Boarding Common Questions

Heading off to boarding school is exciting! As you prepare for your time at OES, we hope you will find answers to many of your questions here.

What is provided in a dorm room, and what should I plan to bring?

In your dorm room, you will find a sink, two desk areas with storage drawers, two closets, ample storage shelves, telephone, wireless internet access, and two beds (XL mattresses available). You will need to supply the following:

  • an alarm clock (we recommend not just relying on a cell-phone alarm)
  • pillow
  • twin size sheets
  • blanket or comforter
  • towels
  • clothes hangers
  • trash can
  • desk lamp, if desired
  • padlock for the locking drawer (approximately 1/4" shank)

Additionally, a good rain jacket and closed toed shoes are needed for the many student adventures that will begin the day after you arrive.

How are roommates selected? When will I find out who my roommate is?

New students will be assigned a roommate over the summer and may be paired with a new or returning student. We carefully consider many factors when creating roommates, and try to, whenever possible, pair students from different cultural backgrounds. Students are typically notified in mid-August and we encourage students to connect with their new roommate. Returning students have the opportunity to make roommate requests for the following school year.

What are the spaces like beyond the dorm room?

Our common spaces in the dorms include lounges with fireplaces and comfy seating, study rooms, kitchenettes, a full kitchen for student use, and laundry facilities. Beyond the dorms, the 59-acre campus offers many opportunities for students to spend time outside. Whether it is going on a bike ride, playing lawn games, or enjoying a BBQ, living in the Northwest means enjoying the outdoors rain or shine. Students also have access to a turf field, track, indoor/outdoor tennis and basketball courts, a newly remodeled fitness center, and music rooms.

What are meals like at OES?

OES students enjoy a buffet of tasty, nutritious options prepared by Bon Appétit, our exceptional food service provider. Our experienced chefs cook meals with fresh ingredients from local farmers and artisans. There are many seasonal, regional, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, including a wide range of cultural food (Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Thai, etc.). We invite you to explore the Daily/Weekly Menu, and to learn more about our Dining Hall at OES Dining & Nutrition.

What is nearby the campus? Are there places to shop for snacks and school supplies?

A local shopping area with a grocery store, bank, Starbucks, a Thai food restaurant, and several other restaurants is walking distance from the dorms. Additionally, the dorm parents provide weekly rides to Fred Meyer, Target, and Uwajimaya, an Asian specialty market.

Students may also access public transportation at a nearby bus stop to travel to downtown Portland or to Washington Square, a large shopping mall.

Do students have bank accounts?

Students should never keep large amounts of cash in their rooms. We encourage families to set up a local bank account for their student. Each year we make arrangements with a local bank to open checking accounts for our new dorm students during orientation.

We recommend that if parents do not wish to supply their student with a credit or debit card, they instead provide a student with gift cards that can be used at local stores.

Where is the best place for my family to stay while visiting campus?

Downtown Portland has several great hotels located in the heart of the city. The campus is a 15-20 minute drive from downtown, so this is a good option if your family will rent a car or wants to experience the city.

Closer to campus, we recommend one of the following hotels:

When the dorms are closed for the holiday break, where do students go?

The dorms close for the following school holidays:

  • Thanksgiving Break
  • Winter Break
  • Spring Break

During the holiday breaks, most students will return home or visit nearby family and friends in the Pacific Northwest. If students are unable to travel home or to a local relative’s home, we will assist students to find a host family within the broader OES community. Host families may have younger students at OES or be employees of the school.

Our Dorm Community

56 students
26 boys, 30 girls
Students from 12 countries
2 residence halls
6 on campus dorm parents