Frequently Asked Questions by International Student Applicants

Read a Chinese translation of these frequently asked questions and answers.

What is Bear Creek's definition of an international student?

Bear Creek’s definition of an international student is a student who is not a United States citizen or not a green card holder.

To what grade levels does Bear Creek accept international students?

The Bear Creek School accepts international students to all grades, however, we only issue Form I-20 to non-immigrant students on F-1 visas who have been accepted and are enrolled in grades 9, 10, and 11.

Can I visit (tour) Bear Creek?

Prospective family/student Upper School tours are offered on most Thursdays, by appointment. Please call or email the Admission Office to schedule. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate drop-in tour requests.

Does Bear Creek work with agents, placement companies, or international educational consultants who represent international families?

No, Bear Creek does not work with agents, placement companies, or international educational consultants. We work directly with parents.

Is the application process the same for international applicants?

The application process is the same for all applicants; however, admission requires an immigration status that allows the student to attend school in the United States and sufficient English language proficiency to benefit from instruction in English.

Documentation – If the applicant is not a citizen of the United States, we will ask that you upload a copy of your and your child’s United States government approval documents.

Evidence of English Proficiency – We require applicants to grades 9-11 to take the TOEFL if:

  • The applicant’s first language or the primary language spoken in the applicant’s home is not English

and

  • The applicant has studied in the United States for less than two full academic years

Interviews for Applicants Living Abroad – After all required pieces of the application are received, Bear Creek will determine if an interview is needed and will contact the family directly to schedule. If you are not contacted to schedule an interview, no interview is required.

Who is required to take the TOEFL?

We require applicants to grades 9-11 to take the TOEFL if:

  • The applicant’s first language or the primary language spoken in the applicant’s home is not English

and

  • The applicant has studied in the United States for less than two full academic years

Register for the TOEFL at www.toefl.org. Our ETS code for score reporting purposes is 0929. We recommend applicants take the TOEFL in October or November. Please note: Bear Creek has a limited ESL/ELL program; therefore, to help ensure student success, we consider applicants with TOEFL scores as follows:

  • Grade 9 applicants: TOEFL score of 80 or higher
  • Grade 10 applicants: TOEFL score of 85 or higher
  • Grade 11 applicants: TOEFL score of 90 or higher

Note: We do not accept the SLEP or Junior TOEFL.

What TOEFL score is recommended?

Bear Creek has limited ESL/ELL offerings; therefore, to help ensure student success in our college preparatory program, we consider applicants who submit the following official TOEFL scores:

  • Grade 9 applicants:TOEFL score of 80 or higher
  • Grade 10 applicants:TOEFL score of 85 or higher
  • Grade 11 applicants: TOEFL score of 90 or higher

Can I schedule an interview?

Interviews for Applicants Living Abroad – After all required pieces of the application are received, Bear Creek will determine if an interview is needed and will contact the family directly to schedule. If you are not contacted to schedule an interview, no interview is required.

Do you accept beginning speakers of English?

Only students with intermediate to advanced academic and English skills should apply. Other than a one-year ESL/ELL course, all students in grades 9-12 will take the same classes.

Do you accept mid-year (January) applicants?

Depending on circumstances, timing, and grade applying to, we may consider mid-year international applicants (case-by-case basis); however, we do not accept Form I-20 students mid-year. Form I-20 students are only accepted for fall semester enrollment.

Where will I live if I come to Bear Creek?

International students in grades 8 and below must live with their parents or legal guardians.

International students and Form I-20 students in grades 9 and above may live with their parents, legal guardians, or a host family. Host family arrangements are the responsibility of the parents and may be made through a local homestay agency.

When can I get my Form I-20?

A newly accepted F-1 visa student must first submit his/her signed and dated enrollment documents and pay the entire year’s tuition and fees. Then, the Form I-20 will be issued.

Are Form I-20 students eligible to receive tuition assistance (financial aid)?

No, tuition assistance (financial aid) is not available to Form I-20 students.

Are there additional fees for I-20 students?

Yes, Form I-20 students pay the following additional fees: Form I-20 student enrollment fee, Form I-20 student services fee, Form I-20 student supplemental fee deposit, and mandatory health insurance premium. Please see Form I-20 Student Fees for more information.

When should I arrive to begin school?

Form I-20 students should arrive in the area one week in advance of the first day of school. This allows the students to attend our required New Student Orientation and gives students time to adjust to our time zone, climate, and culture.

Do I have to be a Christian to go to The Bear Creek School?

We understand that students come from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds and may not be Christian themselves. The Christian worldview is woven throughout our curriculum, so students and their families should be comfortable with the fact that Christianity will be taught in all classes.