International Application Process

Applying To Northwest As An International Student

The Northwest School welcomes students from around the world. 

In our Upper School, grades 9 through 12, we offer both day and boarding enrollment options. Our on-campus boarding program is small compared to other schools, creating a home-like experience with the benefit of a full court gym and dining hall only a few steps away. The central location on Capitol Hill in Seattle allows students to not only gain an excellent education, but to also experience many aspects of culture while living in one of the most exciting cities in the U.S.

Upper School students, grades 9 through 11, who can benefit English language support will participate in our English Language Learning (ELL) program, which is integrated into the Humanities course and includes English grammar classes while their language skills improve. Students in the ELL program attend all other classes (math, science, arts, and athletics) side by side with local students who are fluent in English and develop lasting friendships along the way.

Applicants can apply through Ravenna or through the Standard Application Online (SAO).  When you are ready, click the Apply button to get started.

Application Process for International Students

Applicants who currently study outside of the United States are considered international students.

1. Submit an Inquiry Form

To get started, submit an inquiry. Our admissions team will add you to our contact list, so you receive timely information to assist your decision and application process. We look forward to hearing from you!

2. Submit the Preliminary Application to Begin the Formal Application Process

You can complete your admissions application through either the Ravenna platform, or the Standard Application Online (SAO). To get started, create either an online account, and complete the Preliminary Application.  

The Preliminary Application has two parts—an Application for Admission Form, and a non-refundable application fee. If the application fee presents a challenge for your family, please reach out to our  admissions team to request a waiver. 

You can create your account and complete the Preliminary Application in less than 30 minutes. Upon completion of the Preliminary Application, you will see a list of required next steps, forms, documents, and deadlines in your online application portal. Once the Preliminary Application is processed by the admissions team, you will get access to complete the next steps of the application (see steps 3, 4, 5 and 6 below). 

3. Schedule Student Visits and Interviews

We require a student interview as part of the application, either in person or via an online video-call such as Skype or Zoom.

In-person interviews are also possible during our recruitment travel outside the United States. Please contact theadmissions teamto make an appointment or view our international travel schedule.

We invite students to attend a student visit day, virtually or in-person — students will experience mock classes, meet community members, and learn more about life at Northwest. This is optional, but recommended.

We also accept interviews submitted to us through the Vericant ( https://vericant.cn) from the applicant residing in or attending school in mainland China. If you already took a Vericant interview, we encourage you to send your video to The Northwest School on that platform.

4. Request School Transcripts (Required) and Teacher Recommendations (Optional)

Please provide school transcripts for the current school year and the previous two school years:

  • 2023-24 * Based on your current school’s evaluation periods, we understand that some records will be shared with us after the application deadline in Winter 2024.
  • 2022-23
  • 2021-22

If your student has attended more than one school during this timeframe you will need to send a separate request to all previous schools. All transcripts not in English must be translated into English by a school official or professional translator.

You may provide recommendations from the student’s current or past Math and English teachers, these are optional. Please provide recommendations translated into English by a school official or professional translator if needed.

5. Submit Standardized Test Scores (English language learners only)

Our programs serve a global population of students and families and offer support for English Language Learners (ELL) in grades 9 - 11 while their language skills improve. For students who are not native speakers of English, The Northwest School requires English proficiency test results as part of the application.

The Northwest School does not require standardized testing results such as SSAT or ISEE. ELL applicants have the option to share their test results with the admissions committee in support of their program placement, in addition to English proficiency exam results. In general, the admissions committee reviews applications with a holistic focus on academic transcripts, teacher recommendations, student interview and essays, extracurricular interests, and community engagement.

Students who are native English speakers or who fully meet the English language proficiency requirement can attend all classes without ELL support.

Recommended English Language Proficiency Test Score by grade

Since the Northwest School offers courses to support English language learners in grades 9 to 11, we do not have strict English proficiency minimum score requirements. For reference, information about recommended test scores by applicant grade levels is below. Please note, a lower score would not disqualify an applicant from consideration in this process.

GRADE DUOLINGO TOEFL  IELTS 
9 (ELL)  85  IBT50  5.0 
10 (ELL)  95  IBT60  5.5 
11 (ELL-Transitional)  110  IBT80  6.0 
12  120  IBT90  6.5 
6-11 (without ELL Support)  120  IBT90  6.5
6. Complete the Additional Application Forms

There are written components of the application for your family to complete by the application deadline. By completing these written exercises, it allows us to learn more about your family and student. The forms include: 

  • Student Essay 
  • Parent/Guardian Statement 
  • Graded English writing sample 
7. Decision Notification

Admissions decisions will be shared with families on the following schedule

  • For applications received on or before January 11, 2024: February 16, 2024
  • For application received on or before March 15, 2024: April 12, 2024
  • For applications received after March 15, 2024: Typically 2-3 weeks after completion of the application, based on space availability.
The process was clearly defined and easy to navigate. We appreciated getting quick and thorough answers to all the questions we asked.
– 2023 Parent Feedback

International Application Deadlines

January 11, 2024

  • Round One Application Deadline

March 15, 2024

  • Round Two Application Deadline
  • Rolling Admissions Process Begins

We Look Forward to Meeting You During International Travel Visits

We travel internationally to participate in recruitment fairs, meet with prospective students and counselors, and to conduct admission interviews. We look forward to connecting with families across the globe each Fall. Please plan to meet us at one of our upcoming fairs, or for an individual meeting. 

Beijing, China 
October 16-18: ICEF Agent Fair
October 19-20: Individual meetings with agents, or families and students
October 21: Beijing International Hotel agent fair (9:00-17:00)


Shanghai, China

October 24-26: Individual meetings with agents, or families and students

Shenzhen, China

October 30-31: Individual meetings with agents, or families and students

Mexico City, Mexico
October 24: The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) fair at the JV Marriot Hotel, Sante Fe (18:00-21:00)
October 23-25: Individual meetings with families and students

Tokyo, Japan

November 15-16: Individual meetings with agents, or families and students November 19: Enrollment Management Association (EMA) agent and student fair

Taipei, Taiwan
November 9: Individual meetings with agents, or families and students

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
November 6-7: Individual meetings with agents, or families and students


Student Non-discrimination Policy

The Northwest school admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.