International Students

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About the Program

A Strong Academic Foundation

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. 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. 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.

A SEVP Certified School

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. 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.

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.

An international student enjoys lunch with friends at the cafeteria.

An Emphasis on Well-being

International families should know that San Marcos Academy places the highest priority on the safety and well-being of our students. We have a Student Resource Officer and other safety officers on our campus 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 law enforcement officials in the city, county, and state 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.

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Preview Our Dormitories

SMA Dormitory Room
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International
Program FAQ

When is the deadline to apply?
May an international student enroll as a day student?
Does the Academy issue the form I-20?
What is the cost for an international student to attend SMA?
Are English Language Proficiency Test scores required?
Which transcripts need to be submitted?
Can SMA help with the required health insurance?
Should documents be translated into English?
What should International Students do when San Marcos Academy is closed?
How is ESL taught at the Academy?
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, 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 (25% of the total tuition amount) 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.

What is the cost for an international student to attend SMA?

Our base tuition for an international student at the Academy (2020-21 school year) is $46,500. In addition to this base cost, a new international student will be charged a $3,500 new student enrollment fee. The cost of health insurance, if needed, will be added to the student’s account at the cost of approximately $2,500. Students will also need spending money during the year, provided by the family, usually through a debit or credit card. Other required fees are the Bear Network Family Fee of $25 (per year), the Smart Tuition fee of $50, and the Campus Safety Family Fee of $100 (per year). Seniors will be charged a graduation fee of $175.

Those who submit an application to SMA will be asked to pay a non-refundable $150 application fee. International applicants who are accepted will be charged a tuition deposit (25% of the total tuition cost) in order to be issued a form I-20. If the applicant receives a visa, this deposit will be applied to the student’s account. If the applicant does not receive a visa, the family may request a refund of the deposit, minus $500.

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.

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?

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 August 1, 2020, to May 31, 2021. 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.

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 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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