St. Vincent de Paul High School has been fortunate to welcome and share culture with students from countries around the globe. The international student program began over six years ago, but St. Vincent de Paul has been educating youth in Sonoma County, CA for over one-hundred years.
SVHS is a small school with fewer than 240 students, which provides a safe and nurturing atmosphere that allows international students to flourish. We cultivate a strong relationship between our students, faculty, and staff—giving our students the tools they need to succeed in a new school in a new country.
We also develop their academic and spiritual growth. Moreover, we strive to foster a social environment in which students can thrive. In a recent WASC accreditation report, SVHS was described as the “Friendliest School in America.” The SVHS International Student Program also offers support services for our foreign students through our International Student Coordinator.
The school is located in the safe, quiet, comfortable, suburban community of Petaluma, California. The location offers our students the opportunity to experience life in beautiful Sonoma County, and they are only 40 miles (64km) from San Francisco, California.
College Preparatory Environment
St. Vincent de Paul High School is a rigorous four-year college preparatory school. We provide a mixture of advanced placement and honors courses to ensure that every student is challenged in their areas of strength. The curriculum emphasizes excellence in the sciences, mathematics, language arts, social sciences, world languages, theology, computer technology, and the arts.
SVHS graduates are expected to demonstrate mastery of many skills and disciplines.
English as a Second Language Classes
Students are provided with a transitional language program. On average, students spend two to three years in the ESL program, progressing through beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels practicing writing and speaking in English.
The ESL program has courses in English language development and academic preparation as well as mainstream English courses, which have been modified to meet the needs of the ESL students. Outside tutoring is sometimes needed and can also be arranged for students needing additional assistance.
Our host families are responsible for providing safe and welcoming homes for our international students. All host families receive a monthly stipend to help them provide a nurturing home environment for the student. Prospective host families undergo a rigorous application process and preparation meetings to help them welcome their new family member.
SVHS partners with The Cambridge Network to provide great home environments for all our students.
Are you interested in being a Host Family?
How to Apply
All applicants must do the following:
- Provide two copies of the applicant’s transcripts for the past three years (one copy must be in the original language and one copy must be translated into English by an official translator or school official). These records should include courses taken and credits earned.
- Submit a letter of recommendation from a school administrator at the applicant’s current school. This letter should include the student’s discipline and attendance records.
- Provide a copy of the applicant’s immunization records.
- Provide a copy of a valid passport.
- Complete I20 Questionnaire. Please note: St Vincent de Paul High School is approved to admit international students and issue I -20 forms to facilitate the visa process.
- Participate in a Skype interview.
- Write a brief written essay (instructions to be issued during the interview process).
- Register with our partner, The Cambridge Network >
- Provide test scores to demonstrate English Proficiency. SVHS accepts the following tests and scores:
TOEFL Jr. / TOEFL
9th grade – TOEFL Jr. score of 725+ or TOEFL score of 50+
10th grade – TOEFL Jr. score of 750+ or TOEFL score of 60+
11th grade – TOEFL score of 75+
9th grade – 3.5+
10th grade – 4.0+
11th grade – 4.5+
SLEP test scores will be considered in conjunction with other admitting materials. Students may be asked to provide additional verification of English proficiency.
Please email or mail any application materials to:
Pascal Ledermann Castro
International Student Coordinator
St. Vincent de Paul High School
849 Keokuk Street
Petaluma, California 94952
Why International Students like SVHS
In the past 10 years, more than 99% of our graduates have been admitted to college
21 Advanced Placement and Honors Courses are offered
Over 20 Clubs and Organizations
Art/Music courses, Athletics, and Technology courses are offered
College counseling services to help with the university admissions process
Our students have gone on to many prestigious American universities, such as Brown, California Polytechnic University, Carnegie Mellon, Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Notre Dame, NYU, Reed College, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC and Yale.