Collegebound Network

Since 1987, America's Trusted Resource on Higher Education

Living and Learning at Semester Schools

semester schools for high school studentsIf you're a high school student who is motivated and passionate about learning, semester schools may be the perfect opportunity for you to get away and garner the experience of a lifetime.

Place-Based, Experiential Learning
College-bound juniors -  and some sophomores, seniors, and postgraduate students -- may apply for admission to one of about a dozen semester schools in the U.S. Many of these schools offer programs in-country; a few host programs abroad.

Semester schools combine communal living and traditional college-prep academics with hands-on education in such disciplines as marine ecology, organic farming, urban studies, visual arts, and others. The specialized curricula at semester schools are usually related to the school's location, enabling you to cultivate greater sensitivity to your surroundings.

At semester boarding schools, you will have the opportunity to develop academic knowledge and practical skills together through active participation in creative projects, intellectual discourse, and service learning. Recognizing that the mind and the spirit are interconnected, semester schools facilitate intellectual exploration along with self-reflection.

Living in Community
Semester boarding schools allow you to live and learn in a small community of diverse peers in a completely new environment. You may be accustomed to living away from home at boarding school, but semester schools offer a new experience altogether.

At semester schools, you will have unparalleled opportunities for individual instruction, intimate classes, and contact with teachers outside the classroom. In this setting of full-immersion, teachers truly function as academic and personal mentors.

As any boarding school student can affirm, living with peers and teachers heightens and personalizes the learning experience. In addition, the intimacy of semester schools lends itself to a strong need for teamwork, which helps you develop skills necessary for communication, leadership, and interpersonal accountability. Plus, semester boarding schools can take you away from the traditional high school hype and bring you back more mature and ready to finish high school and head off to college.

Practical Considerations
To gain admission to semester boarding schools, you'll need to demonstrate passion for learning through solid academic performance and extracurricular involvement. Needless to say, admission is competitive, and it comes with a price tag. Costs are comparable to a semester at boarding school, and financial aid is typically available.

Before you enroll in semester schools, make sure that the credits will transfer to your regular high school. If you're already in boarding school, rest assured that the majority of independent schools are already familiar and have worked with semester schools.

Ultimately, semester schools enrich the high school experience - even if you're already at boarding school. Much like college study abroad programs, semester schools provide the opportunity to experience different cultures and perspectives and broaden your own. It's an extraordinary opportunity to know yourself and the world around you more profoundly than ever before. Semester schools will propel you toward greater empathy, motivation, and self-determination.

Why wait until you're in college to experience the world? Learn more about semester schools, and find out if this life-changing opportunity is right for you.