How to prepare your exchange student for school

At school, your student will take new courses, make friends, learn more about British culture and improve their English. Here are resources to navigate the school registration process, helpful tips to get your exchange student involved and details outlining expectations at school.

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School registration and grade level

In order to finalize your student’s placement, your RM secured their enrollment in your local school. Before your student arrives, connect with your RM about any questions you may have regarding your student's class registration. Your RM should help to clarify any details regarding class registration and student induction, but they may not be able to go with the student in person.

 

Depending on your school's policies, your student's grade level might not be based on their age, but rather their previous academic experience. Grade level placement is at the discretion of the school, but all students are typically placed in year 12.

 

If possible, share your school's website and course selection with your student and ask them which classes they're most interested in taking during their exchange.

Course load

Students are strongly encouraged to take a full course load, typically 3 or sometimes 4 courses, as well as any additional courses required by the school.

 

Your student's school back home is likely very different from their British school. This could be the first time they have the option of selecting their own classes, so they may need some guidance during that process.

 

Your RM and school may also give advice about course levels. Exchange students are not familiar with A-levels or BTECs or their requirements, so it can help to ask the school to provide advice about the level of difficulty of each course. If helping your student select classes, keep their English level in mind.

Enrichment activities

Some local schools may offer enrichment activities or sports. Check your school's website to see what is available and talk with your student about what activities they’d like to try. Many sports may require tryouts either before school starts or shortly after. If your student is interested in trying out for a sport, ask the school about that process.

 

Convalidation

Many students do not receive credit in their native countries for their study in the UK and must repeat the school year at home. However, students from some countries such as Austria, Italy, Norway and Spain may obtain credit if they fulfill certain requirements. The process to receive academic credit for an exchange year in the UK is called convalidation.

 

Ask your RM about any specific convalidation requirements for your student.

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© EF Education First 2011-2020. EF High School Exchange Year is operated by EF Educational Foundation for Foreign Study, a non-profit corporation designated by the U.S. Department of State to operate a J-1 student exchange program. Note: Featured photo/videos do not include prospective students, and are representative of program participants.