarding school in Ontario. Rather than being split into two semesters, many boarding schools in Canada are non-semestered, which means students take the same set of courses throughout the entire school year.

One way to ensure a Canadian boarding school is top-notch is to check its accreditation status. Some of the best schools have earned accreditation by the Canadian Educational Standards Institute (CESI), a nonprofit organization that accredits independent schools. CESI is the only internationally recognized school accreditation agency in Canada. At minimum, each boarding school must be accredited by its province's ministry or department of education.

Rules and Regulations
Each Canadian province has its own education regulations. Students are required to attend school until the age of 16 in most provinces, except in Ontario and New Brunswick, where students must attend until age 18. Education in both English and French is available in most provinces; French language instruction is required in Quebec's public schools. Many of the boarding schools in Canada have a formal dress code.

Some boarding schools require students to take the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT), Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE), or a school-specific exam for admission. These exams usually consist of an essay and multiple-choice reading, verbal, and math sections. Once admitted, Canadian boarding school students and families can expect to pay anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 per year for tuition and fees. At most schools, financial aid is available.

Boarding Schools in Quebec
If you're from Quebec, you know that you may graduate from high school upon successful completion of the Grade 11 (Secondary V) year. After that, you may choose to attend Quebec CEGEP, a two-year college subsidized by the Quebec government. But many boarding schools in Quebec offer another option - a Grade 12, pre-university year. Grade 12 typically provides Advanced Placement courses in an intensive university preparatory program. Plus, by attending a private boarding school in Canada, Québécois have the option of learning in English, being exempt from the province's requirement to attend a French school through high school. 

When you live in Canada, secondary education options are limited only by your imagination. Find your Canadian boarding school today.