FAQs - Purcell Collegiate School


Which grade levels are offered at Purcell Collegiate School and at what times of the year are students allowed to apply?

Students from Grade 7 to 12 are considered for acceptance through an admissions process from Grade 7 to Grade 12. Depending on what our enrollment numbers are at, sometimes students are accepted for specific grade levels only. We maintain open enrollment, which means we accept student applications at any time of the year and consider both short-term and long-term student applications.

Where is Purcell Collegiate School located?

Purcell Collegiate School is located in the Kimberley-Cranbrook corridor of the beautiful East Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. We are nestled between the Rocky Mountains and the Purcell Mountains and enjoy a large variety of excellent activities and weather. We are well known for our access to hiking, skiing, golf, and many outdoor education activities. We enjoy over 300 days of full sunshine per year and 4 different seasons.

How many students will the school enroll in the coming school year and beyond?

Our enrollment projection is to intentionally start with a small number of students. We project 60 students and in future years we plan to incrementally increase our numbers by 20-30 students each year. Our campus facilities are capable of holding more students and we are looking to grow over time in a responsible manner to maintain a personalized connection to each student.

What are the nationalities of students who attend Purcell Collegiate and the ratio of Canadian students attending?

We accept students from all over the globe and value a diverse student population. This includes having Canadian students involved in the school and in after school activities such as our weekly clubs. This diverse population allows our students to understand and appreciate other students from all over the world as well as local Canadian students.

What is unique about Purcell Collegiate School?

Our program is unique in that we offer an authentic connection with the local community including our Indigenous neighbors within a progressive learning environment with small community benefits. We focus our program on aspects related to academic excellence, sustainability, inclusivity and innovation while providing outdoor leadership and environmental studies. Within our beautiful and secure setting, we provide a world class educational experience while assisting students with university preparation and life skills development around leadership and innovation. Through participation in our program, students will learn more about authentic Truth and Reconciliation processes as well as Indigenous ways of knowing.

How will students be provided with excellent learning experiences through their time and involvement at Purcell Collegiate School?

Our classes are structured to provide exposure to a range of academic and life experiences. This includes developing a well-rounded student who excels with academic excellence while receiving an experience with their peers to embrace transformative learning and sustainable thinking. An experience at Purcell Collegiate allows students to have a personalized connection with staff and students to embrace and realize their full potential within a close-knit community that prepares them for lifelong leadership.

How is Purcell Collegiate School funded and accredited to operate within the Ministry of BC Education?

Purcell Collegiate is funded through a strong investors board that values the experience of international students and is secured through a bonding process that has been approved by the Ministry of Education and Childcare in British Columbia. A rigorous approval process has been put in place to approve the financial and operational status of the school with certification from the Ministry.

In what way is a private independent school like Purcell Collegiate School different from a public school?

As an independent school, we operate three amazing nearby campus locations where transportation is provided to the students so that they can make the most of their time on each campus. From classes, to meals, to social events, after-school and evening activities, every opportunity is supported by staff. Plus, living on campus means always being with your best friends and having an adult nearby for assistance. Together we also do monthly activities that help you explore your community and Canadian culture by travelling to experience all that Canada has to offer. This is all included as part of your fees.

Does Purcell Collegiate School offer a post-graduate program for students who have completed Grade 12 and are looking to prepare themselves better before going to college or university?

Yes, we accept student applications for a post-graduation program and review those on an individual basis to ensure our program is a good match for the expectations of the applicant. This option is a great way to allow a student to mature socially and/or academically, while providing another year of academic preparedness and time to enhance study skills and time management.

Does Purcell Collegiate School offer International Baccalaureate (IB) courses?

Purcell Collegiate School (PCS) is in the process of applying for IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) candidacy.  Once granted, PCS will begin to offer the MYP to students in Grades 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What are the curriculum and academic expectations at Purcell Collegiate in order to prepare students to attend the top universities in the world?

At Purcell Collegiate we are leading the way with an educational experience that is place-based in nature but global in scope to allow students to build an outstanding portfolio of evidence to submit for post-secondary application. Our academic rigor is strong and our support from teachers is top-notch. Together we weave traditional knowledge and modern teaching approaches to prepare our students for leadership and solid post-secondary futures.

How will I receive extra assistance with my coursework if I need it?

Our caring and dedicated staff provide assistance throughout the week, as needed, and regularly monitor student growth in academic and social needs. Each week, two study hall and advisor classes are held to allow students to connect with their teachers on their coursework goals. If it is determined that additional assistance is needed beyond these times, those support structures are put in place. Our staff monitors student progress closely and regularly.

How do the staff and students interact together at Purcell Collegiate School compared to other school experiences?

Typically, at Purcell Collegiate School some of the staff will live in the same building as you do. All of our staff are there for you, like a family, throughout the day. You’ll find yourself eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner with some of our staff, so you will often see them every day, many times a day. Typically, boarding school students enjoy more time with teachers, coaches and staff members outside of class than public and private day school students do – about nine hours per week, compared to four hours elsewhere. That’s a big difference each week!

Do the boarding fees also include meals?

Yes, we have an excellent chef and kitchen staff that provide delicious and nutritious meals for students each day. The meals are included as part of the boarding fees for each day the student is enrolled in the program. Occasionally students will want some of their own funds to purchase a meal at a food establishment if we are out on an excursion or shopping trip or for some snacks they purchase on their own.

Will the dorm be open to students remaining on campus during holiday periods such as Christmas and Spring Break?

Yes, our program remains open for dorm stay, meals and even special activities for students to enjoy during all breaks. Staff supervision is always provided 24/7, even during holiday breaks.

After class, how will I spend my time?

At Purcell Collegiate School, there is an expectation that students will be involved in many different aspects of school life. Whether it’s the evening clubs, an extracurricular sport event, or another activity, boarding school students are often at their busiest after school. At PCS we believe that keeping students actively engaged is beneficial to their social and emotional health, while also allowing dedicated time for homework and study.

Can you tell me more about the daily schedule and annual calendar at PCS?

Good question!  See this link for more information on both.  We go to school Monday-Friday from September – June.

Will I have time to do the things I love like playing a musical instrument, exercising or playing sports?

Yes, we encourage these personal activities and group activities as part of a healthy balance for students. If students need assistance in setting up these activities or attending them, we welcome the opportunity to assist them. Students come first at Purcell Collegiate School. Within a boarding school environment there are many distractions removed so students typically have more time to focus on these creative endeavors compared to a public school student.

Will it be hard to make friends?

If you feel like it might be hard for you to make friends, remember that there are lots of other new students just like you who probably feel the same way, and are likely just as nervous as you. Generally speaking, most other students are eager, open-minded and adventurous. Many students find it very easy to make new friends as they begin the adventure of their life. Upon arrival we have several orientation activities that are designed to help students get to know each other. During the year many opportunities exist to strengthen and build these friendships, which will last for a lifetime due to the amazing, shared experiences that come from attending Purcell Collegiate School.

Our school has designed special events and activities to kick off the school year. These are specifically designed to build connections between new students, existing students, local community members and staff. These are done in order to get students connected early and often, to foster new, lasting friendships within the school community.

How do you assist students who may feel homesick and in what ways are the dormitory staff available for support?

Our dormitory staff as well as our teachers play an integral role in helping to alleviate homesickness, as they are available to talk with students each day and evening, as necessary. If homesickness lingers, our school has counseling support for students to help deal with the transition from living at home to living on a boarding school campus. Our program also has a peer leadership program, in which older students take a leadership role and work to bring younger students into the fold at a comfortable pace.

How are students kept safe?

Student safety is a top priority for us. As our school is located in a rural and friendly community we are fortunate to have a setting which is both safe and comfortable for students to live and learn within. Our campus locations include security ranging from doors locked throughout the day to pass cards permitting entry to buildings and various rooms. Our 24/7 roving security staff walk our campuses each day.

Additionally, all schools have plans for extenuating and emergency circumstances that might occur. Safety is everyone’s business so we encourage students to report any concerns immediately and our staff will respond given that they are on-site and nearby. During our orientation and at regular meetings we will discuss the students’ responsibilities to ensure they act safely as well. We are very fortunate that our campus locations are both safe and friendly places to be!

How can students who need extra support about an issue they are dealing with receive confidential assistance?

Students at our school can always seek support from a staff member and our school counselor to discuss their needs in a confidential manner. Additionally, our school has a wide network of other support resources ranging from our school leadership, student advisers, dorm staff, and access to off-site counselors that are willing and able to help a student in need, anytime, regardless of topic. Many times, students need to be able to connect with an adult to listen and when appropriate, offer advice.

These actions of support for our students generally resolve many of the issues students might be faced with and as needed we will communicate with parents about significant issues to keep them apprised of any concerns that arise. Our students have access to excellent health programs through our insurance provider.

Does Purcell Collegiate School offer a summer program experience for students?

Yes, we have some summer program opportunities that will allow students to participate or extend their time in Canada beyond the regular school year. These are provided at an additional cost and have a different focus than the school year program. These programs are also a great way to build more friendships and see even more of Canada.

Are students allowed to have or drive vehicles?

Boarding students are not allowed to drive or have a vehicle while in the care of PCS staff.  Local day students may drive to/from school with parent permission and per relevant provincial laws.

What kind of currency is used in Canada?

The Canadian dollar (CAD) is the only currency commonly accepted across Canada. You can exchange most currencies into Canadian dollars at any commercial bank.

What money should I have with me when I arrive in Canada?

It is advisable to arrive in Canada with at least $500 CAD. This will pay for any essentials during travel as well as emergency funds in case of a delayed connecting flight or an unexpected situation. You should have plans to have an accessible bank account or credit card to use during your time in our program.

Am I able to open a Canadian bank account?

Yes, if you would like to open a bank account, there are several commercial bank branches located in the area to choose from. Our staff can direct you to several to choose from. Students may also want to have a credit card accessible for them to use for emergency use or times when they do not have easy access to cash for personal spending.

How will I access cash funds while I am at Purcell Collegiate School?

Students should arrange for a bank account that they want to retain and use. We have many local options to choose from. An ATM bank machine to withdraw cash is available for students to use in the dormitory lobby.

What should I do if I get a text, phone call or someone asks me about sending them money?

You should first talk to a staff member to ensure you are not being asked to provide someone with money who is trying to steal from you. Keep your money safe and ask us if you have any questions or if you are approached by text, email, phone call or in-person by someone about giving them money.

What is the tax amount on purchases in Canada?

Each province has their own regulations for adding tax to the purchase of various items. These tax dollars go to the provincial and federal governments. In British Columbia, the provincial sales tax is 7% and the federal sales tax is 5% for a combined total of 12% on your purchases.

Will I have to have a connecting flight to arrive at the Canadian Rockies International Airport?

Yes, connecting flights come from Calgary, Kelowna and Vancouver with regional carriers such as Air Canada and WestJet. You will need to plan carefully around your connecting flight times as you will arrive in Canada as an international traveller and then you will be required to go through Canadian Customs and proceed to the Domestic Terminal to continue to your final destination. Plan to have enough time to complete the arrival and transfer process when booking your flights.

How will I get to the school when I arrive at the Canadian Rockies International Airport?

Our staff will meet and greet you upon your arrival and assist you in travelling the short distance to our dormitory campus. Please have an operating phone capable of sending texts or phone calls to speak with us upon your arrival in Canada so that you can update us along your journey.

How will I access my school textbooks, technology, and uniforms?

At Purcell Collegiate we have Purcell Gear, instead of a uniform, which is standard types of clothing that students will be asked to wear that identifies them as belonging to our school.. PCS Gear has school colours and logos and is flexible clothing, allowing students to enjoy the variety of activities that they will participate in during the school day from outdoor education classes to academic classes as well as learning both inside and outside.
Information about this will be sent to students after their application has been approved in order to allow them to order PCS Gear that appropriately fits them. A device is provided for students to complete their homework and access their digital textbooks as we have very few paper textbooks in an effort to be sustainable with our access to resources.

How many students are in a dorm room?

Typically, we have 2 students sharing a room unless the room is set up to allow for 3 students. Most rooms have two queen size beds which each student will use and a generous amount of space to share with desks and closet space. Our dorm rooms are spacious and beautiful to allow students personal space and a relaxing study and rest environment. Some rooms have a bunk bed allowing for a third student due to the room size and arrangement.

How will Purcell Collegiate School benefit my son or daughter and allow them to get into a strong academic institution beyond high school?

Purcell Collegiate is focused on helping our students lay the groundwork for lives full of great choices and great options while becoming great leaders. Our school fosters the development of academic excellence combined with skills like persistence, discipline, gratefulness, mindfulness, hard work, inclusivity, and curiosity. Through this work we prepare students for their career and academics beyond high school.

We encourage our younger leaders to grow in ways that colleges are going to respect and recognize on an admissions basis and on a community-building basis. In many ways our students will understand how to manage their class load, how to get their homework done without their parents forcing them to, how to seek out adults when they need help and how to become the best that they can be. By doing so, we ultimately prepare our students for success in college/university and for life beyond high school by making learning together in a community big fun with memories that last a lifetime!

While our school has rigorous academics, amazing activities and develops critical thinking skills useful for life, there are no guarantees of an Ivy League acceptance from any school location as it highly depends on how the student engages in the process. Many boarding school graduates do attend Ivy League and other prestigious universities due to their hard work, preparation and by following the advice of school staff who are there to prepare them for the next step.

What we can guarantee is that the character development and independence that students learn at our school will allow them to adjust more quickly and seamlessly to college/university/adult life. These skills and their involvement in the school clubs and activities combined with their academic work will make their application stand out!

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