College admission for international students


The U.S. is a popular destination for international students to attend college. If your student is considering a U.S. university, the admission process involves a few extra steps your student will need to take. We’ll walk you through the basics below. 

What documents are needed for admission?

  • Official academic transcripts from each secondary school, college, university or technical school the student has attended. Transcripts must be submitted in the original language as well as an official English translation. Be sure to check the requirements for the school your student is applying to in order to confirm which options for translations will be accepted. 

  • Record of degrees earned or a list of completed courses. This should also be submitted in the original language and an English translation. 

  • Any relevant test scores, such as the ACT or SAT, and English proficiency scores (more on that later). 

  • An application for an I-20 in order for the student to receive an F-1 or J-1 student visa. 

What tests should students take for admission?

  • Some schools require an SAT or ACT score in order to be admitted to an undergraduate program. In addition, some schools may request SAT II Subject Test scores. Check the admission requirements for each school your student plans to apply to in order to find out which tests are required.

  • If your student is applying to a graduate program, the GRE or GMAT may be required for admission. Not all graduate programs require a test score, so your student should check the requirements so they know which test to take.

What you need to know about English proficiency requirements

Your student has several options for tests they can take to provide proof of English proficiency. 

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL.

  • International English Language Testing System, or IELTS.

  • Pearson Test of English, or PTE.

  • The college or university’s English program. 

The school your student is applying to may accept additional tests as proof, such as the Duolingo English test

Check the international admission website for specific information for each university your student is considering, including minimum required scores.