Introduction and Overview

American International School in Salzburg. Foto: Andreas Kolarik, 26.09.14

Since the establishment of the American International School-Salzburg in 1976 thousands of young people from all over the world have combined a challenging and rigorous academic program with the chance to live and study in Salzburg, Austria. While living abroad can be an education in its own right, the American International School-Salzburg offers a very solid, college-preparatory program which leads to the awarding of an American high school diploma with AP credentials.

The curricular program of the school is maintained and regularly evaluated by the school’s administration, teaching faculty, and resident-care staff. It complies fully with AP-program guidelines and our policies, teaching materials, and approach to teaching remain consistent with most accredited independent schools in the United States and worldwide. The language of instruction at our school is English and most of the teaching faculty and resident-care staff members are US citizens and native English speakers. Given our historical and educational orientation, it should not be surprising that our students participate in a program which will provide excellent preparation for entrance to universities and colleges in North America.

Students interested in studying abroad upon graduation from AIS-Salzburg are also served by our curricular program and Advanced Placement® examinations. Graduates of AIS-Salzburg meet the requirements of and gain entrance to colleges and universities in Great Britain, continental Europe, the Far East, and all over the world. The key to equivalency with local school diplomas lies with the Advanced Placement® program of examinations which students may take each spring. The American high-school diploma plus a number of Advanced Placement® examinations with appropriate scores can open the doors to nearly any university program anywhere in the world.

What does distinguish AIS-Salzburg form other American independent boarding schools is the fact that our students and setting are quite international. Given this, the school takes pains to provide a level of English language, literature, composition, and communication skills which will be adequate for those entering university studies in English-language programs following graduation. Each year, all students are required to enroll in two full-time English courses, one of which focuses on fiction literature, composition, vocabulary, and language mechanics, while the second section addresses nonfiction writing, further composition, and communication skills such as formal speaking and listening. As of grade 12, students may opt to take Advanced Placement® English Literature or the regular 12th grade literature and composition course. Students who encounter difficulties in our regular English courses are assigned individual or small-group tutoring during the same class period until their language competency level is sufficient for success.

Grade Levels and Corresponding Ages

The American International School-Salzburg offers instruction to students in grades seven through twelve. The junior-high school program includes grades seven and eight, and the senior-high school program is composed of grades nine through twelve. AIS-Salzburg also offers a post-graduate, thirteenth year for students who desire further preparation before university entrance or who require an additional year for completion of further Advanced Placement® examinations.

Grade Ages Level Program Description
7 12-13 Junior High 7th-grader
8 13-14 Junior High 8th-grader
9 14-15 High School Freshman
10 15-16 High School Sophomore
11 16-17 High School Junior
12 17-18 High School Senior
13 18-19 Post-Graduate PG

Academic Requirements for Admission

Students are successfully admitted to enroll at AIS-Salzburg following an application procedure which includes the submission of a number of important documents. These include:

Student Application Form (download here)
English Teacher Recommendation (download here)
Mathematics Teacher Recommendation (download here)
Official school transcripts from the previous school including the most-recently completed year and any and all years of high school (grades 9-11)
Payment of the application fee of €75

Once these application documents are received, they are reviewed and a determination concerning English testing is made. If English testing is required, this can be done through an English testing center (TOEFL or Junior TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge, etc.) or at AIS-Salzburg during a visit and interview.

The admissions committee will grant admission to students who have the following positive elements within their application:

1. Above-average grades in all previous coursework
2. Strong grade averages in English and mathematics instruction
3. Evidence of good study habits and strong motivation
4. Involvement in extracurricular activity
5. Strong desire to attend an international college-preparatory program
6. Clear goals for university study following graduation

One of the most important requirements for admission to the school centers on English language proficiency. In general, the level of English proficiency required for admission increases with the desired grade level. In general, the admissions committee will look for the following minimum proficiencies in English:

Grades 7 and 8: A2 to B1 (in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR)
Grade 9: B1 or higher
Grade 10: B2 or higher
Grade 11: C1 or higher
Grade 12: C1 or higher

Students are admitted to the grade level that is appropriate for their age regardless of the levels established by their previous schooling system. Please see Grade Levels and Corresponding Ages above for further details. Inquiries regarding any aspect of the application and admissions procedures at AIS-Salzburg can be submitted at any time through our online inquiry form.

Standard Academic Schedules

The following list represents common course schedules offered to AIS-Salzburg students in grades seven through twelve. Individual student schedules may vary somewhat in accordance with administrative determinations:

Grade 7

Junior High English Fiction and Composition I
Junior High English Nonfiction and Communication I
Junior High Mathematics I
Junior High Science I
World Geography or World History
German (at any appropriate level)
Elective (various choices)
Healthy Lifestyle Requirement
Junior High Ethics Seminar

Grade 8

Junior High English Fiction and Composition II
Junior High English Nonfiction and Communication II
Junior High Mathematics II
Junior High Science II
World Geography or World History
German
Elective
Healthy Lifestyle Requirement
Junior High Ethics Seminar

Grade 9

English 9 Fiction and Composition
English 9 Nonfiction and Communication
Geometry
Biology
World Cultures
German
Elective
Healthy Lifestyle Requirement
Ethics Seminar II

Grade 10

English 10 Fiction and Composition
English 10 Nonfiction and Communication
Algebra II
Chemistry
U.S. History
German
Elective
Healthy Lifestyle Requirement
Ethics Seminar III

Grade 11

English 11 Fiction and Composition
English 11 Nonfiction and Communication
Precalculus
Physics
AP Human Geography
German
Elective
Healthy Lifestyle Requirement
Ethics Seminar IV

Grade 12

AP English Literature or English 12 Fiction and Composition
English 12 Humanities
AP Calculus AB or Advanced Mathematics
AP Chemistry or AP Biology or AP Environmental Science
AP European History
German
Senior Project and elective
Healthy Lifestyle Requirement
Ethics Seminar V

AIS-Salzburg Diploma and Academic Credit System

The diploma awarded graduates of the American International School-Salzburg is based upon an academic credit system. Academic credits are distributed to students following the successful conclusion of credit-bearing courses verified by a grade of 60% or higher. This applies to high school courses only (grades 9-12). At each grade level, a certain number of courses and credits are required for promotion. Following four years of high school, a student is awarded the AIS-Salzburg diploma based upon the total number of academic credits received. On average, a high school student will earn between 6.5 and 7.5 academic credits annually. For the school’s diploma, a student must earn a minimum of 26 academic credits distributed as follows:

English I – 4 credits (three for incoming sophomores; two for incoming juniors; 1 for incoming seniors)
English II – 4 credits (three for incoming sophomores; two for incoming juniors; 1 for incoming seniors)
German– 4 credits (three for incoming sophomores; two for incoming juniors; 1 for incoming seniors)
Mathematics – 3 credits including Geometry and Algebra II
Science – 3 credits including Biology, Chemistry and Physics
Social Studies– 3 credits including World Cultures and U.S. History
Math/Science– 1 credit in a mathematics or science course at least one level high than the minimum requirement in each subject area
Healthy Lifestyle Requirement – 2 credits (0.5 credits per year, each year)
Electives – 2 credits (0.5 credits per year, each year)

Unlike most European school systems, there are no diploma examinations which determine successful completion of secondary schooling. At AIS-Salzburg, all credit-bearing courses have a final examination element at the end of the course in the spring and this grade is averaged with the three trimester marks to establish the final grade with must be above 60% to earn the academic credit. All final examinations must be passed with a minimum grade of 60% in order to gain credit in the course.

Here is a list of academic credits assigned individual courses at AIS-Salzburg in grades 9 through 12.

AIS-Salzburg Academic Load Requirements

As an international, college-preparatory boarding school in which roughly 85% of the students enrolled are full-boarders, the academic load requirements at AIS-Salzburg are relatively high. Load requirements determine the number of courses and subjects a student must be enrolled in each academic year. These are the load requirements for all students at the school:

1. 30.5 classroom period per week minimum
2. Two English and one German language course per day minimum
3. One mathematics, one science, and one social studies course per day minimum
4. On elective course which meets two hours per week minimum
5. Enrollment in the Healthy Lifestyle Requirement
6. Enrollment in the Boarding Conduct Requirement for all full- or 5-day boarders
7. Enrollment in the AIS-Salzburg Community Service Requirement
8. Enrollment in one Seminar course at the appropriate grade level

AIS-Salzburg Promotion and Diploma Requirements

AIS-Salzburg Promotion Requirements

In order to gain promotion to the successive grade level, all AIS-Salzburg students must meet the following requirements:

1. Attain a cumulative grade-point average in all coursework at AIS-Salzburg (link) of 1.500 minimally
2. Fail no more than one credit-bearing course.
3. Meet the school’s minimum attendance requirement (80% regardless of reason)
4. Maintain a positive citizenship record while enrolled at AIS-Salzburg including:
a. passing the Boarding Conduct Requirement with 60% or higher (for all full- and 5-day boarders)
b. successful completion of the annual Community Service Requirement
c. no major violations of the school’s academic integrity requirements (see Parent and Student handbook)

AIS-Salzburg Diploma Requirements

In order to receive the school’s diploma, the following requirements must be met:

1. Six years of formal education completed between grades 7 and 12
2. Completion of at least one full school year (3 trimesters) at AIS-Salzburg
3. Achievement of a minimum cumulative grade-point average (link) of 1.500 in all courses taken at AIS-Salzburg
4. Minimum attendance requirement met each year of enrollment (80%)
5. Maintain a positive citizenship record while enrolled at AIS-Salzburg including:
a. passing the Boarding Conduct Requirement with 60% or higher each year (for all full- and 5-day boarders)
b. successful completion of the annual Community Service Requirement each year of enrollment
c. no major violations of the school’s academic integrity requirements (see Parent and Student handbook)
6. Earned the minimum, required academic credits in all subjects in grades 9 through 12 (see above, ‘AIS-Salzburg Diploma and Academic Credits’)