FAQ for International Students

If you’re still asking yourself “Do I want to study abroad?” the FAQ below may help clear up some of the questions you have about applications, financial aid that may be available for qualified international students and more. Let’s take a look:

What do I need to apply for college in the U.S.?

The requirements for college applications may vary greatly between schools, but some of the documentation you may need includes your transcripts, standardized test scores, recommendation letters and possibly and (possibly) an entrance essay.

What standardized tests may I need to take?

As a prospective international student, you should be familiar with the various exams you may need to take for admission into a U.S. college or university. The four admissions tests are frequently required by U.S. undergraduate and graduate programs include:


Tests your proficiency in English as a foreign language, assessing your ability to use English at the university level. This test requires listening, speaking, reading, and writing. TOEFL is typically mandatory for international students planning to study at a college or university in an English-speaking country.


National college admissions exam accepted by U.S. colleges and universities. The exam tests students’ college readiness in the following areas: Math, English, Reading, and Science. The ACT Plus Writing also includes a 30-minutes writing exam.


Graduate Record Examination, is often a required test for prospective graduate or business students in the U.S. In most cases, you’ll need to take the General Test, which assesses your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills.


College admissions test that assesses your knowledge in three subject areas: reading, writing, and math. If you are an international student planning to attend a four-year college or university in the U.S., you will likely need to take the SAT in order to be considered for admission.

What kind of visa do I need to apply for?

The type of visa that you should apply for will depend on the nature of your studies. For example, if you are participating in an exchange program you may be eligible for a J-1 visa, but if you are attending a vocational school you would need to apply for an M-1 visa. To ensure that you choose the right visa for your particular situation, we recommend that you consult the U.S Department of State for more information. (travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/study-exchange/student.html) 

Is the visa process separate from the application process?

In order to apply for a student visa you must first apply to and be accepted by a SEVP-certified school. Click here for more information on the application process for international students.

How much is college tuition (including room and board) in the U.S.?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, for the 2010-2011 academic year the annual prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board were estimated to be $13,600 at public institutions, $36,300 at private not-for-profit institutions, and $23,500 at private for-profit institutions.I This obviously will vary depending on the school you use and the location.

How can I pay for school as an international student?

Unfortunately, international students are not eligible for federal student financial aid. However, there are international student scholarships out there that may be available if you qualify. Click here to learn more about handling your budget and finding financial aid resources.