High School

5 Requisites to Applying To US High Schools as an International Student

Published on Sep 24, 2018

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When applying to US High Schools, international students should submit specific documentation to the schools they wish to apply to. Learn about the required documents for an incoming international freshman to be considered for admission to a US high school below:

1) Transcripts

A transcript is an official copy of a student’s academic record detailing the courses the student have taken and each grade received. As an important document requested by US high schools in order to process applications, applicants must submit their transcripts in English. The prior school should send the original transcripts from the last three years of education in sealed envelopes. Most importantly, the transcripts must be officially stamped.

2) English Language Exams

As part of the application process, students must complete the appropriate required standardized test during the current academic year and prior to the stated application deadline. Most high schools will accept the Toefl, Itep or Duolingo exams. For instance, Woodstock Academy now accepts the Duolingo exam.

Schools that offer beginner level of ESL, such as Thornton Academy, will be willing to waive the English Language exam. These schools often times don’t require the exams because if the student doesn’t pass the English test, he will be able to take ESL classes. Therefore, during the admission process, schools that offer beginner level of ESL are willing to have the student take an internal test or have a Skype interview.

3) Bank Statement

A financial statement is an official document issued by a bank which proves there are sufficient funds in a bank account to pay for a school’s tuition expenses and all living costs. Therefore, the amount of money needed to be guaranteed on applicants’ financial statements has to cover the amount listed in the I-20.

4) Student Passport

A copy of the student’s passport is also part of the requisites when applying to US high schools.

5) Two references from high school teachers

As part of the application process, US High schools may request its applicants to submit letters of recommendation in English. It is recommended to submit letters from those who are familiar with the applicant. Letters should be between 1 to 2 pages in length. Most schools require letters from English and Math teachers.

Read our blog on how to ask your teacher for a letter of recommendation.


Check out the Top Ranked US Boarding Schools – requirements and deadlines

Philips Andover – Massachusetts (25 miles north from Boston)

Requirements: International students should submit the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the IELTS to provide the admission committee with more information about their English language proficiency. Additionally, Philips Andover requires the SSAT and ISEE exams.

The SSAT exam has 5 sections: Verbal, Quantitative, Reading, The Writing Sample and Experimental. Similarly,
the ISEE test consists of a verbal reasoning section with synonyms and sentence completion sections and two math sections. Additionally, this exam has a reading comprehension section. Like the SSAT, the test has an essay that asks students to respond to a prompt. Even though the essay isn’t scored, the school the student is applying to will have access to the essay.

Philips Exeter – New Hampshire

Requirements: For 9th and 10th grade applicants, Philips Exeter requires the SSAT or ISEE. The testing company should send the results directly to Exeter.

For 11th and 12th grade, Philips Exeter will accept the most recent test results for the SAT, ACT or PSAT.

Deerfield Academy – Massachusetts

Requirements: Candidates for grades 9 and 10 should take the SSAT. Deerfield Academy also accepts the ISEE. Candidates applying for grade 11 should take the ISEE, PLAN, PSAT, Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, or the SSAT.

Candidates applying for grade 12 should take the ACT, PSAT or SAT. If English has not been the primary language of instruction for at least three years, the student is required to take the TOEFL in addition to the standardized test. You must provide a minimum of 105  for admission.

The deadline for all three schools is early January.

Cogito offers comprehensive preparation, application support and placement at top American boarding schools. We have years of experience in successfully placing international students at the most selective high schools. Additionally, we have tutors from Harvard and MIT who help international students over Skype with preparation for SSAT, SAT, Toefl and any English Language Exam.