Skip to main content

International Students

How do international students apply for admission to college or university?

Colleges may have different admission requirements. Contact the school you wish to attend to learn the application procedures.

You will probably have to submit an international student admission application form, an application processing fee, proof of financial support, proof of English proficiency (TOEFL) and official transcripts. As well, any diplomas or certificates must be sent directly from the college you attended in sealed envelopes. The package may also include literal English translations, additional application forms for your department, letters of recommendation, portfolios, auditions and other tests, such as the GMAT, GRE or MAT.

If you're a graduate student, check with your graduate department for additional requirements.

When should I submit my applications and other required documents for admission?

Contact your college for application deadlines. Some departments may have earlier deadlines than others. Be sure to apply at the beginning of the application cycle, to allow time for processing. Explore Schools to find out more about colleges and universities in the United States.

As an international applicant, when can I expect to know my admission decision?

You should have a decision a few weeks after the college receives all required documents. Be sure to send official documents to the appropriate campus office or you may experience delays.

How much should I expect to pay for one year?

Studying in the United States is an expensive investment. Here are the average annual tuition costs for the 2016-2017 academic year, as reported by the College Board:

  • $3,520 for two-year programs at public community colleges
  • $24,930 for four-year programs at public institutions (out-of-state residents)
  • $33,480 for four-year programs at private institutions

These numbers represent the cost of studies for one year. They do not include housing, transportation or other personal expenses. When other expenses are taken into account, the College Board estimates the following annual costs per student:

  • $13,126 for two-year programs at public community colleges (commuter students)
  • $35,370 for four-year programs at public institutions (out-of-state students)
  • $45,370 for four-year programs at private institutions (commuter students)

Are international students eligible for financial aid? What about scholarships?

International students are not eligible for federal financial aid. Scholarships may be available, depending on the college. If you're interested in a scholarship, contact your college's financial aid office and your academic department for information on available scholarships and application deadlines.

Do I need my immunization information?

Some colleges require an immunization record. Other colleges require only a tuberculosis (TB) test after arriving in the United States. Contact your school for its specific requirements.

What is the TOEFL requirement?

TOEFL is the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Most colleges require international students to have a score of 500 (173 online) or better. Some graduate programs require scores above 500. At other colleges, international students are admitted with low or no TOEFL scores as long as they enroll in an ELSC (Internexus) studies program.

What are the admission requirements for international students?

Foreign students include people who hold U.S. visas as students, exchange visitors or other non-immigrant classifications. Colleges may also require proof of English proficiency (see information about the TOEFL requirement above), financial resources and academic performance. Colleges also require official academic records from foreign institutions before registration for first term, along with certified English translations if the records aren't written in English.


  • Email Support

  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900


Powered by XAP

OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.