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Families moving to the US may enrol their children in public schools tuition-free on the basis of their family's residency and payment of local taxes.
Students are likely to be assigned by the state to the public school geographically nearest their residence. Therefore, parents may wish to research the local school districts as they relocate to the US. The websites of specific state departments of education can provide some background and performance indicators on public school districts. Prospective employers and colleagues are also a good source of subjective information about local school districts.
After establishing a residence in the US, parents should contact the central office of the local school district to determine to which school their children will be assigned. The school district will also provide information such as registration dates and which documents are required for enrolment, such as medical records showing evidence of required immunisations and an academic report from the student’s last school. The latter will be used to place students at an appropriate level in a US school and should be as detailed as possible.
Historically, private boarding schools were established to create unique educational environments such as single-sex schools, religiously-affiliated schools and schools for students with learning disabilities. Some private schools called "preparatory schools", or "prep schools", are geared toward preparing students for admission to highly-selective colleges. Others emphasise certain curricula such as the performing arts or the International Baccalaureate curriculum.
Some private schools can be very selective, and parents should check that their child meets the admissions requirements. In addition, many application deadlines are early, so students should begin the process ideally one year in advance. Private schools may request academic records, writing samples, application essays and/or teacher recommendations. Many private boarding schools also require a standardised admissions exam such as the SSAT or the ISEE.
In considering your child’s education, it is important to research private schools and examine the mission statement of the school in order to find one with goals that match those of the student. Families may also wish to consult the Association of Boarding Schools for more information on private boarding schools.
UK students travelling with their families should enter the US under the visa status of their parents. Students planning to live with a legal guardian residing in the US (who is a US citizen or permanent resident) should apply to the nearest US consular office for a family-based immigration visa.
Our staff is not trained to handle specific enquiries related to visas in the US. For such enquiries, information is available on the US Embassy in London website. Alternatively, you may call the US Embassy at 020 3608 6998 (Operator Assisted £1.20/minute) between the hours of 7 am - 7 pm Monday - Friday.