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If you’re relocating to the UK and applying to an international school in London, our expert team of education consultants are here to help. Every year, we support families to navigate the application processes for competitive international schools including The American School in London (ASL), ASC International Schools, Southbank International School, TASIS, and Dwight School London.

If you’re considering applying to a US school in London, here are some tips to get you started:

1. Research schools: Look up schools that offer a US education and make a list of the pros and cons. The questions you might want to ask include:

  • Do they offer the IB Programme, Advanced Placement, or both options?
  • Where do they rank academically? To gauge this, check where they rank in the IB league table and request information on student leavers’ destinations
  • Is it a day school, boarding school?
  • What is the proximity to your new residence?
  • What is the size of the school? Some have a small family feel, compared to others which are much larger
  • What are the school facilities like and what extracurricular activities are on offer? You may wish to book a tour for this, to get insight beyond the school prospectus

Check the admissions requirements, fees, and deadlines of each school. Many accept applications around one year in advance.

2. Standardised Tests: Your child may need to take a standardised test such as the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE), Secondary Schools Admissions Test (SSAT) or Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP). Register early to make sure your child has enough time to prepare.

3. Transcripts: Request transcripts from your child’s current school.

4. Essays: Parent statements and student essays are an important part of the application process. Parent statements should be personal and specific, detailing what attracts you to the school, how it aligns with the aspirations you have for your child, and how your family would make a positive contribution to school life. If your child is a talented, conscientious, and hardworking team player, this is your opportunity to showcase this! Use examples (in school or at home) and apply the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure paragraphs and tell your story effectively.

Student essays add colour to a child’s applications. This is their chance to share their values, talents, and interests, and demonstrate their writing skills. Support your child to brainstorm some unique and personal responses to the application questions. The answers should then be written by your child independently. An example student essay can be found below.

Describe a discovery or scientific invention that has excited or interested you. You might want to include reference to the impact of the discovery or invention; who was involved; perhaps add what you would like to invent if you could.

A recent scientific invention that interests me is the vaccine for Coronavirus. This was developed by Professor Sarah Gilbert at Oxford University in response to the global pandemic. The vaccination has saved many lives, including the lives of older people, people with underlying health conditions, and frontline workers. The scientists engineered a special virus carrier to carry coronavirus fragments into the body which trains our immune system to respond. It is a breakthrough scientific invention because it was developed so quickly (in less than three weeks) and can be stored for long periods of time.

Sarah Gilbert is an inspiring female role model for students like me. My favourite subject is Science. Outside of lessons, I enjoy reading the New Scientist blog, and National Geographic magazine, and watching TedEd videos. During the pandemic, I watched videos on how viruses spread, how vaccines work and how governments have responded in different ways to local outbreaks. I have a MEL Science subscription and regularly carry out experiments at home. My latest projects include powering an LED light bulb using a lemon battery and testing the reactivity of different metals.

If I were a scientist, I would like to invent a technology that removes carbon dioxide from the air. This would help to prevent the damaging effects of global warming. I recently attended an Extinction Rebellion protest in London with my parents. I designed a poster to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change, such as the extinction of animals and plants, more disease, and flooding. This poster was selected by the Science Museum education team and features in their global warming exhibition. Inventions to solve the problem of global warming will be very important to protect our future and way of life.

5. Recommendations: Finally, ask teachers and other professionals who know your child well to write recommendations to support your application. Try to give them plenty of notice and provide them with any required forms or instructions supplied by the schools you’re applying to.

Applying to international schools in London is a competitive process but, with careful planning and preparation, your child can have an excellent chance of being accepted. We wish you the best of luck with your applications!