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J-1 or F-1 USA High School Program

International students who want to study abroad at a US high school have several program options to consider. Named after the different types of visas, F-1 and J-1 US High School Programs can have a significant impact on what you can and cannot do when studying abroad. Before choosing a US High School program, look at some of the key points of studying abroad on a J-1 Program and F-1 Program.

“The Cultural Exchange” of J-1 USA High School Programs

J-1 Programs are ideal for students who want to stick to a low budget, have fun, improve their English, and experience a new culture while attending US high school classes. Educatius Group offers a J-1 Program via our third-party partners.

Here are some key details about studying on a J-1 Program:

  • J-1 Program students cannot choose their high school.
  • International students cannot compete in high school sports, but they may be able to practice with the team.
  • There are limited spaces for international students looking to apply to a J-1 Program. Students often must apply early to secure a visa.
  • Students must start the program between ages 15-18 ½.
  • All fees must be paid upfront before the program starts.
  • Host families are volunteers. While the host families are wonderful, if there is an issue between the student and the host family it can be difficult to move the student to another family.
  • A host family MUST be found before the student leaves to study abroad. In the case that a host family is not found, a refund is given to the family and the student will not study on the program.
  • High schools cannot guarantee that students will be able to co-validate credits or earn a diploma and graduate.
  • International students can only stay for one year.
  • A J-1 visa requires a DS-2019 from their organization to apply. Learn more about a DS-2019 Form.
  • J-1 programs tend to be the least expensive option for international students when studying high school in the USA.

“The Academic Excellence” F-1 USA High School Program

F-1 visa high school programs are more expensive compared to J-1 Programs (because tuition is paid to the school and a stipend paid to the host family) but allow international students to get the full American academic experience. As part of Educatius Group’s “SELECT Program,” you can customize your US high school experience by choosing a school based on academic programs, sports teams, art courses, region, state, and more!

Here are some key details about attending our SELECT F-1 Program:

  • International students can CHOOSE their high school. Educatius Group offers many popular US destinations for students to choose from like: California, Florida, Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, and more!
  • International students can earn a US high school diploma, at many schools they can even earn it in 1 year. Many of international students also continue their studies at competitive US universities like UCLA, SUNY, Penn State, University of Chicago and more!
  • Students can study multiple years at a US Private Boarding School or Private Day School on a SELECT Program but only one year at a US Public School.
  • Most schools in the Educatius SELECT Program portfolio are in popular destinations and have unique facilities such as STEAM classrooms, art studios, production studios, and more!
  • International students take a full course load and earn academic credits for courses
  • Students can play sports! (some restrictions in Arizona and a few other states)
  • Once the student’s application is accepted, and tuition received, the school will issue an I-20 to the student, which is the necessary paperwork for the visa interview.
  • Each school has their own English and admission requirements – ranging from very competitive to more flexible.
  • Host families receive a stipend for hosting a student. Educatius host families are not permitted to host more than two students at a time, nor 2 students who speak the same language.
  • While F-1 Programs are not required to be listed by CSIET (Council on Standards for International Educational Travel), Educatius Group programs are! 
  • Unlike the J-1 Program, Educatius first places the student at a school before matching a host family. We guaranteed each accepted student will be placed in a host family and will study in the US!
  • There is more flexibility with ages when applying for an F-1 visa – generally ages 14-19; and the F-1 program is more flexible with English levels, allergies and medical conditions. Some US boarding schools will also accept younger students in grades 6-9.

Generally, if students on the J-1 high school Program want to continue studying high school in the USA after a year, they must switch to the F-1 Program to continue their education and experience in the US.

The Hybrid “Academic Exchange” High School Program

Educatius Group also offers international high school students an opportunity to learn on an F-1 visa at a lesser cost. With our “Academic Exchange Program”, international students get to study with all the academic benefits of an F-1 visa. However, students cannot choose their high school.

Still not sure on which visa program option is best for you? Check out the table below!

Focus of programCultural Exchange, Improve EnglishAcademic Pathway, Cultural Exchange, Improve English
Can compete in sportsYESYES (Restrictions in some states, like Arizona )
Responsible organizationPrograms are affiliated with the U.S Department of StateU.S Department of Homeland Security authorized school or educational organization
Duration of stay1 academic year maximumSemester, 1 academic year, or multiple years (as long as the student is in high school!). Public schools are restricted to 1 year.
Visa documents neededDS-2019I-20
Paid host familiesNO (Host families are volunteers)YES (Receives Stipend)
Can graduate with a diploma?Maybe (Credits however might not transfer)Yes (Depends upon the school)

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