The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA

Middle School Boarding

Seven Benefits of Middle School Boarding

Many families know about boarding school, but they assume that this option is available only to students in grades 9 through 12. Junior boarding schools like Fay, where we have approximately 150 boarders in grades 7-9, offer younger students a boarding school experience tailored to their developmental needs that lays a broad foundation for the next steps in their educational journey.

1. A balanced approach

Many junior boarding schools employ a “whole-child” approach that addresses every aspect of student development, from classroom learning to physical and emotional well-being. Here at Fay, we focus on helping students learn how to be good students and good people: the academic curriculum is complemented by daily participation on athletic teams, music and art classes, opportunities to lead in community service and student government, and after-school clubs that include robotics, the student newspaper, songwriting, and contest math. Balance is a focus of the program. For example, personal cell phones are locked away for most of each day, and boarding students turn in their technology each evening so that they can fully immerse themselves in school life (and get a good night’s sleep!) without digital distractions.

2. Innovative curriculum and new perspectives

Junior boarding schools have the advantage of being able to design and implement a curriculum that challenges and inspires their students. In small classes, students learn to explore ideas from different perspectives, think critically, and develop their own interpretations of the material. Here at Fay, for example, our Upper School students find their voice in the annual Speech Competition, where each student writes and delivers a speech on a topic that is personally meaningful to them. 

3. A diverse student population

Students who attend junior boarding schools learn side-by-side with students and teachers from a wide range of ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. At Fay, our boarding students come from over 20 countries and 11 states across the United States. Our students have regular opportunities to participate in meaningful conversations about identity through our Community Connections program. Beloved school traditions like Taste of Nations give our students ways to celebrate the range of cultures in our community. Being part of an authentically diverse community at an early age helps children develop the empathy and understanding they will need to be part of an increasingly global society.

4. A Web of Support

At a junior boarding school, living on campus provides the bonus of allowing students to build meaningful connections with teachers, who also serve as their coaches, dorm parents, and advisors. Seventy-six percent of the faculty at Fay School hold master’s degrees in teaching or their subject area, and many are published authors and experts in their fields. Furthermore, they are middle school experts and know how to support and nurture adolescents’ developmental needs. 

5. Growing Independence

The junior boarding experience helps students become more responsible, well-organized, and independent with the support and supervision of dedicated dorm parents and advisors. At Fay, our boarders rise to the challenges of living away from home. When they move on to secondary school, they often find that the self-reliance, independence, and confidence that they developed here makes them better equipped to thrive in a high school boarding community than their peers.  

6. Weekend Fun!

There’s nothing boring about weekends at a junior boarding school. At Fay, our Residential Life Coordinator plans weekend activities on and off campus that take advantage of our proximity to Boston and our beautiful surroundings in rural New England. Whether students want to see a play in Boston, catch a New England Revolution soccer game, watch a movie, bake cookies, or spend the evening in the Art Studio with friends, there are plenty of options to choose from. Read more about our weekend programs here.

7. Expert secondary school counselors

After attending junior boarding school, many students go on to enroll in top secondary schools. The opportunity to expand their athletic and extracurricular talents, grow and learn in a multicultural environment, explore leadership opportunities, and develop strong academic skills make junior boarding students compelling candidates for selective secondary schools. At Fay, our dedicated team of four secondary school counselors works closely with parents to help them find schools that are a good match for their child. Our counselors also guide students as they write their applications and help them prepare for the all-important secondary school interview. (You can see the list of where our students attend secondary school here.)
The ultimate goal of any parent is to prepare his or her child for success, no matter what form that journey may take. Choosing to send your child to a top junior boarding school can be the perfect first step.

More Articles About Middle School Boarding

List of 3 news stories.

  • The Benefits of 5-Day Junior Boarding

    The five-day boarding option is one of junior boarding schools' best-kept secrets. It balances the routine and structure of boarding life during the week with the opportunity to connect with family and friends at home on the weekends. Five-day boarding can also be a great way to ease the transition for students planning to board in secondary school, as it allows them to develop essential self-management skills that will make them successful in high school and beyond.
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  • Packing for Boarding School - What Your Child Really Needs

    As any seasoned boarding student will tell you, there are always a few essential items that you'll need for boarding school. Here's the scoop on those extra items that are helpful to dorm life - and what you should leave at home.
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  • How Junior Boarding Schools Help Students Get Into Great Colleges

    College is a key milestone in every student’s academic career. In the best scenarios, all the hard work of middle school and high school pays off, with learning experiences that lay the groundwork for exciting career opportunities and a productive and meaningful life.

    The top American colleges accept students with diverse passions and interests: artists and authors, math whizzes and budding scientists, volunteers and athletic superstars. But the two categories where top colleges don’t compromise? Academics and character. Even now, top universities are reshaping the admission process to shift the focus away from “just” grades towards ethical and intellectual engagement.
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About Fay School

Fay School was founded in 1866 and is the oldest junior boarding school in the United States. Our 66-acre campus is located in Southborough, MA, just 25 miles from Boston. Our community includes 475 students in kindergarten through grade nine and includes 150 boarders in grades 7-9  from across the United States and over 20 countries. Fay is recognized around the world for its superior educational program, and our graduates are accepted to top secondary schools. Fay's program empowers students to discover their talents, develop their intellectual abilities, establish essential academic skills and knowledge, and define their moral character - all essential to living a life of meaning and making a positive difference in the world.

Learn more about Fay School.

main number 508-490-8250
admission 508-490-8201