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Should your child study in the US before applying to university there?

Many students all over the world dream of attending university in the states. Thriving cities and beautiful landscapes aside, the US is home to some of the most inspiring and influential players in business, technology, the arts and more. With so many top institutions to choose from, it’s no surprise that competition for university places is tough. Only the best international students gain acceptance, with so many great candidates only just missing out on the opportunity.

But what if there was a way to improve your child’s chances? International students who study in the US for high school before applying to university have a clear advantage. Here are just some of the reasons why.

A familiar environment

For many international students, the journey starts after high school when they leave home for the first time. They travel to a new country, a new city, into a new culture, often speaking a new language, to start university in the US. Understandably, it can be overwhelming. With so many different factors to get to grips with, it can be hard for these students to work to the best of their ability right away. Universities understand this.

Students who have previously studied for high school in the US will adjust more easily into university life because they’ve already adjusted to the US. They’re also more likely to have perfected their English language skills, gained work experience at recognized businesses, schools or firms in the US, and have studied for qualifications tailored towards preparing students for university life.

Learning opportunities

There are countless opportunities for high school students to learn outside of the classroom in the US. For example, students at our EF Academy New York campus benefit from proximity to some of the most visited museums in the world, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They also benefit from New York’s historic sites, famous monuments, and universities with specially tailored activities and programs for high school students. For example, The New School in New York hosted over 1,300 public events last year alone.

Not only do students benefit from proximity to these learning opportunities during high school, but university admissions officers recognize the benefits too. Students who have made the effort to learn about the US, its history, culture, and have already visited universities to study their subject in more depth – demonstrate themselves as great university candidates.

Ultimate university preparation

High schools in the US are geared towards preparing young people to be successful university candidates and successful university students. At EF Academy New York, our students study the IB Diploma, an internationally recognized and respected qualification in the US. Students are able to tailor their schedules to suit their ambitions and have the flexibility to try out various courses before deciding which is right for them. They’re also able to complement their studies with a wide range of co-curricular activities – such as sports, theater, science clubs and more.

This is particularly important as US university admissions officers are looking for well-rounded students with interests and passions outside of the curriculum. Studying at a high school that understands the importance of both academic and experiential learning, is integral to university application success in the US.

Experienced guidance and support

Finally, international high schools in the states will have a great deal of experience in coaching students towards applying to US universities. They know what universities value in applicants and can help students to tailor their applications to fit the unique specifications that these institutions require. At EF Academy New York, our pathway managers work with students to make sure their academic schedule and co-curricular activities match their university aspirations. For example, an aspiring doctor will be advised on the best courses to take and the most complimentary activities to pursue in their spare time.

Our university advising team will then work with each graduating student to get their university applications in fighting shape. If your child dreams of studying at an American university? There’s no better place to turn that dream into a reality than at a US high school dedicated to international students.


At EF Academy International Boarding Schools, we’re committed to preparing students for university. With an unrivaled level of personal support and guidance, we can offer your student the chance to get a step ahead on the road to success.

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