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The Process

To become a J-1 high school exchange student, the applicant should go through the following procedures:
1.    Applicant submits Application for the program.

The application must be submitted in its entirety. Forte will not start to process an application until all documents are completed. Forte will notify applicants of the decision whether to accept or deny the application within one week.

2.    Forte issues Form DS-2019 if the applicant is admitted.

Form DS-2019 is THE most important document not only for obtaining a visa but also maintaining legal status during your stay in America. Please note that you cannot obtain this form anywhere else except from a DoS designated sponsor such as Forte.

3.    Applicant pays SEVIS fee and obtains a J-1 visa.

4.    Applicant receives Host Family and school placement information from Forte.

Secondary School Student Participant Welcome Letter (March 2015) (PDF)

Secondary School Appreciation Letter to Host Schools (March 2015) (PDF)

Forte places all exchange students in a loving and nurturing host family and an accredited high school as required by the rules and regulations of the DoS.

All Forte Host Families are screened as follows:
•    Potential Host Families submit a Host Family Application, and provide all mandatory information concerning family composition, financial situations, lifestyle, religion, parenting practices, etc.
•    Potential Host Families submit two references attesting to the characters of the Host Family.
•    After preliminary screening, Forte conducts a Criminal Background Check on all adults who reside in the family to make sure nobody has criminal records.
•    A Local Representative conducts an in-person home inspection to make sure it provides a safe, comfortable environment for the exchange student.
•    A Local Representative conducts an in-person orientation for all Host Family members on program rules, Host Family responsibilities, strategies to deal with cultural differences, etc.

5.    Applicant attends a required pre-departure orientation administered by a Forte partner/the home country agency.  The orientation includes but is not limited to the following:

•  Purpose and rules of the program/sponsoring organization;
•  School regulations/rules;
•  Host Family rules;
•  Travel, packing and logistics;
•  Chain of communication;
•  Health and safety;
•  Culture shock and homesickness;
•  United States laws;
•  Question and answer session.

6.    Travel arrangements

Requirements to Apply to the High School Exchange Program

High School Exchange Program participants must be bona fide students who meet the following requirements:

  • Be between 15 t0 18.5 years of age by the first day of school in the United States;
  • Students will not have completed more than 11 years of primary and secondary school, excluding Kindergarten;
  • Students will not have previously participated in a secondary exchange program either for a year or semester, or attended school in the United States in either an F-1 or J-1 visa status;
  • Have a 'C' average or better for the past two years of school in your native country;
  • Have a good command of English;
  • Mature enough to live independantly. 

 If you think you meet these requirements, you may fill out an application.  The application includes:

  • Personal information;
  • Transcripts for the past two years of school;
  • Two recommendations: one from your math teacher and one from your English teacher;
  • Personal essay;
  • Medical records;
  • Photos;
  • Forte contract.