Boarding Life

Students who live at Saint James share the joys and challenges of boarding school life with a wide variety of friends, and are thus enriched by this diversity of interests and backgrounds. Most importantly, the quality of these friendships is deep, reflecting the shared experiences of boarding life. Often, it is the informal moments shared at School—"hanging out" after evening study hall, and having fun on the weekends—that afford the best opportunities for boarding students to show and appreciate their more personal qualities such as humor, good will, and integrity. Students emerge from their experiences at Saint James with a strengthened sense of the essential interrelationship of mind, body, and spirit.

Boarding is absolutely amazing at Saint James. Because we come from all over the world, we develop rare relationships that are fun and give you a whole different sense of yourself and the world.

Dorm Life

A dorm is a student's home away from home. The Saint James campus has five dorms, each of which varies in size and character. Dorms are divided between lower- and upper-forms, so students benefit from living with peers in similar classes and activities. The division also enables dorm parents to accord residents greater independence as they mature.

Dorm heads, faculty residents, and evening faculty are the adults who look after the well-being of dorm residents. Prefects are high-achieving Sixth Formers who provide an additional layer of support for students. Prefects enforce School rules and serve as role models to their peers.

Study Hours

Study hours are Sunday through Thursday, from 8:00-10:00 p.m. During this time, most students work in their dorm rooms, although some choose to study in a more structured environment in the academic building. Upper-formers may also choose to study in the library. It is common practice for faculty members to hold help sessions in their classrooms or invite small study groups to their homes during study hours.

Common Rooms

Each dormitory contains at least one common room. The common room is a gathering place for dorm activities, including movies, snacks, games, and dorm meetings. Each common room is typically equipped with a shared refrigerator, microwave, and a TV.

Student Perspective: Truth About Boarding School

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What to Pack

Suggested items to bring (* items are required):

  • Mattress pad*
  • Pillows*
  • Two (2) sets of sheets*
  • Comforter*
  • Blanket
  • Towels*
  • Shower caddy*
  • Throw rug
  • Desk lamp (non-halogen)
  • Power strip/surge protector
  • Hangers*
  • Storage bins
  • Hanging shoe rack
  • Sewing kit
  • Laundry detergent*
  • Laundry bag/basket*
  • Shampoo*
  • Conditioner*
  • Bodywash/soap*
  • Toothbrush*
  • Toothpaste*
  • Hair products
  • Hair dryer
  • Shaving accessories
  • Makeup
  • Alarm clock*
  • Laptop
  • Cellphone (AT&T best service provider for area)
  • Pictures from home
  • Posters
  • Backpack*
  • School supplies
  • Calendar
  • Message board
  • Plate, bowl, cup, mug, fork, knife, spoon (1 set)*
  • Umbrella/rain gear
  • Sports equipment*

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Items NOT to bring:

  • Refrigerators
  • TVs
  • Microwave
  • Coffee makers
  • Game consoles
  • Toasters
  • Personal fans
  • Hot plates/hot pots
  • Air conditioners
  • Candles/incense
  • Lighters/matches
  • Space heaters

Saint James School provides each student with:

Standard twin size bed (female dorms); twin extra long (male dorms)

  • Desk
  • Chair
  • Bureau
  • Closet or wardrobe
  • All dorm windows have shades
  • There is limited storage space underneath the beds
  • Wi-Fi accessibility
  • Laundry facilities
  • Shared bathroom
  • Shared common room with refrigerator, microwave, TV

Weekend Activities

Weekend activities provide students with the opportunity to create memories and to build lasting friendships. Students are able to attend theater performances and concerts in Baltimore and Washington, DC. Those who enjoy the outdoors may participate in hiking, rafting, camping, and ski trips. Other weekend activities include ice-skating, mystery trips, theme parks, movie runs, mall/shopping trips, and day trips to sites of interest.

In addition to off campus excursions, a variety of activities are offered on campus during weekends. Students may choose to take advantage of our athletic and fine arts facilities during their free time. Special events such as Casino Night and Trivia Night are popular annual events. Students also enjoy spending time in the Biggs Student Center, which features a projection screen, televisions, snack bar, and gaming tables.

Faculty open houses also provide the opportunity for students to hang out with teachers and friends in a relaxed family atmosphere.

Weekend Check Outs

Parents should understand that their child needs to have the School’s permission before he or she can leave campus during term. This is the basic premise of all permission policies, and it is essential to the good order of a boarding school.

When a student leaves campus, he/she must check out with the Duty Captain, Administrator on Duty, or Dean of Students directly. The driver of the vehicle in which the student is leaving must also see the Duty Captain or Dean of Students at time of check-out. Any student who leaves campus without the School’s permission is liable to suspension or dismissal depending upon the seriousness of the offense. Boarding students may not keep cars on campus.

Weekend permissions at Saint James are managed by Reach Boarding. All boarding students have access to Reach's software and application, which they use to apply for weekend permission. Weekend permission will either be granted, denied, or amended, depending upon a student’s weekend obligations such as athletic requirements, Sunday afternoon study hall or work squad. A final permission list is posted on Friday at 12:00 noon noting when each student is free to leave; all students must return by Sunday evening at 7:45.

Once posted, this list is final and may not be changed for any reason. Again, parents should note that there are no exceptions to this rule, so they should not expect to arrange a weekend permission after this time unless it is a genuine emergency and they were not able to give proper notice, in which case they should contact the Weekend Duty Captain.

Boarders who sign out for the weekend and wish to make an early return must check-in with the Weekend Duty Captain. A boarding student may go home on any weekend during the academic year with the exception of closed weekends which have been noted on the School calendar. Students may elect to go home a maximum of five weekends in each trimester.

SJS Dorm Room Tour

Wondering what a dorm room looks like at Saint James? Take a tour with our students and find out!