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Walnut Hill School for the Arts

The Boarding Experience


The Walnut Hill Residential Life Program offers boarding students a safe, supportive community on our Natick campus. Our eight dormitories range in size from 15 to 50 students and offer single, double, or triple rooms, which are assigned based on a student’s length of time at the School, his or her grade level, and room availability. Trained Dorm Parents supervise the dorms and serve as adult role models who are there to celebrate student achievements and assist with any challenges that arise. Our culturally diverse student population makes life in the dorms a rich and unique experience for all of our students, and the ability to live and learn together on campus offers our boarding students the chance to grow in their independence and develop meaningful and lasting friendships.

Frequently Asked Questions

When are Dorm Parents available?

The Dorm Parent(s) on duty for each dormitory are present and available from 6:00pm to 7:00am on weekdays and during all hours on the weekends.

How do parents interact with their child’s Dorm Parents?

Parents are encouraged to meet their children’s Dorm Parents in September and are welcome to contact them throughout the year. Anytime students need to request overnight permissions to leave campus, or if health or disciplinary issues arise, Dorm Parents are involved in communicating with parents. A list of the names and telephone numbers of Dorm Parents is sent to parents at the start of the school year.

How are dorm assignments determined?

In the spring, a housing request form is sent to all returning students. They are able to indicate their preferences for dormitory and roommate, and assignments are based on seniority. All new students are sent a housing form enabling them to indicate their living habits. When assigning new students a roommate, we work closely with the Admission Office to get a better sense of the student's personality, habits, and preferences. This helps us find the best possible match for each student. Dorms are divided by grade level (grades 9 and 10 or grades 11 and 12), and new students are typically matched with someone from their grade, though not from the same major.

Are dorm rooms furnished?

All rooms are furnished with a desk and desk chair, a bookshelf, and a bed for each occupant.

Will my child have a choice of roommate?

All returning students are able to request a specific roommate, and we do our best to honor this request. All new students will live with a roommate. If a new student is interested in living with a specific person, we do allow for this to be indicated on the housing form; however, we do not guarantee that the two students will be placed together.

What leadership roles can students take on in the dormitories?

Dorm Presidents play an important leadership role in the structure and function of the dormitories at Walnut Hill. Appointed each May for the following year, they are students who are respected by the School community for their exemplary qualities of honesty, responsibility, dependability, fairness, leadership, and conduct. They assist with daily dormitory operations and build spirit in the dormitories by organizing in-dorm activities and events.

Dorm Parent Support

Listen to Jennifer TumSuden, then Director of Annual Giving and Dorm Head of North House and currently Director of Development at Walnut Hill School for the Arts and Bishop Dormitory Head, talk about her experience as a dorm parent.
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