Texas Boarding Schools: How to Choose the Right One

Texas Boarding School

Three Factors to Consider when Choosing the Right Texas Boarding School

For those of you who are considering a boarding school for your child, don’t forget to look into the Lone Star State! Texas not only has some of the best year-round weather in the country and has some of the best colleges in the nation!

Texas is a big state, so there are plenty of boarding schools to choose from. This article will first break down your Texas boarding school options and then list some Texas boarding schools that might be perfect for your son or daughter.

1. College Prep or Therapeutic

There are basically two broad categories of Texas boarding schools to choose from: college preparatory (or college prep) and therapeutic.

College Prep: By the very name, this type of boarding school indicates that they prepare students for the rigor of college coursework. They typically expect all their students to take college-level coursework, such as Advanced Placement (AP) and dual enrollment courses, in their junior and senior year of high school. They are normally more selective in the admissions process, possibly requiring testing and interviews before acceptance. Lastly, these boarding schools historically boast a very high college acceptance rate for graduates.

Therapeutic: This type of boarding provides specialized structure and supervision for students with emotional and behavioral problems, substance abuse problems or learning difficulties. While some of these schools can be college-preparatory, the mission of therapeutic boarding schools is primarily to help boys and girls develop the mental tools to overcome self-destructive behavior and successfully deal with any difficulties or setbacks in life.

Cadets at the Marine Military Academy look over college research literature in the school's college room.

2. Military, Religious or General

Most college-prep boarding schools in Texas fall into one of three particular models: military, religious and general.

Military: Military boarding schools maintain a more regimented and disciplined environment. These schools are normally staffed with a number of former military members that provide a positive example of the structure and leadership skills that military training can bring to a young person’s life. A military boarding school is ideal for students who are intelligent but unmotivated. Students who attend these schools are not expected to enlist in the military; on the contrary, they are expected to attend college.

Religious: Religious boarding schools normally teach students about a particular religion and encourage them to practice it in their personal lives. These schools are normally staffed with clergy members and faculty with faith-based values. A religious boarding school is best suited for a boy or girl who comes from a strong, faith-based household or is seeking spiritual direction for his or her life. Students who graduate from these schools are also expected to go to college and are not pressured to enter the ministry field.

General: Unlike military or religious boarding schools, general boarding schools dedicate nearly all learning hours to the core academic curriculum. They are similar to Texas’ best public schools except for the large student population. Many of them, however, specialize in certain subjects or careers, such as STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Though they concentrate on the scholastics, these schools typically offer weekly religious services and some even offer a Junior ROTC unit. A general boarding school is usually best for a high achieving student with a very clear college and/or career goal.

Keep in mind that no matter which model they follow, most college-prep boarding schools are generally very good about limiting distractions and filtering the negative influences that are often found in public schools, such as violence, drugs, etc.

Military Boarding schools provide friendship3. Co-ed or Single-sex

No matter which type of Texas boarding school is best for your son or daughter, you still have two basic options left: Co-educational (or co-ed) or single sex.

Co-ed: The major advantage of a co-educational boarding school is that it is the most like real life. In the modern world, most men and women must interact with each other and work together. The disadvantage is the distraction of the opposite sex. Attempts to impress the opposite sex or frequent dating can shrink study time and lower a student’s GPA.

Single sex: The main advantage of a single-gender boarding school is that it eliminates the distraction of the opposite sex. Not only can students better focus on their studies, class participation is usually stronger because no one has to worry about embarrassing himself or herself in front of the opposite sex with a wrong answer. The disadvantage is that teenagers may not fully develop their social skills.

Researching Boarding Schools in Texas

Listed below are eight of those schools that show up the most in the above resources. Click on the name of the schools to visit their website and learn more. Good luck with your decision making … and thank you for considering a Texas boarding school!

Marine Military Academy
Harlingen, Texas
All Boys , Grades 7-12

Incarnate Word High School
San Antonio, Texas
All Girls, Grades 9-12

North Central Texas Academy
Granbury, Texas
Co-ed, Grades Pre-K – 12

San Marcos Baptist Academy
San Marcos, Texas
Co-ed, Grades 7-12

TMI – The Episcopal School of Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Co-ed, Grades 6-12

The Brook Hill School
Bullard, Texas
Co-ed, Grades Pre-K – 12

The Hockaday School
Dallas, Texas
All Girls, Grades Pre-K – 12

The Village School
Houston, Texas
Co-ed, Grades 9-12

Learn More

Interested in learning more about Texas boarding schools? Visit these resources:

To learn more about the benefits of boarding school read:

To learn more about choosing a boarding school read our guide A Parent’s Guide to Boarding School or  Boarding School 101 What is Boarding School.

Marine Military Academy is an all boy military boarding school located in Harlingen, Texas.