To see what an American education looks like, head to Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City International School (SSM-FC). Here, flushed faces explore the outdoors in their free time. Others channel their inner Picasso, conduct research in social studies, or hit high notes in music class. Every SSM-FC learner is striving to achieve no small feat: standing out in a competitive university applicant pool, even in light of a pandemic.
Many do. A suite of programmes, services and opportunities ensures every student has the support, guidance, and opportunities to pursue a passion and follow a dream.
SSM-FC is located in Forest City, which is South East Asia’s first ecologically green city located on the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia. Singapore is visible across the Straits of Johor. Here, every day is a fresh chance to enhance that CV and to develop a college application essay further. SSM-FC students draw upon individual and unique experiences to write effective college essays that highlight their passions. They stand out by highlighting strong characters, emotional readiness, and interdisciplinary excellence.
One such student is William. Since joining the school in 2019, he has gained confidence he never thought was possible. He has SSM-FC’s distinctive 24/7 immersion to thank. William lives with a diverse group of students he calls his “family,” in a dorm he proudly calls his “second home.” He learns from his “dorm parents,” who are also his teachers and care for his social, personal, and academic needs.
“Living in the dorm means there are more opportunities for me to practise my second language, develop independence, and manage myself and my time,” he shares. “Looking into the future, I realise I have had a unique opportunity to develop the key soft skills that will serve me well in life.” He credits his development to the signature SSM-FC way –– a full, enriching daily agenda; fueled by direct guidance and personalised support.
“Mentors meet one-on-one with students to coach specific skills they are interested in developing,” explains Pablo Lozada, Director of Residential Life. “Students attend extracurricular activities after school, where they can play, have fun but also learn life-enriching skills. As part of our guided philosophy, teachers are really hands-on throughout.”
Outside the classroom, William discovered his passion for Strings Class and Physical Education –– both of which he spends every morning anticipating.
At SSM-FC, any aspiring musician could learn the piano, violin, cello or bass; train their vocal chords; produce or compile samples for their own compositions, join a rock band, or even grasp the basics of sound engineering.
“Even if you don’t have music experience beforehand, we will work through that in class,” explains Jordan Korth, a music teacher in the Upper School. “By the time students graduate, they will have many projects and a lot of music experience that they can take on with them into the future.”
While there is much fun to be had at SSM-FC, there is no shortage of rigour. To follow in the footsteps of the class of 2021, matriculating to esteemed universities such as University of Edinburgh, London School of Economics, and Pennsylvania State University; or receiving scholarship offers from Duke University, Parsons School of Design or Savannah College of Art and Design takes real academic prowess.
Thankfully, this is something SSM-FC nurtures best in its Upper School. Of course, its seniors graduate with exemplary skills in English, science, math, social studies, languages, the arts, physical education, and more; but what sets SSM-FC graduates apart is how they draw upon their experience of pursuing their passions and following their dreams to write convincing and effective essays that open doors to their next academic chapter at university.
After all, SSM-FC graduates have results that prove academic excellence; leadership skills; goals and action plans; the ability to contribute to communities in authentic ways; university and career awareness; a suite of interests and passions; as well as time management, self-management, organisation, and decision-making skills.
This preparation begins as early as in Grade 9, where experienced college counsellors take charge. These counsellors work with learners individually and in groups, building on general knowledge with more specific insights on the college admissions process.
From researching universities, to preparing for the SAT, to completing applications for admission — every question is answered. Students are also granted access to a college admission library, stocked with materials from a wide range of institutions, computer software programmes for test preparation, and everything they need to know about financial aid. Families are involved every step of the way, as counsellors are more than happy to host conferences, when required.
With an SSM-FC education, you’re set to impress college recruiters — no matter what’s going on in the world. Ready to get started? Learn more here.