International Applications for Boarding Places
Many of our boarders are British, but Dollar prides itself on its international links and some boarding places are reserved for those who live abroad.
We have high academic standards and most of our pupils go on to the top universities in the UK and in the rest of the world when they leave, including universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews. International applicants will therefore require a good working knowledge of English and will be required to sit an entrance test. You do not need to come to Scotland to sit the test: this can be arranged with your school or in another way. High standards of behaviour are expected and we will also need to see a copy of a recent school report.
Candidates can apply at any time of the year, but early applications increase the chance of a place being awarded as places can fill quickly. Many of our international pupils intend to come for one year, but enjoy it so much that they stay here until they go to university.
Dollar Academy follows the Scottish education and qualifications system. Scottish qualifications are highly regarded internationally and are recognised for university entrance in all European countries as part of the Bologna agreement.
Pupils at Dollar do examinations at age 16 (Intermediates), 17 (Highers) and 18 (Advanced Highers). The system is similar to the English system of GCSEs, AS Levels and A Levels, with the added advantage of a little more breadth at ages 17 and 18.
Dollar is a very friendly and welcoming place. You can find out more about our international boarders by looking at the boarding section of the website.
Here are some common questions and answers about boarding at Dollar:
BOARDING AT DOLLAR Q & A
What makes boarding at Dollar special?
Dollar boarders and Houseparents are very friendly, the facilities and teaching are excellent and the location is both beautiful and easily accessible.
Who boards at Dollar?
Dollar boarders come from all parts of Britain as well as overseas, and many former pupils send their children here. Boys and girls boarding range in age from 10-18.
Why do pupils decide to board?
Many pupils board because their families live far away, and they want to access the world class facilities and opportunities on offer.
Some pupils live quite locally, but want to maximise their chances in examinations by saving travel time and having specialist teaching staff available to help with homework.
Some choose to board to prepare for university, to build independence and confidence.
Some just decide they want to have a great time at Dollar, having lots of fun with great people in a beautiful place.
Are there “weekly boarders”?
We have a few, but most decide after a while that they would prefer to stay with us at weekends as well. We can offer flexibility, however, as parents’ and pupils’ needs may change over time.
Where do Dollar pupils go when they leave?
Dollar has an outstanding academic reputation. Scotland has always been admired for the breadth and excellence of its educational system and Dollar pupils are highly successful in winning places at top universities, not only in Scotland but around the world.
Where is Dollar?
Dollar is in a wonderful setting, in a country town backed by open hills, and surrounded by farmland, rivers and lochs but with easy access to the university cities of Edinburgh, St Andrews and Stirling. Edinburgh Airport is 30 minutes away.
Who looks after the boarders?
Being in a boarding house is like being in a large family. Each house has its own live-in Houseparents; significantly, they are known as House “parents”, rather than House “masters” or “mistresses”. They are assisted by House Tutors, who are teachers at the school and several Assistant Housestaff, or “Matrons”. Older pupils support the younger ones, and there are pupil Heads and their Deputies to help run the houses. The Rector (Headmaster) and Deputy Rector are in overall charge and visit the houses regularly to meet the pupils and staff. The Care Commission of Scotland, which regulates all boarding schools, has consistently rated Dollar’s provision very highly. The most recent inspection, which rated the boarding provision as 'Excellent' can be downloaded by clicking on the link below:
Care Commission Report, December 2010
What is the accommodation like?
Boys and girls live in separate Houses, although they mix as freely as the day pupils and are allowed to visit each others’ Houses. Seniors usually have their own rooms, while younger pupils share. Some of the boarders’ meals are taken in the House, and some in the main school dining hall.
What do boarders do in their free time?
Boarders have free time after school and a very busy programme of trips to interesting places as well as fun events, usually at weekends, including dances, parties, theme parks, outdoor activities, laser quest, go-karting, surfing…. Boarders can use the excellent school sports and recreational facilities. They can also visit day pupil friends, or go into town, within reasonable limits.
How are new boarders helped to settle in?
There is a full programme of social and teambuilding events and new pupils are also paired with an existing boarder of the same age to help them in the first few weeks.
How and when can parents contact their children?
Parents can telephone, text, email, send letters and parcels or contact via Skype. While parents are welcome to visit the house whenever they are in the area, lesson and homework times are fixed, so it is best to avoid arriving at these times.
Is a guardian necessary?
Boarding pupils from outside the EU require visas and for these pupils guardians are required; guardians can offer a point of contact in emergencies, support during the term and an alternative holiday destination for short breaks. Guardians can be friends or relatives appointed by the pupil's family, or we can supply a list of professional guardianship agencies who will find an appropriate family.
Dollar also has day pupils. Wouldn’t we be better choosing a school that only has boarders?
As most Dollar pupils are day pupils, the boarders feel very special. Working with small numbers makes it easier to create a family atmosphere and to arrange a variety of events and trips. The boarders at Dollar are able to have a wider choice of friends: they often visit day pupil friends and their families at the weekends, for example. It is worth noting that over 300 pupils at the school live in the town of Dollar. It is also generally the case in the UK that very successful day schools often have higher academic standards than boarding schools, as there is a greater demand for places.
How do Scottish qualifications work?
Pupils at Dollar take examinations at age 16 (Standard Grades or Intermediate 2s), age 17 (Highers) and at age 18 (Advanced Highers). The system is very similar to the English system of GCSEs, AS Levels and A Levels, with the added advantage of greater breadth at ages 17 and 18. Many pupils go on to excellent Scottish universities (such as Edinburgh, St Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen) but Scottish qualifications are a very strong currency internationally and other pupils freely choose universities in England (such as Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College and Bristol), or universities in other parts of the world, including the USA.
Does boarding in Dollar have a long history?
Founded in 1818, Dollar Academy is the oldest co-educational boarding school in the UK – and probably in the world. However, in terms of teaching methods and facilities it is a very modern school. It has always been co-educational, unlike many other boarding schools.
Are there bursaries available?
Yes. There are bursaries of up to 100% for pupils joining the school in Form 1 (age 11-12) and these include boarding. There are also bursaries available for older boarders and there are discounts for Services families.
How can we find out more about Dollar?
There are more details about Dollar on our website dollaracademy.org.uk or phone +44 01259 – 742511
What should we do next?
Come and visit and see for yourself. We will be delighted to meet you and our pupils will show you round themselves.