International Applicants

International Admission FAQ

List of 21 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: Does St. Stephen's admit students in January or for the spring term?

    No. The academic year begins in August and concludes in late May.
  • Q: May I submit portfolios or other materials not required to complete the application?

    No. Upload all necessary documents directly to the Standard Application Online (SAO) or Gateway to Prep through the Application page on the St. Stephen’s website. Please do not send duplicate items by postal mail service. Educational consultants are aware of this policy.
  • Q: What materials do I need to mail directly to St. Stephen's?

    None. Upload all necessary documents directly to the SSAT’s Standard Application Online or through the Application page on the St. Stephen’s website. Please do not send duplicate items by postal mail service.
  • Q: Can an international student needing an F1 visa enroll as a day student?

    No. All international students must live on campus in the residential boarding program. Students are not permitted to live with relatives or family friends.
  • Q: Will I need to visit the campus for an interview?

    We highly encourage applicants to visit the campus during the admission process. Understanding that a visit to Austin is not always possible, we allow interviews to be conducted via Zoom or Vericant. Refer to instructions on the international application page to schedule the interview.

    Admission Officers travel to locations all over the world and are available for interviews in many cities and countries. Please check the Admission Travel section of our website.

    Due to the large number of applications from China, students from that country must complete a Vericant interview in addition to the application requirements. An interview with a St. Stephen's admission officer will be scheduled as needed. 

    All interviews must be complete before January 20th for the application to be considered in the first round of admission decisions. Campus visits for students from China are scheduled on specific days (refer to Special Instructions for Chinese students on our website). Students may visit campus in February, but the application and Vericant interview should be completed by January 20th for consideration in the first round decisions. Please contact our office before making travel plans as we cannot guarantee an appointment will be available each day as most fill to capacity.
  • Q: What is the last testing date I can take the SSAT and still be considered for the January 20 priority deadline?

    Students who are applying for priority admission must take the regularly scheduled SSAT test on or before January 20th. Testing after January 20th will move the application to the rolling admission decisions made after the priority first round. 
  • Q: What admission testing is required for international applicants?

    Worldwide testing centers make it convenient for international students to take the SSAT. You must request that St. Stephen's Episcopal School (Austin, TX) be added as a score recipient. The testing company will then release the scores to St. Stephen’s and they will be marked as received on the application checklist. The SSAT code for St. Stephen’s is 6956. Testing score reports will only be accepted when submitted directly from the testing company. SSAT test sites often fill to capacity and early registration is encouraged. Visit the SSAT website at
    The ISEE exam may be taken in lieu of the SSAT. The ISEE code for St. Stephen’s is 440315. Visit the ISEE website at
  • Q: What services are provided to international students?

    The International Program Office has seven full and part-time staff members whose job it is to make sure the students with parents living abroad are supported academically and socially. From assisting with travel plans to taking students to cultural activities off campus and helping with study skills and homework, the staff develops close relationships with the students.
  • Q: Is there a quota or maximum number of students admitted from any country?

    No. St. Stephen’s seeks qualified applicants with a proven record of academic achievement and extracurricular interests. The admission committee is looking for students who have been successful in their previous school and have interests and passions that align with the programs offered at St. Stephen’s.
  • Q: Who is considered an international student at St. Stephen's?

    Students whose primary residence is outside the United States are considered international students. This includes 1) U.S. citizens living abroad with parents who are employed overseas, 2) non-U.S. citizens whose families live abroad, 3) international students who may be currently attending school in the U.S. but have parents residing in another country, and 4) non-U.S. citizens whose parents live and work in the United States with approved visas or permanent residency may elect to participate in the international student program. The application fee for international students is $125.
  • Q: Does St. Stephen's accept the SSAT's Standard Application Online or the Gateway to Prep application?

    Yes! SSAT’s Standard Application Online (SAO) has been used by thousands of students to apply to hundreds of independent schools. 

    The Standard Application Online has been created to simplify and standardize the process of applying to independent schools. The SAO allows families to complete one online application and obtain obtain one set of teacher recommendations and transcripts that can be used to apply to any number of private or independent SSATB-member schools. Additional information is available on the SSAT website.

    Use this link for more information on Gateway to Prep.
  • Q: Is there a special orientation program for new international students?

    Yes, for students in grades 8-11. The Venture orientation program begins five days before new domestic and returning boarding students arrive for orientation. Most new international students are required to attend in order to become more familiar with the school, work on course placement and enjoy local Austin activities. If there is room in the program, other students are welcome to attend. 
  • Q: What is St. Stephen's tuition for a new international boarding student?

    For the 2023-2024 academic year, the cost for tuition, boarding fee, food, facility use fee, and international fee is $77,700. This does not include travel, books or health insurance costs.
  • Q: Does St. Stephen's offer Advanced Placement courses?

    Beginning with the 2008-2009 academic year, St. Stephen's eliminated the AP curriculum designation. We continue to be an AP test center and support students who wish to take AP examinations in any subject they choose. Our students currently pass (with a score of 3 or better) AP exams at an overall rate of 85%. Scores on AP examinations are not generally considered as part of an applicant credential for college admission, but they can sometimes be used for advanced standing at the college level.

    As a college preparatory school, St. Stephen’s takes seriously its charge to ensure that our graduates are as prepared as possible for the rigors of the curricula at the most demanding colleges in this country and abroad. The school offers advanced courses in all subject areas and a locally developed curriculum allows our teachers the flexibility to design advanced and challenging courses that incorporate new and innovative ideas in each field of study with goals that exceed preparation for a nationally standardized test, like the AP Exam. St. Stephen’s joins many of the most selective independent schools across the country which have either eliminated all AP courses or offer them on an extremely limited basis. We understand that the scores on standardized examinations are important to our students, and we are committed to preparing them to take AP examinations.
  • Q: How many international students are currently enrolled at St. Stephen's?

    The St. Stephen’s boarding program has on average 175 students in grades 8-12. Typically around 95 of those are international students. St. Stephen’s has about 700 students with 500 of those in the Upper School (grades 9-12).
  • Q: Does St. Stephen's accept International students for grade 11?

    In some cases, we will consider an international applicant for whom English is not the native language for grade 11. However, that candidate must not be older than 17 at the time of enrollment. We rarely admit students to grade 12.
  • Q: If I am using the St. Stephen's Application for Admission, what makes an application complete?

    A complete application includes the following:

    1. Application(biographical), Student Questionnaire and Essay, Parent Statement, student photo, copies of previous year and current report cards (with translations provided by the school when possible), current English and math teacher recommendations, and the personal recommendation submitted through the application portal. 
    2: SSAT or ISEE scores sent directly from the testing company 
    3: Personal interview conducted by an Admission Officer in person or on Zoom. Students from China will submit interviews via Vericant.
  • Q: I will be submitting the Standard Application Online through SSAT. What else do I need to do to have a complete application?

    In addition to the SAO requirements, the applicant must request their testing scores be sent directly to St. Stephen’s Episcopal School (SSAT Code 6956) and request an interview via Zoom or in person prior to the January 20th deadline. Interviews will not be scheduled until the student has completed all parts of the SAO and registered for a testing date (on or before January 20th) to take the SSAT. Requests for Zoom interviews must be made by December 15th and completed by January 25th. Zoom interviews are offered on a limited basis and fill up quickly. Students from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan should submit a Vericant interview. 
  • Q: Does St. Stephen's accept TOEFL or Duolingo scores?

    Students may submit TOEFL (TOEFL code B078) or Duolingo scores to demonstrate English proficiency but not in lieu of SSAT or ISEE scores. The SSAT or ISEE is required of all admission candidates. 
  • Q: Does St. Stephen's have an ESL program?

    No. St. Stephen’s classes are conducted in English and international applicants must demonstrate a significant level of proficiency in written and verbal English skills to be considered for admission.

    International students often enroll in the Transitional English Program, which provides non-native English speakers with the most important content of the mainstream English classes while also meeting their specific needs as advanced language learners. Many non-native English speakers need to adapt to new expectations about writing and class participation, and English 9T and 10T allow for this adjustment to occur before students enter mainstream English classes. All students are placed in traditional math, science, history and language sections.
  • Q: Does St. Stephen's issue I-20 visas?

    St. Stephen’s is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS) to issue the I-20 visa application. To receive the I-20 visa application from St. Stephen's, a student must be admitted, sign the enrollment contract and make arrangements for payment. Specific I-20 information will be given after these steps have been completed. St. Stephen's will work with students who need to transfer a valid student visa.

Boarding Program FAQ

List of 29 frequently asked questions.

  • Q:
    What is Venture Orientation and who comes to it?

    Students in grades 8, 9 and 10 for whom English is not a first language attend an additional orientation. Expats and first language English speakers may attend Venture and should contact the International Student Office for details. Oftentimes parents attend this orientation for the first day. Students will stay in their dorm rooms. 
  • Q:
    Is there a gathering for parents of Venture students?

    Yes, at the home of the Headmaster. Invitations will be sent to the parents.
  • Q: When should 8th-12th grade boarding students not attending Venture arrive?

    Dorm check in for other new boarding students and returning students is Sunday before classes begin. Final transcripts must be submitted and the Boarding Permission Form must be completed before keys will be issued. 
  • Q: Is there a place on campus to shop?

    Yes, we have a Campus Bookstore to purchase toiletries, dorm room supplies, school supplies, food, etc. for you.
  • Q: Is there required summer reading?

    All incoming students have required summer reading. The purpose of summer reading is to get students thinking independently about literature and to give each class a common text to discuss at the start of the school year. Students should avoid using online study guides or translations.  You will be receiving more information about this later in the spring.  
  • Q:
    Is anyone meeting me at the airport?

     No, students/parents will need to arrange transportation when arriving for the start of school. For the Thanksgiving, winter, and spring vacations, and end of year; transportation to and from the airport will be provided.
  • Q:
    When will we receive our I-20 documents?

    I-20 documents will be mailed to new international students on or before May 1 if all materials have been submitted as requested. 
  • Q:
    Where is evening study hall and how is it monitored?

    Students have a monitored Study Hall Sunday – Thursday night. 8th and 9th grade study hall is 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. and 10th – 12th grade study hall is 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Study Hall can take place in three different locations: the dorm - monitored by a faculty member, the library - monitored by the librarian, and for students who need additional assistance in an academic area in the study room of the Student Center - monitored by an evening supervisor. 
  • Q:
    Can I go to my dorm room during the academic day?

    8th and 9th grade students are not permitted to go to the dorm during the academic day.  10th -12th grade students may return to the dorm during their non-proctored study hall periods.
  • Q:
    Can I bring non-boarding friends to my dorm room?

    Boarding students can host friends in their rooms after school and on the weekends.
  • Q:
    Do I have to go to the Dining Hall for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

    The Dining Hall is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Students are not required to attend breakfast but must check in at lunch and dinner.  You can see our dining website at:
  • Q: How will my roommate be chosen? When will I know who my roommate is?

    A committee of staff and residential faculty make the roommate assignments after reviewing admission files and the Roommate Questionnaire (available with Orientation documents in May). New students learn who their roommate is on the day they move into the dorm.
  • Q:
    What kinds of activities are planned for the weekends and how will I know what is going on?

    A complete weekend schedule with many activities including sporting events, fine arts, trips off campus and activities on campus is posted online and may be viewed by students and parents. The schedule is updated each week.
  • Q:
    Are boarding students allowed to spend the night away from campus? 

    Yes. Complete and detailed instructions for nights away from campus are in the Student Handbook and aligned with the instructions parents provide on the Special Permission form.  The number of overnights is limited to seven per term or 21 for the year (a Friday and Saturday night spent off campus equals two overnights). In addition, students may earn an extra overnight per term for making Honor Roll.
  • Q:
    Are there any weekends when students cannot leave campus?

    The first weekend of the school year is a closed weekend.  Students are not allowed to leave campus this weekend only. Students requesting overnights the weekend before final exams will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Q:
    What is the role of dorm parents?

    Each dorm has 4-5 adults assigned to serve as dorm parents. The adults are all St. Stephen’s faculty, staff and/or coaches and live on campus in faculty housing. Dorm parents are responsible for the students during the academic day if issues arise and are in the dorms during study hall and beyond. On the weekends, dorm parents take students to the many off campus activities and assist with the events on campus. Each dorm parent is on duty one night a week and one weekend a month.

    Dorm Parents are the individuals ultimately responsible for the well-being of each student in the dorm, and for the smooth and efficient operation of the dormitory in terms of study hours, bedtime, etc. Dorm parents are fully involved in the lives of their students and can be counted on to attend sporting events and performances, help with homework, hang out, watch TV, play games, bake a cake, just have a conversation, and grant permission to leave campus with those approved by the parents. The most critical role for a dorm parent is that they get to know each of their boarders on a personal level.

    Dorm parents are single, married or married with children (and pets) and they live in apartments attached to the dormitory or in free-standing residences close by each dorm. During their years at St. Stephen’s, boarding students develop meaningful relationships with many adults and often become “big brothers and sisters” to the children of their dorm parents. For students who are also enjoy pets, there are family dogs and cats that come to love the extra attention from the residents.
  • Q:
    What size sheets will I need? Other linens?

    2 sets of extra long twin size sheets. Also bring (or buy soon after you arrive) pillow, blanket, bedspread/comforter, and towels. Bedding essentials will be available during registration weekend as well as other dorm items in the Campus Bookstore.
  • Q:
    What clothing should I bring? 

    The weather at the beginning of the school year will be very warm.  Bring your summer clothes with you, but also be prepared for an occasional rainy day and cool morning.  After the Thanksgiving holidays, students should bring clothes for colder temperatures. Student clothing should always follow the dress code (refer to the Student Handbook on the MySSES webpage for guidelines). All linens and clothing should be clearly marked with the student’s name. Do not over pack. Storage and closet space in the residence halls is limited.
  • Q:
    How will I do my laundry?

    Each dorm has a laundry room with washers and dryers. There is not a charge for students to use the laundry machines. Laundry supplies is available in the Campus Bookstore.  Ironing boards and irons are also in each laundry room. Some students choose to use a laundry service that picks up and delivers on campus.  
  • Q:
    Can I bring my computer? 

    Many students bring personal laptop or desktop computers to campus. All dorm rooms have wireless internet access and a wired ethernet network. Students should bring a CAT5 or CAT6 ethernet cable. We recommend a 15 foot cable - although in many rooms a 6 foot cable is sufficient. Students should not bring personal wireless access points to connect to the school’s network as they can interfere with St. Stephen’s wireless access points. There are numerous wireless computer zones on campus for students with laptops and tablets.
  • Q:
    What furniture will be in my dorm room?

    Each room is furnished with a bed, a dresser, a desk, and a chair for each student. The dressers have a drawer that can be locked with a padlock supplied by the student.  Students may bring a desk lamp, storage trunks for their belongings, iPod speakers, and personal computers. Students may not bring televisions or refrigerators.  There is a television in the residence halls’ common room and in the student center.  Waterbeds are not allowed. Students should not bring valuables with them, nor should they keep large amounts of cash in their rooms.
  • Q:
    How will I get my textbooks and school supplies?

    New students will get their textbooks through the Campus Bookstore once they have received a final schedule at Orientation. Students may want to bring basic supplies such as pens, paper, and notebooks with them.  All required school supplies are available in the Campus Bookstore or may be purchased at stores in Austin.
  • Q:
    Is there a bank close to campus?

    Students are encouraged to have their own checking account while at St. Stephen’s. Bank of America has a location very close to campus and many families set up an account at their local branch prior to the start of school. Students may receive a weekly cash allowance through the business office. Details on allowance are given at Orientation.
  • Q:
    Can I have food in my room?

    Food is permitted in residence hall rooms in tightly closed containers. Equipment for cooking and refrigerators are not permitted in individual rooms.  Refrigerators and cooking equipment, however, are located in the residence halls’ common rooms for general student use.  There is food available in the Campus Bookstore or may be purchased during off campus trips.
  • Q:
    What do I do with my important documents?

    Upon arrival to St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, all international students must check-in their passports, I-20’s, airplane tickets, and any other official documents to the International Office for safekeeping. Dorm room keys will not be issued until the documents are submitted.
  • Q:
    Can I ship things to school prior to my arrival?

    You may ship materials to school prior to your arrival.  They will be held for you in Brewster Hall until you move them into the residence hall.
    Mailing/Shipping Address:                             
    Student’s Name                                        
    St. Stephen’s Episcopal School                            
    6500 St. Stephen’s Drive                                         
    Austin, TX  78746  
    Phone: 512-327-1213
  • Q:
    What kinds of insurance do I need?

    The school’s insurance does not cover any loss of student possessions. Parents should determine whether or not such loss is covered by their personal homeowner’s coverage.  Students are required to have health insurance. The school does not carry health insurance for students. International students may purchase health insurance through an outside company for purchase through the Business Office for an additional fee. Students not providing proof of insurance prior to registration not be allowed to register for classes. 
  • Q: What medical forms need to be completed before I arrive?

    All medical information will be entered into the Magnus Health SMR (student medical record)
    The REQUIRED forms are:
    Medical Authorization
    Physical Exam (done THIS calendar year, including Vision, Hearing & Scoliosis tests required by the state of Texas.)
    Complete Immunization record (since birth, also required by the state of Texas.)

    Optional/ or if applicable
    Flu shot Form (strongly recommended, especially for Boarding students)
    Action forms (REQUIRED if you answered yes to any of these: Asthma, Allergic  reaction, Epilepsy, Diabetes)
    Medicine permission forms (if needed.)
    Boarders Med Indemnity Form (if needed. Allows Boarders to keep certain medicines in room)
    You will receive weekly reminders as long as there are any outstanding items in your account.  Please reserve 20 to 30 minutes per child and have your health insurance card nearby. Keep in mind that you will not need to enter this information again next year, as Magnus Health securely stores the information from year to year.
    Magnus Health will be available to new families around April 15 each year.  At that time, you will receive credentials to log in to the “MySSES” tab on the school website  Once you have logged in to MySSES, follow the orange link provided on the right side (halfway down the page) for the Magnus Health SMR Portal. If you are having difficulty navigating the Magnus system, entering data online, or downloading the cover sheets and forms, or if you have any other questions, please contact customer support at Magnus Health SMR by phone at 877.461.6831 or by email at Also, please feel free to consult the Magnus Health Privacy and Security page at for additional information. If you need help logging in to MySSES, please email If you have other questions about your child’s health information please email or call 512-327-1166.
  • Q: Do I ever get to leave school?

    Absolutely. In addition to scheduled holidays, students leave campus during the weekdays for school sponsored trips, athletic events and fine art performances. Starting Friday after school through Sunday dinner there are many scheduled activities for students to take advantage of including shopping, movies, dining, and much more. Students are always welcome to suggest off campus trip locations and venues.

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Address: 6500 St. Stephen's Dr., Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 327-1213