International Applicants FAQs
Click on the questions for more information.
- Q — What are the minimum TOEFL scores for admission?
- Q — Is there financial aid available for international students?
A — All international students applying to MPA should anticipate paying full tuition and fees. Please refer to the Admission page of our website for annual tuition rates. International students who would like to attend MPA and are in need of financial assistance can contact Craig Dodson, Director of Admission, for more information.
- Q — Do international students graduate and attend college in the U.S.?
A — International students wanting to earn a MN state high school diploma from Mounds Park Academy will need to attend MPA for a minimum of three school years. This amount of time is required for international students to complete the required coursework for graduation and to attain English fluency in preparation for college. Graduating from MPA and earning an MPA diploma can be extremely helpful in applying for and being accepted to an American college or university. MPA’s rigorous academic program is well-respected within higher education and the education international students receive prepares them for success in college. All international students will receive college counseling for the duration of their enrollment.
- Q — What time of year do international students start?
- It is recommended that new international students arrive in Minnesota by August 15, approximately 10 days prior to the start of the school year. During this time, international students will be acclimating to their host homes, adjusting to the time change, attending orientation, taking placement tests for math and English, creating class schedules, and preparing for classes.
- It is recommended that returning international students arrive in Minnesota by August 20, approximately five days prior to the start of the school year. Returning international students still need a few days to adjust to the time zone, move back into their host homes, and prepare for school.
- International students are expected to follow the MPA Calendar and absence policy.
- Q — Can the requirement for world language be waived?
- Two years of a world language are required for diploma-seeking international students.
- One year of the world language requirement is fulfilled when taking the ESL class during the first year a student is at MPA.
- There is no world language requirement for non-diploma-seeking international students.
- Q — Does MPA have an ESL or ELL program?
A — Yes. All international students will be registered for an ESL class their first year at MPA. This class will fulfill one credit of foreign language and may be extended to two years, as needed, to support students in their MPA coursework and English language acquisition.
- Q — What about conflicts with my religious observances?
A — Mounds Park Academy is sensitive to devout students of all faiths. International students of any religion may observe religious holidays without penalty.
- Q — Are international students able to participate in athletic/extracurricular programs?
A — MN State High School League Sports Eligibility: International students are eligible to compete in MPA sports only at the B-squad or JV level for one calendar year from the first day of classes at MPA. International students may participate in more than one MPA sport during that first calendar year. After the calendar year has expired, students may still participate in practices and scrimmages with MPA sports teams, but may not compete in games or tournaments. See page 23 of the MSHSL Bylaws for more eligibility information.
- Q — What are the housing arrangements for international students?
- All Cambridge Institute students will be staying with host families in and around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Host families will be selected, vetted, and matched with students through an outside agency, gphomestay. Please contact Dominic Amegashitsi for more information.
- All YFU (Youth for Understanding) students will be staying with host families in and around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Host families will be selected, vetted, and matched with students through YFU. Please contact Anna Peters, Twin Cities Field Director, for more information.
- All independently-applying international students will be staying with host families in and around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, most of whom will be directly connected to the MPA community. Host families will be selected, vetted, and matched with students through MPA. Please contact Sarah McFarland, MPA International Program Coordinator, for more information.
- Q — Do international students need health insurance to attend MPA?
A — Yes. All health insurance and other medical concerns will be taken care of by YFU and Cambridge. Independent international students will need to provide their own health insurance. Here are some popular insurers:
International Student Insurance
Compass Benefits Group
- Q — Can international students drive?
A — No.
- Q — Can international students have a job?
- There are strict work restrictions placed on international students with F-1 visas as the primary purpose of the international student’s stay in the United States is to study.
- While there are strict guidelines to follow, an international student with an F-1 visa may work. If international students are interested in working while attending MPA, they can contact Sarah McFarland for assistance and approval.
- Q — How do international students get a bank account and mobile phone?
- International students and host families will work together to get and set-up a cell phone. The cost of the phone and service will be paid entirely by the international student. The international student should have an international bank card for use while in the United States. If they do not, then the host family will assist the student in setting up a local checking account that natural parents can deposit money into for their international student.
- For independent applicants, MPA will assist international students and host families in getting a cell phone and bank account, as needed, during orientation. The cost of the cell phone and service will be paid entirely by the international student.
- Q — What about spending money?
A — Some international students use Visa or MasterCard debit/credit cards for purchases in addition to cash. Passports and other valuables can be kept with the International Student Coordinator if necessary. We strongly discourage international students from keeping large amounts of cash in their possession.
- Q — What is the weather like in Minnesota?
A — Minnesota has four distinct seasons: a warm summer with daily highs from 80-90° F, a winter with daily highs that average 10-20° F and a temperate spring and fall with highs averaging 40-60° F. International students will need clothing for all seasons and it is critical that they come prepared with a warm winter jacket, boots, gloves and hats. Minnesota Weather Information
- Q — Can international students travel during the school year (Spring Break, Winter Break, etc.)?
- Cambridge Yes, travel is greatly encouraged during Cambridge Institute students’ time in the United States. Prior to travel, the Permission for International Student Travel Form must be requested from and returned to the gphomestay coordinator. This form must be completed by the international student’s natural parents and submitted prior to traveling. International student travel cannot interfere with school attendance.
- YFU Yes, travel is greatly encouraged during a YFU students’ time in the United States. Prior to travel YFU Students must fill out the YFU Permission to Travel. International student travel cannot interfere with school attendance.
- Independent Prior to travel, independent students must submit the Permission to Travel Form to Sarah McFarland, MPA International Student Program Coordinator. All travel, with or without host families, must be approved prior to departure. International student travel cannot interfere with school attendance.
- Q — What should international students bring?
A — Packing may seem like a simple task but when you are planning to stay far away from home this task can seem scary and overwhelming. Here are the essential items that international students may need when traveling to Minnesota: full packing list.