by Contributor

(May 19, 2022) — The secondary education received in Swiss schools opens the door to almost all universities in the world. The highest educational quality, environmental friendliness and safety of this mountainous country attract schoolchildren from all over the world: there is no more cosmopolitan environment in the world than a Swiss boarding school.

Switzerland’s secondary education system

Switzerland’s secondary education system is represented by both public and private schools. The former is taught according to the Swiss Matura standard and consists of 2 levels: 

Secondaire I – consisting of elementary school and 1 level of secondary education, and 

Secondaire II – similar to higher education, lasting 3 years and entitled to a certificate of completion of secondary education. Private schools offer students the opportunity to obtain both a Swiss certificate and a certificate from another country (2 certificates can be obtained at the same time). At the same time, the majority of foreign students who come to Switzerland for secondary education prefer private boarding schools.

Swiss private schools are considered to be some of the most elite secondary schools in the world. Elitism is reflected in everything: the highest quality of education, state-of-the-art technical equipment, luxurious housing and the highest prices. The annual cost of education is approximately $65,000. Swiss schools are often referred to as “king’s schools”. This is not far from the truth: children of heads of state, high-ranking officials, hereditary aristocrats, the creative elite and outstanding scientists from all over the world are studying here. The excitement surrounding Swiss boarding houses is not unfounded: the knowledge gained from boarding houses guarantees admission to the best universities in the world.

Types of secondary schools in Switzerland

Girls’ boarding schools

These schools create the conditions for learning, all-round development and personal growth, taking into account gender differences. Practice shows that students in such conditions perform better academically than in co-educational schools. The program includes more humanitarian subjects, the arts and, of course, sports.

Boys’ schools

Different from the British, but there is a competitive spirit here. There’s also a more precise science bias, more masculine sports, and an emphasis on decision-making responsibilities – all of which men will still need as adults.

Blended learning schools

Most parents choose them. Boys and girls study and participate in extracurricular life together, and are housed in separate buildings under the supervision of educators.

England

At the end of a secondary school like this in Switzerland, the Certificate of Secondary Education – GCSE (international version – iGCSE) is awarded. The two-year high school program offers A-Levels. With such a diploma, your child can be accepted to a university in the UK without additional preparatory courses.

American

The first private school in Switzerland to offer an American curriculum was TASIS, which opened in Montagnola in the 1960s. It was created for the children of American diplomats, but soon began accepting other students. Today, the European IB program and the American AP program run in parallel here.

German

The Abitur program is very complex and slightly less complex than the French Baccalaureate program. It is a worthwhile option for those who want to continue their German studies in Germany or Austria.

French

The Baccalauréat français program involves the study of French only. The certificate allows you to enter universities in France, Switzerland, Canada and Belgium.

International

International schools have always had a reputation for being international, as they were originally created for the children of foreigners who came to Switzerland to work. Today, Swiss international schools continue to send children from wealthy families from all over the world to attend. It doesn’t make much sense for the Swiss to send their children to private schools, because public schools are good enough. Over 90% of the students in private schools are foreigners, so no one feels like a stranger.

Benefits of studying in a Swiss school

The quality of education in Switzerland is excellent, as is everything produced in this country. A student at a Swiss school receives:

  • High-quality teachers
  • Choice of programs
  • Progressive approach
  • The opportunity to study in any of four languages: English, German, French, Italian
  • Proficiency in several languages by the end of the course
  • Excellent technical equipment
  • Comfortable living conditions
  • Prestigious diplomas
  • Opportunity to enter a university anywhere in the world
  • Emphasis on overall personal development, lots of creative activities and sports
  • Openness to the outside world
  • Meet the children of the most famous people on earth – from monarchs to show business stars

The tradition of these schools was established in the mid-19th century. Switzerland’s attraction to the wealthy contributed to their growth and popularity in the world. The Swiss sense of responsibility, consistency and attention to detail have helped create a very high- quality education system.

How to get into a Swiss school?

According to the experience of school teachers, the best age to study abroad is 12 years old. Children are already quite independent, but at the same time there is still enough time to really integrate into their new environment and seamlessly into the learning process.

The choice of school depends on the university in the country where your child plans to continue his or her education in the future. If your goal is a British university, choose an educational institution with an Anglo-American or British component. If German – the path to a school working under the Abitur program, etc.

Due to the high demand for Swiss boarding schools, it is necessary to prepare for admission 1-2 years in advance. Considering that there is a quota for accepting children from a certain country, it is best not to delay the submission of documents – the application is considered received. It is worth noting that many questionnaires always come from our country: private schools in Switzerland are willing to accept foreigners, but only within the quota designated for that country.

Depending on the particular educational institution, the requirements for applicants may vary, but the main ones are:

  • Proficiency in the primary language of instruction at an intermediate to advanced level
  • Progress reports from the past 1-3 years with good grades
  • Characteristics of the child
  • Medical certification

Some schools may conduct interviews and require language tests or tests in academic subjects (such as math). Sometimes you will need to take an IQ test.

Cost of studying at a private school in Switzerland

The price of studying at a private school in Switzerland depends on the specific educational institution and the department chosen by the student. The cost spread can range from $40,000 to $100,000. Most schools offer scholarships for high academic achievers – this can significantly reduce the cost of education.

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