Welcome to Covenant!  If you are an international student looking for strong academics, meaningful community, and a deeper understanding of American culture, CCA is the place for you. Covenant has been dedicated to providing high-quality Christian education just north of Boston for 27 years. With our low student-to-teacher ratio, students receive the attention and time they need to achieve their academic goals. 


CCA offers international students:

  • An academically rigorous program designed to prepare students for college in the US
  • Close proximity to Boston, the academic hub of the Northeast
  • Homestay with caring, involved host families
  • Faculty and staff who support, challenge, and encourage international students to succeed

I have worked with students from all over the world, and I have seen firsthand how a CCA education prepares them to excel in college, interact across cultures, and think critically and compassionately about their role in the world. It is my privilege to introduce you to all our school has to offer. I look forward to hearing from you.



Catherine Hawkins Knell

International Student Program Director





The Upper School at Covenant Christian Academy welcomes a limited number of international boarding students in grades 7 – 12, from various countries around the world. Established in 1991 as a rigorous college-preparatory school guided and informed by a Christian worldview, we are characterized by high academic standards, small class sizes and a variety of co-curricular programs, all housed in a beautiful 60,000 square foot facility.





What We Offer


  • Are highly motivated academically and have a track record of being successful
  • Display social and emotional maturity
  • Eagerly get involved in enrichment opportunities, including athletics, clubs and social activities
  • Are willing to grow in respect and understanding of people of different backgrounds, world cultures and values.


High Academic Standards
  • The CCA Roundtable where students hone their critical thinking skills by engaging in lively student led discussions, as the teacher guides and mentors them.
  • Honors Classes: Because of the rigor of our academic program, all of our core classes are considered Honors level classes. In addition, students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes. 
  • AP Offerings: Students have the option to enroll in the following AP classes at CCA:  AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, AP Calculus, AP Latin, AP U.S. History, and AP European History. As a result of our rigorous humanities curriculum, many of our students successfully take the following AP exams with just a few hours of test prep with our Upper School Principal: AP English Language and Composition,  and AP English Literature and Composition. 
  • The Senior Thesis Project: The Capstone of a Classical Education: The Senior Thesis Project is the culmination of our students’ Classical Education. After writing a twenty-page research essay on a topic of his or her choosing, each student must defend his or her argument in front of the entire School of Rhetoric, along with a panel of faculty members and outside experts. The Thesis Project demands the scholarly depth, expert rhetoric, and personal confidence that are essential to our students’ success in collegiate studies and professional life.
  • Academic Travel Week: The Living Classroom Each spring, students in grades 7-12 embark on a week of curricular driven academic travel as a class. Each grade’s experience is planned around specific curriculum objectives and the trips vary from year to year.
A Supportive Community
  • Personal Attention: 7:1 student to teacher ratio in our Upper School allows for unique individual attention and a deep sense of being part of a safe, caring community. This enhances the likelihood of academic success and personal growth.
  • English Support: International students have the opportunity to work with a teacher specially trained to work with English language learners.
  • Home Stay Program: One of the distinctive features of Covenant Christian Academy’s International Program is our Home Stay program. We place each of our international students with a carefully selected American host family that is affiliated with the school. Host families offer a great opportunity for the student to have first hand experience of what it is like to live with an American family, while providing an intimate cultural learning environment and focused social and emotional support. 
  • International Student Program Coordinator: All aspects of the International Student’s experience at CCA are carefully monitored by the International Student Program coordinator.  This includes their academic progress, social and emotional status and home stay environment to ensure students safety and care are at the highest level.
  • Orientation Program: International students are invited to arrive 10 days prior to the start of school in the fall, and 7 days prior to the start of second semester in the spring, to participate in an orientation program tailored to help them make a smooth transition to:
    • Living with their host family, getting to know them and settling in before school starts
    • Understanding the culture, rhythms and expectations that go with being part of the CCA community
    • Understanding their level of proficiency with English so we know how best to prepare them for our academic program
    • Exploring the surrounding area in which they will live for the next one to six years
  • College Counseling: Students will be carefully guided through the college selection process. They will have the opportunity to hear from Admissions Counselors from varied colleges and to easily visit some of the finest colleges in the United States that are located nearby. International Students will also have additional support to address their specific needs as non-immigrant students applying to American colleges as needed. Students have access to Naviance, an online program that helps streamline the college selection process and helps students identify what may be the best college program matches for them.  To explore Naviance, click here.
A Strong Co-curricular Program
  • Our Fine Arts Program offers opportunities for participation in the Band, String Ensemble, Chorale or our Theatre Arts program. Students receive excellent training and perform at a very high level, sometimes being invited to perform at events in the area. Our excellent Art program also includes photography as an elective.
  • Strong, Competitive Athletic Program: Our 13 teams perform competitively against other private schools in the region, with many teams often making it to the playoffs, winning championships, and individual players winning league MVPs.
  • Clubs: Opportunities for involvement in a wide variety of clubs are available to students, for example, the Lego Robotics Team, Fencing, Basketball and Drama clubs. Students have the freedom to organize clubs and service groups around common interests and activities.
  • Leadership Development and Community Service: Students have opportunities to develop leadership skills both inside the classroom around the CCA Roundtable and around campus where they may serve as a committee member or an intern, assisting and learning from an adult in the community. Some students also have the opportunity to become part of the elite Prefect Board, a group of our top student leaders who work closely with adults in their area of service to help to set the tone and culture of the student body at CCA, leading by example. Other service and leadership opportunities are available within the region through local service organizations or through neighboring churches.







Covenant Christian Academy, a Classical Christian school on the North Shore outside Boston, welcomes international students from around the world! Our robust Homestay Program affords our international students enrolled at CCA a chance to experience living in a safe environment with a caring, supportive American family, who will include you as part of the family. Host Families are carefully chosen and are affiliated in some manner with CCA. Some Host Families have children who are currently attending CCA, others have children who are alumni and others are currently employed at CCA.



Each host family agrees to provide suitable accommodations, mostly a single room, but sometimes a large bedroom may be shared with a child of the same gender and about the same age, only if the international student is open to that. A desk, at least one chair, dresser and closet or armoire are provided. Typically, the bathroom available is shared. Internet access is also available.



In addition to providing a warm, welcoming environment for you, Host Families are responsible for driving you to and from school each day.  They will also provide transportation for you, within reason, to do errands (e.g. going to the local mall, getting school supplies you need to purchase). They will also take you to receive medical attention if you need it.  You will need to have your own medical insurance to cover the cost of your medical care.  Your Host Family will provide you with at least three meals a day.



As an international student, you are carefully matched with your Host Family. Although this cannot be guaranteed, as far as possible, you will be placed with a family with a child of the same sex that is similar in age to you. The Host Family will attend to your basic needs and will do its best to address any concerns you have, allergies for example. The Host Family will supervise your homework, act as a liaison with your family and the International Student Program Coordinator. Your Host Family will give frequent updates on your progress to your parents or guardian, the agency that placed you and the International Student Program Coordinator. If the host parents need to be absent for an extended period of time, they will arrange for adult supervision during their absence.



Each family is unique with their own set of spoken and unspoken rules. You are expected to take the time to understand your Host Family and their expectations for your being part of the family. You should also feel free to communicate what your expectations are. This openness on both your parts will only serve to enrich your experience in the Homestay program.



Please contact the Homestay Coordinator at  catherine.knell@ccamail.org with any questions you might have.


Apply Now!

Click here to Apply for a Host Family


If you are interested in becoming Homestay Host, please email catherine.knell@ccamail.org and we will mail an application form to you. Thank you! 





“The teachers at CCA are always willing to help you after school with any questions you have. I can’t remember how many times I have walked into Mrs. Knell and Mr. McShane’s rooms to ask for help with papers or physics. Roundtable discussion is another thing that I never knew before coming to Covenant. In the beginning, I felt embarrassed when everyone was watching me. The more I did it, the more I was able to talk out loud with my opinion and without feeling embarrassed because no one will judge you at CCA.”

Vicky Z.

Chongqing, China

Class of 2019



“I officially became a Cougar in January 2016, and in my next few months at CCA I firmly believed that I belonged here. CCA arranged an America Partner for me to help me fit into the brand new environment. My America Partner really influenced me. He stayed after school to help me, and I learned so many things from him. 

CCA’s homestay program is my another reason I knew I belonged. I feel blessed to be a part of my host family. I will miss them so much at college, because they will not be there to cheer for me during my soccer games! I love to spending time with them because they are my American family. CCA really shaped me as a person, and I am very thankful.”

James Y.

Hangzhou, China

Class of 2019





Basic tuition for the 2019-20 academic year is $26,400. Additional costs include a non-refundable application fee, Homestay, and the New Student Orientation Program fees.  For more details please contact us at 978-535-7100 or catherine.knell@ccamail.org.



Important Application, Enrollment & Payment Deadlines

If you are applying and planning to enroll in September of 2020…

Take advantage of our rolling admissions policy to complete and submit your application as quickly as possible. Please keep the following dates in mind:

International Student Orientation: Late August 2020
Classes Begin: Early September 2020


If you are applying and planning to enroll in January of 2021… 

Application/fee: October 15, 2019
File Completion: November 15, 2019
Interview: November 15, 2019
Enrollment/Deposit: December 15, 2019
Full Tuition Payment Due: December 27, 2019
International Student Orientation: January 20, 2020
Classes Begin: January 28, 2020




Admission Requirements & Procedure



Applicants are expected to have the minimum TOEFL IBT scores or their equivalent indicated below:


11th grade: 90

10th grade: 80

9th grade: 70

8th grade: 55

7th grade: 48


Students entering with minimum scores are required to join the ESL class. Equivalent scores on the TOEFL Jr., SLEP, SSAT and ISEE are also used to determine eligibility for enrollment.




Applicants may apply by completing and uploading the International Students Application Form Online.

Applicants may also download, print and complete the International Students Application Form.  The completed form may be:

  • scanned and e-mailed to catherine.knell@ccamail.org.
  • faxed to 978-535-7123
  • mailed to Covenant Christian Academy, 83 Pine Street, West Peabody, MA 01960, USA.

Each applicant must submit the following:

  • A non-refundable application fee of $250.00
  • Completed Family Application Form
  • Completed Parent Statement. Note: This must be completed by the parent, not the guardian or agent
  • Completed Student Statement
  • Copy of the student’s passport
  • A translated copy of academic records for the previous school year and most recently completed academic term, including a brief description of the content of each course taken and an assessment of the student’s class rank.
  • Teacher recommendations for English and Mathematics. Note: Teacher and Administrator Evaluations must be completed in English.
  • Translated physical and Immunization report.
  • A copy of TOEFL or TOEFL Jr. report
  • A copy of ISEE or SSAT report if those have been taken.
  • A graded writing sample written in English for an academic class. The sample should be approximately 250 words.  This is optional if an ISEE or SSAT report is submitted.

Once all of the paperwork is received by CCA, schedule a personal interview that will include the student and parent or guardian. For students living outside the Greater Boston area, please schedule a Skype interview.


NOTE:  you must call first to schedule this interview.  We might not be able to accommodate interviews and tours without a prior appointment.    Please contact us at catherine.knell@ccamail.org. or at 978-535-7100 ext. 146.


Although CCA offers rolling admission, International Students are encouraged to apply by February 1st for Fall admission.  This gives adequate time for processing their applications and getting the necessary visas and other paperwork so they can start school on time. A response will be given no later than two weeks after receiving all the necessary paperwork and an interview has been conducted.


Obtaining a Student Visa

Once the student has accepted an offer to attend CCA and all the paperwork has been completed, an I-20 will be issued.  This is necessary for obtaining an F-1 visa from a United States Embassy or Consulate.  Without this visa, the student will not be able to attend CCA.


  • Once an International Student has accepted our offer to attend CCA, he/she will need to enroll. A link to enroll will be sent to you from the Admissions office.
  • International students are required to arrive August 21, 2016, 10 days prior to the start of classes. Travel arrangements should be made to ensure his/her arrival in time to participate in our required International Student Orientation, which will occur during this time.
  • Orientation Program: This required activity is designed to help International Students acclimate as quickly as possible to CCA, the surrounding area and their Host Families. It will also serve as an opportunity to determine the students’ level of fluency with English and how best to help them prepare for their academic life at CCA.
  • Submission of F-1 visa, passport, evidence of Health insurance and original copies of all the paperwork submitted.

CCA must be kept informed of any address changes of a student’s parents or guardian.



International Students Application Form Online

International Students Application Form Online

Download How to apply for an F-1 visa


Questions and Inquiries

For questions or inquiries please contact us at  catherine.knell@ccamail.orgor call 978-535-7100.