The idea of studying in the U.S., with the potential to attend a prestigious American university, can be very exciting. And the opportunity to study in the U.S. does exist. American boarding schools, also known as “prep schools,” can give you a high quality education at the same time as offering you increasing independence and preparing you for college life.
But it is challenging to secure a spot in a high quality boarding school. While most boarding schools offer spots for international students in grades 9-12, the majority of students will be American. Many schools welcome the mix of cultures that international students bring; at the same time, however, it is very important that any incoming student is capable of accessing a demanding high school curriculum – in English.
You might have your heart set on a famous American boarding school like Choate, or Philips Exeter, or similar high caliber schools. These are not schools which offer ESL (English as a Second Language) support. They expect students to be absolutely fluent in English.
They might not say that they only accept applications from native English speakers, but if they don’t offer ESL at all then they expect that the student is capable of working independently in English. The TOEFL (test of English as a foreign language) is not required at some of these schools because they take native and/or fluent English speakers only.You might not know if a school offers classes in English as a Second Language, or if it requires the TOEFL as part of their application requirements. You might not know whether a student will really be considered based on a Skype interview, or if you will need to visit the school. But we do know. We work with schools on a daily basis to make sure that we can make a great match between the families we represent and the schools.
Ideally we like to work with families that start the process of applying to boarding schools when the student is still in 7th grade. This gives us enough time to help you strategize your best and most realistic options, help you plan your time in middle school, and support you on your journey to a successful application.
Our unique intake questionnaire helps you sort out your priorities as to what you are really looking for in a school, and our excellent relationships with the schools helps us know what makes for a successful application.
For schools that do require the TOEFL, the minimum score they expect to see is 80-90; this varies by school. For schools that require the SSAT as an entrance exam, the minimum score they expect to see is 2250. This, of course, also varies by school.
Of course these numbers are not carved in stone, but given the stiff competition you can expect when applying to American boarding schools – with 200-300 applicants to each boarding school from China alone! – it is critical to find the schools where you have an excellent chance of admission. As an educational consulting company specializing in placing international students in American boarding schools, we will work with you to find the right fit school, based on your unique skills, abilities and strengths. Whether your ideal school is in New England or California, would be happy to help you make this journey.
What sets us apart
What makes us different from other educational consultants placing international students in American boarding schools? We are small and highly selective, and only work with a limited number of hand-picked candidates each year. While there are large companies that take on hundreds of clients, that have all of their students apply everywhere, this is not an approach that works well with school admissions. Our personalized approach, with a small number of hand-picked students to represent, and our close relationships with the schools, will give your child a competitive advantage in the process of applying to boarding schools.