Though Christian boarding schools were initially the result of strong local and cultural beliefs, many schools were also built to facilitate travel for students who lived in remote locations. In modern America, however, just the opposite has occurred; most Christian boarding schools are preferred by families who tend to frequently relocate, or by parents who work abroad and/or cannot spend a lot of time at home.
Though the number of Christian schools who board their students is comparatively small, there are many faiths who value educating their children in such an environment. Because these faiths differ in their level of interest, this list is organized accordingly, with many of the schools being Catholic and Episcopalian based, as well as Lutheran, Baptist, and Seventh-Day Adventist.
Here at Best Value Schools, we recognize that today’s range of Christian attitudes and beliefs is broad and divergent, so we have taken the utmost care to be impartial in order to give you an objective list of the best Christian boarding schools in the country, and each section is presented in alphabetical order. There is no intended preference given to any one religion or belief, and schools were chosen based on the following criteria:
- Standards of academic excellence
- Programs for spiritual growth
- Availability of extra-curricular activities
- School diversity (geo, demo, and theological)
Here are the Top Christian Boarding Schools of 2017
Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau, Louisiana
Educating grades seven through twelve, the Academy of the Sacred Heart girls’ school teaches several different types of students from day students, to five-day residential students, and full-time students. The school also admits international students.
Girls who decide to board at the academy are provided with excellent living conditions. There are plenty of after-school and weekend activities, many of which are centered on the equestrian center that is included in part of the curriculum. The school holds a weekly Sunday Mass and gives its students time for personal prayer and spiritual reflection every night before bedtime. International students will usually board with other American students to promote diversity; exchange programs are available and occur frequently at this school due to the large amount of Sacred Heart schools located throughout the world. Finally, this academy has a wonderful college preparatory program since all graduates are accepted to many different colleges and universities.
St. Timothy’s School in Stevenson, Maryland
As the nation’s first girls’ school authorized by the International Baccalaureate World School, St. Timothy’s is an internationally-focused boarding school. Nearly all of the students board at the school and hail from over 25 countries. An Episcopalian school, students meet for worship on Wednesday evenings and are expected to perform at least 40 hours of community service during their stay at St. Timothy’s.
The school is large with over 20+ buildings. There are a wide variety of clubs and activities such as Model U.N., school yearbook staff, and the school choir. On many weekends, the school will organize trips to big cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and even New York City (though they are not required, day-only students will often also come along on these trips). The school boasts an equestrian center, as well as a performing arts center and outdoor athletic complex. Accordingly, students are encouraged to participate in different sports and performing arts throughout the year.
Christ School in Asheville, North Carolina
Also an Episcopal boarding school, Christ School was founded in 1900 and is dedicated to preparing their all-male students for college programs. Beginning freshman year, students are taken on college tours at least once a year to help them ready themselves for their post-secondary education.
With the exception of chapel service on Wednesdays, classes begin daily at 8:30 a.m. and students are expected to complete their assigned job or chore. Different services are also held on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
In alignment with their college-prep mentality, Christ School offers many honors and advanced placement (AP) classes. Additionally, boys can participate in eleven school sports and join any and all of the many clubs available. This wide variety of activities is designed to help the students become well-rounded.
Church Farm School in Exton, Pennsylvania
This Pennsylvania school boards high school boys grades eight through twelve and functions as a college preparatory program. Church Farm accepts international students as well and offers many honors and AP classes.
As part of the curriculum at the Church Farm School, boys are enrolled in both a community service program and work program. In these programs, students engage in a variety of disciplines ranging from daily maintenance jobs such as cleaning chores to service-oriented tasks like peer tutoring.
In addition to excellent academic and discipline standards, Church Farm also encourages students to engage in all sorts of outdoor activities, including archery, canoeing, rock climbing, sailing, skiing, fishing, golfing, camping, etc. In fact, before their senior year, students embark on a staff-led, three-day camping trip to help them hone their communication skills and learn how to work in unity.
Chapel services are held regularly and are usually sponsored by a student, staff member, or guest speaker. The Church Farm School is traditionally Episcopalian-based, but students of all different faiths are welcome and respected at the school.
Brook Hill School in Bullard, Texas
Opening as a middle school in 1997, Brook Hill School has grown into a large, independent school that now teaches pre-kindergarten children all the way up through graduation. The school takes in both day and boarding students and is located on 280 acres of land outside of Tyler, Texas. The school also accommodates many international students.
Instead of dormitory or apartment-style housing, BHS houses all boarding students in home-like residential structures that are complete with kitchens, game rooms, private bathrooms, etc. Each house has full-time “parent” mentors who supervise students’ academic progress as well as their overall character development (these mentors have separate, private living quarters).
Because of the size and success of the school, faculty members are usually highly qualified, and over 60 percent of them hold master’s degrees. Also, due to the size and international flavor, students are educated in a worldview type of Christian atmosphere. Standard Bible classes are required as part of the curriculum, but no specific Christian faith is endorsed at Brook Hill.
Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts
Nearly a century old, Brooks is an Episcopal school that places an impressive emphasis on academics. As members of the Independent School League and School Year Abroad (SYA) programs, students may choose to spend an upper-level year of school studying in China, Italy, Spain, or France. They are also required to take at least three years of foreign language; Chinese, Greek, Spanish, French, and Latin are all offered, and AP courses are available for the latter three languages.
As opposed to many other schools that encourage participation in after-school sports and clubs, Brooks School requires that every student enrolls in at least one afternoon program. Students can get involved in the arts, a sports team, or a community service group. The school’s core class departments are similar to their language programs since rigorous classes are offered in math, history, English, music, and the sciences. In an effort to help all students succeed, Brooks has a campus learning center which provides tutoring, writing and study skills classes, and organizational management services. The school also places an emphasis on helping students with disabilities, both learning and physical.
Regarding Brooks’ Christian education, everyone at the school attends three different chapel meetings throughout the week; here, both students and faculty members come together in an accepting atmosphere to create spiritual experiences and share different perspectives on faith and gospel topics. Oftentimes, guest speakers are also part of these worship services.
Christchurch School in Christchurch, Virginia
Though only 60 percent of Christchurch is made up of boarding students, they are included on this list due to their commendable academic standards. Starting their freshman year, for example, students take advantage of the unique, natural setting along the Rappahannock River by embarking on “immersion” field trips. These trips usually last three days and allow students to be with their classmates in order to get a better hands-on education in the specific disciplines or areas they are studying.
As an Episcopalian school, students and staff meet to worship every Wednesday morning and place great emphasis on honing their spiritual development. School counselors are available to meet with students to help them prepare for college. Through these combined efforts, Christchurch grads are regularly accepted to big-name colleges and universities each year such as Boston University, Clemson, and UVA.
Gem State Adventist Academy in Caldwell, Idaho
At Gem State, it is a priority that students demonstrate daily dedication of their beliefs since chapel services and Bible study are held every single day. In addition, students are invited to make additional communion with God often and strive to serve their fellow men to provide more opportunity for spiritual growth.
GSA opts for “traditional” core disciplines and elective classes that better support the school’s mission instead of following the state’s core curriculum. There are a variety of great skills taught Gem State, from welding to the creation of computer apps.
Finally, Gem State assists all students (with exception to international students) in obtaining employment. The school’s philosophy is that no student should be turned away because of an inability to pay, so wages can be earned by students both on and off-campus. GSA allows its students to work up to 18 hours per week, and if needed, wages can easily be applied to their tuition fees to help accommodate the student with regards to finances.
Kent School in Kent, Connecticut
Kent School is an Episcopal boarding school that was founded on the belief that all students, regardless of race or culture, should be able to receive a quality education. This attitude of global acceptance and kindness is evident in Kent’s roommate boarding policy: students are assigned a roommate for their first semester, becoming eligible to choose their roommates in subsequent semesters.
Episcopalian chapel services take place every Tuesday and Thursday, and students of other faiths (Jewish and Catholic) are able to attend their preferred churches in town on the weekends. Because the school promotes diversity, a range of different beliefs can be found at Kent.
Overall, the school does a great job at keeping its students busy. Aside from academics, Kent provides lots of opportunities for students to get involved in service and community groups, as well as college counseling available for all.
Oakdale Christian Academy in Jackson, Kentucky
Accredited by a slew of school associations, Oakdale Christian Academy is affiliated with the Free Methodist Church and strives for spiritual growth among its students. To fulfill this focus, the school frequently holds all sorts of activities throughout the week to encourage service and emotional maturity. Students regularly attend group fellowships, chapel services, and attend church on Sunday.
Academic excellence is also a priority at Oakdale Christian. Of course, there are a variety of AP courses available for students, as well as dual credit programs that help them take university-level classes to earn college credit while still in high school, even at a reduced price. All students are also enrolled in Bible classes while at OCA.
One fun aspect at Oakdale Christian is how they involve the student body in maintaining the campus. All students have a “job” on campus and are rewarded with coupons when they perform efficient work. These coupons, in turn, can be redeemed for things such as food, phone privileges or other fun prizes.
Pine Tree Academy in Freeport, Maine
A Seventh-day Adventist school, Pine Tree Academy promotes a Christ-centered life and believes education should be founded on the Word of God. Pine Tree strives to create a fun environment for student life. With weekend activities that include beaches, camping, and swimming, students have lots of opportunities to make friends and have an enjoyable social aspect at school. On campus, they can join yearbook staff, the school newspaper, and other activities such as the school’s drama productions.
Pine Tree is also a big advocate of patriotism. Every year, the junior class at PTA goes on a three-day field trip to help students better understand the importance of U.S. history and the American legacy. Among other locations, typical stops on this field trip include places like the JFK Library & Museum.
St. George’s School in Newport, Rhode Island
Established in the late 1800’s, this Episcopal school is a member of the Independent School League and accommodates grades 9-12. With more than three-fourths of the faculty holding advanced degrees, graduates are regularly accepted to prestigious universities all over the country; they offer 22 advanced placement courses in all, and each student is required to purchase a laptop and attend technology training. St. George’s library is available online.
At St. George’s, older students are often asked to take part in and conduct religious meetings with their peers throughout the week. Prayer and gospel study gatherings are encouraged, and chapel services are held twice per week. In addition, students who desire to worship off-campus at a church in town are provided with transportation options to do so. For students who are not confirmed members of the Episcopalian church, there is also an annual program to accommodate those wishing to join.
San Marcos Baptist Academy in San Marcos, Texas
Founded over 100 years ago, San Marcos Baptist Academy’s original campus is now part of Texas State University. Now located on a large piece of land outside of town, the campus has become the ideal setting for outdoor activities at the academy. When taking a break from classes, students use the school’s fun ropes courses and running trails, or they get involved in the equestrian program.
SMBA has a rigorous college prep program, complete with distance learning courses and an accredited Online Academy. Despite their challenging curriculum, San Marcos also places a particular emphasis on helping guide students with learning disabilities and helping international students learn English as a second language. Most of this aspect of education is performed in the Learning Skills Center.
Next year, the school’s highly successful JROTC program will celebrate its 100th year. SMBA also has impressive fine arts programs and competes in a variety of sports in the Texas Christian Athletic League. Christian values lie at the heart of the school’s mission; discipleship groups and bible study are a mainstay in the curriculum, and chapel services are held two times every week.
Western Mennonite School in Salem, Oregon
Housing grades six through twelve, Western Mennonite School’s curriculum is heavily centered around Christ, chapel attendance, and the Bible. Though each student’s spirituality is valued highly, WMS also strives to develop the student as a whole, including grooming their social, physical, academic, and emotional well-being.
The school is relatively affordable. During the summers, much of the school’s campus is rented out to church groups for retreats and other activities. This extra profit along with donations from school boosters and alumni make it possible to provide students with somewhat lower tuition costs and the ability to receive financial aid.
Like most schools on this list, Western Mennonite has a college preparatory program with advanced courses in a variety of disciplines. Unlike most Christian boarding schools, however, the school teaches a “mini-term” of sorts between the off-track semester. This extra term allows students to study outside of the classroom.