The Evolution of Boarding Schools

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Ashton Martini, Class of 2022


Boarding schools today are often thought of as hubs for the children of the wealthy and elite of society who are on a fast track for Ivy-League universities. While there may be truth to some stereotypes of boarding school education and an over exaggeration of others, boarding school is a unique culture and experience for those who take part. Boarding schools have existed for centuries and draw upon age-old ideas of education and tradition. Boarding schools have evolved from their simple beginnings of learning in the home of another to the multi-million- dollar enterprises they are today with sprawling campuses and state-of-the-art facilities, yet with similar goals of education remaining intact. For women particularly, boarding schools have undergone a transformational change in the intent, conditions, and curriculum of education from the nineteenth century to modern-day. Boarding schools have had an impact on educational society to such an extent that they have influenced and appeared in the literary works of several authors, like Jane Austen in her novel Emma, where she exposes the lifestyle of female boarding school in nineteenth century England through the character of Harriet Smith and the descriptions of Mrs. Goddard’s school.

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John V. Roach Honors College