Any student who is not a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of the United States is considered an international student. International students usually need an F1 or J1 visa to study in the United States. International students stay from 2-4 years to graduate from Aquinas.
How many international students attend Aquinas?
In the 2016-2017 academic year we had 41 international students – 25 Chinese, 12 Korean, 2 Spanish, 1 Brazilian, and 1 Moroccan student.
Do you accept exchange students on J1 Visas?
Yes, we do. Students on J1 Visas only stay for a year. They receive a certificate of participation once they finish their year in the States.
Does Aquinas issue the I-20 Form?
Yes, Aquinas is authorized by SEVIS (US Department of Security’s Student and Exchange Information System) to issue the I-20 application form. Students must apply, go through a skype interview, and be admitted before Aquinas may issue the application. We have around 40 international students each year to whom we issue I-20 forms after they enroll as new students and then provide us with financial certification, parent affidavit, and a copy of their passport page. In nearly all cases, our newly admitted students succeed in obtaining student visas.
How much is tuition and other fees?
Tuition for the 2018-2019 academic school year is $12,500. The SEVIS application fee is $200. The different international agencies vary in terms of other fees.
Does Aquinas require international applicants to submit a TOEFL score?
One of the requirements for admission is either a TOEFL or ELTIS score. The minimum scores must be met for each exam:
TOEFL PB: 475
TOEFL CB: 152
TOEFL iBT: 50
Does Aquinas offer an ESL program?
No, Aquinas does not offer an ESL program. All international students are expected to be highly proficient in reading, writing, and speaking the English language before they can be considered for admission.
Do you admit students to grades 11 or 12?
Yes, we admit students to grade 11, because they will still be able to meet NYS Regents diploma requirements. We do not offer admission to students going into grade 12 who wish to graduate from Aquinas. However, we will consider students for grade 12 if they wish to receive a Certificate of Participation.
Does Aquinas have mid-year (February/spring) admission?
In most cases, we do not. Exceptions are granted by the Director of Enrollment and also if the student is already studying in the U.S. and wishes to transfer to Aquinas.
What international agencies do you work through?
We work with many agencies, but most of our students come through Private School Exchange (pse-edu.org/), CCI Greenheart International (cci-exchange.com/), or Ivy Academia.
I am not Catholic. Can I still attend Aquinas?
Yes, you can. Please be aware that since AQ is a Catholic school, students are required to take a theology course each year. To help with our international students’ transition into a Catholic school, students take a beginner course called Intro to Catholicism. This course introduces them to the basic concepts and theories that will help guide them through the rest of their time at Aquinas.
What is there to do in Rochester?
Rochester is situated on the southern shore of Lake Ontario and is also part of New York’s breathtaking Finger Lakes region. Known for its vast selection of family-oriented activities and attractions, Rochester hosts nearly two million visitors each year. The third largest city in New York State, the greater Rochester region is inhabited by a little more than one million people. Conveniently located, Rochester is a six hour drive from New York City, 3.5 hours from Toronto and 90 minutes from Niagara Falls.
Rochester is home to world-class events throughout the year. Rochester sits at the center of 100 must-see miles of the Erie Canal, which when opened in 1825 and made Rochester the country’s first “boomtown.” Today, the historic canal thrives as an active recreational waterway with towpaths, shops and charming towns telling America’s story of “how the west began!” Rochester is home to two national historic landmarks open to the public, the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House and George Eastman Museum. Adults and children are entertained in the second largest children’s museum in the U.S., at The Strong National Museum of Play, also home to the National Toy Hall of Fame.
Does Aquinas have a dress code or uniforms?
Yes, there is a dress code at Aquinas. No, there are no school uniforms. Males must wear a solid or striped Oxford style shirt or a dress shirt, along with a tie. Females also wear an Oxford style shirt, solid or striped, or a dress blouse. Both males and females wear Docker style or twill pants that can be black, navy, tan, gray or brown. Shoes are solid color dress style leather shoes.
From the beginning of school until November 1st, and from May 1st to the end of the year, students can wear an Aquinas polo, only purchased through the school bookstore. Polos can be bought during the international student orientation at the end of August. For more information, please see page 35 of the parent/student handbook (PDF).
When should I arrive in the U.S.?
New international students are expected to be in the United States one week prior to the start of school for orientation. Returning international students are expected to be in attendance on the first day of classes. However, if a student wishes to participate in a fall sport (cheerleading, cross country, soccer, football, tennis, volleyball), the student must return to the States in mid-August, prior to the first practice.
What arrangements do you have for transportation?
New York State law requires any public school district within 15 miles of a private school to provide transportation to that private school. Typically, most of the school districts from which AQ draws students from provide transportation to Aquinas. To do this, host families will have to register that student in their respective district to make sure the student gets busing.
Where will I be living?
Aquinas works with international agencies to place you in a great home and host family! While the international agencies place you, we try to recommend families to them to contact for hosting.
What classes will I be taking?
All students will be enrolled in an English, math, science + lab, global studies, and a physical education class. While students are required to take 7.5 credits a year, there are many opportunities for students to choose electives. While new international students may not get their first choice in class options, there will be many opportunities for you to enroll in the desired course in future years. We strongly recommend that you return the course selection form, e-mailed in the welcome folders, right away.