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Is a Learning Differences Boarding School with Rolling Admissions Right for My Child?

Meghan Mileham, Assistant Director of Admissions

Imagine being a new student at a boarding school and starting after the holiday break. The only person you know is the Admissions counselor. The anxious feeling of “where to sit”’, “will I make friends”, “why did I do this”; while the parents are back at home thinking “did we do the right thing”, “will this school work for them”, “will this be able to help”. These are the thoughts that go through our students and parent’s heads when they enter the school year as a mid-year student. When students struggle with a learning difference, the families often try every option before looking at boarding schools. At Gow, a learning differences boarding school in New York, we have a rolling admissions process and every year we have students join us at different times during the school year. Hear from two families who have been through the process of sending their child to boarding school in the middle of the year, and while it was a hard transition, they know it was the right one.

Chris Sr. and Amanda’s son Chris started at Gow in January of 2018 as a rolling student after trying every single option in Fairfield, Connecticut. Chris, like most of our students, didn’t want to go away for school, but he was no longer able to keep up with the homework or reading assignments and was very close to failing. After initially meeting with Mr. Cotter, who was traveling in Connecticut, Chris came for his formal visit on campus. Chris was scared to death, but they knew they had to try. Chris Sr. and Amanda’s biggest hesitation was wondering if they were doing the right thing for their son. They wanted Chris to succeed but they didn’t want to try another school, and have it not work out. Amanda, Chris’s mom, says “Occasionally, Chris still ponders coming back to Connecticut, and as much as we would love to have him home, he needs to be at Gow. I think deep down, Chris knows he is in the right place too. We’ve seen growth in our son both personally and academically and we owe it all to Gow.”

While starting at a new school in the middle of the school year can be a scary idea, Tom and Jan A. found that it worked well for their son Alex. After being in a public high school with over 1,200 students, Alex was starting to slip through the cracks. He was nervous to start at a new school but was ready to be with kids that learn like he does. Tom and Jan thought the transition was good because Alex was starting right after a holiday break, so everyone was starting back after being off for a while. He also wasn’t the only new student that January, Gow had several new students that started with Alex. Tom and Jan both agree that “The Gow School has given Alex many opportunities to find himself and his natural learning abilities. We are lucky to have him at Gow.”

For our families, boarding school is a heart- wrenching decision. It can be a tougher decision to make, but when your child is struggling in school and has a learning difference, it’s often the only option left. While the leap can be scary, at the end of the day, that leap of faith could be the one thing that helps your child succeed.

If you know a student that might benefit from The Gow School, please don’t hesitate to contact the Admissions Office at 716.687.2001 or