The International School of Nanshan Shenzhen accepts applications from new students throughout the year. ISNS admits students on the basis of “rolling admissions”, taking completed applications in the order in which they arrive until no space remains in a given class. Please note that applications after April 1 will ordinarily be considered as applicants for the next school year in August, not for the current school year. 

As an international school, ISNS accepts applications from all nationalities outside of mainland China, in accordance with Chinese law, for K3 to Grade 12.

The Admissions process is composed of four steps:  application, student assessment, interview and acceptance. Prior to being considered for admission to ISNS, students must file a complete application package and submit all documentation as required.

The ISNS Admissions procedure is transparent and fully explained to the parents of prospective students.

Acceptance Criteria

Academic Skills

ISNS is a university preparatory school that challenges students to meet the highest standards and expects each student to learn to their maximum potential. Applicants must show their motivation to succeed in the high academic standards of ISNS.  All applicants (as applicable) must provide an academic record from the school that they were previously enrolled in.   Students who have a significant gap in their education history and transcript may not be accepted.

Life Skills

ISNS is a learning community bound together by the principles of respect, responsibility and honesty. As such, ISNS accepts only students whose past record demonstrates a clear commitment to these principles.  Throughout their time at ISNS, students are expected to develop their communication skills, social skills, research skills, self-management skills and thinking skills - in the IB program, these are known as the Approaches to Learning (ATLs).   Students who enroll at ISNS must have the desire to become a better person, in addition to progressing academically.  The ten attributes of the IB Learner Profile define what ISNS students should aim to achieve in their personal growth.  In short, ISNS is seeking students who will be the leaders of tomorrow.  

Exceptional Learners

ISNS believes all students should have the opportunity to learn in an environment which meets their unique exceptionalities.  Unfortunately, ISNS is not equipped to support learners with significant learning or physical difficulties.  ISNS will therefore not accept students whose needs cannot be appropriately met by the current ISNS academic staff.  

Applicants with learning difficulties or physical challenges will be assessed based on their ability to interact with fellow students and teachers, and to learn without the assistance of special needs teachers.  These applicants will be screened on an individual basis. 

At the time of application, parents must provide all materials related to the unique needs of their child. This includes any test results, cognitive examinations or medical reports relating to the child’s needs that could have an impact on their ability to learn. Documents supplied should also include previous teacher and counselor comments regarding the ability and potential of the student.  Additionally, if the child currently receives special or additional academic or behavioral support, information should be provided about the level of support the student requires. Students with exceptional needs will be admitted only after a review of all materials.

ISNS reserves the right to request that appropriate psycho-educational testing be completed before admission or during the academic year for any student. These tests must be done at the expense of the family and could influence that child’s admission to or enrollment in ISNS.   ISNS recognizes the value of cooperation between home and school. With this in mind, if ISNS deems outside assessments are required to better support the student’s academic and social-emotional growth and progress, parents will be well informed in advance. If consent is not provided for any requested external assessments, ISNS might not be able to continue to support the student.

High School (Grade 9-12) and Diploma Programme Applicants

For applicants to Grades 9-12, students must show that they are prepared to undertake a rigorous curriculum and succeed at ISNS.  Applicants must also be at grade level in terms of English ability.  Students entering the Diploma Programme (Grades 11 and 12) will be required to take an Orientation Course in order to understand the programme and be successful at ISNS.  Applicants will have the option of being mainstream or full-DP students.  Applicants to the full Diploma Programme must understand the intensity and fast-pace of the curriculum so they are fully prepared for the challenge of this difficult, yet rewarding, programme.

For applicants to Grade 12, ISNS will only accept students who are transferring from another IB DP school which offers the same courses as ISNS.  Applicants will be considered individually based on their previous academic abilities and skillsets to successfully graduate from ISNS.

English Language Assessment

ISNS uses the English Language Assessment to determine the English level of incoming students. Applicants to Grades 2 – 10 must obtain a minimum score based on the grade to which they are applying.  This assessment is very important to make sure that students can meet curriculum expectations and succeed at ISNS.   ISNS offers an EAL Program in Grades 1-5 for students who require some English language support.

** These standards are subject to other benchmarking based on criterion set by the Board of Education of New Brunswick, Canada

Mathematics Assessment

At ISNS, our students engage in a rigorous Math curriculum. As part of the ISNS Admissions procedures, the School reserves the right to administer a mathematics assessment to students prior to or following acceptance to the School. The grade level math assessments are administered in order to show computation and problem solving proficiency. 

Mandarin Assessment

At ISNS, our students have the opportunity to study Mandarin language. As part of the ISNS Admissions procedures, the school reserves the right to administer a Mandarin language assessment to students prior to or following acceptance to the School in order to place them in the correct level of Mandarin language study.

The Admissions Interview

Interviews are scheduled after the English and Mathematics Assessment, between the family and the Head of the School, Principal and/or the relevant IB Coordinator, depending on the grade level. Interviews usually take place in person.

Each student’s interests and questions are important to us. Each applicant is encouraged to prepare a list of questions to ensure that we address the issues most important to them.

Reports and Records

All applicants should submit a complete set of report cards or academic records from each institution they have attended in the past.

Confidential References

All applicants are encouraged to submit confidential reference letters from previous teachers, coaches or mentors.  

Waiting Lists

The maximum class size at ISNS for K3-K5 is 18 students, Grade 1 is 20 students, and Grade 2 and above is 24 students.

In the case of a child being accepted to ISNS but with no space available in the class, the child is placed on a waiting list.

Accepted students are placed on a waiting list strictly in chronological order by date of completed application. Priority is given to:

  • ISNS Alumni: returning students
  • Siblings: siblings of students already enrolled in the school
  • ISNS employees: children of ISNS staff and faculty

This policy will be reviewed annually by the Senior Academic Leadership, the Executive Director and in collaboration with Senior Operations Leadership team members. 

Revised: March 17, 2021.