What is life really like as a boarding student at Garrison Forest School? Check out our Boarding Basics guide!
- About Boarding at GFS
- A Day in the Life
- Weekends @GFS
- GFS "Superwords"
- What Should I bring?
- Student Bank
Though innovative, our excellent Boarding program is far from new. For over 100 years, we have offered girls the opportunity to live and learn here and prepared them for an exciting future.
Being a part of our safe, supportive boarding program is one of the best ways to prepare for the transition to college or take your next step with confidence and a developed sense of independence and responsibility. You’ll be supported by on-campus residential faculty and a wide network of peers who become lifelong friends.
By the Numbers
Boarding program offered for Grades 8-12
4 dorms and 24 faculty residences
Upper School day students have a variety of options for significant short-term and long-term boarding opportunities. Students choose to live on campus while participating in the Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) program, athletics, student leadership activities and artistic endeavors. Some families also choose a short-term stay for their daughter due to obligations that take them out of town for extended periods. This is a great opportunity to try on living in the dorms--either as part of your GFS experience or prepare for college.
Beyond the cost of day student tuition, day student boarding may encompass a full year, one trimester, or a shorter time at a pro-rated cost.
Questions about flexible or short-term boarding? Contact Jodi Blackburn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8th Grade Boarding
Students may choose to board starting in 8th Grade. Because we know students have specific developmental needs at this stage, 8th Grade boarding students are housed together in the same dorm to provide the very best experience for them. While they are fully a part of the boarding community, they will find extra support and resources to ease the transition into a boarding environment.
Choosing to board starting in 8th Grade offers students unparalleled opportunities to take on leadership positions, develop emotionally and become more independent even as they form strong friendships and connections. It also allows them to focus on their academic development.
Questions about 8th Grade boarding? Contact Lauren Anderson, email@example.com.
|7:15 A.M.-8:00 A.M.||Breakfast in Alumnae Hall (Exception: 7:15 A.M. -8:45 A.M. on Thursday)
7:40 A.M.- 7:55 A.M.
|Check-in with class advisors in Marshall-Offutt lobby
|8:00 A.M.- 9:15 A.M.
First Period Class
|9:15 A.M.- 10:00 A.M.
X block (can be class meetings or other gathering)
|10:15 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.
Second Period Class
|11:40 A.M. - 12:15 P.M.
|11:40 A.M. - 12:55 P.M.
Late Lunch Class
|12:15 P.M. - 1:30 P.M.
Early Lunch Class
|12:55 P.M. - 1:30 P.M.
|1:45 P.M. - 3:00 P.M.
Last Period Class
|3:25 P.M. - 4:05 P.M.
|6:00 P.M. - 6:45 P.M.
Dinner- check in by 6:15 P.M (Exception: 6:25 P.M. - 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday for Family-Style Dinner)
|7:30 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.
Residential Hall check-in
Lights out for 8th graders & 9th graders
|11:00 P.M.||Lights out for 10th, 11th and 12th graders
- 9th Grade: 1
- 10th Grade: 2
- 11th Grade: 3
- 12th Grade: 4
No late lights on Sunday night
Garrison Forest offers numerous weekend activities for Upper School students. These chaperoned activities are available to day and boarding students (including the 8th Grade boarding students) and are planned by the Residential Life office. Some past activities have included:
- Halloween events-haunted attractions, pumpkin picking & corn mazes
- Hiking and biking trips
- Inner Harbor trips
- Kings Dominion
- Local boys school mixers, productions and athletic events
- Local concerts
- Medieval Times dinner and tournament
- Miniature golf
- Movie trips
- Museum trips: Baltimore, Philadelphia & Washington, DC
The GFS Minibus takes boarders to shops and restaurants on weekends and Wednesday evenings.
- 7:00-10:00 PM on Fridays
- 1:00-4:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays
- Wednesdays for a grocery store run between 6:30 – 7:15 PM
Starbucks, Smoothie King, Rita’s, U spoon, Cold Stone, Baskin-Robins, Dunkin' Donuts, Panera Bread, Nalley Fresh, Smash Burger, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, TGI Friday, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Buffalo Wings, Ginza, Edo Sushi, Noodle’s Company, Mezcal, the Green Turtle and much more.
Walmart, Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Barnes & Noble, DSW, Old Navy, Ulta, HomeGoods, Best Buy, Michael's, Giant Food (grocery store), Safeway (grocery store), Party City
Garrison Forest "superwords" are a series of words and phrases that students and teachers use every day. Getting familiar with these words offers students a faster way to engage in different activities and will be very helpful in general as you begin your GFS journey.
- Eyebrow - The loop near tennis courts, between Meadowood and Robinswood
- Manor House loop - The loop near senior house, in front of Manor House, Shriver and Searle Athletic Center
- Marshall-Offutt – Where the admission office and Upper school classrooms and administrators are located
- SAC - Searle Athletic Center named for alumna Betsy B. Searle '74; running track, courts, fitness center, dance studio, etc. are there
- Alumnae Hall – Dining room
- O-Zone – Student café and lounge located in Manor House
- Late start - First period class starts at 9:00 A.M. every Thursday morning
- Morning Meeting at Garland Theater - All Upper School Students gather for announcements
- Class Meeting - Led by class advisors and class day and boarding presidents
- Decision-making – A class for 9th and 10th grade students
- Assemblies – A time when the whole upper school comes together for a presentation
- Advisory - Upper School students meet with their academic advisors. Advisors are assigned to first-year students. At the end of the first year, students can choose their advisors for the next academic year
- SDLC - Student Diversity Leadership Council which discusses diversity issues
- Forum - GFS student government led by school president
- Service League Board - GFS community service group. Here is a list of the many community service opportunities
- Peer Ed – A group of students who have been chosen to teach lessons. Peer educators in 10th and 11th grade talk to 8th graders. Senior peer educators talk to 9th graders.
- Academic Mentor - Students tutor younger students, typically on campus
- Paw Print - GFS Student online newspaper
- Callisto – GFS student annual literary magazine
- Demerit and Campusing - Students receive demerits for rule violations and will be campused during weekends after receiving 12 demerits
- RLSL - Residential Life Student Leader
- Treats-n-Tasties – Student leaders and dorm parents provide snacks every Wednesday night at 9:00 P.M. in Residential Halls
- Family-style dinner – Dinner on every Tuesday at assigned tables with on-campus faculty families and other boarding students
- Late lights - An additional time one could ask for to complete work after lights out
- Supervised Study Hall - A period of time when first-year students have to walk over to the lecture hall or library to do their work from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday
- GFS weekends - All boarding students are expected to participate in activities of GFS weekends for the sake of bringing the community together
- Minibus run – A school-owned minibus takes students to shops and restaurants nearby
- Giant-run – A minibus takes students to a nearby, full-scale grocery store, which is called Giant, every Wednesday at 6:30 P.M.
- Quest – Individual class bonding overnight trip for 9th and 10th grade students (chaperoned by class advisors)
- Snoball -Winter dance for Upper School students planned by Forum
- Fall Fest – A fundraising event planned by 11th grade (festival-like event with games, food booths, etc.)
- Light Blue/Dark Blue - Spirit teams at GFS named for school colors of Light Blue and Dark Blue (called 'Lights" and "Darks"). New girls are assigned to a team at the beginning of the school year
- Spirit Week – An out-of-uniform week with different dress themes
- Boardingware: The software Residential Life uses for attendance and keeping track of our boarding students
Questions about the residential experience at GFS? We're here to help! Answers below are provided by current boarding students:
How do you get around to stores and restaurants?
There are many stores and restaurants right across the street, including Starbucks, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, and Wegmens. You can just grab a friend and call the faculty on duty, and you are free to go after school or during weekends. The school also offers mini-bus runs, which can take you anywhere in the nearby area (and there are a lot of restaurants and stores). We also have weekend activities to restaurants or stores, including Korean BBQ, hotpot or Target. Thus, you don’t have to worry about not having access to stores!
What do you do if you get lonely/homesick?
The school is great at supporting students who feel homesick, and there are many designed activities for students to talk to each other and make friends. Faculty will also make you feel welcomed and at home. If you still feel homesick, the best ways are to chat with your friends and do something that you love.
How easy is it to make friends?
There are great ways to make new friends at Garrison! Whether you join interest clubs and after school activity groups or participate in leadership roles, you will be able to meet people that share the same passion as you have! Not to mention how easy it will be to meet new people in the boarding community. Every year during Orientation Week, all the new students participate in group activities to get to know each other and learn more about the Garrison boarding culture. One of the best opportunities is the Starbucks Walk with your Prefects (student leaders in the boarding community); you can talk about anything, from the things you want to know more to the untold “ghost stories” in the dorms. It is a great opportunity to know your Prefects! You will have an opportunity to talk to other returning boarding students during a social event (with ice cream!) later in the week.
How is the food?
Students have multiple choices to pick from. Garrison’s dining service is provided by SAGE dining. Every meal, the salad bar, the hot meal and the sandwich bar are always open. The meals are designed to achieve a balanced diet. In addition, they accommodate students’ needs very well! I was a pescatarian for six months and SAGE definitely has multiple options for me to get my protein. It makes the transition in and out much easier and smoother. There are also gluten-free options available at each meal!
What activities are available on the weekend?
There are various kinds of activities available during weekends. There are mini-bus runs that go to any store, shop or restaurant you want nearby or go to see a movie with friends. In addition, I can also hang out and shop by going to nearby Towson, Columbia, and Ellicott City. Moreover, I love trips that take me to nearby cities, like New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC to explore. More surprising for me is that I went skiing with my family back home and I was worried that I was not able to ski when I came to Garrison. However, Garrison is able to take me to ski resorts to ski. Also, I love going on trips that take me ice skating, ziplining, snow tubing, kayaking and hiking on weekends. The highlight of activities is that day students can also join the program with the boarding students, so going to Six Flags and Hershey Park (theme parks) with all my friends give me such a great pleasure! One thing that is special at Garrison is that if there is something I want to do and I ask for it, then it will happen!
Trying to figure out what to bring with you and what to buy once you get to Garrison Forest can be overwhelming. Here's a handy reference to make moving in a lot more fun!
You should bring:
- Sleep: regular twin sheets, pillow(s), mattress cover, two blankets
- Organize: hangers for your closet
- Shower: bath towels, bathroom caddy, toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, body wash
- Laundry: detergent, laundry bag/basket
- Gear: umbrella or rain gear, swimming suit, and snow gear (it DOES snow in Maryland), slippers
You MAY bring:
- Sleep: comforter or bedspread, sleeping bag, throw pillows, rug, alarm clock
- Organize: shoe rack, shelf, organizers to hang over closet door for cosmetics, desk organizers, drawer organizer, storage tote, adhesive hooks
- Life Style: floor lamp, desk lamp, a fan, posters or other wall decorations, valence curtains (and tension rods), calendar, bulletin board, bean bags & lounge chair, your favorite movies (well labeled), mementos, picture frames, a plant, room fragrance, etc.
- Electronics: music system, camera, computer*, cell phone, batteries, small cube refrigerator, extension cords, surge suppresser
- Shower: weight scale, hair dryer and other hair appliances
- Laundry: iron (each residence hall has one, though)
- Eat: reusable food containers, plates, bowls, cups/mugs, eating utensils, water bottle, bag clips
You may NOT bring:
- Television, VCR/DVD player
- Hardwired telephone
- Electric blanket
- Hot pots, toaster oven, microwave, heat coil or other electrical cooking appliances
- Candles or incense
We suggest you to buy here instead of bringing from home:
- Sanitary supplies
- Laundry supplies
- Bathroom caddy
- Binders that are not three-ring, notebooks
- Bedding supplies
We suggest you bring (if you have a preference):
- Sundress for Convocation (an opening-of-the-year school event)
- Pens with 0.38mm or thinner refill
- Travel adaptors
- Hair accessories and hair ties
Garrison Forest offers comfortable, fully wired rooms. View our Residence Halls to find out what is already inside of your new room.
The Garrison Forest Business Office provides students with a safe place to keep their money. Families who wish to use this service must make an allowance deposit for the first three months allowance (at a minimum) before the start of school for student’s personal expenses.
The allowance account permission form allows each family to indicate an amount of money each student can withdraw over a one month period. Personal choice plays a large part in the amount a student needs to set aside for additional expenses. Some classes and athletic programs require additional fees for materials, as do field trips and so forth. The Business Office also cashes personal checks for students.
The Business Office is located on the 2nd floor of Manor House and is open Wednesday and Friday.