5 Key Differences between Boarding Schools and Online Schools

20/05/20225 minute read
5 Key Differences between Boarding Schools and Online Schools

Boarding schools and online schools are similar in the way that they offer an environment that motivates students to be highly academically driven. While both boarding schools and online schools can entail a high level of focus on academics, there are several differences that distinguish the two learning environments. We outline five key differences between elite boarding schools like Eton, Harrow, Stonybrook and Hotchkiss versus online schools.

  1. Flexibility

Online schools are generally more flexible, as students can take classes from virtually anywhere as long as they have access to the internet. Crimson Global Academy (CGA) works to personalize education for each student depending on his or her own learning pace, regardless of age. Not only is there flexibility in where students can take their classes at CGA, but there is also flexibility in enrollment options, catering to each student’s expectations for his or her educational journey. Students  can enroll in CGA as either a full-time student or a part-time student, tailoring their classes to allow for other commitments

Simply, online schools such as CGA are not a one-size-fits-all approach but rather a personalized solution for one’s educational needs. With more autonomy over their schedule, students can spend more time on some of their passions, whether that be arts, sports, or any other field. On the other hand, boarding schools may be less flexible as the location is physically fixated to one point with strongly established cultures and values. All students are learning within the same structure when it comes to boarding schools, and the ability to tailor the subjects and timetable are limited.

  1. Self-discipline

This difference in flexibility between the two learning environments could translate into the difference in how much self-discipline is required for a successful learning experience. In general, the higher flexibility that online schools offer also means that more self-discipline is required for the student to keep track of his or her own progress. Meanwhile, boarding schools may require relatively less self-discipline from the students when compared to online schools due to the structured and supervised  approach of a traditional school. An adequate amount of self-discipline is needed for students to develop a strong work ethic at boarding schools, however, there is some control and rigor within their curriculums that suffice the gap.

  1. Accessibility

If students are adept with their self-discipline and are well motivated in an online learning environment, it could also mean increased accessibility in online schools. Specifically, the online environment provides students an opportunity to inquire about their academic progress and about other aspects of their education to their teachers and mentors more easily. With a more structured and rigid learning environment, boarding schools may provide students with a lower degree of accessibility to their teachers. In other words, students may have more difficulty in approaching instructors than in a relatively flexible, online environment. Depending on the student’s preference and comfort level with certain learning styles, accessibility in each environment could be different for each student.

Also, in a larger sense, studying at an online school allows students to access teachers across the world, rather than limiting them to the teachers available locally. This provides access to top teachers worldwide, regardless of location. 

  1. Efficiency

Integrating technology as a main source of learning in online schools means there could also be a difference in efficiency. For example, different tools and learning analytics help CGA keep track of a student’s cognitive and behavioral development, whereas a boarding school would require feedback and the process of keeping track of student progress in paper form. In other words, the personalized approach that CGA uses to enrich students’ learning experiences allows students to reach their full potential in a faster and more efficient way. With the integration of both feedback from teachers and feedback based on technology, students can reach their maximum potential by receiving appropriate and transparent feedback.

  1. Resources

Finally, while both learning styles could provide an abundance of resources that support students academically and in extracurricular activities, the two different types of schools do so in varying ways. For example, boarding schools provide large, enhanced physical facilities where students can thrive and learn from each other through face-to-face, bonding experiences. On the other hand, online schools like CGA provide an abundance of resources for students by providing opportunities to participate in various student clubs such as TEDx, Model UN, Investment Club, and more. While these types of clubs may be available in other schools, thanks to CGA’s global network, this flexibility and accessibility allow students to interact with real industry professionals and with a diverse group of students worldwide. This global environment allows students to learn from one another and from each other’s unique perspectives shaped by their own environment.

All in all, boarding schools and online schools could provide an abundance of opportunities for students in different ways as they are structured differently. With their varying structures, boarding schools and online schools offer a different degree of flexibility and accessibility. CGA offers a great level of flexibility and accessibility for students, with a customized approach for each of them. In this way, students can learn at their own pace and make room for their passion outside of the classroom, regardless of age, background or location.

By Tae In Jeong. Tae-In is a fourth-year student studying Economics and Arabic language at New York University Abu Dhabi. She is currently working as a Business Development and Sales Intern at Crimson Education MENA.