Residence Life

Welcome To Our Private Boarding School In Texas

Welcome Boarding Students!

San Marcos Academy is a Texas private boarding school that actively seeks domestic and international students in grades 6-12 to live in our campus Residence Hall. In any given year, our international students represent as many as 12 different countries. The presence of these exceptional young men and women enhances the diversity of our student body and nurtures in all of our students a better appreciation of different cultures, traditions, and histories.

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What Sets Our Program Apart

List of 3 items.

  • Ease of Access

    As a SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) certified school, our international students can come to the Academy to study on an F-1 visa. We provide English as a Second Language support through immersion in the core classes and individualized assistance as needed.
  • No Tests Required

    San Marcos Academy does not require a language proficiency test or any other admissions test for international students. The Admissions Office may request a Skype interview as part of the admissions process in order to evaluate the student’s level of proficiency in conversational English.
  • Opportunity

    In the dormitory setting, our international students have the opportunity to improve and refine their ability to read, speak, and comprehend English at a level necessary for success should they continue their college education in the United States. The majority of our international student graduates do continue their education in this country and are accepted to major universities throughout the United States.

A Strong Academic Foundation

We believe our program provides a strong academic foundation for students from other countries, offering them an excellent Western educational experience that will pave the way for their future educational endeavors. Upper School students prepare for college-level work through a rigorous Christ-centered curriculum. SMA students follow the Texas state-mandated course requirements to graduate and/or obtain one or more endorsements in areas such as Arts and Humanities, STEM, Multidisciplinary Studies, and Public Service.

College matriculations for international students have included renowned institutions such as Penn State University, Boston University, Michigan State University, the University of Texas, and many others.

Support For Success

The Counseling and Guidance Program at SMA also contributes to student success. Our guidance counselor works with families regarding college selection, applications, essays, resumes, recommendation letters, tours of Texas colleges and universities, and standardized testing. Students are welcome to visit her office at any time to seek advice or get their hands on any kinds of materials needed to help design their paths.

An Emphasis On Student Safety

Boarding families should know that as one of the leading Christian schools in Texas, San Marcos Academy places the highest priority on the safety and well-being of all students. Our campus has a Student Resource Officer and other safety officers to provide support, protection, and training in safety procedures. Our campus has an access gate that is monitored by a safety officer, who requires identification for all who enter the campus. SMA cooperates fully with city, county, and state law enforcement officials to provide high-quality training for our staff and faculty. We implement and offer training for students through routine safety drills and procedures throughout the year. We are happy to provide any other information and answer any other questions families may have about our campus safety program.

A Connected Community

While at San Marcos Academy, students are surrounded by teachers and staff who really love what they do. “It is very much a family atmosphere,” explained Toby Wade, who teaches Economics, AP Macroeconomics, and Dual College-Credit Government, as well as serving as Athletic Director and coach for football and baseball. 

Those who reside on campus enjoy 24/7 engagement, with schedules filled to the brim with exciting activities and mentally-stimulating academic experiences. Athletics play a pivotal role in student development as all SMA students are encouraged to get involved in sports to build values in sportsmanship, integrity, and character. The Student Recreation Organization also hosts weekly and monthly events such as board games, karaoke, card games, arts and crafts, holiday-themed festivities and much more. SMA also offers a unique opportunity for international students to join the LEO Club, offering them a path to become members of the Lions Club International as adults in their home countries.

Hear Our Stories

Guidance Counselor Teri Nash

Students come to SMA from all walks of life with their successes and struggles in tow. SMA staff and faculty celebrate their success and allow the students to see past the struggles to new successes. This allows them to discover a nurturing and caring atmosphere in which to learn.”

Marsha Tribe- Residence Life Director 

The mission of SMA is to educate young men and women within a nurturing community based upon Christian values. Residence Life is taking this mission into action by daily living and dwelling together in a community of different cultures and nations. It is a beautiful thing to see the transition of each student as they learn and understand how to live and grow together. The Residence Life team is fully committed to being present to provide an environment to help your student achieve their goals. It is challenging and empowering to have the opportunity to watch a global community come together. 

James Portis, SMA Staff and Parent

We help students to become personally responsible individuals with a value and regard for those around them. This helps them become interdependent self-managers, concerned not only with how they can improve themselves, but also with how they can inspire others to become better citizens.

International Program FAQ

List of 7 items.

  • When is the deadline to apply?

    San Marcos Academy has a rolling enrollment process which means our Admissions staff will review every application regardless of the time it was submitted. Prospective international students should consider the amount of time it takes to acquire the proper student Visa when applying and are encouraged to start the process as early as possible.
  • May an international student enroll as a day student?

    No, international students, defined as students studying on an F-1 visa (those who are not U.S. citizens, do not hold a U.S. passport and are not permanent residents of the U.S.) must live on campus in the residential boarding program as they participate in the in-person learning in San Marcos that we provide. Students are not permitted to live with relatives or family friends, but they may be checked out of the dormitory (by adults previously approved by the parents) on weekends or on other occasions during the week.
  • Does the Academy issue the form I-20?

    Yes, San Marcos Academy is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to issue the I-20 visa application. In order to receive the I-20 visa application, a student must (1) submit a completed application for admission (2) be accepted to the Academy (3) submit a tuition deposit ($7,000 for the 2021-22 school year) and (4) provide proof of financial support (ability to pay the total tuition).

    After these steps have been completed, we will issue and mail the I-20 to the student’s home address. If the student is denied a visa, the family may request a refund of the tuition deposit, minus a $500 fee.
    SMA can also assist students who need to transfer a valid student record from another school.
  • Are English Language Proficiency Test scores required?

    English language proficiency test scores are not required for ESL or ELL students. However, if an applicant has taken an English proficiency test, we encourage him or her to submit the score (or scores) for class placement purposes. All students will be considered regardless of their test score. The admissions office reserves the right to request a Skype interview to help us evaluate a student’s level of proficiency in conversational English prior to acceptance.
  • Can SMA help with the required health insurance?

    San Marcos Academy provides health insurance that covers the required immunizations as well as sickness and accidents for all international students. The fee for the  health insurance will be automatically billed to the student’s account. The policy will be in effect from the first day of school (or first day of arrival on campus) until the last day of school. To opt out of the Academy’s health insurance, a student must provide proof of current insurance. Current insurance must be based in the United States to be considered valid.
  • What should International Students do when San Marcos Academy is closed?

    The Residence Hall at San Marcos Academy is open throughout the school year with three exceptions: (1) the week of Thanksgiving break (2) the three-week Christmas and New Year break and (3) Spring Break. These dates are noted on our 2021-22 school calendar. Parents are encouraged to plan ahead and make arrangements for their students during these times when the Residence Hall is closed. Parents are also expected to provide travel plans for their students, so that staff can coordinate getting students to and from the airport. Travel plans should be provided to the dormitory directors as early as possible.

    SMA will help parents arrange a home stay for their students during Thanksgiving Break or Spring Break if needed (a daily fee will be charged) when the dormitories are closed. Parents should request home stays as early as possible.
  • How is ESL taught at the Academy?

    At San Marcos Academy all students at SMA must acquire the credits necessary for graduation as listed by the Texas Education Agency. International students will receive English as a Second Language support through English immersion in the core classes with ELL assistance as needed on an individual basis. SMA does have an ESL specialist on staff.
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