High School Honors: Information for International Students

The 2023 session of High School Honors was a great success. Please check back on December 15 for details about next summer’s program and to submit an application. Sign up for an email reminder. 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to study at a world-renowned university in the United States with students from around the globe? Do you want to engage in new academic challenges, and experience American culture in one of the most historic, exciting cities in the nation? Then you should explore Boston University’s Summer Term High School Programs.

English proficiency

English is the language of instruction at Boston University, and a high degree of competency is assumed. If English is not the primary language of instruction at your high school, you must supply scores from the TOEFL or IELTS to demonstrate English proficiency. Our program requires students to have minimum English proficiency levels equivalent to:

  • 90–100 on the internet-based TOEFL (iBT) with a minimum of 20 in each section
  • 7 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

If you are not able to obtain a TOEFL or IELTS score, you may submit a Duolingo score. High School Honors students are expected to score above a 120 on the Duolingo test.

If you do not meet these requirements, you may want to consider the three-week EducationUSA Academy program, held at BU’s Center for English Language & Orientation Programs (CELOP). The program is designed for international students interested in applying to an American college or university. Find out more information on CELOP’s website.

Visa information for High School Honors students

The High School Honors program is a full-time academic summer program. International students (i.e., students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States) who are coming to the United States for the purpose of participating in the High School Honors program must have an F-1 student visa.

To receive a student visa, you must apply for an I-20 from BU, which requires international students to take eight credits (two courses). Please follow the instructions below in order to apply for your I-20 and F-1 student visa. We encourage international High School Honors students to apply early to ensure timely processing of the visa documents.

Applying for your I-20: Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status

Applying for the I-20 is the first step to receiving an F-1 student visa. International students must be registered full-time (a minimum of eight credits in one summer session or 12 credits over both sessions) for summer study at BU in order to be issued an I-20.

If you are not currently in the United States or are in the United States on an immigration status other than F-1, please submit the following documents:

  • International Student Data Form
  • A bank statement or letter in English from your financial institution stating that you (or your sponsor) have sufficient funds to cover your summer expenses; please visit the Estimated Expenses page for the total estimated cost of attending High School Honors this summer. For information security purposes, when uploading your bank statement, be sure to black out your account number.
  • Financial Sponsorship Certification (needs to accompany all other financial documents if you will be sponsored by a family member or other individual)
  • Copy of valid passport (including copy of data page and passport expiration date)
  • Copy of your most recent I-94 record of admission
  • Copy of your most recent US visa and US Port of Entry stamp in your passport and any other relevant immigration documents (only required if you are currently in the US).

If you are currently on an F-1 visa from a US high school, please submit the following documents:

  • International Student Data Form
  • Copy of valid passport (including copy of data page and passport expiration date)
  • Copy of the most recent US Port of Entry stamp in your passport and other relevant immigration documents (only required if you are currently in the US)
  • Copy of your F-1 student visa
  • Copy of your most recent I-94 record of admission
  • Copies of ALL of your I-20s

Note: All of the above documents need to be sent with your completed application. International students are not eligible for financial aid.

All international materials and forms must be submitted to our office for us to process an I-20. For admitted international students who will be sponsored by BU, an I-20 will be sent to you electronically to your BU email account with further instructions on the visa application process approximately three weeks after you inform us that you will be attending the High School Honors program. Once you have received the I-20, you will need to pay the SEVIS fee and should immediately schedule a visa interview at the closest US Embassy or Consulate to apply for the F-1 visa.

To ensure you receive your student visa well in advance of the start date of the High School Honors program, you should leave yourself plenty of time when applying to the program.

Applying for the F-1 student visa

Please read instructions from the BU International Students & Scholars Office for details on how to obtain the F-1 student visa once you have received your I-20.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires all full-time or part-time international students who will be attending classes in person to submit proof of immunization against the following communicable diseases: measles, mumps, rubella (MMR); tetanus (must be Tdap vaccine); hepatitis B; (bacterial) meningitis; varicella; and tuberculosis, depending on country of origin. Your doctor must complete the Immunization Requirements Form to show proof of these immunizations. The Immunization Requirements Form will be provided to each accepted student as part of your online Participation Agreement.

In alignment with Boston University COVID-19 guidelines, we strongly recommend that all Summer Term pre-college students remain up to date with all CDC COVID-19 vaccination recommendations. All students must abide by University-wide health and safety policies.

If you are not in compliance with all BU health immunization requirements when you arrive on the BU campus, you have seven days to obtain the necessary vaccination(s) or you will be considered out of status. You may obtain vaccinations (by scheduling an appointment in advance) at:

Student Health Services

881 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-353-3575

Medical insurance

All residential students enrolled in the High School Honors program are required to have medical insurance. Since many US doctors and hospitals do not recognize out-of-country coverage, it is strongly recommended that international students participate in the Boston University Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).

You are not automatically enrolled in SHIP upon registration and must enroll on your own. You may contact Student Accounting Services at 617-353-2870 or email insmed@bu.edu in advance of your arrival for information on how to enroll in SHIP.

It is recommended that students seeking to enroll in SHIP send their request for SHIP coverage at least three weeks prior to their arrival.

Contact us

Please contact us if you have any questions about the process for obtaining the I-20 or student visa.

A Day in the Life

What's it really like to be a High School Honors student?


How to Apply

Applications open on December 15.



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