IMG_0608Greetings, and welcome to the International Students Preparatory Academy (ISPA) website.  Odds are, you’re here because you have a vested interest in international study, either as an international parent or student, an American high school with an international students program, or an agency/partner that helps facilitate international study.  And, from whichever perspective you come, it’s likely that you’ve discovered that, along with the enormous benefits of international study, come certain challenges.

As a former independent school Admissions Director, I was involved in the world of international study at every level, and working with international students and their families was certainly the most rewarding part of my job.  I met and interviewed brilliant and motivated international students, spoke with hopeful (and nervous!) international parents, and eventually welcomed some of the most qualified of these students to my campus at the beginning of each school year.  I watched these students make new friends, perfect their English skills, broaden their personal horizons, and eventually head off to some of America’s best colleges and universities.

Those were the success stories.  On other points of the spectrum were the international students who applied to my school but who were not quite qualified for admission.  It might have been their English language skills, test scores, personal maturity, or any number of other concerns that held them back.  Or, there were the international students who looked wonderful on paper and presented solidly in personal interviews, but who were not quite ready for the long-term, “real-world” challenges associated with studying abroad once they actually arrived on campus.  This is not to say that these kids weren’t fantastic…they were.  They just weren’t quite ready for such a massive experience.

That’s where ISPA can help students and schools.  Many of the hundreds of international students I met over the years would have benefitted tremendously from what we at ISPA call “pre-arrival preparation.”  That is, an intensive summer program of academic, social and cultural study and experiences specifically targeted to the skills international students will need to succeed at American high schools from Day 1.   Please see the “Programs” section of our website for specific information on academic, social and cultural programs.

The goal for international students, the American schools they attend, and the agencies that often help facilitate the process is the same: to make sure that the international students who come so far to study in our country will transition as smoothly and productively as possible to their new schools, both academically, socially, and culturally.  When this happens, everyone wins.  ISPA can help, and we hope you’ll contact us directly with questions.