Flourishing mind concept

Student Qualities Schools Are Looking for

What are the student qualities that boarding schools look for? There are several ways students can prepare and position themselves for optimum admission results. Connecting with a qualified education consultant, such as those affiliated with professional organizations like HECA is a great first step. Understanding who school admissions people are seeking to join their campus communities can go a long way toward admission success.

Quality #1: Maturity and Independence

Life at boarding school requires a good deal of independence and maturity on the student’s part. While there are dedicated teachers and faculty to help students, it is the students themselves who must make sure they work with their teachers and ask for help when needed. Boarding schools encourage students to be self-starters rather than the kind of students who sit back and wait for teachers to help them.

In the admissions interview, the interviewer may ask potential students if they are ready to take on independent work, and they may try to assess how mature students are. Students must take the initiative to step out of their comfort zone and try out a new activity or take a new class. Students must also be willing to meet new peers and be comfortable living with people they don’t already know.

Quality #2: An Appreciation for Diversity and Global Awareness

Today’s boarding school students have become more diverse and international. Boarding schools pull students from all over the world, and students in these schools should embrace diversity and a global outlook. High school is a time for students to explore other cultures and potentially study at a semester school. Students who can embrace different cultures and ways of living are better able to take on not only the rigors of college studies later but also life in an increasingly global and interconnected world. Boarding school admissions people are looking for their students to be open to different cultures.

Quality #3: Interest beyond the Classroom

As tomorrow’s leaders will have a global focus, today’s best students have a focus not only on the classroom but also on the world beyond. As discussed above, the best boarding school candidates embrace diversity and have a global perspective. They also have extracurricular interests that go beyond studying. For example, students may be interested in a particular sport or artistic endeavor that will help them adjust quickly to life at the boarding school and make new friends with whom they have something in common. These interests will also help ensure that a student is a good fit with a school.

The fit between the student and school is all-important. It means that the student is likely to do well and enjoy the school. Students who mesh well with their school will likely do well in the process of college admissions and beyond. So boarding schools are looking for students who are likely to fit in on their campus, perform well, and enjoy their time there.


When we consider student qualities that boarding schools look for, we may begin with the above as a basic, but essential short list—core qualities. Of course there are many variables to consider: individual school requirements, campus culture, potential for success, and so forth. These characteristics can only be discovered through careful research or physically visiting the various schools and experiencing in-person; or alternatively, enlisting the services of a professional consultant already familiar with the diversity of schools and individual admission requirements. Nonetheless, what we have here is a strong foundation for any student build on.