Many military schools offer local students the opportunity to enrol as day students rather than boarding full time. The most obvious advantage, especially for parents, is the financial savings. Tuition for a day student can be as little as one third of that for a full time boarding student, and they receive the exact same academic training. But being a day student in a military academy has its own set of challenges, and there are some things that should be considered before enrolling your child as a day student in military schools.
Part of the decision making process should be considering the culture of the school, and how your child’s personality fits in with it. Some day students find it difficult to fit in to the close knit boarding community. Often day students speak of feeling “out of the loop” after leaving for the night and coming back the following day, a feeling amplified after a weekend away.
Others have a different experience, especially those involved in clubs and other extra-curricular activities. Students involve in band club for instance, often travel with the band or have practice on weekends. They share enough time and experiences with the boarding students that they feel no difference. Again, much depends on the personality of your child.
These minor “challenges” shouldn’t dissuade any parent or student from taking advantage of the fantastic experience and education that children will receive while attending military schools. Sometimes the education available at military schools is the best thing for some students. Some schools actually encourage day students to become involved in weekend activities on campus, so check with any school that you are considering what their policy is on the matter. That option could help your child to bridge the gap.
So; Boarding or Day Student?
An important thing to keep in mind is that students who are shy and might easily feel left out may be better off boarding. This will help them to integrate fully into the school system, and also help them to develop confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, the structured environment of military schools may better serve some students. Some day students have continued difficulty adjusting back and forth to the disciplined environment of military school, and the more relaxed atmosphere at home on weekends.
The students at boarding schools have their evening activities laid out for them, whereas day students must manage their own time when at home. Military schools keep their students busy throughout the day too though, and any student attending, day or boarding, will learn important time management skills that will serve them well when they attend college. Many students enjoy going home to be with their families on evenings and weekends, and few of them suffer any major consequences of doing so.
If your child is struggling academically, they could very much benefit from the structured environment outside of classes that military schools provide. Only you and your child can decide that. An option to boarding, and one that will keep the ties to boarding students close, is to have the occasional boarding student spend a weekend at your home, Some military schools allow this with the permission of parents, but make sure you find out their policy on that matter first.