International Applicants for the High School » International Applicants for the High School

International Applicants for the High School

International Admissions Process


Headwaters School is authorized under Federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. We have had students come from all over the world to study at Headwaters: China, Germany, Korea, France, Mexico, Turkey, Vietnam, Greece, Ecuador, Pakistan, England, and more!

We work with independent international student applicants as well as those represented by an educational placing agency or educational consultant. Headwaters School does not pay commissions to any educational agencies or consultants. In accordance with the guidelines of the IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association), we expect that all compensation to such consultants is that which has been agreed upon by the agency and the family engaging its services.

Headwaters School is an International Baccalaureate school with a demanding curriculum. We expect that our international students will have sufficient English language proficiency to be successful in mainstream classes in all core subject areas. This means that all international students take standard courses in English, math, science, history and art. Please note that 9th and 10th grade international students are enrolled in an ESL support class in addition to their standard course load. Our classrooms are vibrant spaces that require students and teachers alike to engage in lively discourse. Many class assignments are discussion based and /or writing intensive.

We use a student’s application portfolio to help determine whether or not the student is a good fit for our community. While we have established minimum score requirements for standardized tests of the English Language, these scores are just one piece of the criteria used to evaluate a candidate’s suitability for admission. We require a Skype interview for applicants who are unable to come to visit campus in person.

The International Admissions Process is very similar to the regular admissions process. The steps are as follows:

1. Complete The Application for Admission online and pay the $75 application fee.

2. Student’s current Math Teacher & English Teacher fill out online evaluations. The student may also choose to have a Personal Recommendation Form completed. These will be linked to through the application site.

3. Upload:

  • a copy of the student’s transcripts (translated to English)
  • a copy of the score report from a standardized English proficiency exam (SLEP, TOEFL Junior, TOEFL, or IELTS)

Minimum Testing Requirements:

Grade 9: SLEP  48   IELTS4.0  TOEFL  PB 450   ***ESL Support Class

Grade 10: SLEP  50   IELTS  4.5  TOEFL PB 475   ***ESL Support Class

Grade 11: SLEP  55   IELTS  6.0  TOEFL PB 550  no additional ESL support

Grade 12: SLEP  60  IELTS  6.5  TOEFL PB 575   no additional ESL support

***IELTS level below 5.0 indicates additional English study would be necessary to successfully complete a linguistically demanding course.

  • a homestay letter, if you need Headwaters to match you with a host family. Please note that Headwaters School is able to find a limited number of host family placements for independent international applicants: Write a one-page letter to your homestay family, preferably typed: Beginning with “Dear Host Family,” thank them for accepting you into their home and tell them about yourself. Describe your interests, your community, your family, or whatever you feel might give your hosts some background and ways to better engage with you when you arrive. If possible, insert an electronic photo of yourself into the document. Please do not have the letter corrected by another person.

4. International Student Coordinator conducts a Skype interview with the student online.

5. Student will be emailed a writing prompt (at the end of the Skype interview) and given 60 minutes to respond (without coaching or editing.)

6. Once all application materials are submitted and the interview is complete, the Admissions staff reviews the student’s application materials and decides whether the student has been accepted.

7. Family receives an email of admissions status. If accepted, family is asked to complete the enrollment contract and within two weeks to let Headwaters know if the student intends to enroll.

8. Family pays an Enrollment Fee to hold the student’s space at Headwaters. Family must also provide certification of finances demonstrating sufficient resources to cover tuition, fees and living expenses for the duration of enrollment (minimum $30,000.00 per year)

9. A few months before school begins, Headwaters issues the student an I-20 Form which allows the student to make an appointment with the American Embassy in his/her country to receive an F-1 Student Visa.

Additional Fees for International Students: In addition to the tuition and fees paid by all Headwaters students, International Students must pay an International Fee of $3,000 per year; this fee is not pro-rated for students who come for less than a year.

International students must have medical coverage during their stay in Austin. If proof of coverage is not provided to Headwaters School by the stated deadline international students will be enrolled in Headwaters School’s preferred health insurance plan and the student will be charged associated fees and program costs.

All Headwaters students must also have a laptop computer or netbook (and appropriate charger) to bring with them to school each day. Please contact our International Coordinator, Nora Dock  (, for additional questions regarding international admissions.