College Admission Requirements

Universities look for a variety of factors before deciding to admit international students. No single factor can ensure admission. Admission to college is very competitive and international students will need to demonstrate high academic standards, sufficient financial resource, and proficiency in English. Each school sets their own admission requirements and many academic departments have additional requirements.

University Transcripts

Admission of international students into a U.S. college is based heavily on their previous academic performance. International students must provide an original, official transcript from any university or secondary school attended. An official English translation of the transcripts may also be needed. Applicants should have above average grades.

English Language Requirement and Test Scores

You will need to take either the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or the American College Testing (ACT) and submit the scores to your university of interest. These scores are used as one factor in determining your admission, but high SAT scores weigh heavily on the final decision.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is also required to demonstrate a basic proficiency in the English language. Students from native English speaking countries are usually exempt (Australia, Bahamas, British Guyana, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Jamaica, Liberia, New Zealand, Trinidad, Tobago, and Zambia).

Universities will have a minimum score at which they accept students. The minimum score is usually between 500 and 550 on the paper based test or 173 and 220 on the computer based test. If students do not meet the minimum TOEFL requirement they may often enroll in an intensive English language program at the university that should prepare them for taking classes.

Financial Statement

Paying for college can be very expensive and universities require that you prove your ability to pay. International student have to submit a financial statement that demonstrates adequate financial resources to meet educational expenses during the entire duration of the degree. Most universities have a specific form that students have to complete. 

Application Fee

Applying to schools in the U.S. costs money. Almost every application requires a fee to be submitted with it. The fee can be paid in the form of international postal money order, a check drawn on a US bank or complete or credit card. This fee is usually non-refundable and is often between $50 and $100.

Other Requirements

Each school will have its own admission requirements in addition to those mentioned above. Some common additional requirements include: letters of recommendation in English from a former teacher or counselor and writing samples.