Frequently Asked Questions about ISU
The International School of Ulaanbaatar (ISU) is the only internationally accredited school in Mongolia and the only IB World School authorized to offer all three programmes PYP, MYP and DP from Pre-kindergarten to Grade 12. We are a private, non-profit school registered as an NGO, managed by our parents (Association of the International School of Ulaanbaatar) and governed by a Board of Trustees elected by the parents. (Please click Articles of Association to view the articles and by-laws of the Association of the International School of Ulaanbaatar.)
ISU moved to its purpose-built campus located at Four Seasons Gardens in 2007 and we are now expanding that campus over the next few years to include more classrooms, a second gymnasium, bigger library, theatre, swimming pool, and other specialised learning areas - including an additional, regulation sized soccer pitch. We currently have more than 320 students from over 19 different countries ensuring an excellent cultural mix. All instruction, except for foreign languages, is in English. Our school year runs mid-August to mid-June.
Why is international accreditation so important?
ISU is fully accredited with the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). These organisations set very high standards for international schools covering all aspects of their operation and education programmes.
Colleges and universities across the world accept the ISU Graduation Diploma for entry to their programmes since ISU has demonstrated that it meets these worldwide standards.
The fact that we also offer the IB Diploma means that successful Diploma graduates from ISU are given preferred entry to colleges and universities. The IB Diploma is one of the most highly regarded, academically rigorous high school diplomas awarded to students across the globe.
Where have ISU graduates been accepted to University?
Graduates of ISU have been accepted at nearly all of the colleges and universities to which they apply and most have also been offered scholarships to assist with tuition. Some universities offer scholarships specifically for IB graduates and an increasing number of universities also give advanced credit for first year courses to students who successfully attain the IB Diploma.
Below is a list of colleges and universities that have accepted ISU graduates since 2010:
CANADA: McGill University; University of Toronto; University of British Columbia; University of Victoria; Simon Fraser University; Vancouver Island University; Emily Carr University;
UNITED STATES: Columbia University; Boston University; Brandeis University; Suffolk University, Boston; University of Maryland; Fairleigh Dickinson University; Northern Illinois University; Drake University; Lewis & Clark University; Knox College; Wesleyan College; University of Florida; University of Arizona; DePaul University; University of Georgia; Drexel University; Pennsylvania State University; Prince William Sound University; Iowa State University;
UK: University of Bath; University of Leicester; University of Worcester; University of York; London University; University of Reading; Loughborough University;
rest of EUROPE and ASIA: University of Switzerland, Les Roches College, and Geneva Business School in Switzerland; Jacobs University and Bremen University in Germany; Saints Cyril and Methodius University in Macedonia; Seoul National University in Korea; Japan College of Foreign Languages; Mongolia University of Culture & Arts..
What is the IB?
The IB is a not-for-profit educational foundation. The IB maintains its Foundation Office in Geneva, Switzerland. The Assessment Centre is located in Cardiff, Wales and the curriculum centre is in The Hague, Netherlands. The Asia-Pacific region of the IB is administered from offices in Singapore.
There are about 3,924 schools in over 147 countries offering one or more IB programmes. The IB website has much more information for parents and students: www.ibo.org
Why is ISU unique by offering all three IB programmes?
In 2002, ISU was authorized to offer the Primary Years Programme for Pre-kindergarten to Grade 5; the Middle Years Programme for Grades 6-10; and the Diploma Programme for Grades 11-12. A complete programme evaluation by the IB was conducted in 2012 and ISU was re-authorized to continue offering these programmes.
Not only is ISU among 5.5% of IB schools worldwide that offer all three IB programmes, but we also have twelve years of experience in doing so!
ISU is expensive in relation to other schools in Mongolia - why?
ISU is registered as a non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO). We are not a private business with a profit motive. We do not have owner shareholders.
All of our money is spent on teaching and learning resources as well as maintaining and developing our facilities. We receive some funding from the US Government, because we are the only international school recognized by the US State Department in Mongolia, but over 98% of our income comes from tuition fees. We then spend our income on:
- paying for internationally qualified and experienced teachers to come and live in Mongolia and teach students, guaranteeing high quality English language instruction
- maintaining, improving and expanding the school facilities for the students
- ensuring that all of our teachers are trained in the IBO programmes and the latest educational research through professional development
- membership of the International Baccalaureate (IB), the accrediting agencies (CIS, NEASC), and various other international organizations that recognize accredited schools (EARCOS, ACAMIS, AISH, AAIE etc)
- shipping teaching materials and resources from abroad
- the administrative costs of running an internationally accredited school
We are an open and financially transparent school meeting international accounting standards, our accounts are audited and presented to our members at the Annual General Meeting of our Association.
If ISU is a non-profit organization, then who owns your school?
No one individual owns the school! The parents, by enrolling their children at ISU, become members of the Association of the International School of Ulaanbaatar. This Association elects a Board of Trustees for ISU at the Annual meeting each year. The Board of Trustees, as the governance body, ensures the long term vision and financial sustainability of the school. They also appoint a Director to run the school.
What foreign languages do you teach at ISU?
All instruction in the school is in English, with the exception of foreign languages. Therefore students applying for entry to the school and whose first language is not English, must sit an English language proficiency test as the first step in the admissions process. Only if they pass this test will they be admitted.
All students, regardless of their language background study English language and literature from PreK to Grade 12. For those who need extra assistance in English because it isn't their first language, then EAL (English as an Additional Language) support is provided.
It is vitally important for English language acquisition that students have a strong first language and therefore we offer Mongolian language from Kindergarten to Grade 12 to first language Mongolian speakers and Korean from Grades 6-12 for first language Korean speakers. This enhances their academic performance across all subject areas and their success in obtaining the IB Diploma at the end of Grade 12.
Mongolian language and culture is also offered from Kindergarten to Grade 5 to students whose first language is not Mongolian.
From Grades 6-12 we offer French and Chinese as second languages and in Grades 11/12, we also offer beginner Spanish.
If we want to find out more about ISU, how do we do this?
Please refer to the many other pages on this website for more details on our programmes, admissions procedures and the various other activities and opportunities we offer to our students.
Alternatively, you can come to school and make an appointment with Mrs. Khaliunaa, the Admissions person for a school tour, and obtain an Admissions Package if you wish. School tours are run regularly throughout the school year, but prior booking is required.