San Marcos Academy is one of the few Texas boarding schools that actively seeks international students in grades 6-12 to live in our campus residence halls. About half of our boarding student population (approximately one-fourth of our total middle and upper school enrollment) consists of international students from as many as 18 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.
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 offer English as a Second Language instruction through immersion in the core classes and individualized language development programs. 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.
Helpful Resources for International Students:
Frequently Asked Questions about our International Program
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. Students are not permitted to live with relatives or family friends.
Does the Academy issue the form I-20?
Yes, San Marcos Academy is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS) to issue the I-20 visa application. In order to receive the I-20 visa application a student must first apply to the Academy, be accepted, pay the $2500 tuition deposit, and provide proof of financial support. Specific I-20 information will be given after these steps have been completed. SMA can also assist students who need to transfer a valid student visa from another school.
What is the cost for an international student to attend SMA?
Our base tuition for a boarding student at the Academy (2018-19 school year) is $34,000. In addition to this base cost, a new international student will be charged a $3500 new student enrollment fee. The cost of health insurance, if needed, will be added to the student’s account (approximately $2500. Students will also need spending money provided by the family, usually through a debit card.
Are English Language Proficiency Test scores required?
An English language proficiency test score is strongly recommended for an international student applying to enter the Academy. Our preferred test is the TOEFL, but we would accept results of any comparable test. All students will be considered regardless of their test score. In the event a test score is not available, we may request a Skype interview to help us evaluate the student’s level of proficiency in conversational English.
Which transcripts need to be submitted?
In order to properly transfer credit for the applicant’s previous school(s), official transcripts including school name and seal are required. Transcripts must be translated into English.
Can SMA help with the required health insurance?
We provide health insurance that covers the required immunizations as well as sickness and accidents for all international students. The fee for the 10 month’s health insurance will be automatically billed to the student’s account. To opt out of the above health insurance, proof of current insurance must be provided. Current insurance must be based in the United States to be considered valid.
Should documents be translated into English?
Our Admissions Office receives applications and documents from all over the world. It is important that any application, transcript, recommendation or document be translated into English before sending to our office.
What should International Students do when San Marcos Academy is closed?
Dormitories at San Marcos Academy are 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. Parents are encouraged to plan ahead and make arrangements for their students during these times when the dormitories are closed. Parents are also expected to provide travel plans for their students, so that staff can help 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 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
ESL and ELL students will be grouped within each subject area to ensure that the students are receiving the required contents for each course. ESL and ELL students will gain the required credits for graduation as listed by the Texas Education Agency. For example, an ESL or ELL student who is classified as a Freshman would begin in English I (ESL). This student would be in an English I class with other ESL or ELL students. The required contents of the English I course would still be covered with an ESL/ELL modification, allowing the students to work at a different pace through English language immersion. His/her transcripts will be credited with an ENGLISH I credit upon successful completion of both semesters. The transcript WILL NOT report ESL I. This same grouping will occur in subject areas including history and social studies.