Unlike most other exchange programs, CYE first selects the school that seems to best meet the student's and his/her parents' interest and preferences. Acknowledging the fact that teenagers spend the vast majority of their time in school, with school activities or school work, it has been CYE's philosophy that the selection of the right school precedes the selection of the right host family. CYE recognizes that students with a strong academic background need to be placed in schools that can present an academic challenge to them, such as most of the private schools and many of the large public city schools. Weaker students are generally placed in smaller rural and small town schools, where the academic level is more suitable for them. Although the importance of the screening and selection of the host family cannot be overemphasized, as it is essential to the success of an exchange program, it is second in the sequence of student placement.
Generally, each CYE student and his/her German family participates in a series of individual meetings with CYE staff members to discuss the best school options for the student. Typically, two or three of those individual consulting meetings are scheduled, before the student and his/her family is presented with a proposal issued by CYE listing three schools recommended for that student. That proposal is based on the following criteria:

Most Important Criteria:

academic performance and grades in German high school in grades 7 through 9 (or 10)

letters of recommendation from English and Math teachers of student's German high school

intended duration of stay (one German semester or one academic year)

Very Important Criteria:

student's desire to continue study of his/her second or third foreign language (typically: Latin or French)

student's grades in mathematics (extremely important for continued studies upon return to Germany)

student's desire to accell academically in certain subjects by taking AP classes

student's desire to earn a US high school diploma

religious affiliation of high school (some parents prefer denominational schools)

parents' financial ability and/or willingness to pay private school tuition

student testing results with CYE in Germany

Relatively Important Criteria:

student's preference of location of school and family (large city, small town, rural area)

student's preference of school size in terms of number of students (small, average, or large high school)

to insure that no more than two CYE students (one male, one female) are placed at the same high school, if that high school has less than 200 students per grade level

to insure that no more than four CYE students (two male, two female) are placed at the same high school, if that high school has more than 200 students per grade level

to insure that students placed at the same school did not previously attend the same school in Germany

to insure that close friends or students, who attended the same school in Germany, are geographically separated to where no regular interaction is possible

Additional, Less Important Criteria:

interest in musical instruments, choral music, visual arts, drama, and performance

previous athletic interest (including horseback riding, fencing, ballroom dance, bicycling, etc.)

interest in exploring typical US sports that are not offered in Germany (football, baseball, softball, etc.)

student's siblings have previously attended the same US high school

recommendation for school placement by CYE alumni

In most cases, the recommendation made by CYE is not questioned or challenged by the student or his/her parents. If the student or his/her parents have reasonable arguments favoring another school, their request is reviewed by CYE in Germany. However, high school athletics are generally not considered a determining factor, and student's or parents' requests based on athletics will be disregarded. The student and his/her parents have some input in school placement, but mostly by demonstrating academic aptitude and scholastic performance and providing specific information about the student and his/her interests.

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