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Resources for International Students Studying in the U.S. (High School Edition)

July 30, 2013

Having provided a resource for international college students (Campus Resources for International Students), it is only fair that we also provide a comparable list of resources for international students who are attending high school in the U.S.

While some of these below may be very obvious student resources, please use this list as a reminder to yourself that you are never alone!

Courtesy of ecastro of Flickr

Courtesy of ecastro on Flickr

The International Student Admissions Office

  • The admissions staff (Director of Admissions, Admissions Associate, and perhaps your school has a International Student Coordinator) can assist you to find answers to questions regarding your I-20, requirements to keep your status as an F-1 student, etc.
  • In addition, they may assign you a student guide for you to shadow and organize the international student orientation, as well as other events specifically for international students.
  • It is often possible to drop in without making an appointment.

The Faculty

  • Your teachers, also known as faculty, are generally available to assist students struggling with an assignment or an idea that was taught during class. It is acceptable to approach a teacher right after class if you have a quick question.
  • Teachers usually communicate when they are available outside of class time at the beginning of the school year. Sometimes, the days and times are written in the class syllabus, so never throw out your syllabi!
  • Teachers may also be available upon appointment. A teacher may choose to schedule a specific date and time to meet with a student asking for extra help; especially if the student needs more 1:1 attention. Please understand that no teacher is required to do this for students, so be sure to show your appreciation by showing up prepared and on time.

The Guidance Office

  • Your guidance counselor, sometimes called the academic advisor, will help you plan and register for the classes you will be taking at your high school. At larger schools, the position may be filled by the academic dean. The staff at the guidance office will keep you aware of what you need to know to graduate—if a high school diploma is part of your plans.
  • Depending on your school, the guidance staff may also counsel you during the college selection and application process. If you are appointed a separate college counselor, know that you have two different staff members helping you through your high school years and beyond!
  • It is often possible to drop in without making an appointment, but if you have a complicated or lengthy question, making an appointment is recommended.

The Social Work Office

  • Many high schools and middle schools have a school counselor or social worker. Schools that do not employ a professional to provide counseling services may have a Dean of Students or an administrator, i.e. your school’s principal or vice principal, with whom you are encouraged to discuss any academic or personal issues.
  • It could be that a teacher or guidance counselor has asked you to meet with the school counselor or principal. You are not in trouble. The school counselor or principal works to provide you with more attention so that you may focus on finding a solution to the problem.
  • It is often possible to drop in without making an appointment.

The Learning Resource Center

  • Your school may have a center that provides additional academic support and/or other services, i.e. proofreading of student essays, assistance with internet database research, etc.
  • This facility is usually managed by a member of the faculty or staff, and sometimes they are also staffed with peer tutors who assist their classmates with homework assignments or projects.
  • It is often possible to drop in without making an appointment, but it is highly recommended that students learn when the center is open you can plan ahead to stop by during lunch, study hall, or before/after school.

The Host Family

  • Your host parents and family members are familiar with the American school system. If you do not believe that they have the knowledge to assist you with course selection or a homework assignment, your hosts can at least help you decide which of the school administrators/faculty/staff is qualified to counsel you.
  • Your host parents, much like your parents back home, are going to be alert and able to recognize when you need help, even if you do not know it yourself or say it aloud.
  • Your host parents can help you communicate with the school and coach you on the appropriate way to navigate the school system so that you get the help that you need.

The Program’s Student Coordinator

  • Your program’s student coordinator will help you and your parents to understand school policies, procedures, as well as homestay guidelines. Understanding these things is important so that you are in a position to know when you are entitled to assistance from the host, school, or program.
  • The student coordinator generally tracks the student’s academic performance, and the school provides this information to the coordinator on a regular basis. So please do not be surprised if the coordinator approaches you first about your academic progress—or lack of progress.
  • The student coordinator may suggest certain study and time management tools throughout the school year. In addition, the student coordinator may introduce you to a tutor as an additional measure if you continue to struggle academically.

Lastly, we suggest that you be prepared prior to your arrival to the U.S.! Your school’s website is a great resource! Students can often find the calendar, course catalog (also known as the curriculum guide), lunch information, school handbook, summer reading lists, and uniform information on the school website!

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