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United Nations International School

School rating 5 /5 by

24-50 Franklin Roosevelt Drive New York NY 10010 United States
K to 12th


United Nations International School review by .

United Nations Internation School (UNIS) is a K-12 school, that completes the New York High School programme as well as following prestigious International Baccalaureate curriculum. Therefore those students who choose to take the IB exams graduate with two diplomas. The IB system is highly regarded around the world and is concerned by most to be the best educational system available and I would concur. Its syllabus requires each student to take their native language (for example English), Math, a second language, a science, a humanities discipline, and one final subject of their choice (this can be a second science, an art, a third language, a humanities subject). Students also all take Theory of Knowledge, which is both a philosophical and practical approach to understanding what it is we know, what we believe, and why, in an attempt to teach students to be independent and mature thinkers. Finally all IB students are required to complete an extended essay in a research topic of their choice, and to complete 50 hours of creative activity, physical activity, and community service respectively. As is clear the IB, and therefore UNIS, offers a student the opportunity to be extremely well-rounded. Moreover, because of the IB’s international focus, there is a breadth of material covered in the syllabus not found in any national system. For instance, in History one can study the history of any continent, not just one’s own. In English Literature, one must study world literature in translation, thus being exposed to global literary greats. The school is well-equipped, but not compared to many private schools in the US or the UK. However UNIS more than makes up for this by having an incomparably qualified faculty, whose teaching is founded on love of learning and mutual respect between student and educator. UNIS, as a renowned IB school situated in New York City, draws the best of the best from around the world. I could honestly say that many of the teachers I had during my time at UNIS are geniuses in their fields, and, even more importantly, they are passionate about their subjects and about teaching. Every teacher was willing to take extra time with any student who wished to delve deeper into the course material. I spent many lunch-hours and extra hours out of school perfecting essays and lab- reports with teachers who were more than willing to help me achieve my full potential. What’s more, the teachers were colourful and vibrant as people, not just as educators. They each have fascinating out-of-school pursuits and research specialities, which gives students a sense of the bigger picture within which their studies are relevant. Although UNIS performs very well in the IB exams and sends its students to top colleges (many Ivy League) it is certainly not an exam-centric school. There is greater emphasis on truly and profoundly learning, enjoying the subject. UNIS values learning for learning, setting education as of pivotal importance for its own sake. Therefore the work-load is often sizeable (four to five hours of homework a night for high school students), but easily completed with enjoyment, because it is designed to inspire and stimulate, not merely to coach for tests. Class sizes vary from one or two students (for the less popular IB subjects) to twenty-five. There is always scope for personal attention in the classroom, and no student is left to struggle or to get bored. This is, once again, thanks to the excellent teaching staff and the school’s caring attitude, valuing each student. If one had to point to departments of particular strength at UNIS one would have to cite the Language and English departments. The language teachers are all native speakers, thus students learn to speak with authenticity and the linguistic training is incomparable. Language classes also cover relevant literature and film, which drastically matures a student’s grasp of the language and of the culture from which it emanates. The English department is blessed with the very best teachers. The literature chosen is fascinating and wide-ranging, the teaching techniques are innovative and profound resulting in literary analysis that could rival the standards of many undergraduate literature courses. The Physical Education curriculum is noticeably lacking, but UNIS appropriately caters for its athletic students in out of hour clubs and teams. Perhaps more important than the school’s academic strengths is its foundation in the principles of the UN Charter. It truly seeks to raise cultured, tolerant, caring global citizens who will be valuable to the world’s future. UNIS is the perfect environment for children with international, multi-cultural backgrounds. As a bilingual, multi-cultural teenager it was refreshing to final be amongst others who understood the complex beauty of having more than one national and ethnic identity. UNIS is a school where diversity is the norm, but still actively and candidly valued. The school is living proof that people of all backgrounds can live together in peace and tolerance, learning from one another and creating a vibrant, unique environment. World powers would do well to learn some lessons from this wonderful school. The students have an impressive awareness of current affairs and a deep concern for humanitarian issues. Every year the students organise a conference called UNIS-UN which takes place in the UN General Assembly and addresses poignant world issues such as human rights, health, global media, and war-related problems and involves prominent speakers from NGOs, academic institutions, and international organisations.

College Counseling

The college counseling service was comprehensive and personal: the school’s college counselor has many useful....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

Admission to Tutorial House (the high school) consisted in a submission of completed written forms,....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Don't ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transfered from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard's were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

UNIS’ architecture and surroundings are distinctly uninspiring, but prospective parents and applicants should not be deceived: inside the school’s concrete walls is the most vibrant atmosphere, diligent faculty, and inspired student body one could wish for. The most important lessons UNIS graduates will learn are those relating to the most important part of life: humans. They will learn to relish in differences rather than fear them. They will learn concern for others above concern for themselves. They will learn that self-betterment is important not to benefit only the self but to strive towards a better world. UNIS’ demographics are striking:....

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