Student experience and engagement are our top priority as we strive for the happiness and success of all our students. Our diversity offers students the opportunity to pursue and apply their interests, build skills in and out of the classroom and prepare for their future career.
Echelon Academy is dedicated to the success and well-being of our students. We offer a variety of programs for international students providing them with the essential support they need to be successful in an American academy.
After an initial inquiry, the application process consists of:
- Completing and submitting the application form
- Collecting and submitting other required materials
- Completing an English language assessment
- Completing the required tests (please see below)
- Completing an interview with Admission Officers
Once all of the above have been completed, the applicant will be evaluated by the Admission Committee and an admission decision will be made.
In order for the Admission Committee to consider an applicant, all of the following must be completed.
- Application Form
- Application Fee ($100) Note: This fee can be paid via credit card or by check or wire transfer. Checks may be payable to Echelon Academy.
- School Transcripts
- Teacher Recommendation Letters. NOTE: Letters should be completed by the student's teacher and fully translated
- English Assessment
- SSAT-All High School Students
- Interviews for international students can be arranged via Skype
All documents are accepted as an e-mail attachment, by fax, or via US Postal Service at:
900 Olney Sandy Spring RoadSandy Spring, MD 20860
After a student is accepted to Echelon Academy, a signed enrollment contract must be reviewed and submitted along with a non-refundable deposit of $2,400. An I-20 form cannot be issued until a contract and deposit are received.
I-20 and Visa Information
Students who are accepted will be sent an I-20 form and an official acceptance packet. This I-20 form is the immigration document that you will need to apply for a student visa at your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Echelon Academy is not responsible for individual student visas. We will issue:
- Intended Address in the United States
- Date of Birth as it appears on passport
- Financial statement
Tuition and Fees
- Elementary School (Kindergarten-5th Grade): $20,500
- Middle School (Grades 6, 7, 8): $27,000
- Upper School (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12): $30,000
- International Student Fee: $2,400
- This fee includes items such as:
- International Student Orientation
- English Classes and Support
- Cultural Excursions
- Extended Study Sessions
- Books and School Supplies
- Overnight Retreat
- After School Homework and Learning Support
- Academy Uniform Shirt
- Books and Supplies
- Housing Fee: $22,000.
- Echelon Academy partners with local homestay agencies and local families to ensure every international student feels at home while enrolled at Echelon.
Schedule a Student Visit
After the application is submitted, applicants will be contacted by an admissions team member to schedule required student/parent visits. We value the student visit in lieu of third party testing. During the admission process, testing may be recommended on an individual basis. Visits vary in length depending on age of student.
Echelon Academy will notify you when your application file has been completed. Admission decision letters will be emailed. Following first round admission decisions, applications will be considered as space is available.
Once you have been accepted by Echelon, you will need to apply for your visa and make the other necessary arrangements to prepare for your arrival. Whether you are currently a student outside the U.S., or a student in the U.S., Echelon's staff is here to help you with each step along the way.
Please follow the instructions on this page.
1. Check your I-20
The welcome packet we sent you includes an important document called an I-20. You will use this document is used to obtain your student visa. It is very important that you check the document to make sure there are no errors. If there is any error, please contact us immediately.
Please check the following:
- The spelling of your name
- SURNAME/PRIMARY NAME & GIVEN NAME - Your name on the I-20 document must match the way your name is written on your passport, but without special characters, such as a hypen (-) or a letter with an accent mark (é). For example, if your name appears in your passport as Chia-hao, your name will appear on your I-20 as Chia Hao; if your name is José, it will be Jose.
- PREFERRED NAME - (optional) If your name as it appears in your passport contains special characters, it may appear here with those special characters.
- The country of birth and country of citizenship
- The program start date
2. Complete the Transfer Status Verification Form
- If you are currently in the U.S. and are attending another school in F-1 (student) status, you will be "transferring" to Echelon Academy from your current school, and you will need to complete the Transfer Status Verification Form.
Ask the international student advisor at your current school to fill out Echelon Academy's Transfer Eligibility Form. Please make sure that you have filled out the first section and signed the form. The International Student Advisor at your current school will be filling out the second section and faxing the form to Echelon Academy. Fax: 301-570-4119.
Discuss your "Release Date" with the international student advisor at your current school which they will be entering in the SEVIS database. This is the date that your SEVIS immigration record will be released from your current school to Echelon Academy. After the release date, the International Education Office at Echelon Academy will be able to produce an I-20 for you.
Be sure to check with your current school's international student advisor if you need to do anything to give them final permission to release your SEVIS record to Echelon Academy. Some schools require students to fill out a form before they release the student's record. (Note: Make sure that you have been admitted to Echelon Academy before your SEVIS record is actually released to our school).
Once your record has been released from your current school to Echelon Academy, we will be able to issue you an I-20 from Echelon Academy. Please provide us with clear instructions regarding when you need the I-20. If you will be traveling outside the U.S., before you begin your program at Echelon Academy, please let us know when you will need the I-20 and where it should be mailed to you.
The purpose stated on your I-20 will be "Transfer Pending". Once you begin your program at Echelon Academy, you will be given an I-20 for "Continued Attendance".
- *NOTE: A trip to Canada during the break is the same as leaving the U.S.
3. Check the expiration date on your passport
The final date on your passport should be at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States.
4. Pay the SEVIS fee
This is a fee required by the U.S. government and must be paid by student visa applicants before the visa interview. For information and to pay the fee electronically, please go to the official SEVIS fee website at www.fmjfee.com. When you pay the fee electronically, remember to print out the receipt. You will need to take the receipt to your visa interview.
5. Get your F-1 student visa
To Apply for a Student Visa, you must
- Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
- You must: 1) complete the online visa application and 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview
- Photo - You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements
- Pay the non-refundable visa application fee
- Schedule an interview
- You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live; you may schedule your interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence
- Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early; review the interview wait time for the location where you will apply
- Prepare for your interview: Prepare and bring the required documents before your visa interview. You may need additional documentation that is specific to your application that may not be described in this section. It is the student's responsibility to confirm all required documents.
- Passport valid for travel to the United States - Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements).
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Application fee payment receipt
- Photo - Upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160; if the photo upload fails, you must bring (1) printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements
- Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students, Form I-20
- Additional documentation may be required: Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply. Additional documents may be requested to establish that you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of:
- Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study
- Financial document to show how you will pay all educational, living and travel costs
- Your academic records, such as:
- Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended
- Standardized test scores if you have any (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS); Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study
- New Students - F1 student visas can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date. However, you will not be allowed to enter the United States in F-1 status earlier than 30 days before your start date.
- Continuing Students - May renew their visas at any time, as long as you have maintained student status and your SEVIS records are current. Continuing students may enter the United States at any time before their classes start.
We recommend that you go to your local U.S. consulate or embassy's website for specific requirements and procedures for visa applications at that consulate. You can find a list of US consulates and embassies worldwide at: www.usembassy.gov.
6. Send in your homestay application
All Echelon Academy international students are required to participate in our homestay program or boarding program.
7. Prepare to travel
- Call your airline. Once you have your student visa, you are allowed to enter the United States 30 days prior to the start date on your I-20.
- Worried about jet lag? Jet lag is the effect you feel after flying for a long time and going through many time zones. Drink plenty of water and try to sleep on the airplane. Once you arrive, try to stay awake until your new bedtime in the United States. Hopefully this will help you adjust more easily.
- You can find some very useful information about how you can prepare yourself for entering the U.S. on the official https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students website.
8. Attend orientation
Attendance of the International Student Orientation Program (ISOP) is mandatory. You will learn about planning your academic path and learn everything you need to know about Echelon Academy to succeed in your classes. All new students are required to attend ISOP. (ISOP) is very important for your success. Therefore, every international student is required to attend. We recommend arriving at least two days before ISOP begins. This will give you time to recover from a long trip and start your school year feeling great!
During ISOP, you will have:
- Academic advising for classes
- Meetings with Education staff
- Seminars about life and study in the USA
- A tour of Washington, DC and Baltimore, Maryland
ISOP will be informative and fun. You will make new friends while discovering all that Echelon Academy has to offer. So apply, get admitted and get ready! We're looking forward to seeing you soon!
9. Begin classes!
Your acceptance letter will have the date of the first day of classes.
Please click the links below for admission procedures, application and enrollment forms.
For any questions please contact us at (301)-570-0999 or email email@example.com