It sound scary, but I have heard it isn't that bad. If your parents live nearby, you can see them friday through sunday, which is 2.5 days, compared to 5 days you are apart from them. Weigh your decision against how good your district high school is, because if you go somewhere good, it won't make a difference to go to IMSA. Just a few things I have picked up from friends at IMSA, both good and bad: They have no textbooks or AP classes, which makes things really hard. Their teacher are usually PHDs, which can be taken two ways. Apparently they don't teach well, but they have contacts in universities and places so it is easy to get internships. But I have also heard that your motivation severly wanes after the first year, and people tend to burn out. Those who go to their public school tend to be more motivated by junior year. Either way, you can (and probably should) defer your freshman year and spend it at you local high school. You can decide at the end of that time whether or not to leave.