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Serra's International Student Program

Welcomes Young Men from Around the Globe

Once a Padre, always a Padre. The spirit behind this statement distinguishes Junípero Serra High School from all others. Serra is a community of parents, teachers, staff and alumni who are dedicated to providing the best high school experience possible for young men. We encourage international students to apply to our International Student Program and become a part of the Serra family.

Located just miles from the San Francisco International Airport, in the heart of the Peninsula between San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, Serra High School is much more than an outstanding Catholic college preparatory school for young men. It’s a place where classmates become brothers, teachers become mentors and ordinary moments become extraordinary experiences. Each student is valued and knows that he belongs.

Serra offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, which includes a rich diversity of classes and an extensive array of AP and Honors courses. Serra’s curriculum ensures that all of our graduates meet University of California and California State University requirements. Our AP pass rate is far above the national average, and 100 percent of our graduates go on to colleges, including Stanford, Caltech, Harvard, Yale and Princeton.

Our international students meet classmates, teachers and staff who will help them to explore their talents and achieve success in a variety of places—academics, the arts, athletics, clubs and Christian service—all in the context of our core values of faith, wisdom, service, community and leadership. Most important, Serra teachers model values that inspire our young Padres to become confident men who will make a difference in the 21st century.

Serra international students are provided with essential tools to facilitate a smooth transition into American education and culture. In addition to a comprehensive ESL program, students are also supported in their social and emotional development. Serra offers exciting activities in an all-boys environment, plus coed events with our sister schools, Notre Dame, Belmont and Mercy, Burlingame. There are numerous opportunities to socialize in a structured setting during the school day and after school. 


If you would like to visit our school campus,
please click on the link below to complete our inquiry form.

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Students/Parents click here  

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Admissions Criteria

Serra welcomes young men from around the globe to apply for 9th or 10th grade with the intention of graduating from Junípero Serra High School. We only accept students for the fall semester. A well-qualified international applicant is a young man who has a:

  • strong record of academic achievement
  • high degree of proficiency in reading, writing and speaking English
  • keen interest in immersing himself in the Junípero Serra High School community and the American culture
  • genuine desire to live and engage with an American host family

The International Student Admissions Process

To initiate the admissions process, applicants must submit the following documents to Serra’s International Program team:

        International Student Application 

  • Recommendations from two teachers (Math and English required)
    • Please attach official Letter of Recommendation with school letterhead or seal.
  • Official academic transcripts representing the student’s three most recent years of school; transcripts must have an English translation
  • Official TOEFL Score Report  (Your application cannot be processed until your TOEFL Score Report has been submitted.)
    Applicant's Grade Level    Minimum Score Requirement  
    9th Grade: TOEFL: 75 (iBT)     IELTS: 6.0
    10th Grade: TOEFL: 80 (iBT)   IELTS: 6.5
  • Copy of current passport
  • Non-refundable application fee of $200

Supporting documents in PDF format can be emailed here. You also can send documents by traditional mail to:

Junípero Serra High School
International Program
451 West 20th Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94403-1385
650-345-8207 ext. 137 

Upon receipt and review of the completed application and supporting documents, the program director will contact the applicant directly to set up an interview through SKYPE, by telephone, or in person.

Students who are accepted to Junípero Serra High School will be required to secure their places with a non-refundable deposit of $1,500 and provide a copy of their F-1 Student Visa before admission can be finalized. (Serra will help the student secure the I-20 through the San Francisco Archdiocese.)

Tuition and Costs

Annual tuition for Junípero Serra High School’s International Student Program is $51,000 for the 2015-2016 school year. The cost includes:

  • The Home Stay Program placement with a Serra family for the 10-month school year
  • Medical insurance while enrolled in Serra’s international program
  • A full schedule of college preparatory classes, including honors and AP courses
  • Group and individual instruction in ESL
  • A variety of social and cultural events to help students assimilate into American culture
  • Annual yearbook, lock for locker, graduation fees
  • A designated counselor who will provide academic support, mentoring and advocacy for students
  • The International Student Program team, who will provide ongoing support on campus and for Home Stay families

Students will be introduced to life as a Padre with a two-week summer orientation on campus. The orientation will include:

  • intensive English imersion program
  • campus tours
  • the acquisition of textbooks
  • a review of the school’s rules, policies, and traditions
  • a cultural exchange event with Serra students, staff members and host families
  • local area excursions to San Francisco, Silicon Valley and other points of interest
  • an opportunity to meet with “big brothers” who will welcome the students to Serra and help them to acclimate to their new school


HomeStay Program

We believe that a quality international program is one that places our international students in the homes of Serra families, where the young men will have the support and warmth only a family environment can provide. Both the international student and the Serra family will embark on an unparalleled, enriching experience – one that will create relationships that will last a lifetime. Host families will encourage the continued use of English skills, provide academic and social guidance, and generally support the student as he is immersed into the American culture. International students will be provided with all meals and a bedroom in the family home. The host family will receive an annual stipend, which is covered in the cost of tuition.

Once a student has been accepted into Serra’s program, the International Program team will work to place him with a host family and provide ongoing support for the student and his family over the course of the school year. Homestay families are selected from within the Serra community and undergo a rigorous selection process before they are approved. The International Program team will visit the student in this new home regularly throughout the year and provide updates to his family.

For More Information

You can learn more about all aspects of Junípero Serra High School by perusing our website. For additional information about our International Student Program, please submit our inquiry form.

Agents click here

Students/Parents click here

 Additonal questions or comments?  Click here to send us an email.

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