How Admissions Works
If you live overseas and are thinking about sending your child to private school in the United States, pay attention to the following five admissions tips for international students. I am assuming that you are not American citizens or green card holders and that English is not your first language. Many students from countries outside the United States want to attend American private schools. International students make up about 15% of the student population in American boarding schools, according to The Association of Boarding Schools.
The I-20 Form
Be aware that not every private school is certified by the United States Immigration Service to accept foreign students. Why is that important? Always confirm that the school in which you are interested is a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified school. If the school is not SEVP-certified to accept foreign students, it will be unable to issue the form I-20 which is the first step in applying for and obtaining a Student Visa from the U.S. Immigration Service. Once you have received the I-20 from the school which you have chosen to attend, you will pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee. The Immigration Service will not allow your child into the United States as a student without the proper paperwork. If in doubt, ask the school if it can issue the I-20 form. Do not assume anything.
Pay Attention to The Deadlines
Applying for admission to an American boarding school requires that you stay organized
You thought everything was set. The test scores were excellent. She had glowing teacher recommendations. The visit and the interview went well. But the school didn't accept your child. What do you do now?
A private school does not have to accept your child. Nor does it have to give you any reason why it has refused your child admission. How can this be? Surely there must be some federal or state laws which govern the situation? There is no legal recourse because private schools don't take public funding. They pride themselves on their independence. They admit who they choose for whatever reasons they decide are best.
Most of the time parents find themselves in this frustrating situation because they thought they could chose a private school for their child by themselves. Of course technically you can do it. You can also write your own will or buy a house without consulting an attorney. But would you? Should you? Do you trust your limited knowledge of private schools? That is why you need to hire a professional educational consultant. A consultant offers you a wealth of experience for a very modest fee. While she can't guarantee that your child will get into a particular private school, a consultant knows private schools. He understands the process, knows who to call and the questions to ask.
So unless your father endowed the school or was its first headmaster, don't take a chance. Seek and pay for the expert advice you need. Here
Applying to a private school is a process. It is a process with many sections and parts to it. If you are accustomed to managing projects and meeting deadlines, this is just another version of that kind of exercise. I strongly recommend that you set up up just as carefully as you set up a major 12 to 18 month project at the office. When you organize yourself this way, you can put the project on the back burner for a week or so in the first six months without losing any momentum because you have your notes and 'Must Do's' listed. You can see what has to be done at a glance.
Start the process well in advance.
Begin your private school search at least 18 months in advance of when you actually want your child to begin classes. For example, if you want your child to begin Grade 10, then you would begin your private school search process in the spring of Grade 8. That will give you summer and fall to identify and visit schools. That will also allow time for admissions testing and submitting applications. You can start earlier if you prefer, but this timetable will give you enough time to thoroughly research and visit schools without feeling rushed. You will be able to arrive at well-informed decisions about where to apply. Starting far in advance ensures that you have enough time to take care of all the details and arrangements involved with visit schools