Parent Guide - EF Academy Pasadena


Dear Parents,

Congratulations on your child’s admittance to EF Academy Pasadena. It is with great pleasure that we welcome you into the EF Academy parent community!

Sending your child to an international boarding school is a big decision for any family to make. You obviously realize what opportunities await your child after an education at EF Academy and we commend you for opening this door for your child. Naturally, it may also be difficult to let your child go on and explore the world on their own.

We assure you that your child is in good hands. You can trust that both you and your child will be supported by EF Academy throughout their time with us. This page outlines the most important information you need to know before your child arrives on campus and throughout their international high school education. You can rest assured that we will do our best to support your child in their personal and academic progression.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thank you

Dr. Sally Mingarelli, Head of School EF Academy Pasadena

EF Academy community

EF Academy opens a world of opportunities for high school students by providing them with a superior education abroad, thorough preparation for university and a future that knows no borders.

Expectations of students

We expect our students to be academically focused, attend all classes, and be ambitious, engaged, independent, compassionate, enthusiastic, responsible and proud. We also expect them to respect their fellow classmates and show appreciation for the differences in values and cultures that they will experience.

Expectations of parents

We expect parents to be supportive, provide encouragement and be an active and participatory presence. At the same time, you should give your child room to grow and become an independent, mature individual. Be respectful, patient and calm when you work with our staff to solve any issue that might come up and ensure that you read the Code of Conduct with your child before they leave for EF Academy to make sure that your child knows what you and EF Academy expect - this can be found in the Parental Consent/Code of Conduct (if you enrolled pre-Jan 2022) or in the EF Academy Agreement (if you enrolled post-Jan 2022).

What you can expect from us

We expect parents to be supportive, provide encouragement and be an active and participatory presence. At the same time, you should give your child room to grow and become an independent, mature individual. Be respectful, patient and calm when you work with our staff to solve any issue that might come up and ensure that you read the Code of Conduct with your child before they leave for EF Academy to make sure that your child knows what you and EF Academy expect - this can be found in the Parental Consent/Code of Conduct (if you enrolled pre-Jan 2022) or in the EF Academy Agreement (if you enrolled post-Jan 2022).


Prepare your child for the new adventure on which they are about to embark. Talk together about how you plan to handle being away from each other and review all the material you have received from EF Academy in order to make sure you are equally informed about your child’s time in school with us.

Code of Conduct

As every family has rules, EF Academy has its own rules and guidelines that we expect our students and parents to follow. Please ensure you have read through the Code of Conduct, which you will find in the Parental Consent/Code of Conduct (if you enrolled pre-Jan 2022) or in the EF Academy Agreement (if you enrolled post-Jan 2022). The Code of Conduct clearly explains the rules and expectations of our school community both on and off campus, which you will have read, agreed to and signed as part of the admissions process. Read the Code of Conduct together to make sure both you and your child are fully aware of what is expected from our school. Be sure to read through the Student Handbook so you and your child are both familiar with how we manage situations when rules are not followed.

Final transcripts

Final transcripts should be submitted before students depart. All students are conditionally accepted based on final transcripts. It is also mandatory to have the original transcripts officially translated. These transcripts will be needed for all students when applying to universities. Please send the final original and translated transcripts to your child’s University & Academic Advisor, or to the person who conducted their Pathway Meeting, by 1 July (for students departing in January, please submit these as soon as possible before arriving to campus and starting classes).

Health certificate

The Health Certificate must be completely filled out, signed and stamped by a doctor or physician. For new students first departing to campus in January 2023, we need to ensure Health Certificates are approved by school nursing team prior to campus arrival. If your child has a pre-existing health condition this must be communicated in English prior to arrival. The report should give details of their illness or condition, any medicines they are taking and any future treatment they need. Please note that any misstated or omitted information regarding your son’s/daughter’s medical/psychological history may affect his or her acceptance to or continued participation in the program.


Please ensure you meet all the payment deadlines as this guarantees your child’s place in the school along with their preferred accommodation choice. These deadlines represent the date when we expect the payments to be in our accounts, so please make the deposits at an appropriate time in advance. The balance of the full course fee should be paid no later than 60 days before departure. You will find payment instructions on the invoice.

Important: Please clearly mark your payment with the student number shown on the invoice and your child’s name. It is vital that we can identify your payment in order to register the transfer and to avoid delays or unnecessary payment reminders. Please also add your bank’s transfer fees, as these are not included in the price.

Connect on social media

Encourage your child to join our pre-departure Instagram group for new students. Students can take the opportunity to chat with future classmates and begin the process of bonding before departure. Contact your local admissions office to receive the links to these groups.


As you are preparing for your child to attend EF Pasadena, please ensure all documents we have required have been submitted to EF.  Please note proof of funds or full payment of the tuition is required in order to process the I-20.   In the next few weeks, we will provide an update to you on the steps for processing of I-20s for the Pasadena campus with plenty of time to obtain the visas for your child.  We are looking forward to having your child join other students from around the world be the first inaugural class at EF Pasadena. You will have help and guidance from the EF Academy team, but it’s important for you to learn about the requirements yourself as well.


This time is often emotional for both students and parents. If your child is traveling alone, please make sure they have all the necessary documents, transportation tickets, visa (if necessary), and the school’s telephone number in case of delays or any other issues that might arise.

Travel information

You must plan for your child to arrive in school on the specified arrival date. For new students joining us at the beginning of the academic year, they should arrive on the date specified on the Academic Calendar. Students should arrive on August 29 or 30, between 6am and 8pm. Please send us all of your child’s travel information (flight numbers, departure and arrival times, arrival terminal) by July 30, no later than one month prior to departure. Please note that transfers are only organized from the airport to the school on the designated arrival date.

If you are traveling with your child, please still send us your travel information and let us know what time we can expect you on campus. Please note we will adhere to government guidance about travel and Covid-safety protocols and will update you nearer the time, should anything change.


Emergency Phone: +1 (626) 507-9224

Pocket money

You should plan to provide your child with sufficient pocket money for each month. Most students spend around $350 (USD) per month on basic needs such as laundry, toiletries, cell phone, transport and leisure activities, and snacks. Parents should ensure that students have access to this minimum amount every month.

Students should not keep large amounts of money on them or in their rooms, and although bringing some cash for the first few weeks is encouraged, students should have access to credit/ATM cards from home that will function in the United States. Setting up a US bank account for your student is not required or encouraged.

Staying connected

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Rules and disciplinary action

Your child has already signed EF Academy’s Code of Conduct to ensure both you and your child are fully informed of the rules and regulations. The Code of Conduct is in place in order to help students live together in a harmonious learning environment within a larger international community. On top of Code of Conduct, you will also need to sign the Student Handbook.

Students are expected to respect all members of the community, respect the local and national laws and respect the school’s property.

The established rules and regulations govern attendance, illness, curfew, visitors, employment, drugs and alcohol, discrimination, bullying, pornography, gambling and local laws.

Please read your child’s Student Handbook to familiarize yourself with the school’s rules and the country’s and city’s laws. Student Handbooks will be sent to you nearer to August and will be available here.

You will be informed if your child breaks any rules or laws and you will receive copies of the warnings. These warnings should be taken seriously. If a student does not make the necessary improvements or breaks another major program rule, he or she will be dismissed from the program and will be sent home.

A student will be immediately expelled if they break a major program or school rule or a national law. No prior warnings are necessary in these cases. It’s important to keep in mind that an expulsion means the student will lose their visa to study in the country and will not likely be able to receive a new visa with EF Academy or any other school in that country. In the event of expulsion, no refund will be given.

Students are responsible for any damage caused by them to school property. You will be notified by the school should this happen. EF Academy will reimburse the security deposit less any potential deductions within 90 days after a student has finished their program or, for any other reason, has left EF Academy.


Working together

Your main point of contact is currently the EF Academy Admissions Office through which you have applied. However, once enrolled, each student will be assigned a House Parent, University and Academic Advisor and Advisor who will be the people responsible for communication between you and the school. The House Parent will establish a relationship with your child from the very beginning and will be the person that will follow up on all aspects of your child’s life outside of academics. For academics and pathway support, your University & Academic Advisor will be your main point of contact.

Our aim is to make sure that your child is well taken care of, feels safe and secure. We will always be available to guide and advise your child and they focus on building trust and mutual respect in order to facilitate your child’s success and well-being while in our care. When you want to get in touch with the school about your child, here is the best person for you to email or call:

House Parent - about any area of the student's life related to residential life, physical health, social and emotional wellbeing.

University & Academic Advisor - about any area of academics and university or pathway guidance.

You will receive the contact details of your child’s House Parent and University & Academic Advisor in August. If you do not speak English, we will locate a staff member who can assist you. If your language is not represented at our school, your local admissions representative will be able to assist with translation or will communicate with the school on your behalf.

Healthcare and insurance

Erika Travel Insurance Coverage

All EF Academy students, except US and Canadian residents, are insured with Erika Insurance Ltd. (or with an alternative insurance company as defined in the applicable insurance policy). Our school staff are familiar with this insurance and can assist you in the event of an emergency.

The travel insurance group policy is tailor-made for EF Academy and covers health, theft, travel and liability-related claims. It meets all requirements and there is additional limited coverage for non-accidental dental treatments, and for pre-existing conditions that deteriorate unexpectedly during your child’s time away from home. Erika insurance also includes a rider that covers up to $1,500 in behavioral health/mental health counselling or treatment. In the US, the cost for an appointment with a psychiatrist can be as high as $400, and a session with a social worker $200.

Erika has 24-hour emergency assistance service. All contact details can be found on the insurance guide and in the general conditions pdf. In the US, you can visit an Aetna network doctor (over 1 million doctors and hospitals are part of the network) and you do not have to pay the bill upfront, only the USD 20 copay per visit. The doctor will send the invoice straight to Erika’s US claims agent. Otherwise, there is a larger copay for doctor’s visits outside of the network. Students are covered by this insurance from the time they depart until their return home. The coverage is valid worldwide, excluding the home country. US residents are required to provide evidence of personal insurance by sending a copy of the insurance coverage to the admissions office. EF Academy requires a policy covering the equivalent of USD 500,000 third party liability insurance.

For more information about Erika Insurance, visit:

Your child will receive a log in to our student portals for PowerSchool (for academics) and Orah (for residential life) during their first days in school. They will use this portal to sign up to clubs and events, get information about school wide updates, access their schedule, grades and attendance. As a parent, you can view this information via the PowerSchool Parent Portal, for which you will receive a login during the first weeks of term. We highly recommend that you check the Parent Portal regularly to keep track of your child’s progress.

Supplementary costs

Details of what is covered in the program fee can be found in the terms and conditions. Please take note of the following list of costs that are not included in the program fee:

Non-mandatory school trips outside of the scheduled agenda*

Extra tutoring for English or subject-specific courses**

Costs of retaking exams or subject credits

* Extra costs incurred from co-curricular activities will require parental consent and will therefore not arise unexpectedly.

** Costs for tutoring will not be applied before you are notified.


If a student wants to change classes after school starts, they should meet with their Teacher and University & Academic Advisor to discuss the best course of action. Students may add and/or drop courses within the first two weeks of the Academic Year.

Being away from home for the first time, getting to know a new country and environment, meeting new people and settling in is challenging for many students. It takes time to adjust, and our staff members – particularly Residential Life Team – are available to assist all students with concerns that might come up. We always try our best to make the start of the school year as smooth and successful as possible. From our experience, most issues get resolved in the first couple of months and we will be available to help with any issues, making sure we have tried everything to solve the issue before we make any permanent changes.

Yes, we have dedicated EAL support in school to assist students included in the cost of tuition. Where significant extra intervention is needed we can provide extra lessons for your child after school or during the weekends at an extra cost.

The House Parent or University & Academic Advisor is the person you should reach out to in the first instance. They will be able to support with any questions you may have about your child. There is a large network of support for your child in school and this also includes Advisors, teachers, Health Center Team and Associate Dean of Students.

In case of illness or injury, the on-site school nurse will take care of your child and make sure they get appropriate medication or medical attention. It is very important that the Health Certificate (US) is filled out in detail, with all relevant information included, in order for us to give your child the help they need. Additionally, it is vital that the Parental Consent Form is filled out completely with signatures in all applicable spaces so that we have the authority to administer medication if necessary. You will have signed this as part of the EF Academy Agreement. We understand that it might be difficult to learn that your child is ill or injured while being so far away from home, but please be assured that we will do our best to care for your child in your absence.

If you would like to visit your child during the academic year, we suggest that the weekend is the best time to do this. Please contact your child’s House Parent in advance so that we can make the necessary arrangements.

All of our academic programs are demanding and require students to attend classes and to follow the scheduled school hours throughout the school year. In addition to the need for students to stay on top of their academic requirements, there are strict limits to excused absences. As an EF Academy student, your child is required to stay in school while classes are in session. The academic year has long vacations between each term and this would be the best time to gather the family for a vacation. We encourage taking a break where the academic year allows, but please ensure that your child arrives back on campus in time for the first day of classes. Unexcused absences, which apply to school days missed because of extended vacations between terms, can jeopardize visa status; additionally, there is a strong statistical correlation between attendance and academic attainment. Please see the academic calendar at the end of this handbook for official term dates.

No. School is closed during the winter break and all students need to leave campus.

No. School is closed during the spring break and all students need to leave campus. Any possible faculty-led trip during spring break will be organized and shared later in the school year as an option for some students.

You will receive a link to the PowerSchool Parent Portal at the beginning of the school term. You can use this link to access information about your child’s schedule, attendance (average and breakdown per subject), grades and assessments, as well as what clubs and activities they are part of. You can also keep track of progress meetings your child has in school with various members of staff, such as their University & Academic Advisor. We highly recommend that you check the Parent Portal regularly to keep track of your child’s progress.

We are here to support your child on their academic journey with multiple resources and tools they can take advantage of to be more successful. This includes after-school supervised study, additional support from teachers outside of lesson time. It is important that your child ask for help when things are not going so well, and that you encourage your child to say something to an adult in school. Your child is expected to meet with their teachers and University & Academic Advisor when requested to do so and at any time they should speak up and say if they are struggling so that extra support can be arranged. Asking for help is an essential first step. Your child’s progress is monitored and assessed at regular intervals throughout the academic year. This is reported to you through the Parent Portal. You should access the Parent Portal on a regular basis for feedback on your child’s progress.

To parents of students studying in the US:

All our students studying in the US work toward the California State High School Diploma, in addition to their chosen core academic program. In order to receive the High School Diploma at the end of Grade 12, students will have to earn a certain number of credits over their high school career.***

If your child fails a subject while studying with us and is required to pass this subject in order to graduate, we will assist with trying to find the best solution for them. Our advice may include retaking the failed subject(s), or in cases where too many subjects have been failed, retaking the year.

We will always do our best to support our students achieve their goals and improve their grades if necessary. Please know that our counselors and advisors are here to help you and are willing to give guidance and assistance when needed.

*** Please be aware that we cannot guarantee that your child will pass all the courses/exams required to graduate.

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