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Frequently Asked Questions

La Jolla Country Day School engages a global approach to the investigation of diverse cultures, countries, and a study of world languages. An integral part of our students’ global experience is the admission of well qualified international students.  International applicants must meet the same admission standards as all other students, demonstrating particularly strong proficiency in the English language.

Do you issue the I-20 form?

Yes, once a student has been accepted to La Jolla Country Day School and the student’s family demonstrates a financial commitment via the submission of an enrollment contract and accompanying deposit, a copy of the student’s passport, and confirmation of financial ability to pay tuition (typically via a translated bank statement) international students will be issued an I-20 form which can lead to the issuance of an F-1 student visa.

Do you offer ELL (English Language Learner) courses?

No, we do not have an ELL program as international students are expected to meet admission requirements similar to our domestic applicants. This includes both an exemplary personal and academic record, complete with a high level of English proficiency.

Have all current international students already been enrolled in an English language immersion program before their arrival to Country Day?

Yes, current international students have benefitted from a previous English immersion educational experience. This experience has allowed them to attain the level of English language proficiency so critical to their success at Country Day.

I am interested in applying to Grade 9 or a level below Grade 9. How do I apply?

International candidates go through the very same process as our domestic applicants and are held to the same high standards. A detailed explanation of our admission process can be found here.

If I am interested in applying to Grade 10, 11, or 12. How do I apply?

International candidates go through the very same process as our domestic applicants and are held to the same high standards. A detailed explanation of our admission process can be found here. Please note that Grade 10, 11, and 12 applicants are more atypical at La Jolla Country Day. That being said, many of our current successful international candidates joined us at these atypical grade levels, once they had gained a mastery of the English language. In order to give Grade 10, 11, or 12 applicants the opportunity to obtain an early sense of their eligibility for admission, we are pleased to offer the opportunity for a ‘pre-screen process’. A detailed explanation of the pre-screen process can be found here.

Will you consider a temporary stay that does not lead to graduation?

It is our intent to focus on international students who are seeking a La Jolla Country Day School diploma, awarded at the end of the Grade 12 program. In rare situations, a particularly strong candidate seeking a more temporary stay (August – December, January – June, or August - June) could be considered. In order to give applicants seeking a temporary stay at Country Day the opportunity to obtain an early sense of their eligibility for admission, we are pleased to offer the opportunity for a ‘pre-screen process’. A detailed explanation of the pre-screen process can be found here.

I have already received a diploma from a high school in my home country and would like to be considered for a post-graduation year at La Jolla Country Day School. Is this possible?

It is our intent to focus on international students who are seeking a La Jolla Country Day School diploma, awarded at the end of the Grade 12 program. In rare situations, a particularly strong candidate seeking a post-graduate experience could be considered. If accepted, this type of student will receive a “certificate of completion” at the conclusion of their year at Country Day. In order to give applicants seeking a post- graduate experience the opportunity to obtain an early sense of their eligibility for admission, we are pleased to offer the opportunity for a ‘pre-screen process’. A detailed explanation of the pre-screen process can be found here.

I would like to be considered for a mid-year start at La Jolla Country Day School rather than the traditional start in August. Is this possible?

In rare cases, a particularly strong international candidate could be considered for January admission. Most of our international students enter at the traditional start of our school year in August. If you wish to be considered for January admission, you should follow the pre-screen process usually set-aside for Grade 10-12 applicants. Please click here to learn more about our “pre-screen” process. Once the necessary documents are submitted, the Office of Admission will contact you to provide advice regarding whether to continue the application process for January admission.

Are there certain required tests that an international student must take?

Again, international applicants must meet the same admission standards as all other students, demonstrating particularly strong proficiency in the English language. One way of demonstrating this proficiency is through the required standardized test named the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Examination). We understand that the availability of the ISEE may provide logistical challenges and are therefore open to receiving results from the SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test) as a replacement. One of these two exams is required for all international students. Remote testing locations may be arranged by contacting the testing administrators at 800-989-3721 (ISEE) or 609-683-4507 (SSAT).

Are there any additional tests that can be taken for admission consideration?

If you would like La Jolla Country Day School to also consider the results of another exam such as the TOEFL or IELTS, we would be happy to review the results of this test as a supplement to the results of the ISEE or SSAT.  

Is there a minimum score that I must obtain on the ISEE or SSAT?

There is no minimum score required, as we review each international student individually.

In reading about your application process, I notice that you require that copies of my transcript are sent from my current school. What constitutes a transcript?

The academic record which we refer to as a transcript should provide a listing, year by year, of all courses taken and the grade or marks received for each one. An accompanying grading scale for the institution and the student’s rank in class (when such information is available) should be included as well. Transcripts must bear an official signature of the appropriate official of your institution(s), such as the registrar or recorder of records, and must bear the institutional seal. Official records are to be in the language of instruction, accompanied by official translations in English, if necessary. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide transcripts that have been translated into English. Translations sent directly from the institution attended or from a recognized translator are considered official.

Are there any unique forms that are required from international applicants?

Yes, there is one unique form that is required of international applicants. The international student data form can be found here.

What are the typical living arrangements for La Jolla Country Day School international students?

As La Jolla Country Day School is not a boarding school, LJCDS international students typically have one of the following three living arrangements in San Diego:

  • Student lives with an immediate family member who has also relocated to the La Jolla area.
  • Student lives with an extended family member or friend who serves as the official guardian during the student’s time at Country Day.
  • Student lives with a host family secured through an outside service.

As an international student, am I solely responsible for securing one of the above living arrangements?

Yes, La Jolla Country Day does not assist in connecting international students with a host family or make recommendations of companies offering this service. While we do not officially endorse any homestay agents, we would be happy to provide a contact for a local agent.

How many international students currently attend La Jolla Country Day School?

In any given year, there are approximately 20-30 international students in attendance at La Jolla Country Day School. A majority of these students are members of our Upper School’s Grade 9-12 program, although we have a few international students in our Lower and Middle Schools as well.

What countries are currently represented at La Jolla Country Day School?

Our domestic student body is a rich reflection of American society and reveals a variety of cultural backgrounds. International students have come from countries as diverse as Canada, China, Germany, France, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and more.

As a new international student, what would you suggest to ease my transition to La Jolla Country Day School?

One of the many resources available to international students is the “Upper School 101” course taught during the early part of the summer. This course is specifically designed for incoming Grade 9 students who want to hone their study skills, acclimate themselves with the Country Day Upper School, and understand some of the challenges they may face during their freshman year (Grade 9). Our curriculum revolves around our summer reading program and will include test taking skills and the writing process as well as some math topics.

In addition, current LJCDS international students strongly recommend an English immersion experience during the summer before starting at Country Day. English immersion experiences that require students to solely read, write and converse in the English language can help smooth the shift from an international student’s native language that is required when an international student arrives at Country Day. Lastly, attending one of our summer school classes becomes an additional chance to meet other Country Day students.

What can I expect with regard to homework, level of intensity, number of hours per night and extent of writing and reading responsibilities, as well as the general curriculum?

Our academic program is extremely rigorous and international students of the past have commented that they have been surprised by the advanced level of the curriculum.

Once I am accepted, is there a “buddy” program to help me meet other students at Country Day?

Yes, all new students receive a “buddy”, a student selected from our “ambassador” program to serve as an approachable and welcoming friend in a student’s first few days at Country Day.

What have other international students who have attended Country Day indicated as the best aspect of their decision to do so?

We recently surveyed our international students and they provided a good deal of advice to international students who are considering La Jolla Country Day School.

So that I can make advanced plans should I be accepted, when does the school year begin and end and what periods is the school not in session?

Typically, our school year begins during the last week of August and concludes during the first week of June. In the Upper School, our academic year is broken into two semesters with the first semester concluding at the end of December and the second semester concluding in June. In the Middle School, our year is broken into three trimesters with the first trimester concluding in November, the second trimester concluding in February, and the final trimester concluding in June. We have a two-week winter break that usually includes the final two weeks of December as well as a Spring Break that includes the final week of March and the first week of April.

I have additional questions; what would be another resource for answers?

Our accompanying domestic student FAQ contains other helpful information about summer reading, lockers, a student’s typical schedule, student dress, textbooks, parental involvement, dropping/adding a course, time commitment for athletic teams, college acceptance rates, and social activities, among other topics.

If both the international and domestic students FAQs do not answer my questions and I need additional assistance, who should I contact?

If you have additional questions, please contact Catherine Florendo, the International Student Application Liaison, or Vincent Travaglione, the International Student Admission Consultant.

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