How to Choose an International School
There are many reasons why you would want to choose an international school. Whatever your reasons, you should settle for the best institution with the best education standards. The school should be well-reputed, in an ideal location and offer the perfect environment for studies and for building a new home away from home and even making friends. Undoubtedly, there are many international schools out there. They have different criteria when it comes to admission. You will feel overwhelmed with an array of options to choose from. However, there are crucial factors to keep in mind when selecting an international school.
- Know the Application Process
The application processes vary from one institution to the other. You must get all the details needed for a seamless application process. Often, most international schools do not admit students in the middle of an academic year unless it is necessary. Therefore, inquire about application requirements, deadlines and all the needed paperwork. You can begin your search 6 months or a year earlier before making a formal application.
- The Curriculum
The curriculum is a crucial factor to keep in mind when choosing an international school. Curriculums vary from one country to the other as well as the language used. Often, English is used across international schools but some use French, German and Dutch. In this case, ensure you are familiar with the curriculum and language used in an institution you are interested in.
Some popular curricula choices include America, International Baccalaureate and English curricula among other international options. Therefore, you need to base your decisions on the type of curriculum that will benefit you. This is because you may end up in the same international institution up to the university level. Consistency is therefore key.
Exploring all possible curriculum options including the International Primary Curriculum, the National Curriculum of England, US-oriented, International Middle years curriculum and much more enhances your global eligibility. You will be able to get an institution that matches your academic and career needs best.
If you are a British ex-pat, you can choose the English National Curriculum. When you are relocating to the US, the American curriculum is the best. The International Baccalaureate is ideal if you are aged 3 to 19 and it is used across thousands of international schools across the globe. This includes international and independent global institutions across the UK and many other parts of the globe.
The Cambridge Pathway or the Cambridge Assessment International Education is also a great curriculum to consider when choosing an international school. It is used in 160 countries in over 10,000 schools across the globe. The qualifications to join an institution using the curriculum can be competitive and is designed for different ages. This includes Cambridge Primary, Cambridge Lower Secondary, Cambridge Upper Secondary, IGCSE and Cambridge advanced studies for A, AS and Pre U levels.
Remember, the curriculum is vital, something you cannot afford to ignore as it defines an institution. Therefore, pay important consideration to curriculum and ensure you get an institution with a curriculum that matches your needs best.
- Choose the Right Institution
With thousands of international schools to choose for your studies, you need to choose the right institution. Ask yourself whether the school is located in the right environment, is it expat-friendly, does it offer the kind of education you are looking for, is it internationally-oriented or is it a private international focusing on the IB program?
Similarly, take time to understand the available secondary, primary and university level or programs that the school is offering. This will enable you to settle for a school that will provide quality education and training.
Furthermore, you need to inquire more about the religious stance of an institution. Is it friendly and open for students from different religious backgrounds or not. Your beliefs and comfort while studying plays a major role in your success. Remember, there are schools based on Roman, Islam and Protestant Christian backgrounds. Therefore, do not ignore this factor.
In addition, teaching methods vary from one school to the other. There is a need to enrol in an institution with proper teaching methods. While some institutions still value the traditional classroom lessons, others have advanced to virtual teaching. Choose what’s best for you or your child. Often, teaching methods are crucial and are used at the primary level and less as you progress to the secondary level. Dalton and Montessori education are common at the primary and secondary level.
- The Environment
The environment that an institution is located in should also be a determining factor when looking for an international school. Remember, you will be in the institution for some years. Your comfort and health should be in check. Therefore, consider an institution located in an environment that will help you to study comfortably.
Studying in an international school can be costly. It is a vital consideration. Consider the number of years you will be in an institution and determine whether you will be able to pay your fees comfortably. Get a breakdown of enrollment fees, tuition, accommodation and other related costs. Compare different schools and get one that will enable you to complete your studies without straining financially.
It is also vital to check your logistics. Is the institution far from social amenities, how safe is it, can you walk to the school or you have to take a school bus. In the case of accommodation, how is the neighborhood, is it expat-friendly or not. Such logistics will help to get an institution that will promote smooth learning.
- Personal Needs
Keep in mind personal needs. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Do you love sports, are you active mind kind of a person or creative and much more. This will allow you to pick a school that will easily fit in for your studies.
You may also want to consider the reputation of an international school. There are top-rated and exceptional institutions that are celebrated across the globe for exemplary performances, great learning environments, and expat-friendly and with amazing initiatives such as
- The St Andrews International Bangkok Primary School in Thailand known as the International School of the year 2020.
- ACS International Schools Surrey, the UK, renowned as a Digital Technology in Learning institution and
- Nanjing International, China celebrated for its Strategic Leadership studies.
Schools with such reputations can help you choose a school that will help you in shaping your education and career path.