International Applicants

International Applicants

The Northwest School (NWS) is a middle and high school with a student population of about 450 students. Located in downtown Seattle, The Northwest School offers a unique college preparatory experience, thriving arts and athletic programs, and a friendly and supportive environment.

Graduates of The Northwest School attend some of the top universities in the nation and overseas. The school has a national reputation as a vibrant intellectual community and has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

The Northwest School is the only school in Seattle with a coeducational international boarding program. Its great location allows international students to not only gain an excellent education, but to also experience many aspects of American culture and life.

Image Map

Application Process

Apply online using Ravenna

Admission to The Northwest School is competitive and not dependent on any single factor. A committee composed of faculty members considers all parts of a students application including:

  • The preliminary application
  • Academic records
  • Teacher evaluations (optional)
  • English proficiency scores (DET, TOEFL, IELTS, iTEP-SLATE, or EIKEN)
  • Student interview
  • Student’s talent, character and leadership qualities

Applications for the 2023-24 school year open in mid-September. Applicants can apply through Ravenna or through the Standard Application Online (SAO). Once you start an application you will have access to a checklist of steps to apply. To be considered for the 2023-24 school year please apply by one of these deadlines, preference is given to applicants who apply to our Round 1 deadline: 

  • Round 1 Application Deadline: January 5, 2023 
  • Round 2 Application Deadline: February 9, 2023 
  • Rolling Admissions Process Begins: February 9, 2023 

Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered as space is available. Below is an overview of the application steps:

Preliminary Application 

Once submitted you will have access to the remaining components of the application after two business days. Please note that there is a $100 application fee due at the time of submission.

Supplemental Materials 

Supplemental application materials include the Parent/Guardian Statement and Student Questionnaire. These forms become available only after submitting the preliminary application.

Current School Materials 

You will need to request several transcripts from your current and previous schools, including the records for the 2020-21, 2021-22, and current school years. 

Financial Statements and Passport 

Please complete the Financial Verification Form in your application on Ravenna or SAO.

We are required to collect Financial Statements at the time of your application submission. A Certificate of Deposit or bank statement from the tuition payer’s financial institution can be submitted via Ravenna or by mail.

The financial statement must include proof of funds for tuition for one full school year, including boarding fees (if applicable).

Please upload a copy of your passport with your application.  

Student interview 

We require an interview as part of the application, either in person or via an online video-call such as Skype or Zoom. The submission of a writing sample will be included during the interview.

In-person interviews are possible during our recruitment travel outside the United States as well. Please contact the International Admission Office to make an appointment. You can consult our international travel schedule.

English Language Learners

English Language Requirement

Because we serve a global population of students and families, The Northwest School offers English Language Learning (ELL) opportunities. Students who fully meet the English language proficiency requirement attend regular classes without ELL support. 

For students who have attended a school where English is the primary language of instruction for the past three or more years, or those who are native English speakers, we will waive the English Proficiency Test requirement. Please reach out to to let us know. 

Students who do not fully meet the English language proficiency requirements are gradually integrated into more courses without ELL support over the course of their study at The Northwest School.

In the 9th–11th grades, students take two classes (humanities, ELL grammar) with ELL support, and attend all other classes (math, science, PE, and art courses) without English language support. In the 12th grade, all students follow the domestic curriculum without ELL support. In addition, students take Advanced English Composition to further strengthen their English language skills.  

Students in the ELL supported program who are in good academic standing may petition to transition into domestic humanities sections and opt out of ELL grammar before their senior year. 

Students applying to Middle School must be fluent in English as we do not offer an ELL program in Middle School.  

English Proficiency Testing 

For applicants who do not meet our prerequisites we require an English proficiency test. We accept most such tests, including TOEFL (Code: 1715), IELTS, DuoLingo, TOEFL Jr., and others by request. We highly recommend the DuoLingo English Test.  

Accepted English Proficiency Scores

Grade Duolingo
9 (ELL) 80-89 750-800 iBT 50 4.0-4.5 3.5 Grade 3
10 (ELL) 90-99 Not accepted iBT 60 5.0 4.5 Grade 2A
11 (ELL-
100-109 Not accepted iBT 80 6.0 5.5 Grade Pre-1
12 110-115 Not accepted iBT 90 6.5 6.0-7.0 Grade 1
9-12 110-115 Not accepted iBT 90 6.5 6.0-7.0 Grade 1

International Travel, Fairs and Events

Fairs and Travel Every fall, 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 this fall! Please plan to meet us at one of our upcoming fairs, or sign up for an individual meeting: 

  • Hanoi, Vietnam - Available for individual meetings (September 29-30, 2022). Register here
  • Hanoi, Vietnam - TABS fair (September 30, 2022)
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - Available for individual meetings (October 2-3, 2022). Register here
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - TABS fair (October 2, 2022)
  • Da Nang, Vietnam - TABS fair, (October 4, 2022)
  • Da Nang, Vietnam - Available for individual meetings (October 5, 2022). Register here
  • Tokyo, Japan - Available for individual meetings (October 6-8). Register here
  • Tokyo, Japan - TABS fair (October 8, 2022)

Virtual Visit Appointments (Weekly) Families interested in learning more about our school community, but who can’t make it in person, please join a member of the Admissions Team to learn more about the Northwest School!

We offer these weekly, Monday through Friday. These are intended for families considering our boarding program and/or who may be applying as an international student. Register for a virtual visit

Virtual Tour

Take a look at our campus online!

Here you can take a walk around our main school building to visit our classrooms.

You can also check out the modern facilities in our second campus building at 401 E. Pike, which houses our gym, theater, rooftop playfield, dining hall and athletic mezzanine.

Finish your tour with a walk through our dormitory and urban farm and garden!  

Check out the Virtual Tour Here »

Contact Us

Please reach out if you have any questions: