Our boarding program inspires friendships and fosters independence. Here's how.


A Second Home, A Second Family

We consider our boarding community an extended family that learns, plays and grows together. All of this takes place in a supportive environment staffed by adults dedicated to the success and well-being of every student.

By living with peers from across the country and around the world, boarders develop a global perspective and an appreciation for diverse backgrounds. As campus residents, they benefit from greater access to school resources, including evening study hours with teachers and more time in the gym or art studio. With mentoring and support, they gain independence in a structured and safe community, which helps prepare them for a smooth transition to college.

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Two Ways to Board

Boarders may live with us five or seven days a week. Five-day boarding is perfect for families who live close to Pittsburgh, allowing students to skip the daily commute and develop independence while spending weekends with family. For families living a greater distance away or abroad, seven-day boarding offers an immersive experience complete with weekend activities. Boarding FAQs.

Small Community

Our boarding program is a small, close-knit community. With a 3:1 residential student-to-faculty ratio, dorm advisors and faculty living on campus get to know our boarders well and develop strong relationships with them. Each night, the residential life team and their families join boarders for dinner, giving students the opportunity to know them as people outside of the classroom. Meet the residential life team.

Accessible Program

The tuition for SSA's boarding program is considerably less than the national average. However, we recognize that an independent school education is a significant financial investment. Approximately 30 percent of SSA students receive financial assistance, and boarding merit scholarships are available. Learn more about affording SSA.

City of Pittsburgh

The City of Pittsburgh offers tremendous resources for all Shady Side students. Seven-day boarders have the opportunity to spend their weekends experiencing all the city has to offer: a thriving arts community, beautiful rivers and parks, great professional sports teams, neighborhoods with distinct personalities and more. Discover Pittsburgh.

Activities and Events

For seven-day boarders, our residential life staff and student prefects plan a variety of fun activities in the evenings and around Pittsburgh on the weekends:

Weekly Events
  • Open Gym
  • Open Swim
  • Open Art Studio
  • Wiffle Ball
  • Capture the Flag
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Dorm Feeds
  • Open Skate
Weekend Events
  • Cultural District shows
  • Museums
  • Movies and Shopping
  • Sightseeing around Pittsburgh
  • Pittsburgh Pirates or Penguins games
  • Kayaking, sledding rock climbing
  • Bowling and laser tag
  • Escape rooms
  • Campfires, cookie baking, movie nights and more!

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What Parents Say About Boarding

"It's impossible to know who my daughter would be now if she were not boarding, but I believe that her boost in confidence and improvement in academics is directly related to being a seven-day boarder. She has dozens of friends, role models and support people. She has learned to be responsible and has been encouraged to be empathetic and supportive of others."

What Students Say About Boarding

"I really do believe that my education at Shady Side would not have been as complete without my boarding experience. I became a more complete person as a boarder, and I gained valuable friendships that continue to grow today."