As an international student at Williston, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about American culture, gain fluency in English, and assimilate into the United States’ educational system in preparation for attending an American college or university. You can also take full advantage of enrichment in the arts, athletics, community service, and extracurricular activities. This will leave you well prepared and well rounded, academically and socially, for the challenges after high school. Many international students go on to attend some of the most competitive universities and colleges in the United States. All classes are taught in English, and we offer an Advanced English Language Learners course. Our goal as a school is to create a community of students from a variety of backgrounds who can connect over common interests and talents. We work to educate all our students—both domestic and international—about the important role different cultures and backgrounds play in creating a global community.
Our Application Process
Step 1: Request Information
To learn about Williston’s academics, arts, athletics, and more, please fill out our inquiry form, and we will mail you a viewbook and enter you into our system. Once you do this, you will receive instructions on how to create a username and password to access our Admission Portal, which will allow you to track your progress along the way.
Step 2: Visit Campus and Interview
Please call (413) 529-3241 or email our admission team to schedule your visit. Skype interviews are available for most families unable to travel to campus. Unfortunately, because of the large number of applications we receive for a very limited number of spaces, it is impossible for us to conduct Skype interviews with applicants from China. Applicants from mainland China need to plan to visit our campus for a personal tour and interview or plan to interview with our Admission Representative in Shanghai in November. Most applicants and their families visit Williston during the fall or early winter, but you can schedule your interview for as late as mid-February, if that is the only time you can visit campus. All interviews should be completed by February 15 to ensure a March 10 decision.
Step 3: Submit Standardized Testing
Submitting standardized test results is a required step in Williston’s application process. All international students are required to take both the TOEFL or SSAT test; we do not accept the SLEP or Junior TOEFL test. The TOEFL average score for all admitted students was 98.
Step 4: Submit Your Application
You can apply to Williston using our application or one of three common applications, Gateway to Prep School, SSAT or Association of Boarding Schools Common Application. Completed applications are due in the Admission Office by January 15.
All applicants to Williston are required to complete the following requirements as part of their application.
- Student essays
- Parental statement
- Application fee of $100 for international applicants
- Campus tour and interview (off-campus interview with an admission representative available depending on geographic location)
- School report form completed by counselor
- Current English teacher recommendation
- Current math teacher recommendation
- Personal recommendation
- An official school transcript (with a minimum of two years of credits)
Grades from at least the first two quarters or first trimester for the current school year
- Testing information (see above)
Step 5: Revisit Campus During Admitted Student Days
Decision letters are mailed from the Admission Office on March 10, and accepted students are invited (but not required) to one of three Admitted Student days during March or April. During those, you can attend classes, talk to students and faculty, and even stay overnight in a dorm. We’re one of the few schools to truly let you try the boarding experience before you enroll!
Step 6: Enroll
Williston’s enrollment deadline is April 10. Decisions are made on a rolling admission basis for any student who finishes the application process after March 10. We encourage applicants who plan to apply after March 10 to call us directly at (413) 529-3241 regarding the availability of spaces for the coming academic year.
International Student FAQs
What is Williston's TOEFL code?
The TOEFL code is 8963.
Are ESL classes taught at Williston?
We offer an Advanced English Language Learners course to prepare students for standard English classes.
How many international students attend Williston?
In 2017-18, we had 100 international students from 28 countries. This year, we will have 115 students from 30 countries.
What is life like on campus for international students?
We pride ourselves on being a community that embraces every person for who he or she is. We also recognize that international students can face different challenges and we provide support for them in this area. Our goal as a school is to create a community of students from a variety of backgrounds who can connect over common interests and talents. We work to educate all our students—from the U.S. and abroad—about the important role different cultures and backgrounds play in creating a global community.
What type of support is available for international students?
Williston’s Director of International Student Programs provides guidance as students adjust to living and learning in a U.S. boarding school. The director also serves as a liaison to parents; offers advice on academic and social issues; provides information about I-20s and other international student forms; and organizes a special orientation for students to help them become accustomed to the campus environment and the American educational system.
With the director’s support, an international student can become involved in all aspects of school life as he or she gains independence in learning and living. Each student at Williston also has a faculty member who serves as an advisor on academic, personal, and general adjustment matters. International students are assigned advisers who either have had personal study or travel experience abroad or who are especially interested in working with international students. These advisers meet periodically to learn more about their advisees’ countries and cultures and to review the academic progress and social needs of the English Language Learners (ELLs) and international students.
Parent communication with teachers, advisers, and other school representatives is always welcome by email, telephone, or fax. And, when parents have plans to travel in the U.S., with advance notice, we are happy to arrange conferences with teachers and advisors.
What is the academic program like for international students?
Because Williston’s academic program is college preparatory, we assume that international students will be prepared to enter an U.S. college or university upon their graduation from Williston. We also know that many of our students, when they begin their Williston careers, are not ready for that step and may still consider themselves to be English Language Learners (ELLs).
In that spirit, we do make a few curricular accommodations to meet the needs of our ELLs when they start at Williston, and we consider adjustments to diploma requirements for students whose first language is not English. For example, an ELL student is not expected to meet our foreign language requirement, because he or she has proficiency in a first language other than English. The English Language Learners course may meet graduation requirements in English under certain circumstances; however, our goal is for all ELL students to be able to succeed in a standard, age-appropriate English course before they graduate because that is a clear advantage for admission to a U.S. college or university. While most students at Williston take five courses, we adjust the course loads for ELL students, especially during their first year in the school.
Each ELL student’s course program and academic support needs are planned individually. When a student first enrolls, those plans are made by the Academic Dean, but, as other teachers and tutors work with the student, their opinions and ideas are included as well. Continuing services include: appointments with specific teachers for extra help sessions, arrangements for tutoring by another student, arrangements for tutoring with a private tutor (fee required), advice and assistance in summer school placements, and additional preparation classes for the TOEFL exam.
What is the role of College Counseling for international students?
The purpose of the College Counseling program is to help each student select a group of colleges or universities that match the student’s interests, academic needs, potential career goals, and admissibility. The range of choices can be especially confusing to the international student and his or her family; Williston’s College Counseling staff emphasizes personal attention and individual assistance.
Beyond academics, what is life like on campus for international students?
To encourage both the swift acquisition of spoken English and as much friendly exchange as possible among students of different languages and backgrounds, international students are often placed with U.S. roommates and are assigned to each of the seven dormitories and houses on the campus. International students establish friendships with U.S. students and many are invited home to visit friends for a weekend or a school holiday. During our informal meal times and open schedule hours, there are opportunities for cross-cultural involvement, as well as time for relaxing moments, such as watching movies, attending sporting events, and going off-campus for weekend activities. Although the hours of study can be long, especially for ELL students in the first year, international students find that the variety of sports and student activities offers them opportunities for both recreation and new successes.
What is the town of Easthampton like?
Williston’s location is ideal for international students. The town is small and safe, which allows students to walk to local banks and stores to shop for personal items. During nighttime hours, one or two security officers patrol the campus as a precaution. There is public transportation to the larger college towns of Northampton and Amherst for restaurants and more shopping. Because of the variety of concerts, movies, and athletic events which are within 15 miles, students are able to attend many events that are school-sponsored and chaperoned. There are also a number of nearby boarding schools that sponsor dances and social events to which students are invited.
What happens during holidays?
The school is closed during the November, December, and March recesses (see our Travel Dates), and all students must leave campus at those times. Many international students connect with domestic boarders and stay with their families, but many also take advantage of some of the terrific travel opportunities that Williston makes available for our students, especially during the Thanksgiving break in November.
For personalized service to and from area airports, many students use Archer Airport Limousine (firstname.lastname@example.org). During shorter weekend breaks, the school keeps dormitories open, so that students who wish to may stay on campus.