Getting Ready For Boarding School Introduction If you are a student who lives in a remote community, getting ready to go to boarding school and actually going to boarding school takes a lot of planning and preparation. This planning and preparation needs to happen throughout your primary schooling. STEP 1. Getting information and making plans In grades 5‐6 you will be supported to start thinking about life after year 7. You can gather information about what schools are available to apply to for year 8. You will be supported by your teachers and the Community Support Officer to understand what the application process is all about. You will also be supported to understand how to deal with moving up to year 8 and how to be prepared for living away from home in a new place. STEP 2. Choosing a boarding school By the start of grade 7 you will need to choose which boarding schools you will apply to for the following year. There are many boarding schools to choose from and these are spread all over Queensland. Some boarding schools are close to home and some are further away. Each school offers different opportunities and experiences. By term 2 when you are in year 7, you will need to choose at least two schools that suit you best. When choosing your top 2 or 3 schools you will need to think about the following things: a) Your interests and abilities: You need to choose a boarding school that offers activities and studies which you are interested in and that you are good at. For example, if you want to play AFL, make sure you choose a school that offers AFL. Or if you want to become a Visual Artist, choose a school that offers an arts program that will help you to become an artist. b) Your needs: You need to choose a school where you will feel comfortable and where you want to be. For example, if you know that you need to be very close to your family or country, you will need to choose a boarding school that isn’t too far away from them so that you can visit easily during holidays. Or if you are someone who needs to be away from other students in your community in order to focus on your studies than you will need to choose a school where there aren’t big numbers of students from your community. c) Your likes: The boarding school you choose needs to be one which offers access to the things that you like to do both in your free time and while you are at school. For example, if you like being close to the saltwater, you wouldn’t choose a boarding school away from the sea, or if you enjoy watching the NRL, you might choose a school in a major city in Queensland so you can go to watch games. d) Your financial resources: You will need to know how much it costs to go to the school you choose. ABSTUDY only funds boarding and tuition fees up to approximately $8000‐$9000 per year. Any boarding and tuition fees which cost more than this need to be paid for by your family, by a scholarship or by another form of funding. STEP 3. Applying to boarding schools By term 2 in year 7, you will need to have chosen at least two boarding schools to apply to. You can get the application forms for most boarding schools in Queensland from your Community Support Officer who works for the Transition Support Service and is based at your school. Or you can download application forms for most boarding schools from the boarding schools’ websites by clicking on your chosen boarding school below: Brisbane Region Brisbane Boys Grammar http://www.brisbanegrammar.com Clayfield College http://www.clayfield.qld.edu.au Lourdes Hill Girls College http://www.lhc.qld.edu.au Marist Brothers Ashgrove http://www.marash.qld.edu.au Nudgee Boys College http://www.nudgee.com St Peter’s Lutheran College http://www.stpeters.qld.edu.au Cairns Region Djarragun College http://www.djarraguncollege.qld.edu.au/frames.html Peace Lutheran College http://www.plc.qld.edu.au St Monica’s Girls College email email@example.com St Augustine’s Boys College http://www2.sac.qld.edu.au/pages/enrolments/enrolments.html Wangetti TAVEC email firstname.lastname@example.org Cairns/Tablelands Region Atherton State High School (8‐12) http://www.athertonshs.qld.edu.au/Curriculum/enrolment.htm Herberton State High School (8‐10) http://herbertonss.eq.edu.au Mt St Bernard’s Girls Boarding http://www.msb.qld.edu.au Woodleigh Residential Boarding College email email@example.com Charters Towers All Souls and St Gabriel’s College http://www.allsouls.qld.edu.au/enrol.html Blackheath and Thornburgh College http://www.btc.qld.edu.au Columba Catholic College http://www2.columba.qld.edu.au Ingham Abergowrie Boys College email firstname.lastname@example.org Ipswich Ipswich Girls Grammar http://www.iggs.qld.edu.au Ipswich Grammar School http://www.ipswichgrammar.com Toowoomba Concordia College http://www.concordia.qld.edu.au Downlands Sacred Heart College http://www.downlands.qld.edu.au Townsville Townsville Grammar School http://www.tsg.qld.edu.au/enrolments/enrolment_application.php The Cathedral School http://www.tccr.com.au St Patrick’s College http://www.stpatscollege.qld.edu.au/enrolment_information/enrolmen t_forms.php Shalom College http://www.shalomcollege.com.au/new_page_14.htm Rockhampton Rockhampton Girls Grammar http://www.rggs.qld.edu.au/pdsf/2008ApplicationforAdmission.pdf Rockhampton Grammar School http://www.rgs.qld.edu.au Yeppon St Brendan’s Boys College http://www.stbrendans.qld.edu.au St Ursula’s Girls College email email@example.com Before sending your application, be sure to check that your application is complete and that you have included everything that is needed. Usually an application won’t be processed by the school unless you also send the following things: Application fee (which is non‐refundable) All the correct details eg name, address A copy of your birth certificate Copies of your last report card/s Consent forms (only required by some schools) Make sure you photocopy the application form in case it gets lost in the mail! Then you will have a copy which can be re‐sent. Your Community Support Officer should also keep a copy of your application/s to boarding school. After sending your application, you can: Phone the schools to check that they have received a copy of your application Check your mail to see whether or not the schools have invited you to attend an interview STEP 4. Accepting offers from boarding schools and attending interviews After a boarding school considers your application, they may invite you to attend an interview. You will need to accept their invitation by letter or by phoning them. They will then make arrangements for you and a parent/guardian to travel to the interview at the school. Not all schools will request an interview and you may be accepted without needing to travel to an interview. STEP 5. Preparing for the interview Before you travel to the interview you will need to know what to pack, when you will be travelling, how you will travel, where you will be staying and what you will need to say and do in the interview. Your teachers and the Community Support Officer will help you to read your travel itinerary. STEP 6. At the interview Most schools ask you to take part in an interview to meet you and someone from your family in person. The interviewer usually asks you questions. Different schools will ask different questions but usually you can expect that you will be asked to talk about yourself, where you come from, what you like about primary school, why you have applied to boarding school, what you want to achieve by going to boarding school, your favourite subjects, interests, strengths, abilities and likes and dislikes. It would be very good for you to practice an interview situation at school. You could ask you teacher to help you to prepare for the interview. Something else that will help you in an interview (especially if you are not used to talking with people you don’t know well) is to have a folder about yourself ready to show the interviewer. In this folder you can write a short letter saying who you are, where you come from, what language group/s you belong to, what your interests are and why you want to go to boarding school. You could also put certificates or awards or examples of your best work in the folder. If you think it is OK you could put a photo of your family or your year 7 class in the folder. Your year 7 teacher might also like to write a short letter about you to the interviewer. STEP 7. After the interview Ask the interviewer when and how the school will tell you if you will be accepted to attend. Most schools send a letter of acceptance. If you receive a letter of acceptance, you will need to reply with your own letter stating whether you want to go to the school next year or not or you can phone the school to say that you accept their offer to attend. If you accept the offer to go to the school, some schools will ask you to pay a holding fee. This shows the school that you are serious about going there and it is put towards your fees when you attend the school the following year STEP 8. Applying for financial support for boarding and tuition fees Going away to boarding school can cost a lot of money. ABSTUDY funding is available to assist most families to cover the cost of boarding and tuition fees but you will have to apply for this funding from ABSTUDY. A Field Officer from ABSTUDY may visit you in your community and help you and your family to apply for ABSTUDY funding by completing Form B. The Community Support Officer at your primary school can also help you to apply for funding to ABSTUDY and to other scholarships to cover the gap in the boarding and tuition fees if there is one. STEP 9. Saving up for other costs of going to boarding school As well as boarding and tuition fees, there will be other things that you and your family will have to pay for. You will need to save up for your school uniforms; book fees; your bedding and your clothing and toiletries. It is a good idea to start saving for these expenses the year before you have to go away to boarding school. Once you are at boarding school, you will need some pocket money for outings and personal items. Everything else at school, including all your meals, is paid for. Most schools say that $20‐$30 per week is enough pocket money. The best way to get to your money is to have a keycard. Some schools have EFTPOS services but most schools require you to go to an ATM or a bank to withdraw your money. STEP 10. Organising travel Your new school will request travel from ABSTUDY for you to start the new term. ABSTUDY organises an itinerary for you and they fax this itinerary to the Centrelink agent of the Community Support Officer in your community. You will need to check often with your Centrelink agent or your Community Support Officer to see if your itinerary has arrived. STEP 11. Getting ready to travel To make sure that you are ready to travel, check that you have everything you need and have organised everything to make your trip to your boarding school smooth. You will need to pack all of your clothes and toiletries for the term (10 weeks). For the first time that you fly you will need to pack your bedding as well. It will be a challenge to get everything to fit into one bag and to stay under the baggage weight limit which is usually 16 kilograms. You might like to talk about this with your teacher/s and work out how much gear you can fit into 16 kilos! You will need to understand your itinerary, you should know exactly when and where you need to be at all times. It is important that you read through your travel itinerary and that you get your teacher of Community Support Officer to make at least 2 extra photocopies of your itinerary (one for your family and one for the Community Support Officer). When you arrive at your destination you will be met by a airport transfer person and they will take you to your school. Usually they will hold up a sign with your name on it and you will need to go up to the person and say your name. Once you land at your destination it is a good idea to stay in touch with your family back home by phone or text message to let them know you’ve arrived and that you are O.K. You will also need to know that you cannot wear thongs on the planes that travel from Cairns to southern cities. It is also a good idea to take a light jumper or jacket for the plane as the air‐conditioning can get quite cold. If you have any problems in your travels you can always contact your Community Support Officer, a family member or the Transition Support Officer and you will be helped to sort out the problem.