The Boarding Experience
An adventure in independence
Advantages of Boarding School
Boarding at Pennington gives students a unique advantage: boarding school students have 24-hour access to the campus environment and all that it has to offer. In addition to time spent outside the classroom with teachers, coaches, and advisors, our boarding school students participate in many creative and athletic extracurricular programs offered here. Plus, a full itinerary of events is planned for every weekend during the school year. During longer school breaks, there are opportunities for travel throughout the United States and abroad, as well as to give back to the community with service. It’s living as a way of learning, with your friends and teachers by your side.
Boarding at Pennington is an adventure in independence. Students will be better prepared for the academic rigor and social challenges of college by learning and living together in secondary school. Self-discipline and leadership are important skills that are developed at boarding school and will last a lifetime. But although our students are very independent, they are never alone. Boarding students are closely supervised by a network of prefects, faculty residents and advisors, and the Dean of Students. Teachers and fellow students become a second family that is always available. International students are also matched with a local host family to give them more support, and an occasional evening or weekend away from campus.
Boarding School Facilities
Boarding school students live in one of ten residence halls. Each dormitory has a lounge, a kitchen, and laundry facilities. Student prefects live in every hall, along with a number of faculty residents and their families and pets. Students may begin boarding in seventh grade, and they come to Pennington from many states and countries.
“Pennington is a place I call home for many reasons, including the fact that we all live in such a loving community where people truly care for one another. It’s a place I’ll always remember, not just for the beautiful campus, but also for the friends and teachers that I’ve gotten so close with and now call my family.” –Kalima
Our rural campus is picture-perfect, with tall trees, a small lake, fields, and school buildings and faculty houses dotting 56 acres. The town of Pennington is located in a country setting, surrounded by farmland and near local parks, but within walking distance students will find several banks, three hair salons, a barber shop, a dry cleaner, florists, three ice-cream shops, a dozen restaurants, two pharmacies, a hardware store, and several clothing and gift retailers. There is also a large supermarket less than five minutes away on foot. You’ll find everything you need close by, and weekend trips to local malls allow for more shopping time, as well as access to movies and restaurants. And, of course, we are just ten minutes from the beautiful town of Princeton, and all that it has to offer. Longing for a visit to the big city? Philadelphia is less than an hour away, and New York just a one-hour train ride from the local station.
A typical day or weekend boarding at The Pennington School
A typical day begins with a delicious breakfast in the dining hall, with your friends and teachers, from 7:00-7:45 a.m. The first class bell rings just before 8:00, when day students arrive and classes begin. After eight periods filled with small classes, labs, electives, and more, you’ll gather again for dinner at 5:30 p.m. with the residential faculty and their families. On Monday nights, we have a formal dinner for all boarding students. Wearing formal dress and seated at tables decorated with fine linens, boarding school students sit with members of the residential faculty for discussions about current events and other relevant topics. There is a weekday study hall every night from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. that is open to all students, and homework help is always available.
Weekends at Pennington are filled with events. Twelve weekends each year are “closed,” which means that boarders are required to stay on campus. This ensures a close-knit community, and a campus that is buzzing with activity at any hour of the day or night. Day students often come to Friday night movie parties, First Friday events (special entertainment on the first Friday of each month, such as a DJ or a hypnotist), or to the athletic contests that begin on Saturday morning and run into evening games. Every Saturday night, a resident faculty member opens his or her home to our traditional Saturday night feed, and huge buffet brunches on weekend mornings ensure that no student will ever go hungry here. There are frequent theater trips to New York City, open to all. And many day students return to campus each weekend to collaborate with their boarding school friends on a project, to study in the library, to swim in the pool, or play a game of basketball in the gym.
If you have a paper due, or need some help with a math assignment, there is assistance available in the evenings, including the writing center, Meckler Library, and math and science help programs—all hosted by the teachers you know. Back in the dorm, you can watch television or play a game with friends, or bake some cookies before lights out at 11:00 p.m.
Pennington is proud of the fact that our day and boarding students are such a cohesive group: students do almost everything together, even on nights and weekends.