High School on a Ship
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

General information

What kind of student is A+ World Academy looking for?
A+ World Academy is looking for motivated and mature students students who are excited about exploring the world and who will take on challenges in order to grow and develop. Students must be academically strong in order to meet the demands of our rigorous curriculum. Students must also have a good command of English (listening, speaking, reading and writing).

What are the ages of students who attend A+ World Academy?
Students are aged 15-18.

Do you need sailing experience?
No, you do not need any sailing experience in order to be accepted at A+ World Academy.

Does A+ World Academy offer a diverse student community?
Yes, we recruit students from around the world. Typically the largest nationality is Norwegian and in the first years of our school we’ve had students from Mexico, Colombia, Canada, USA, United Kingdom, Spain, Hong Kong, China, Germany and Switzerland.

How many crew members and faculty are onboard the Sorlandet?
Currently, there are 11 crew members in addition to a medic, a Dean of Students and 6 faculty members. On shore the school has a Head of School, a second Dean of Students, a Director of Admission and an Associate of Admission.

How much spending money does my child need?
Students will require spending money to cover around 50 meals in port during shore leave time, laundry, postage, telephone calls, visas (if needed), souvenirs and gifts. A specific amount is hard to determine as it varies a lot from student to student. Please see practical information for more details.

What if English isn’t my first language?
Then you will be a welcomed addition to the international community. Every year we have a multitude of languages spoken onboard. You will however have to be at a certain level in order to be successful with the classes which are all taught in English. We also expect that students speak English in social settings where more than two students are present. This is to foster an inclusive environment. 

Admission and application process

Do you accept mid-year or summer admissions?
Unfortunately not.  We operate on a full academic year basis only, from September to June.

Is there an application deadline?
No, there is not an application deadline. We have a rolling admissions process.

How many students can attend the school?
The school’s capacity is 60 students and thus, space is limited. We highly recommend that you apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Does A+ World Academy offer Financial Aid?
Yes, A+ World Academy offers Financial Aid up to 14,000 Euro. We are also working to obtain external scholarships for our students. Please see the Tuition page on the website for more information.

Do you offer Open Houses?
We do offer Open Houses in some select ports. Please see the Meet us around the world section on the website for more information. Prospective parents can visit the Sorlandet and meet with the faculty and students at any port, as long as it is not interfering with the Academic program. You must contact Admissions to arrange this appointment.

Does the Admissions Staff visit my city?
The Admissions team travels the entire world in order to meet prospective families. Please contact the Admissions department for more information.

How much is the application fee?
The non-refundable application fee is 150 Euros.

How can I pay the application fee and/or tuition fees?

You can pay the application fee via wire transfer. Payment is done through wire transfer to A+ World Academy C/O The Sorlandet Foundation.

  • Account number: 30002598821
  • SWIFT (BIC): SPSONO22
  • IBAN / ABA: NO0530002598821
  • Name of the Bank: Sparebanken Sor.
  • Address of bank: Postboks 200 4662 Kristiansand
  • Remember to mark the transfer with "application fee" and name of applicant. 

How do I find out the status of my child’s application?
You may contact Ben or Maria for any update at any point during the process.

How do I take the swim test?

What you need is to have a swim coach or a life guard to attest (sign) that you can swim 200m and tread water for 20 minutes. If you want a template please contact Ben or Maria.

Do you offer a Summer School program?
No, currently we do not offer a Summer School program. We recommend that you investigate Stanstead College’s ESL Tall Ship Adventure camp, which you can find on this link. 
 

Academic and School life

What courses can I take?
You can see the course list here.

How many hours of class do we have?
You have between 4 and 6 hours of class each day. Over the course of the year you’ll have around 900 hours of academic classroom instruction.

What is the average class size and the student/teacher ratio?
Class size varies depending on students’ course selection. Generally speaking natural sciences will yield smaller classes (typically 5-12 students) while languages and social sciences typically fill up with 19 students. Our teacher to student ratio is around 7:1.

What is an Advanced Placement course?
Advanced Placement (AP) is a program developed in United Stated by the College Board, which offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students. Although it was created in the United States, it is a commonly used worldwide, particularly in international schools. AP courses are rigorous courses and universities often grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores on the examinations. The AP curriculum for each of the various subjects is created for the College Board by a panel of experts and university-level educators in that field of study. For a high school course to have the AP designation, the course must be audited by the College Board to ascertain that it satisfies the AP curriculum. For more information, you may visit the following website at  https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/apcourse.

Which universities accept AP courses?
Advanced Placement is a globally-recognized academic program, currently offered in secondary schools in over 100 countries around the world. More than 600 universities in more than 60 countries and territories outside of the United States recognize AP Exam scores for admission, credit and placement. Taking AP courses and exams provides students with recognized academic credentials, wherever their college or university plans will lead. To learn more about universities that recognize AP qualifications, see this link.

How many exams do students have?
There are exams in all courses following each semester. An exam usually lasts two hours. These exams go in to the overall evaluation of a student and therefore constitute one part of a students final grade.

What kind of high school credits, and diploma would my child receive when he/she graduates? 
Students who graduate will receive an A+ World Academy diploma. We are currently an official MSA Candidate. You can see the accreditation section of our website for more information.

Will my high school credits be transferrable if I only attend grade 11?
Yes. If you wish to return to the same school that you attended in grade 10 we recommend that you talk to the guidance counsellor in advance. We would gladly talk to them to help facilitate your return in grade 12. If you wish to attend another school we can also help you get in touch with some of our partners to help you find the best fit.

Do you offer a GAP year or a post graduate (PG) program?
Student can attend our school as a post graduate option. However they will have to follow the grade 12 academic program. 

How long is the program, and when does your school year begin and end?
The program lasts for a full academic year. The school year begins in August and ends in early June. The program is approximately 270-290 days in length including approximately 70 days off of the ship in different ports.

How often can parents communicate with their child?
Typically, parents will communicate with their students in every port of call. There will be WIFI in some ports. In the ports where there is no WIFI, students generally locate cafes or local sim-cards in order to call, skype or Facetime home. There is no WIFI or cell service at sea and only emergency email communication is available, through our office, while the ship is at sea. We encourage all parents to follow the Schools social media platforms where we try to post updates from the ship on a daily basis. You will find us by searching for “aplusworldacademy” on youtube, vimeo, facebook and Instagram.

How often do parents school communication from the School?
Every day, there are postings of the students’ journey on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and/or Youtube and Vimeo. You can find our profile by locating @aplusworldacademy. We also have a monthly newsletter which you can sign up for here, and regular blogposts on our website. Parents can email the Dean or the Head of school with respect to their child’s academic progress and report cards are sent out at the end of each quarter. The head of school also sends out port bulletins ahead of each port, and other information regarding students when relevant.

Are there parent/teacher conferences?
Yes, parents have the opportunity to have a face-to-face parent/teacher conference in the Parent Ports in November/December and March. Parents are welcome to email the Head of school or the Dean of Students throughout the academic year. Our land based Head of School will be available by Skype, email  and by telephone. You can read about the parent ports here.

Which extra curricular activities are available for the students?
After classes, shipboard activities and meals, students have the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of extra-curricular activities. All clubs are student organized so what clubs we offer depends on what the students are interested and what initiatives they start. Popular clubs the last couple of years have been baking club, yoga club, yearbook club and the soccer club. There will also be the opportunity for photo clubs, podcasting clubs, movie nights, game nights and whatever else the students may find interesting.

Are physical activities part of the program?
Fitness, Yoga and aerobic activities are organized on the ship and recreational sports and activities occur sporadically ashore. The primary component of the physical education program onboard is measured through daily watch and seamanship duties which can be physically demanding. Student themselves also create different workout programs

Is there a student government?
Yes students elect three representatives to the student council; a president, a vice president and a secretary. The rest of the student council consist of the watch foremen who act as representatives for their watch. The purpose of  student council is to coordinate student activities, to liaise with the faculty and maritime staff on issues that are important to the students and to assist in the overall good functioning of our tall ship community.

Is there a school uniform?
Yes there is a uniform that consist of a color code for pants and shorts, as well as t-shirts for use at sea and polos for use in port. For formal activities and representations on shore, the Dean of Students shall determine the appropriate dress code. You can see the recommended packing list on the practical information section on our website. School colors are navy (Pantone 281C) and grey (Pantone 877C)

Are there religious observances?
A+ World Academy will accommodate, to the degree possible, the religious observance and practices of its shipboard crew.

Where do the students sleep?
Most students sleep in a hammock that is hung up at night and taken down in the morning. Some students are allotted bunks along the wall of the banjer. Generally bunks are the preferred choice in port while hammocks are preferred at sea as they following the motion of the ship. After lights out, male members of the student body are not permitted in the female student accommodation area, and vice versa.

How much time do we use on school?
Time management varies from student to student, and the better you are at mastering time management the more time you will have for clubs, relaxation or extra deck work. From experience it’s not unusual that students spend 50-60 hours a week on school work, including classes, assignments, essay writing and homework.

Is there SAT / ACT tutoring?
We do not have formalised SAT or ACT tutoring. We may be able to coordinate SAT or ACT testing, although we recommend that students take these tests prior to or following their school year at A+. In the past students have organised study groups focusing on the SATs.

How do I do my college applications?
During your shore leave time you should prioritise time to research and hand in college applications. College counsellors on land and on the Ship may help you in the process, but you must be the driving force in your college application process.

Life in Port

Does a student have free time when at port?
Yes. Around half the time in port is designated as shore leave time where students are allowed to explore a port on their own. This is also time to do the research necessary for the extended essay. Shore leave will not be permitted unless students are in groups of four or more for safety reasons. 

Is there a curfew?
A reasonable curfew is enforced aboard the vessel to ensure students are well-rested and alert for all activities. Additionally, certain ports of call become higher risk environments after dark. The Dean of Students will establish curfews on a port-by-port basis and students will need to check-in with a staff member upon return to the vessel from shore leave.

How long do you stay in each port
Port stays vary from place to place, but in general we stay in a port for 4-6 days.

How do you decide where to go?
Planning an itinerary balance many different concerns. The most important concern is safety, so we plan our route to avoid seasonal storms (such as the fall hurricane season in the Caribbean), places at risk for piracy or places that are politically unstable. We also plan our route for optimal sailing conditions, academic interest, cultural diversity and exploration.

Life on board

Do you have showers and bathrooms?
There are six showers, six bathrooms and a laundromat onboard. There is a female locker room with a mirror, three sinks and three showers with the same on the male side. In order to converse water we encourage all students to do their laundry at laundromats ashore when possible.

What is a typical day like?
The day usually starts around 07.00-07.30. At 07.30 we have breakfast and at 08.00 we have colors (morning assembly). It is at 08.00 that everyone on board musters to receive navigation updates (where we are, how fast we are going, what day it is etc.), if there are any particular plans for the day in addition to hoisting the flag. After colors (around 08.15 to 09.00) we have daily cleaning. This involves rinsing the deck with salt water to keep it from rotting, and make sure that all is clean and tidy around the ship. A normal day usually includes 4-6 hours of class and 2 hours of physicals (helming, lookout, safety and galley). Students are also assigned as idle hands which means that they may be called on to help on deck if needed. The students also take part in a 2 hour night watch every night. In port we spend half of our time on organized port activities and the other half on shore leave, where we always buy SIM-cards, eat good food, talk to family and buy snacks. In addition to that students do all sorts of activities depending on where they are. 

What is the most challenging element of the school?
Adjusting to a high school at sea can bring with it many challenges. Learning to overcome those challenges may be one of the most important values that this school offers.. The most common challenges are sea sickness, home sickness, time management, adjusting to shared living quarters, climbing aloft (voluntary) and night watch.

Do I get seasick?
Most students get seasick in the beginning of the year. Seasickness is something that passes once you get used to the motion of the sea. If you are troubled with motion sickness you should consider bringing motion sickness medication of bandaids.

Do I need to know how to sail?
No. Most of our students have never sailed before. You will go through a rigorous training when you arrive at the school, and your ability will develop throughout the year.

Do I get formal seaman’s training?
Every student must undertake “Jungman” training and students who are interested can also do “Matros” and “Styrman”. Although this is not formal education you will be able to document your training through your students log book. With this documentation you can then apply for formal certification by some authorities. You can read more about the sailtraining under "Student life".

What clothes do I need
We send out a welcome aboard package to students who are accepted to the program. In this document you will be able to find practical information relating to packing lists, orientation week, visas, vaccines and other important information. You can also find the same information under "Practical Information".