Should I Be a Day or Boarding Student at Groton?

Courtesy of Noemi Iwasaki ’22

Perhaps after living in the Groton dorms, you may have wondered what it’s like to commute to school. Or for those on the other end: what “dorm life” is all about. Groton can be a different experience for day and boarding students outside the classroom. To illustrate some differences, I will provide some personal insight along with thoughts from peers who have also experienced both. 


During my fourth form year, I entered Groton as a boarding student. I lived in the lovely Hamlin’s dorm, one of the farthest dorms from the schoolhouse. This year, I moved to Acton, even farther from the schoolhouse! Although day students are an integral part of the dorm, we are not part of the weekday nightlife, where one will regularly find students curled up on the common room sofa with their computer as a pillow half past midnight. I strangely miss those delirious conversations over Quaker Oats and Cup Noodles. 


But one of the most crucial parts of dorm bonding at night is check-in, a time when students can connect with dorm prefects on a deeper level. Some day students stay for check-in, but many find it difficult to drive home late at night. “As a boarder this year, and especially as a prefect, I like being a part of check-in every night,” said Jack Ehrgott ’22, who was a day student for 4 years prior to his senior year.


Many students noted the greater sense of community they felt as a boarding student. Maddie St. Clair ’23 said, I felt more included in the community and I also liked that I didn’t have to wake up as early.” Jack found that his “social experience is better as a boarder because [he’s] able to spend more time on campus.” 


As for the day student experience, everyone has a different memory because every household is different. But the one thing we all have in common is waking up at least an hour earlier than the average boarding student. Calie Messina ’22 says that apart from waking up early, she also has to take the weather into consideration. One of the most important things I learned as a day student is how to plan ahead of time. I have been guilty too often of borrowing my roommate’s gym attire. 


Still, there are many positives that come from being a day student. Calie thought “the drives were a nice time to think and take a break from school.” For Jack, he found that there were less social distractions working from home. Perhaps the most obvious positive is seeing family and pets on a daily basis. Allie Kandel ’23 says “it was more accessible for me to see my dad who lives farther away from Groton than my mom.” Maddie also enjoyed seeing her dog everyday. 


While we can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of boarding and day, many students don’t have a choice between the two options. For most international students, being a day student is not possible. And for many local students, a lower tuition (around $10,000 less than boarding tuition) makes being a day student the ideal and sometimes necessary choice. The circumstances are different for everyone.