Friends of Lucia in Europe had worked with us for university placement, and when we did our initial Skype with her, we learned Lucia was halfway through her junior year and wanted to study business in the US. But she was finding the bilingual Spanish-English International Baccalaureate program too demanding, especially with its broad-based curriculum that included challenging Humanities courses. Immediately we shifted course: we recommended she come spend two years at a boarding school where she could take Advanced Placement Math and Science courses and lower-paced Humanities courses, including special English language enrichment.
We explained that since she’d just turned 16, she was quite young and that the extra year would provide her with an extra year of English and preparation for an American college experience. And that she would be able to secure teacher recommendations from the boarding school teachers who would not just teach her but coach her and live with her as well. Lucia was accepted at several prep schools in the Mid-Atlantic and New England and enrolled at one not too far from a direct flight to Newark. She read novels and wrote papers in English, and succeeded in AP Calculus and AP Physics. She also made terrific friends from around the world. By the time it came to apply for university, she realized she had only originally intended to study business since that was what her family knew.
We sent her on visits to small liberal arts schools in Pennsylvania, New York and New England since she learned to value “friendly teacher-student relationships” at her boarding school. She was accepted Early Decision at a liberal arts school in Pennsylvania known for its strong international relations and global studies.