Living in a small boarding community is special. At Shady Side, with a 2:1 ratio of residential life faculty to students, we know each other really well – just like a second family. Our dorm advisors set the nurturing tone, ensuring that all boarders are seen, heard and feel safe in their home away from home. Junior and senior prefects plan dorm feeds and mentor younger boarders, serving as role models, cheerleaders or a listening ear on a bad day.

Weeknight study hours provide structured homework time with extra help from teachers and peers. By establishing a routine that helps boarders handle the demands of our rigorous academic program, we help them to develop good study habits that they will carry with them to college and the future.

At weekly community dinners, boarders and faculty families come together for a special meal. Our dean of residential life often tees up a fun conversation starter such as “what is corn?” (try this at home) or a lightning round of Desert Island. Just like at home, weekends offer time to wind down, including brunch for late sleepers. Boarders help our “dean of fun” plan weekend activities around Pittsburgh, such as kayaking, museums, Pirates games, cultural shows or escape rooms.

In this close-knit, family-like setting, boarders establish the independence, responsibility and self-discipline they’ll need to thrive in college.

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