We make Fessenden the best home away from home for boys—because many of us make our home here, too. For boarders, the community we build in the classroom each day is extended through closer connections to one another (not to mention weekend activities that simply can’t be beat). And our commitment to honesty, compassion, and respect comes to life, as boys build character while they live, study, and play.
Designed for boys in Grades 5 through 9, the Fessenden boarding experience provides students with a healthy balance of structure and independence during developmentally critical years. Fifty percent of Upper School students are boarders, and with a 2:1 boarding students-to-adult ratio on campus, our individualized mentorship prepares boys to succeed at secondary schools and beyond.
Fessenden’s boarding program is a top choice for students and families from across New England, the country, and the world. Here are just a few reasons why:
Our staff brings experience, dedication, and enthusiasm that make a difference for each boy, every day. We believe in being partners in parenting in a way that supports and encourages boys. Our residential staff members aren’t just dorm parents; they’re teachers, advisors, coaches, and mentors. In fact, approximately 75 percent of the Upper School faculty lives on campus. Our residential faculty have been here, on average, more than 25 years—and being able to make a difference in the boys’ lives on a daily basis is what keeps them here.
Fessenden has offered boarding to boys for more than 100 years, and we’ve learned a few things in that time—including how to best meet the learning and developmental needs of boys ages 10 to 16. Our approach means we’re committed to helping boys grow through learning experiences both in and out of the classroom. Through boarding, we extend this commitment to the dorm, a faculty family’s home, a weekend trip, and beyond.
We’re all about balance—working hard and playing hard, understanding that one reinforces the other. Fessenden’s weekend programming is the best in the country. With 20 to 25 options offered each weekend, boys choose from professional and collegiate sporting events; festivals and cultural happenings in and around Boston, including visits to world-renowned museums and historic sites; world-class music and theatrical performances; skiing, sailing, fishing, and hiking—or maybe just dinner and a movie at a dorm family’s apartment.
With a beautiful 41-acre campus less than 15 minutes from Boston, Fessenden offers the space and facilities boys need to run and play—and the proximity to one of the most exciting cities in the world. We’re also an easy drive from some of the most popular mountains and ocean destinations in New England.
Our school is designed with the middle school boarder in mind, with an easily navigable campus where all dorms are connected to the academic buildings. The average dorm floor hosts 15 students, with two sets of dorm parents and two ninth grade proctors. With a 2:1 boarding student to adult ratio, personal attention and support for each boy is a priority.
Seven-day boarders reap the full benefits of the boarding experience, becoming immersed in the campus life and creating deep, lifelong connections with peers and faculty who serve as teachers, mentors, coaches, and friends.
The five-day boarding arrangement allows boys to travel home on weekends. For some families who plan to send their son to a seven-day boarding secondary school, this is a good transitional option. Some boys welcome the change of pace when they return home on the weekends.
Fessenden’s diverse boarding population includes students from 15 countries, on average. International students are immersed in American culture, which helps accelerate their English language acquisition and cultural competency. At the same time, our American students benefit from the perspective and cultural richness international students provide. If you live outside of the United States and are interested in learning more about our boarding program, please contact the Admissions Office.
While most boarding students take advantage of our world-renowned program for multiple years, we also have a number of boys who join us for the culminating year of Fessenden’s program. Having listened to the stories of their friends who board, they want to take part. Boys who have chosen this option often report they had an easier time transitioning to high school and college than their non-boarding peers.