Swiss Boarding Schools

Frequently Asked Questions

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The most exclusive Swiss boarding schools are renowned for their exceptional facilities and high-level educational programmes. On average, these prestigious schools have an all-inclusive annual cost of around CHF 100,000 (USD 115’000). 

This amount generally includes : 

– Tuition fees

– Boarding 

– Additional expenses such as registration fees, extra-curricular activities and personal expenses

However, at the higher end of the scale, the cost can be as much as CHF 150,000 (USD 170’000) per year in 2024, particularly for schools offering the most comprehensive facilities.
These figures are indicative of the high standard of teaching and facilities offered by top-quality Swiss boarding schools. The pricing system can vary greatly from one school to another. For example, some schools include cultural trips while others do not.

Tuition fees are generally lower at primary level and peak at secondary level. The cheapest boarding schools in Switzerland are around CHF 45,000 (USD 52’000) per year.

Swiss boarding schools represent a unique and attractive opportunity for international students, as they offer a blend of high-quality multilingual education and a diverse, multicultural environment. Renowned for their rigorous academic standards, these schools offer internationally recognised programmes such as the International Baccalaureate, preparing students for success in international higher education and beyond. Beyond the classroom, the schools offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities that promote holistic development.

Located in the heart of Europe, students can experience the beauty and security of Switzerland, while building a valuable global network of peers. This combination of educational excellence, cultural diversity and picturesque setting makes Swiss boarding schools a very attractive option for international students looking for an unparalleled educational journey.

Swiss boarding schools offer a wide range of educational programmes, catering for pupils of different ages, generally from 6 to 18

However, it is important to note that not all schools cover this entire age range. Some schools specialise in primary education for the youngest pupils, from the age of 6, while others focus exclusively on secondary education, generally for students from the age of 12. This means that a pupil can attend a boarding school for his or her first years of study, and then change schools for his or her secondary school years. 

Despite this, students can join a boarding school in Switzerland at any age, giving them a degree of flexibility and the opportunity to benefit from an education that is adapted to the different stages of their school development, right up to graduation.

English is the most common language of instruction in Swiss boarding schools. This predominance of English is due to its status as a global lingua franca, facilitating a more accessible and inclusive educational environment for students from diverse linguistic backgrounds.

 Although these schools are located in a multilingual country where German, French, Italian and Romansh are the official languages, the emphasis on English in the curriculum is a response to the demands of a globalised education system. Students often have the opportunity to study one or more of Switzerland’s national languages as part of their curriculum, enriching their language skills and cultural understanding alongside their English-based education. 

The International Baccalaureate is also offered as a bilingual programme.

Switzerland’s reputation for its boarding schools is well-established. Each school, uniquely positioned and offering distinct programs, stands out in its own right. Prestigious names like Le Rosey, Beau Soleil, Aiglon, and Rosenberg are widely recognized. However, selecting a school should go beyond just its name; it’s crucial to consider if it aligns with your child’s specific needs.

Consider your child’s interests

– Are they inclined towards sports ? 

– Do they have a passion for arts or music? 

Certain schools offer extensive sports programs, even accommodating high-level athletic training while maintaining academic excellence. Others might focus more on arts and culture. Therefore, researching the school thoroughly and planning a visit is essential for making an informed decision that best suits your child.

1. The International Baccalaureate (IB): Renowned for its comprehensive and demanding academic standards, the IB curriculum is recognised worldwide. In the final two years, the Diploma Programme offers students the opportunity to choose courses in specific subjects, allowing them to focus on their strengths or interests, which is particularly beneficial in tailoring their education to their individual aptitudes and aspirations.

2. Swiss Maturité (or Swiss Matura): the Swiss national programme, often chosen by Swiss students, offers a comprehensive educational programme with a strong emphasis on multilingualism. Foreign students interested in the Swiss Maturité should have strong German language skills, as this language is an important part of the study programme.

3. British curriculum (GCSEs and A-Levels): Some Swiss boarding schools offer the British education system, which leads to : 

– The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)

– A-Levels

This programme is recognised and respected in English-speaking countries and provides a solid foundation for students planning to continue their studies in the UK or in other regions where the British education system is predominant.

4. American High School Diploma: This programme is offered by some schools, particularly for students from the USA or those wishing to apply to American universities. It follows the standard structure of American secondary education and is recognised to facilitate entry into the American higher education system.

5. Bilingual programmes: Reflecting Switzerland’s multilingual environment, some schools offer bilingual education. For example IB or Swiss Maturité/Matura.

6. The French baccalauréat: In French-speaking parts of Switzerland, schools can offer the French national programme, which is a comprehensive educational programme that is widely recognised, particularly in French-speaking countries.

7. Other international programmes: Depending on the school, there may be additional options such as the German Abitur or the International Primary Programme for younger students, each catering for different educational needs and preferences.

In the most prestigious Swiss boarding schools, class sizes can be exceptionally small, with some classes having as few as three students. On average, a good boarding school in Switzerland has no more than 10 pupils per class.

This extremely low student/teacher ratio is a feature of these exceptional institutions, allowing for an uniquely personal and focused educational experience. In such an intimate setting, teachers can tailor their teaching to the specific strengths and needs of each student, fostering an effective and supportive learning environment. 

This level of individual attention is particularly beneficial in developing each student’s full academic potential and ensuring a thorough understanding of the subject matter.

To apply for a boarding school in Switzerland, you generally need to plan 1 or 2 years in advance, depending on your nationality and your academic or extracurricular skills. Getting in early means that you have a good understanding of each school’s requirements and can prepare the necessary documents. Most Swiss boarding schools have an annual admissions cycle and it is essential to check the specific deadlines for the schools you are interested in. It should also be noted that some schools may have quotas for certain nationalities.

For the most popular schools, it can be useful to take part in a summer camp at the school. This experience allows the student and the school to become familiar with each other.

The application process may involve entrance tests, interviews and the presentation of previous academic records. It is essential to prepare for these stages. Visiting schools can provide valuable information. These visits are an opportunity to get an idea of the school’s environment and offer. 

Families wishing to embark on this process should seek advice and support to ensure that the application is well prepared and submitted in good time, based on the specific needs and strengths of the child.

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