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International Student Program

Prospective International Students

Thank you for your interest in Prestonwood Christian Academy’s International Student program.

Prestonwood Christian Academy offers a traditional college preparatory curriculum with a distinctively Christian Worldview. Located in a suburb of Dallas, PCA offers a unique experience with exceptional academics.

Prestonwood Christian Academy looks for students who are:

  • Representative of a variety of countries
  • Academically motivated and successful, with a strong proficiency of the English language
  • Emotionally and socially mature
  • Willing to get involved in clubs and activities
  • Respectful of world cultures and values, particularly the Christian faith
The International Student Program of Prestonwood Christian Academy provides many services to create a successful experience for students including:

  • Specialized Academic Support
  • Monthly cross-cultural events and training
  • Counseling for transitional challenges
  • Designated International Staffing
  • I-20 processing
  • Host family support

Note – International Student Program fees do not include the costs of tuition, school fees, activities, clubs, organizations, athletics, uniforms or home-stay arrangements.

A student is considered an International Student if an I-20 is required for residency AND the student will require housing with an approved family during the school year. Students meeting these criteria will be required to participate in our International Student Program and will be able to receive all of the benefits and extra services this program offers. Prestonwood Christian Academy hosts International Students in grades 7 through 12.

Prestonwood Christian Academy is happy to provide a tour to any international student AFTER the family has completed the application process. Upon completion of the application process, our Admission Office will offer a tour date that works with your schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions

What grades are offered by the school?

Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. However, our international home stay program is only available for students 7th-12th grade. Any student wishing to attend in grades 1-6 must live with their parents in the US.

We do not accept students as a senior (12th); the highest acceptance level is a junior (11th).

Does PCA offer Home Stay?

Yes! A priority of our program is a safe and nurturing home for all our international students. All Host Families undergo a rigorous interview process which includes a background check. PCA is committed to providing a caring home environment to help foster cultural adaptation, social and emotional support and accelerated English acquisition.

Is testing required for admission?

A TOEFL or iTEP Slate score is preferred but can be waived at the discretion of the International Student Program Director.

  • Grades 7-8 TOEFL Jr. minimum score 730
  • Grades 9-11 TOEFL minimum score 60
  • All Grades iTEP minimum score 3.5

PCA offers the TOEFL practice exam for all current international students in grades 8-11 twice a year.

How many international students are currently enrolled in your school?

We currently have over 15 students from China, Korea, and Mexico enrolled. PCA will accept five new students each year and will not increase the size of the program to more than 10% of our total school enrollment.

How many total students on the campus?

Enrollment (does not include PCA Lower School):

  • Middle School Approximately 425 students
  • Upper School Approximately 500 students

How many AP and Honors classes does PCA have?

PCA currently offers:

  • 38 Pre-AP and Honors classes
  • 18 AP classes
  • 1 Dual Credit class

Does PCA have an ESL program?

No. We have an English immersion program and provide a special academic support class that is required for all first-year international students. This class provides content-based support as well as paper editing, study skills, and school culture education. Students may graduate from this class depending upon grades, practice TOEFL scores and teacher recommendations.

Is there a school lunch program?

Yes. A mandatory lunch program is provided daily to all students. This is fee in addition to tuition.

What extra-curricular activities are offered at PCA?

  • STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) Honors Program
  • Science Olympiad
  • Athletics including basketball, baseball, football, volleyball, cheer, dance, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, golf, tennis, track and cross country
  • Future Problem Solvers
  • Student Leadership Institute
  • Theatre
  • Band – marching and symphonic
  • Choir

Can I play sports at PCA?

Yes! International students are eligible to play all competitive school sports. Varsity sports do have some restrictions.

Why host an International Student?

Request More Information Regarding becoming a Host Family

David's Story

He arrived at Prestonwood Christian Academy late last summer, an eighth-grader 7,000 miles from home. And over his 10 months at PCA, David Zhao made close friends, touched lives, and saw his life change forever.

On his final day at PCA before returning to his family in China, David waded into the shallow pool in front of Prestonwood Baptist Church. With Bryant Forshee, Minister to Junior High Students, guiding him, David crossed his arms, leaned back with a splash, and emerged from the water wearing a huge grin.

David Zhao, a Prestonwood Christian Academy student from China, is baptized by Minister to Junior High Students Bryant Forshee as middle school students look on.

His baptism was the culmination of his time at PCA and Prestonwood, and a dream he had held close to his heart almost from the moment he arrived in America.

As he rose from the pool, wearing a “Redeemed” T-shirt, his classmates and teachers broke into cheers, smiling and chanting, “David! David! David!”

Bryant first met David last year, in the heat of late summer at a PCA football game.

“We connected,” he said.

“It was small talk at first, but then I saw him at another football game and we talked about faith and I shared the Three Circles (evangelism teaching) with him, and he typed what I was saying into his little electronic translator,” Bryant said.

But when Bryant asked whether he wanted to give his life to Christ, “he said, ‘I’m not ready yet.’”

David spent the school year living with Dr. Donovan Kelly, Bible Department Head at PCA, but David didn’t discuss being baptized until about a week before he waded into the pool.

David serves at Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls during the PCA Minimester in March.

“When he mentioned it, I explained to him what (baptism) was, why we as Christ-followers do it, and the symbolic significance that it has,” Dr. Kelly said.

“Once he came to a relationship with Christ, he was pretty set on getting baptized.”

And as it turns out, David had been thinking about it for quite a while.

“I considered this for almost a year, since I got here,” David said. “The impact (of Christianity) here isn’t just a little bit. It’s a lot!”

Dr. Larry Taylor, Head of School, said the combination of the church and the school can have a powerful impact on young people uncertain about their faith.

That’s especially true of the school’s international students, who often arrive in the United States with little religious background.

But when they become a part of a Christian family, and hear God’s Word every day in school and church, things begin to change.

With more international students expected to arrive each year, the challenge is finding them homes.

“We’ve been able to find homes for all of our international students (for the 2018-2019 school year) using our school staff and parent body,” said Phil Armstrong, the Middle School Assistant Principal, who coordinates the international student program.

“However, we are in great need of building a pool of potential host homes for the coming years,” he said. “This will allow us to best match homes with students in the future.”

David gathers with other international students and PCA staff members.

The cost of sending an international student to a private high school in the United States is considerable—$50,000 or more in some cases. Still, many families in other countries are willing to pay it.

The costs at PCA approach $40,000 a year, not including plane tickets and other incidental expenses, Dr. Taylor said.

Families of international students pay host families monthly for food and shelter, he said, and also pay for specific programs including English language classes.

The number of international students is growing as is the interest in PCA.

“We could have had 40 students just this year, but we’re doing this in a limited way so we can do a good job with the students,” Dr. Taylor said. “We’ll probably add five to six to seven new international students each year.”

For international students, academics are key. But for PCA, there’s something more.

Teaching these young men and women in a Christ-centered setting is an incredible opportunity, Dr. Taylor said.

“These students are receiving a Kingdom Education, and when they go back home, they’ll share what they’ve learned.

“So for us, there’s a big mission component to this.”

Members of Prestonwood Baptist Church interested in hosting international students in the future can contact Phil Armstrong at

Published: June 19, 2018
Author: Michael Young

Phil Armstrong

Phil Armstrong

Middle School Assistant Principal, International Student Program Director
PCA Plano, Middle School
Amy Smith

Amy Smith

International Student Program Coordinator
PCA Plano, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School

Chinese International Students

Prestonwood Christian Academy currently partners with three approved agencies:

Ivy International
Attn: Anna Katten

China Project Hope
Attn: Ester Wu

Opportunity America
Attn: Kevin Herbert

All prospective Chinese international students are required to apply through one of these three agencies. Please contact them for information, and when completing the application, please be sure to indicate Prestonwood Christian Academy as your school of choice.

Intl Students from Outside of China

Prestonwood Christian Academy may require additional application information and may have specific testing needs for students applying directly to our school. Please contact our Director of International Student Programs, Mr. Phil Armstrong, before completing our application.