Write or call schools requesting view books and applications. Make sure to call all possible schools you are interested in. Remember these books are free and a great guide to learning about the differences in the schools.
Tours and Interviews
A tour and an interview are great ways to get a first hand look at the school. It enables the prospective student to get a feeling of the atmosphere, types of students that attend the school, and gives the student a chance to ask specific questions that the view book is unable to answer. You should select 5-8 schools you would like to tour and interview with. Do not schedule more than two schools per day. It is recommended that the interviews be scheduled a few weeks in advance. Try to coordinate the visits of the schools so you are not spending all of your days driving.
Make sure you do research on the school and have specific questions about each school prepared to ask the admissions staff. The interview is when you get to show the admissions committee who you are. Try not to be nervous. Take good notes during your interview/tour. Write down all pertinent information once back in the car. Make airline and hotel reservations in advance. The view book usually has good directions to the schools, if not do not hesitate to contact them for directions.
Begin to narrow your school list down. You should apply to around five schools, making sure you always have a "long shot and a safety" school. Your consultant should be able to help in your selection with a good range of schools.
The application process can be a bit scary. You will need to be organized to make the process easier. All schools will ask for recommendations from various teachers. Ask your teachers for these recommendations early to give them plenty of time so they can reflect on what they would like to write. You should also ask for recommendations from coaches, art teachers, music teachers and other faculty that can write about your positive attributes. Ask people that know of your accomplishments and will speak of you highly.
Transcripts of your grades will also need to be sent with your application. Most international schools have a different grading system then the US. Do not worry about this as the American Independent Boarding School already has the knowledge of interpreting your grades into the US system.
The application form itself should be treated like a term paper. Photocopy the application, make rough drafts, and take your time with the answers. The personal essay that most schools ask you to write is a way for the school to get to know who you are. Make your essay stand out. Be creative, original and honest. Make sure ALL material is mailed by the due date, as schools take notice of late applications while some often will not except late applications. Make a follow up call to make sure all material is in.
Letters Schools will be contacting you the last week in March, first week in April. Be patient. Do not push or rush the schools to making their decision. There are three different letters you may receive from the schools. The first is an acceptance letter. This letter congratulates you on being admitted to the school, and gives you details on how to accept or decline their offer for admissions. You are usually given a date by when your decision needs to be made, and a deposit maybe required. The second letter you may receive is a wait-list letter. Students are put on a wait-list when the school would like to accept the student, but room in the class is limited. Full acceptance will be given to the student if space becomes available. If you have been wait-listed and the school is one of your top choices make sure you write them a letter telling them that you are very interested in the school and that you are willing to wait for the possibility of being removed from the wait-list. The third letter you may receive is the rejection letter. Do not get disappointed as schools often reject students not because they are not qualified, but the students strengths and needs may not match the schools strengths and needs.
Decision - You may have a few schools that you are trying to decide between. Many schools offer overnight visits, in order to help make the final decision. These visits let you see into the daily life of a student. You will accompany the host students to their classes, meals, sports activity, and even sleep in their room. It is a great opportunity and often helps make the hard decision easier.
Your school will be sending you many forms that will need to be filled out prior to your arrival. These include such things as: a personal questionnaire for housing purposes, insurance forms, sports sign up, class registration, health form/health insurance and emergency contact sheet. They may also include information concerning your guardian in the USA.
Passport, Visa, and I-20
In order to travel internationally you will need a valid passport from your home country. This needs to be taken with you whenever you travel abroad. Make sure it is valid during your time of study. The I-20 form is the certificate of eligibility for non-immigrant student status for academic and language students. You need to request an I-20 A-B/I-20 ID certificate from the admissions office of your new US school. This form can be obtained from your school once you have a written acceptance, proof of tuition payment, and an affidavit of support issued from your home country bank. Carry your I-20 form with your passport as it is needed upon arrival and departure of the USA. The I-20 Form must be signed by the school every time you leave to go abroad.
It is mandatory to have the I-20 form with you upon your application for a US Visa: F1. You can apply for a US Visa at a US Consulate or Embassy (in Taiwan application is made at the American Institute). Be prepared to show proof of English proficiency, financial support, and residence in a foreign country. Apply for these documents well in advance of your departure date as they often take several weeks to process.
Arrival to the United States
With over a hundred colleges and preparatory schools in the New England area early September is a very busy travel time. Flight, hotel, and transportation needs should all be made well in advance. Often schools provide bus services from the local airport (for students only) on arrival day. Check your individual school for details.
The school will send you information on your roommate. Try to contact this person during the summer. It will make moving in the first day a bit easier. When thinking about your room you will need to purchase specific bedding and room items, often not available abroad. You should also ask your school about computer systems (PC verse Mac, laptop verse desktop) and available Internet access in your dorm room. You may want to arrive a few days early in the states to make sure your back-to-school shopping is complete. Most preparatory schools are not wired for individual telephones in the dorm rooms. Public telephones are often found on every hallway and it is wise to set a time with family and friends that you will be contacting them.
Several times throughout the year, the school dormitories close for school holidays. Students are responsible for making off-campus plans during these vacations. Students often go home, while others either spend the time with friends or local relatives. Another alternative is to plan vacation trips and Homestays with Concierge Services for Students.
End of School Year
At the end of the academic school year students are required to check out of their dorm rooms. Some schools offer space to store school supplies while others leave it up to the individual student to find storage spaces on their own.
If you have any questions, please contact:
Concierge Services for Students