Why Boarding at SMUS?
There are many great boarding schools in Canada, and especially British Columbia, each with its own character. So what are some of the benefits of boarding school at SMUS? We asked our current families and these are just some of the reasons they gave:
- Smart People
The #1 reason for attending school is to get a good education and SMUS is right up there with the elite schools when it comes to preparing you for university and life beyond.
Being a boarding student at SMUS means you’ll be surrounded by other students who are passionate about their education and their future. You’ll get structured study time to make sure you hit your deadlines, and you’ll also have access to teachers and university counsellors outside of regular school hours. But you’ll also be given considerable freedom to manage your own time and find a routine that works for you.
Boarding school is a completely unique experience. It’s been a dream since I was a child. It’s pretty cool that you can hang out with your friends 24 hours. To be away from your parents and to manage your own life and be responsible for yourself is really great.
- Boarding School in the City
If you’re considering boarding schools you may be seduced by sprawling campuses on the edge of lakes or buried deep in rolling hills. It makes for nice photography but it doesn’t help you develop your sense of independence. If you want to go to the movies, or go shopping, or have dinner off-campus - you’ll have to find someone at those schools to drive you. Our students love the fact that living in Victoria, they can take a public transit bus and be downtown in under 20 minutes, or just walk to the local mall.
I like SMUS’s proximity to a lot of things; being close to Mount Doug or being close to downtown or being able to walk to Hillside Mall. It’s nice to be close to different areas. Victoria is a smaller city, but it still has lots of things going on.
- The “University” in “University School”
If you look at our school motto it says: “preparation for higher learning and for life”. This means we’re not going to treat you like children and wrap you in bubble wrap. As you get older, we let you test your independence in a safe and supportive environment, and provide opportunities to develop your leadership skills.
Yes there are boarding schools that do everything for you... but what will you do when it’s time to go to university? Our location in Victoria means you’ll be able to live (almost) like you’re at university already. Managing much of your own time and enjoying the benefits of living in a city (albeit a safe and small city).
I like that we have a lot of freedom to do stuff, and that it’s such a good environment to be in. People are always happy, it’s always fun, it never gets boring around here. I have friends in all the houses, so if there’s nothing to do in your house you can go find your friends in the other houses.
- ‘Best Coast’ Lifestyle
Living close to downtown doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck in the city. One of the great advantages of living in Victoria is that you can also enjoy the ‘best coast’ outdoor lifestyle.
Have you ever wanted to learn to surf or snowboard or kayak or gain some wilderness survival skills? Well, now you can try them all. Almost every weekend you will have the opportunity to experience something new, rather than read about it in a text book or just watch it on YouTube.
- SMUS Has a Day Population
SMUS is both a day school and a boarding school, meaning that in addition to the Grades 8 to 12 boarding community, we have students from Victoria for K to 12. This is a great advantage, because as a boarding student, you will have more access to the local Canadian community and the Canadian experience than you would at an isolated boarding-only school. Our day students will be eager to broaden their horizons by getting to know you and your culture.
- SMUS Has an International Population
You won't only meet Canadians when you’re at SMUS. Your school community will be truly international - we have 27 countries represented on campus. If you’re from a country other than Canada, you’ll find that the boarding community will want to help celebrate your culture. Indeed, your roommate may be from a different country.
I like the way you live with your friends and the diversity. You have people around you from almost everywhere in the world, so you can share your culture with others.
- Leadership Skills
When you join a boarding house at SMUS, you’ll get help from older and more experienced boarding students. As you live in boarding, you will also gain more leadership responsibilities so that by Grade 12 (when you have the opportunity to run for the position of Prefect or Head of House) you’ll have developed a range of leadership skills that will be useful in university and in life.
- Independent Accreditation
As a school, SMUS does not rest on its laurels. It’s a big part of our philosophy that we open the school up to rigorous independent accreditation of all our programs, including the boarding program.
SMUS was the first school in all of Western Canada to be accredited by CAIS - Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (formerly CESI). In addition to academic, safety, finance and other components, this accreditation includes a Residential Program Standard that ensures a high-quality boarding program. We don’t like to brag but not all boarding schools in Canada or all boarding schools in British Columbia meet this standard.
- Coeducational, Inclusive, Welcoming
We pride ourselves on providing the best possible environment, which for us is a diverse environment. The real world is not single gender, or of a single culture or orientation, and a key part of preparing yourself for the future is learning to work, study and socialize with people that have different backgrounds and lifestyles.
This is why boarding at SMUS has coed common areas and why we place emphasis on sharing experiences with your brother/sister house. It’s also why we are emphatic about making everyone feel welcome in our community.
This philosophy can be seen in the houseparents at SMUS. They chose to be houseparents and it shows in their enthusiasm for your welfare and in creating vibrant, caring communities in the boarding houses.
- And Finally…
If you browse the boarding pages of this website, you'll find students from all over the world explaining why they love SMUS. And you can also ask a student yourself if you want to know more.
Joining SMUS’s boarding community has helped me step out of my comfort zone, develop my confidence and challenge myself. All in all, I am very thankful that my parents sent me to boarding at SMUS.