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Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

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Old Feb 21st 2017, 7:42 am
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Default Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

Hi,

We are a family living in Dubai, thinking of relocating to San Francisco this summer. They are British Curriculum educated. It's my teenagers I worry about the most. How do I secure a school place for them when we will only know of our area of residence once we turn up in July. Will they get an automatic school placement in the catchment area? My boys will be 17 and 15 when we move. In the British Curriculum they would've gone into A-levels and GCSE's.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 11:14 am
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

Dumping a 17 year old into the US system is going to create an unholy mess. The US system is completely different for 14-18 year olds and trying to get a school to cooperate in unraveling his prior education and evaluate it for the purposes of getting his high school diploma is going to be challenging, to say the least.

Even if you find a school willing to assist they are going to down-grade anything they struggle to evaluate so the gradings awarded will likely be lower than your son deserves. Under the circumstances I would look for a private school that follows either the British system or follows the international baccalaureate curriculum.

Your 15 year old will be better off, but has still missed out on one year of the US high school program, so there is more to salvage, but it'll still be messy.

School places in the US are awarded based on address, so your home address in paramount in getting into the best schools, and why houses in those areas are more expensive.

Last edited by Pulaski; Feb 21st 2017 at 11:16 am.
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 11:53 am
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

Your 17 year old will also run a high risk of being a social outcast in the US system. So much of US teenage culture is tied up in school-sponsored and school-run activities, I find to a much larger degree than in the UK. "Senior prom" etc. He/she won't know anyone and will find it difficult to break into established friend groups in the very last year of schooling. 12th grade, especially, is a key social year.

Additionally, US university entrance is usually determined the summer/autumn BEFORE graduation, not after it. Most of the peers in 12th grade will already know their college university plans by November if not sooner.

The 15 year old I would worry less about.

School places are awarded on address. You automatically get a place at the school in your intake area.
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 12:11 pm
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

Thank you for your responses!!! I will look into IB schools. We have a choice to go to New York as well and as far as I can see, there is only one IB school in SF whilst more choices in NY. Both my boys have dropped a year due to previous relocations, so I'm hoping that my soon to be 17 year old will be able to go into the 11th grade and my soon to be 15 year old into 9th grade. Yikes, this is going to be a headache. At least I feel a little better about the catchment area criteria. My oldest boy is a very keen footballer so hoping he will be able to slot into some soccer team.
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 1:02 pm
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

On the east coast, and down to Texas, there are half a dozen British International schools. We considered the one in Charlotte, and we were very impressed with it when we were looking for a school for our daughter, but it didn't fit with our long term plans. I don't believe any of the six are in New York, though I think there is a British school there, but if you are flexible on location there are some good school options for you.

BTW American schools are generally age-focused, so while dropping another year might be an option, the default class that your son is placed in is likely to be based on his date of birth.

Last edited by Pulaski; Feb 21st 2017 at 1:04 pm.
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 3:10 pm
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

Where do you intend your boys to go to University/College?
What visa will you have? Is your company going to sponsor greencards for the family?

These questions are relevant to the advice we can give.
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 4:01 pm
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

You all have been so helpful! We will all come in on H1 visas. To be honest, I haven't thought as far as University. We are hoping to start processing green cards from day 1 of arriving as I understand that our 16 year old boy will be a problem once he turns 21. We cannot sponsor him anymore then.
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 4:09 pm
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

Originally Posted by Sandra Horton View Post
You all have been so helpful! We will all come in on H1 visas. ....
Unless you have separate employment sponsorship from your husband, you won't be on an H-1, you'll be on a derivative H-4, as will be your sons.

Will your husband be working for some sort of educational or non-profit organization? .... Or a commercial business?
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 4:12 pm
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

Yes, you are right. Sorry, had to ask my husband. I'm a housewife and we will all be under my husbands sponsorship. He's going to be working for a private company.
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 4:19 pm
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

Originally Posted by Sandra Horton View Post
Yes, you are right. Sorry, had to ask my husband. I'm a housewife and we will all be under my husbands sponsorship. He's going to be working for a private company.
So I assume that your Husband's H-1 visa hasn't been applied for yet.
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 4:29 pm
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

Originally Posted by Sandra Horton View Post
You all have been so helpful! We will all come in on H1 visas. To be honest, I haven't thought as far as University. We are hoping to start processing green cards from day 1 of arriving as I understand that our 16 year old boy will be a problem once he turns 21. We cannot sponsor him anymore then.
You really need to think about university, especially since your son will be having to make decisions about this in at most 1 year.

I don't know how long it takes to get a greencard from H visas. Go to the immigration section on this forum and ask there. You cannot sponsor him, your husband's employer will sponsor your husband and since you are all family and under 21 then you will also be included in the sponsorship.

If you are on H visas then there is a very good chance your sons will be able to go to the UK for university and be treated like UK applicants. H is a temporary visa and so your "ordinary residence" remains the UK.
If you get green cards then you will be charged international student fees in the UK and these are payable in advance each year - no loans to pay back over years of working from the Uk student loans body.

College/University costs in the US are high and also have to be paid in advance each year.

Switching into the US system - especially for your older son is going to be tricky, very tricky. If you intend for your son to go back to the UK for university then I would HIGHLY recommend the IB programme ( this will take him 2 years).
You will need to ensure that he receives credit for his studies done outside of the USA - and if you are lucky he may get weighted credits which will help his GPA. The GPA is the score that is used to show how well a student is doing. The points are awarded after the completion of a semester's worth of work for each subject. The higher level courses get weighted credit (AP etc). Not having a good GPA will make it more difficult for him to get into a US university. ASK THE SCHOOL ABOUT CREDIT FOR STUDIES OUTSIDE OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT/STATE.

If he is going to a US university then I would still recommend the IB route if you can do it. It matches the UK curriculum pretty well and so will be an easier transition for your son. He may still have to test out of the lower levels of subjects to go straight into the higher levels though.

Your sons will also have to complete mandatory courses to graduate from school in California, some of which he will not have done in the UK. US history for example, there may be others but you should ask.

We moved when my daughter had 2 years left of school. She did IB, she worked non-stop for a year to get the credits she needed to graduate. Her school district refused to give her any gpa credit for studies outside the district - their policy and I put up a fight but got nowhere. When my daughter applied to universities in the US, we called the international student admissions offices and the "abnormal student" officers. We alerted them to her situation of having exceptional grades in school both in france and here in the USA but a lowish GPA.
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

If they are coming in the Summer he must have the visa.
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 5:33 pm
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
If they are coming in the Summer he must have the visa.
Or neither the Hortons nor the prospective employer are familiar with the H-1 process and its quirks and issues.

And you know as well as I do, that an H-1 is only valid for work starting October 1 and entry 30(?) days prior.
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 5:36 pm
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

So must have applied last year and now getting ready to come?
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Old Feb 21st 2017, 5:41 pm
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Default Re: Advice on school admission process in San Francisco

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
So must have applied last year and now getting ready to come?
Seems unlikely, that an H-1 would be left unused for around 9 months.
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