More than 40 representatives for in- and out-of-state boarding schools will be in Charlotte this week to convince high-school-bound students and their families to consider residential programs as they prepare for college.
Trinity Episcopal School began hosting its Boarding School Fair 10 years ago as a service to students finishing its kindergarten-to-eighth-grade program.
Now the event also draws families from outside Trinity. Most families want to know how boarding school stacks up against local public and private high schools.
“Students have a wider variety of schools that may be the right fit,” said Jessica Masanotti, Trinity’s communications and alumni relations manager.
Academic and athletic programs and financial aid are some of the factors that weigh in a family’s decision.
Most of Trinity’s grads – there were 40 last year – stay at home for high school, Masanotti said. Five or six generally choose a boarding school.
“We always talk about students finding the right fit, not just (deciding based on) where their parents went,” Masanotti said.
North and South Carolina and Georgia boarding schools rank high with Trinity’s grads. Recruiters from other states also visit Trinity’s Boarding School Fair.
The admissions staff at St. Andrew’s School, in Middletown, Del., attends 20 to 30 fairs each year, including Trinity’s, and visits 30 to 40 schools in addition to that.
“We’ve seen terrific families from Charlotte,” said Louisa Zendt, director of admissions at St. Andrew’s. “It’s a nice fair, open to students from all kinds of schools.”
Zendt said diversity is one of the things that make St. Andrew’s attractive. The program draws children from around the world and from different economic backgrounds.
The school has a small student body, about 300 students, with 14 percent being international students.
“Our student body reflects a much broader diversity of students, which we think enriches both a child’s learning in the classroom and on dorm and in our student life programs,” she said.
About 46 percent of its ninth-12th-grade students receive financial aid. The average grant is $38,000, toward tuition of $49,500, according to the school’s website.
Fredricka Yellets was caught off guard when her son, Jonathan Yellets, came home from Trinity’s Boarding School Fair and announced that he planned to leave home for high school.
Jonathan is focused and driven, so they agreed to visit three schools on his list, she said. Still, Yellets believed she and her husband were just going through the motions.
Then they arrived at Woodberry Forest School, in Woodberry Forest, Va.
“When we all stepped foot on the campus, we felt a sense of belonging,” she said.
Jonathan graduated in May and earned a full scholarship to Haverford College in Haverford, Pa. He is in a pre-med program.
He also was accepted to Amherst College, as well as Brown and Yale universities.
“I truly believe if he had stayed here he would not be where he is today,” Yellets said. “It was one of the most unselfish gifts that my husband and I could have extended to him.”