HMA†:†ESL Program

ESL Program

A Program for International Students

Hawaiian Mission Academyís International Studies (I.S.)  program is designed to help serious students of non-English speaking backgrounds become proficient in understanding and speaking English.

Hawaiian Mission Academy is owned and operated by the Hawaii Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, which is a fundamentalist Christian body. The schoolís philosophy, curriculum, and practices are centered on Christian concepts and principles found in the Bible.

Students join the school voluntarily and are, therefore, subject to the regulations of the school, even though they may not personally hold the same philosophy, standard of conduct, or religious beliefs.

Older students (18+) accepted into the program will find themselves subject to the regulations designed to guide all students. All I.S. students, whether in ESL classes or in regular classes, are expected to honor and respect the religious concepts and practices of this Seventh-day Adventist school. I.S. students are to follow all regulations found in each section of the SCHOOL BULLETIN.

Smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, using drugs, and gambling are not permitted regardless of age or curricular pursuit.


International Students are students who receive I-20 forms from Hawaiian Mission Academy and/or who take International Studies (I.S.), or English as a Second (ESL) language classes at HMA (whether or not they are a U.S. citizen or a Resident Alien).

All students are required to live with their family, their sponsor, or in school-operated dorm. It is recommended all students stay in dorm housing for the first year. On-campus housing may be required by the administration if a student is experiencing difficulties in attendance, grades, or lifestyle. Exceptions to housing policies may be appealed.

The sponsor must work closely with the school in matters that relate to the student. The Director of the International Studies Program will conduct an interview with the sponsor or student prior to admission when possible.


All International Studies students are expected to come to Hawaiian Mission Academy with a sincere desire to learn the English language. Grades will be issued on a regular basis during the quarter. If at the close of any grading period the student has failing grades and a GPA that is significantly below average, the student will be allowed to continue in school on a probationary basis.

At the next grade report the studentís grades are reviewed to determine if improvement has been made. If faculty determine sufficient progress and improvement have been made, the student will continue in the program. Otherwise he/she may be asked to withdraw with no refund of tuition!


Placement into regular high school classes is based on credits completed toward graduation, previous English studies, TOEFL score, and pre-testing by HMA ESL Department.

Students transferring into regular high school classes will continue to be classified as international students. The purchase of textbooks for their high school classes is an additional expense. All remaining tuition and fees for the ESL program are transferable to HMAís regular high school program. Tuition and fees will not be transferred to any other school (public or private).

Upon completion of the high school program, transcripts will be issued to universities and colleges.


Credits toward a high school diploma are granted for completion of International Studies courses. Credits which have been earned in grades 9-12 are transferable to HMA. Students must submit official transcripts (signed and sealed on institutional stationary), which have been translated into English. It is recommended that students request an evaluation of transfer credits from the school registrar. A high school diploma will be issued upon completion of all graduation requirements as listed in this bulletin.


The International Studies (I.S.) curriculum for students is based on testing and transcript placement of all students. The first year of I.S. includes basic English in areas such as grammar, comprehension, reading and vocabulary in content areas, phonics, spelling, and conversation designated for students with limited English skills.


The State of Hawaii requires that all students have complete health and immunization records and a TB test. The studentís immunizations may be completed in the studentís home country or in Hawaii. A physical examination and TB clearance must be completed in Hawaii.  Students will be not be allowed to register without a completed health record.

Students cannot be admtted wthout the TB clearance. We recommend that students arrive one week early to complete this requirement. It is best to submit health records in advance so that they can be reviewed for any deficiencies. The medical health records must be interpreted into English.


Testing and placement will be conducted for each student upon enrollment during the school year. Testing will be conducted throughout the year to determine grade placement.  New students will be required to take the TOEFL test before registration to determine grade placement.  TOEFL test will be administered by our International Studies Director.


The TOEFL test serves both as an entry and exit exam for the English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

Students who wish to exit out of the ESL and transfer into the regular instruction program will need the following TOEFL test scores to meet the minimum English competency requirements. The TOEFL test score and having the required transcript credits will qualify the studentís proper grade standing. Because of language difficulties, it may take a student more than 4 years to complete the requirements for a high school diploma.

Any ESL or I.S. student wanting to advance into the regular curriculum program must have successfully completed all requirements in the ESL/I.S. curriculum. The TOEFL scores listed below indicate the respective grade level(s) represented plus minimum comprehension competencies necessary before the student can be placed in the regular high school curriculum program.

TOEFL Score Grade Placement Comprehension

500: Grade 12 And to be able to read and understand English at the minimum rate of 350 words per minute.

490: Grade 11 And to be able to read and understand English at the minimum rate of 340 words per minute.

475: Grade 10 And to be able to read and understand English at the minimum rate of 325 words per minute.

465: Grade 9 And to be able to read and understand English at the minimum rate of 300 words per minute.

TOEFL TEST: Other criteria used

The admissibility of non-native English speakers depends not only on their levels of English proficiency but also on other factors, such as their academic records, what schools they have attended, their fields of study, their prospective programs of study, and their motivations.

TOEFL measures an individualís ability in several areas of English proficiency, but it does not test that proficiency comprehensively. Nor does it provide information about scholastic aptitude or skills, motivation, language-learning aptitude, or cultural adaptability. An estimate of an examineeís proficiency can be fully established only with reference to a variety of measures, including Hawaiian Mission Academyís knowledge of the proficiency needed by the I.S. student to succeed in its academic programs and beyond.

The total score on the TOEFL is derived from scores on the three sections of the test. Applicants may have different section score profiles that could significantly affect subsequent academic performance. The section scores are used to advise students about their options and place them in the appropriate courses.
All students are required to live with their family, sponsor and or guardian.  However HMA provides an on campus dormitory for students, especially our International students who are not able to live with a family member, sponsor or guardian.  It is highly recommended for all International students to reside in the dormitory for at least their first year.  On-campus housing may be required by the administration if a student is experiencing difficulties in attendance, grades or lifestyle.  Exceptions to housing policies may be appealed.


Hawaiian Mission Academy is a closed campus, all students are to remain on campus unless they have received a pass to leave during a pre-arranged period of time. This policy is based on insurance liability and school attendance policies. (See General Guidelines Closed Campus)


An International Studies application packet is available by contacting the school office.  Or you may click here to download a pdf version of the forms.  When all of the application papers, including transcripts and confidential teacher evaluations, have been completed and returned to HMA, a decision is made to accept or not accept the student.  Two forms of confidential teacher evaluation (recommendation) is required.  If you are downloading the forms from this site, please be sure to print two copies of the Confidential Evaluation forms (recommendation forms).

All I.S. students who are not residents of Hawaii, are required to have a local sponsor who speaks English to assist in matters of communication for the student and school.

The sponsor is not necessarily financially responsible for the student.

Students may be denied entrance if the transcript issued from his/her home country indicates poor academic performance. "D" and "F" grades may nullify acceptance to HMA.

All applicants must be approved by the I.S. Admissions Committee. A letter of acceptance will be sent to the applicant outlining the steps to take to obtain the immigration document (I-20) to apply for a student visa [See below]. Non-qualifying applicants will be notified by letter. I-20ís will be issued when all financial arrangements have been made and confirmed by the Business Office.


Students may enter the I.S. Program at anytime during the school year with placement being determined by previous credits, TOEFL test scores, and placement test results.


All International Students (I.S.) should follow these steps in making application to Hawaiian Mission Academy.

1. Make application to Hawaiian Mission Academy by submitting the following:

a. Application materials included in packet. [Please be sure to include the name of a local sponsor (in Hawaii)]
b. $25 application fee
c. If the student is currently in the 8th or 9th grade, submit the junior high school transcripts
d. If the student is currently in grade 10 or higher, please submit the transcripts for grades 9 and above

2. The HMA Admissions Committee meets to approve the application.

3. Upon acceptance to Hawaiian Mission Academy:

a. An acceptance letter will be sent
b. The parents will be requested to wire money electronically from their bank account
     to Hawaiian Mission Academy a full yearís tuition or PAYMENT IN FULL for
     all educational fees. If a dormitory student, this would include all dormitory room
     and board fees.

4. Once the funds have been received by HMA, an I-20 federal form will be issued by Hawaiian Mission Academy to the parent so that they may make application to the U. S. Consulate/Embassy to apply for a 4-year Student VISA to study in the United States of America.

5. Upon receiving your I-20 form, immediately file the SEVIS I-901 form and pay your $100 fee with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).This can be filed online, by mail, or by courier. The online method is the fastest (SEE below) and the method recommended by HMA.

You will be denied your VISA if you fail to file the SEVIS I-901 and pay the $100 fee.

Do not confuse this SEVIS I-901 fee with your United States VISA fee. The Student VISA Fee will be separate.

How to apply to SEVIS online:
a. To complete the I-901 form, you will need your I- 20 form and your SEVIS I.D. Number. [This can be found on your I-20 form on the top right hand corner of the first page. It will be under the words "Studentís Copy" and above the barcode.]
b. To apply directly online, go to, OR,
c. In the middle of the screen on the website, CLICK on the middle box, "PROCEED TO I-901 FORM AND PAYMENT."
d. Print out a receipt before you log off the website.
e. Allow 2 weeks from the time of filing and payment.
6. When you go to the U. S. Consulate take four documents with you:
b. Your letter of acceptance from Hawaiian Mission Academy.
c. The I-20 federal form issued by Hawaiian Mission Academy.
d. Receipt or proof that you have filed the SEVIS I-901 fee.

7. At the U.S. Consulateís office you will receive a BOOKING Appointment number with a specific date and time to interview with U. S. officials and request your Student VISA approval.

8. Immediately FAX or notify the school of:

a. Date and Time of appointment
b. Booking Appointment No.

9. At the appointment date and time set by the U.S. Consulate, the student should present themselves for the interview at least 30 minutes early.

10. Upon receipt of the F-1 Student VISA, immediately notify Hawaiian Mission Academy so that we can be informed of the expected date of arrival.

11. If the Student VISA is denied, RE-Apply and request another interview. Often the U. S. Government wants to know the seriousness, positive intent, and determination of the student and parents and their interest to pursue their education. Keep the Registrar of Hawaiian Mission Academy informed of this second interview date and time, as well as, the outcome of your interview with the U. S. Consulate

12. However, if the student is denied and students abandon their efforts to apply for the F-1 Student VISA, then they must submit proof of denial of Student VISA to Hawaiian Mission Academy. Hawaiian Mission Academy will refund all but $250 of the parentsí funds. The funds will be wired to the parentsí financial institution.