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Top High Schools in New York for International Students

Top High Schools in New York for International Students

For most international students the best option for high school is a private school. This article lists several of the best schools for international students and answers some of the most common questions international students and parents have about high school in New York.

Lisa Speransky
Lisa Speransky
ISEE
SHSAT
Private School
High School Admissions
Photo by javier trueba on Unsplash

For most international students the best option for high school is a private school. The distinctive educational landscape of New York City poses unique challenges for international students, especially those who have not completed middle school in New York or who are not entering as a Freshman (9th grade). This article lists several of the best schools for international students and answers some of the most common questions international students and parents have about high school in New York.


United Nations International School (UNIS)

Front of United Nations International School in New York City
Photo by Beyond My Ken - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10878423

Location: 24-50 FDR Drive, New York, NY

Website: https://www.unis.org/

Tuition Cost: $46,645 for 9th Grade, increasing to $47,796 for 12th Grade. Financial Aid available.

Admission: Students must take the ISEE or SSAT to be admitted as well as complete an application and interview. Full application instructions are listed on the school’s website.

The United Nations International Schools is one of the best known international schools in New York and often considered the “gold standard” in international education due to its history and diverse student body. It is open to students from Pre-K to 12th grade and has 1,450 students. The fact that it spans the full academic life of a student can make it ideal for international families with multiple children. UNIS offers the International Baccalaureate for high school students and students can enter at any grade provided they are accepted. One of the few downsides to the school is its location, which makes for a lengthy commute for many families. Most families allow their students to commute on their own beginning in high school, however, so if a family just has a high school student(s) this is less of an issue. UNIS does not offer a boarding option for international students, making it a better option for international families that have moved to New York.

Dwight School New York

Location: 18 West 89th Street, New York, NY

Website: https://www.dwight.edu/newyork

Tuition Cost: $60,185/year plus roughly $4000 in additional fees each school year. Roughly 25% of students receive financial aid. Families can learn more about financial aid here.

Admission: Students must take the ISEE or SSAT to be admitted. Further application instructions are listed on the school’s website. Dwight also has a helpful web page for international families relocating to New York.

In Dwight’s own words, they are a “landmark private school, a leader in global education recognized worldwide for igniting the spark of genius in every child.” The school dates back to 1872 and offers the International Baccalaureate. They are beloved by parents and students for their driven, highly competent staff, as well as their Quest program, designed to help students with learning differences. Dwight serves students in preschool through grade 12, and was the first school in the Americas authorized to offer the full IB curriculum in 2014. Their Manhattan campus is home to 921 students. Like UNIS, Dwight does not offer a boarding option for international students, making it a better option for international families that have moved to New York.

BASIS Independent Brooklyn

Location: 556 Columbia St, Brooklyn, NY

Website: https://basisindependent.com/schools/ny/brooklyn/

Tuition Cost: $46,200/year with additional fees for housing if needed.

Admission: The admissions process varies slightly if you are an international family living in NYC, or if you are applying as an independent student on an F-1 visa and will need housing. In both situations an entrance exam is required. For independent students, the TOEFL and an interview are also necessary.

BASIS offers preschool through grade 12 education and is well-known for its excellent STEM curriculum. It also boasts impressive college offers for its students: 90% of BASIS Independent students received at least one offer from one of the top 50 universities according to US News and World Report. For international students looking to attend High School, it also offers a home study option, allowing students to live with a New York family while they attend the school for the four years of high school.

Léman Manhattan Preparatory School

Location: 41 Broad St, New York, NY

Website: https://www.lemanmanhattan.org/

Tuition Cost: $64,400 for Grades 9 & 10, $65,700 for Grades 11 & 12; higher for those requiring boarding.

Admission: Students must fill out an application, provide letters of recommendation, go through an interview and assessment process, and take the ISEE to be admitted. For students who will be boarding at the school, additional steps may be required, and the school recommends starting the process by contacting their admissions team.

One of the newer independent schools accepting international students, Léman is also one of the few in New York City that offers housing (most “New York '' boarding schools are outside of the five boroughs). Like its peers on this list, Léman is not strictly a high school - its educational program begins with its Early Learners program for 12-24 month olds. This makes it an excellent opportunity for families with students across multiple grade levels. But its uniqueness in offering full boarding in Manhattan should put it high on the list for international students looking to earn their International Baccalaureate in New York City.

FAQ about International High Schools

Is New York a good place to study for international students?

New York City is an excellent place for international students as the city is home to a diverse population whose cultures influence every part of life in New York. Students and families will not only be exposed to a wide variety of food, music, and language, but be able to find elements of their home cultures as well. The diversity of the schools is reflected in the diversity of the city itself. The strong academic reputation of many private schools, including the availability of the International Baccalaureate (IB), prepares students for university education anywhere in the world.

Who can study at international high schools?

Who can attend is decided by each individual school. Some schools have gender requirements or use a quota system to ensure diversity in their student body. Others are religiously affiliated. The schools listed above do not have gender or religious requirements. Most private schools will have strong academic standards and require the Independent School Entrance Exam, or ISEE. Private schools often have prohibitively high tuition costs that many families cannot afford, though they encourage families in need of aid to speak with a member of their admissions team.

How many international high schools are in NYC?

There are 86 private high schools in NYC that are open to international as well as local students for the 2024 school year.

What much does it cost to study at an international high school in NYC?

The cost of private high schools in New York City varies widely but averages $27,000/year. Most high schools offer a limited number of scholarships that may be open to international students. The four schools we listed all offer substantial financial aid to families that qualify.

If your family is moving, or considering a move, to New York City and needs to find the right high school, we highly recommend working with a partner. Our friends at School First, whose founder, Linda K. Talton, contributed the valuable information we’re sharing with you, are a reliable resource for finding the right school for your student and family. And when you’re ready to ensure you’re fully prepared for the ISEE, reach out to us at Ivy Tutors for support.

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