Boarding School Documentary Film Series

A Secret World is a documentary series that explores what life is like at college preparatory boarding schools by using personal stories from over 100 individuals, from a wide range of different backgrounds, to explore this misunderstood schooling option. Negative stereotypes about boarding school permeate the media and filter into the subconscious mind of most parents in America.

Since 1999, I have seen hundreds of parents go from being adamantly opposed to boarding school to not only enrolling their child at a college prep boarding school, but regarding the boarding school experience as positive and even transformational in their child’s life. I was reflecting on just what it was that moved parents from such adamant resistance to boarding to an open-mindedness to explore boarding school and I concluded that it was conversations that parents had with current students, current parents, graduates and admission counselors that debunked their stereotypes and created enough interest that these parents were willing to visit a college prep boarding school with an open mind. This documentary series was created as a way to try replicate those conversations and campus visits.


  • Thought-provoking, unbiased interviews with 36 current and prospective students, 16 boarding school graduates, 50 parents, 4 public school leaders and 2 current admissions counselors
  • 20 Educator Insights from nationally prominent boarding school leaders
  • 20 Statistical Insights about boarding schools
  • Campus footage from more than 20 boarding schools across the U.S.


Academics‚ Arts‚ and Athletics

  • Arts
  • Athletics
  • Classroom Environment
  • College Prep
  • Creativity And Education
  • Teachers

Life At Boarding School

  • Off-Campus Life
  • Resistance To Boarding
  • Safety And Security
  • Sex‚ Drinking‚ Drugs And Hazing
  • Supports In Place For Students
  • Challenges And Difficulties
  • Personal Growth
  • Unique Opportunities

The Parent-Child Relationship

  • Access To Information
  • Advice To Parents
  • The Advisor
  • Appreciating Your Parent(s) More
  • Parent-Child Communication
  • Parenting From A Distance
  • Personal Growth For Boys
  • Personal Growth For Girls
  • Support Systems In Place

The Student Body

  • Critical Thinkers And Good Communicators
  • Academically Focused And Grounded
  • Ambitious, Focused And Self-Motivated
  • Battle-Tested
  • Confident, Responsible And Independent
  • Gifted And Talented
  • Globally Aware, Open-Minded And Curious
  • Mature For Their Age
  • Relationship Builders
  • Wealthy
  • Stereotypes And Reservations

Who’s A Good Match

  • Boarding Is Not For Everyone
  • Who’s A Good Match: Student Perspectives
  • Who’s A Good Match: Adult Perspectives
  • Who’s A Bad Match: Student Perspectives
  • Who’s A Bad Match: Adult Perspectives
  • Wrestling With The Decision

Viewing Guide

  • Film overviews with an outline of the content and structure of each film.
  • Snapshots of the individuals in the series, what they share in the films and which films they appear in. This includes 36 students, 16 graduates, 50 parents, and 26 educators.
  • Information about the 31 boarding schools featured in the five films.
  • A sample schedule of a typical day at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, MA.
  • Multiple places to jot down notes throughout the Viewing Guide.


  • Parent with children under age 18
  • People who are curious about college preparatory boarding schools
  • Educators who work with students of all ages

Watch the Trailer

Game Changer Trailer

If you are interested in learning more about “A Secret World”, please email us at, and a team member will get back to you with more information.