Our college (“Gymnasium” – grammar school) prepares students for an international university entrance qualification (A levels). This is the most common and recognised university entrance qualification in the world. The flexibility and opportunity to study a subject in depth forms a very attractive foundation for studying in Switzerland or anywhere in the world, thereby preparing students for a future international career.
Anyone comfortable with the English language wishing to gain a university entrance qualification can apply. A good lower secondary level school qualification (ISCED level 2) or a very good completed 8th year of school (upper secondary level, ISCED level 3) is required. Instead of an admission test, individual prerequisites are verified in a consultation or admission interview. Students switching from grammar and middle schools wishing to gain an international university entrance qualification can complete a shortened 2-year programme.
Our language of instruction is English throughout, since English is an important language in academic study, research and business, as well as being a prerequisite for a career in an international setting.
If proficiency in English does not yet comply with the B2 level required, additional English courses can be attended in the 1st year of the university entrance qualification programme, while also taking individual subjects such as German, Mathematics and French. After completing the programme, the student is able to speak English at native speaker level and is hence ideally equipped for a bright future.
The international university entrance qualification programme is normally designed to run over four years. International General Certificates of Secondary Education (IGCSEs) are obtained in the first two years. These provide a general education based on eight to ten subjects and make eligible for tertiary education (ISCED level 5B) at a College of Higher Vocational Education and Training (Höhere Fachhochschule – HF) or studies in the USA/UK, the qualification approximating to a High School Diploma.
In the course of the next two years, the student focuses on four Advanced Level subjects, selected according to aptitude and interests. Contents of these subjects may already cover some of the topics taught in the respective subject during the first year of university. International A Levels even permit skipping the first year of university in the USA.
International A Levels exclude unnecessary knowledge. They focus on relevant and interesting subject matter with close relation to reality. Contents are project-oriented and practice-relevant. They encourage critical thinking as well as the conversion of knowledge to competence.
Year 1 and 2 (IGCSE stage)
English*, German, French/Spanish
Biology, Chemistry, Physics
Extended Essay (project)
Optional: English Literature
*English as a native language or English as a second language
Year 3 and 4 (A-level stage)
Biology or Mathematics
French, Spanish, Physics, Chemistry, History, Economics, Mathematics, Biology
Courses are held if enough registrations are received for the particular subject. Various alternatives are provided otherwise.
Subjects offered individually (subject to payment):
- Other languages (Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, etc.)
- Geography, Business Studies
- English Literature, English Language
Persons wishing to study internationally can combine the A-level subjects as required. This would need to be discussed and agreed in a guidance interview.
Exams are held after every two, three and four years. Each subject is completed individually, sometimes several exams are required for one subject. Each partial exam can be repeated as often as required. The exams are conducted by the examination bodies Cambridge International Examinations and Pearson Edexcel.
The performance of our students in exams speaks for itself: over 90% of our students had a C or higher in their final exams last year.
Our former students study at renowned Swiss and international universities (University of Basel, University of Zurich, HSG St. Gallen, Glasgow University, Kings College London, Sheffield University, Royal Holloway University London, Birmingham University etc.).
“Our son has attended academia international school for just over 5 years. During that time we have been very pleased with the high level of support and dedication from the teaching staff, who are all very approachable, friendly and enthusiastic about their subjects. The teaching level can be adapted to suit the abilities of the student and is less fixed to their age. We feel this gives the pupil a more academically rewarding time in school as well as encouraging social interaction with students of different ages and nationalities. We are very pleased with the academic results achieved by our son so far and would have no hesitation in recommending the school to any prospective parents or students.”
UK family parents of 16-year-old male student
“N. has completed his A levels with success, his great effort was rewarded! I would like to thank you for your competent and generous support. I would also like to thank the team of teachers. All of them supported N. very much, motivated him, kept him on track and led him to his goal. We are very happy.”
Swiss family, N. is currently studying in the USA
“I want to thank you for your help and warm encouragement throughout my time at academia. I’ve been to many different schools and honestly, academia was my favourite. I always felt well-supported by all the teachers and staff and was able to progress quickly through interesting, challenging but fun lessons. The general atmosphere amongst the students was fantastic.”
Anna Cowen: Ex-student now an undergraduate reading Music and Korean at Sheffield University
“Just want to promote my daughter’s former school academia college. Being back in the American system has us really appreciating what a great experience it was for her. I would highly recommend this school for its programme and more importantly its staff. We really miss it.”
“We moved to Switzerland from the States and wanted to expose our children to a new culture. A few years later at academia and our kids have grown in a way where not only do they speak German, but they’re familiar with cultural history and events in Europe. They appreciate truly what it means to be a global citizen. Our children frequently come home saying “I don’t ever want to go to a different school, I want to be at this school forever”. They are more than happy and so are we!
Family from the US
“In May 2015 we were considering ais for one of our twin daughters, who was in a French School where the style and pace were punishing with little institutional encouragement. She was demotivated with the unrewarding relentlessness of her education and was struggling to work. Her marks were consistently near the bottom of the class. At the end of her penultimate year, the school suggested that she should leave and consider a less academic path, however my wife and I both considered that she was intelligent enough to follow academic qualifications. We felt that perhaps a different style of education might help so we moved her to ais. The change was astounding. Within a month, her marks had rocketed due to the supportive and encouraging learning environment. She started participating in lessons and is now on the School Council and is now far more interested in the courses. In hindsight, our one regret was that we did not move both sisters.”
UK family: parents of 17-year-old student.
International A Levels (IAL) are known in Switzerland and all over the world for their high academic standard and specialisation. They are the most commonly taken university entrance qualification in the world and are offered by Cambridge International Examinations at over 10,000 schools in 160 different countries. Alone in the USA, Cambridge International diplomas are accepted by over 500 universities, above all the ivy league universities (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale).
In Switzerland, entry to higher education is governed by an inter-state agreement. Admission to Swiss universities requires completion of six subjects with a minimum grade C. Admission to Swiss universities and universities of applied sciences (excluding ETH), requires three A levels (Advanced Level, highest learning level, corresponds to the final year of grammar school), an AS level (Advanced Subsidiary, half A level) and 2 IGCSE subjects (International General Certificate of Secondary Education, approximates to 9th/10th grade) with at least a C in each subject. One of the A-level subjects must be mathematics of a natural science subject.
Being strength-based, International A Levels (IAL) are a tailored form of education. In addition to their high international acceptance, IALs offer many other advantages. Compared to the Swiss university entrance qualification or the International Baccalaureate Diploma, subjects can be selected more freely and every exam in a subject can be repeated as often as required. IALs at the same time promote excellence in education, since every subject focuses on important content and has to be successfully completed at least with a grade C.