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Moving abroad beginning of Junior year in HS?

cag60093cag60093 Registered User Posts: 66 Junior Member
edited April 21 in Parents Forum
My H will be considering a new job abroad for 2-3 years. All of this is overwhelming; at the moment, I'm more concerned about the transition for our D who will be a junior in the fall. We have a 7th grader S and a first year college bound S in the fall. Our D and younger S will attend a school specifically for expat children - 60%from the US and 40% from other countries. The school has an IB program which I understand is a very rigorous and offers PSAT and SAT tests, etc.

My D's HS rigor and grades have been good, but not excellent, 3.7 unweighted GPA, 4.28 weighted. She had a balance of honors and regular classes her freshman year; this year, she is taking mostly honors classes, 1 AP, and 1 regular class. I feel like she's just finding her stride and confidence and I'm concerned that the rigor of the new school and transition could be detrimental to her academics, especially in her junior year. Her current HS is considered a good school in our area, suburb of large Midwest city, that prepare students well for college work.

She, on the other hand, thinks this move will be a great opportunity and is excited about it (I'm skeptical of her enthusiasm). My younger son is not thrilled, but he's super easy going and transitions well to change. Are we really loony to consider this move during her critical years before college applications and all the challenges that are involved with it? I was looking forward to sending my oldest S to college for the very first time this fall and visiting him over parent weekend!.

I would greatly appreciate it if families who experienced working abroad with high school children can help me better understand IB program and general concerns we should consider.

Thanks.
Post edited by MaineLonghorn on
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Replies to: Moving abroad beginning of Junior year in HS?

  • bopperbopper Registered User Posts: 8,053 Senior Member
    edited April 20
    Hello! I was you 6 years ago!

    I had DD who would start 11th grade and one who would start 7th grade. The 11th grader was excited about the move (to Germany from NJ) abut the 7th grader WAS NOT.

    Internationally Expat type schools are very set up for new kids coming in so she will make friends quickly. I am not sure if you are working but you need to find friends too! It can be mom's of other school mates, the PTA or see ifthere is any expat women's group around.

    This is a perfect time for your DD as the IB program is a two year program.
    Usually these schools are small so your daughter won't get lost...they will help her keep up.

    My DD took SL English, HL Math, HL Chem, HL Physics, SL Business, and German AB initio.

    The classes go over 2 years...she took two sciences because she didn't get to finish Physics in 10th grade (we moved in March). She took HL math because she wanted to major in Math (and is now a HS math teacher!)
    She was not keen on history nor the teacher so she took Business.
    Many people thought she was crazy for 3 HL STEMs, but she is very into math/science and not much into humanities so she loved it. It all depends on your kid.

    One thing that i had a little issue with was the way some of the teachers did grading...at one point she had a 3 (out of 7 ) grade in English, and I was concerned. The teacher said "well she hasn't learned everything yet"...but that is not the way US colleges are used to seeing grades. Her final grade was a 5/7.

    If she does well on the IB tests, she can get college credit. My DD went to SUNY Binghamton for Math (partially because it was generous with IB credits) and she graduated a year and a half early because of IB credits (plus a couple summer classes). She then did a Master's in secondary Math education.

    As far as college applicaitons, the whole point of the IB program is that it was created as a rigorous, standardized program that expats/ambassador's kids could take anywhere in the world and colleges would know what it is.
    Her extra curriculars were things she did for the CAS requirements (community service, volleyball, etc) and other math tutoring activities she did.

    I think that colleges know that students living abroad aren't as EC crazy.


    Junior year spring break, we went back to the US and did a tour of schools. She did not get to go back for any admitted students days. Some colleges have orientations during the summer and may not tell you but they always have a secret international orientation right before college so you don't have to worry much about that.

    We did come back before DD1 started college and DD2 started HS.

    Re: GPA
    My daughter went to one school 9-10 grades with 0-100 grading. Then she went to another and did an IB Diploma for 11-12 grades which is 0-7. Never knew what her 4.0 scale GPA was...colleges figure it out. The only time there was an issue was for our State Flagship which auto-awards scholarships based on GPAs , but a quick email sorted that out. So send your transcript and the college will figure it out.

    Also, this will be a fantastic opportunity for your kids to learn about another culture. You will realize how US centric our views are once you live outside the US. We are so geographically isolated that we can make different decisions vs. the countries surrounded by others.
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 11,211 Senior Member
    edited April 20
    Count your blessings if your daughter is enthusiastic. I moved across the country in the second semester of high school and was extremely resentful and angry -- and I let my parents have it for months & months. I'm quite sure I was impossible to live with. So if your daughter is happy about the move... thank your lucky stars!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,891 Senior Member
    However, that may mean not having in-state residency for any state universities.
  • boudersbouders Registered User Posts: 1,818 Senior Member
    Also, there may not be any assistance (with essays, references, college list) in applying to US colleges.
  • cag60093cag60093 Registered User Posts: 66 Junior Member
    edited April 21


    @bopper Thanks for the links for IB issues and for sharing your family's experience. I need to learn more about IB.

    @katliamom My D says she's supportive of the move not but I'm afraid she'll change her mind once there. By that point, she'll have to just stick it out.

    @ucbalumnus Is that really true about not being allowed to use our current state for in-state residency? We are not selling our home. I presumed that she will be considered as a US student, not an international student.

    @bouders I do worry greatly about the college process but I read on the foreign school website that college counseling services are offered. The school is affiliated and has accreditation from: Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC), International Baccalaureate (IBDP), Member of National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). It reports that 73% of IB students scored 5 or higher. I am more confident with college process since we learned a great deal this past year with my oldest son's experience.

    There about several clubs and sports offered at the foreign school. However, not robotics, annual art magazine, and ice hockey which are her main ECs. She was planning to advocate for a leadership positions in robotics and art magazine next year and she would most likely be a captain or assistant on her hockey team in her senior year. I realize that EC offering will be out of her control if we decide to go abroad. It's just a bummer because she has worked hard in her ECs.

    Any other concerns we should be aware of would be much appreciated.
    Post edited by MaineLonghorn on
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 3,071 Senior Member
    I don't know where you are headed, but many of those schools are great at facilitating continued participation in ECS in the community if the school doesn't offer it itself. They are expert in taking kids from everywhere and anywhere aND working with them to make the transition easy.

    Sounds like a great opportunity!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,891 Senior Member
    cag60093 wrote:
    Is that really true about not being allowed to use our current state for in-state residency? We are not selling our home. I presumed that she will be considered as a US student, not an international student.

    You need to check your current state's universities for the in-state residency for tuition purposes rules, since they do vary. But many states require physical presence in the state for a year -- merely owning property in the state is unlikely to be sufficient. If the student is considered "dependent" (often means an unmarried student under 24 years of age who is not a military veteran), then the parents need to fulfill the residency tests as well.

    Yes, if she is a US citizen, she will be considered a domestic student by US universities, even if she may not have any in-state residency for state universities.
  • bopperbopper Registered User Posts: 8,053 Senior Member
    Also when they take the PSAT, their cutoff scores are with "​U.S. Citizens Studying Abroad" which is the top cutoff (but so was our home state, NJ).

  • bopperbopper Registered User Posts: 8,053 Senior Member
    edited April 21
    Even with my younger DD who was not so keen on the move at the time, now realizes it was a great experience and has made life long friends that she still visits now that she is in college.

    They did learn the language (German) in school...but she also had Spanish which was good when she came back to the US because her HS just dropped German.

    As we knew we were only giong to be there 2-3 years, we kept them in the expat bubble somewhat...we also got British Sky TV so they could watch shows in English.
  • cag60093cag60093 Registered User Posts: 66 Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus I'll check with our flagship about qualifying for in-state residency. My D will need the flagship as one of the financial safety school bc we're full pay. I know many private school allow deferring for a gap year. Do you know if large public schools do as well? That may an option for my D to consider if she gets shut out of other schools. She thinks she wants to study art - illustration or computer animations. For now, my H and I would like her to go to a LAC with a good art program so she can have options post graduation. We need to do more research about BA vs BFA. For now, she needs to work harder the next two years to raise her GPA and get high standardized test scores.
  • cag60093cag60093 Registered User Posts: 66 Junior Member
    @bopper Thanks for the PSAT info. I did read somewhere that the PSAT cutoff will not be with our instate cutoff. That's a bummer since our state's is high, but not super high like NJ, NY, or VA. My D's strong suit is in English/LA. Her math ability is good, but not excellent. She often says math is too challenging and she's just not good at it. I encourage her to do her best and not fall into the stereotype that she as a girl can't do math like her brothers. She's in the highest math level, but getting A-/B+. We often debate if going down a level maybe better for her.
  • bopperbopper Registered User Posts: 8,053 Senior Member
    I was in the highest math level and got A-/B+ and went to college for Electrical Engineering and graduated as an EE and work as an Engineer. She is fine.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,891 Senior Member
    cag60093 wrote:
    I'll check with our flagship about qualifying for in-state residency. My D will need the flagship as one of the financial safety school bc we're full pay. I know many private school allow deferring for a gap year. Do you know if large public schools do as well?

    This would be on a school-specific basis. You need to check each school of interest (public or private).

    If you have no-financial-aid levels of income and wealth, but can only afford in-state public costs, your daughter needs to build a merit seeking and low list price list to apply to.
  • cag60093cag60093 Registered User Posts: 66 Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus Yes, we plan to build a list of possible schools for merit seeking and low list price options. We did that for my S17.
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