College Planning Resources
International Student Applicants
The admissions criteria for international students varies, and standards and procedures are set by individual colleges and/or universities. The following information is intended to assist international students in the admissions process:
- Admissions offices generally designate specific parties to assist international students and answer questions. It is always wise to make contact, ask questions, and learn details about policies and procedures related to admissions for international students.
- Generally, applications for permanent residents are subject to the same criteria as U.S. citizens; unique requirements apply only to non-citizens who do not have their green cards.
- The government sponsored Federal Student Loan Program is only for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. (A limited number of colleges offer need-based financial aid to international students who do not qualify for government sponsored aid.)
- It is important to contact the admissions office/financial aid office of each university to which you are applying, as some colleges require international students to provide a certified bank letter guaranteeing the availability of sufficient funds to finance tuition.
- Most colleges require or at least strongly recommend that students submit a TOEFL score if English is not their first language.
- The computer-based TOEFL is administered at local branches of Prometric Testing Centers in Davie and Coral Springs as well as at the University of Miami Testing Center. Students can obtain detailed information and schedule testing appointments by utilizing the following contact information:
- Websites for the Prometric Centers:
- Telephone Numbers:
(954) 423-0782 for the Davie location
(954) 340-2750 for the Coral Springs location
(305) 284-8378 for the University of Miami Testing Center
(609) 771-7100 for TOEFL general information
(888) 863-3544 for TOEFL score information
What is the definition of an international student in the admissions process?
An international student is defined as an applicant who is not a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident/green card holder.
How does being an international applicant affect the admissions process?
Most American colleges and universities aim to “build a class” comprised of diverse talents, cultures, and interests, in addition to satisfying certain institutional needs. This goals includes national and international geographical diversity. As a result, colleges seek to have representation among a range of countries and continents. Applicants from countries that are well represented in the applicant pool may face stiffer competition in terms of admission, while applicants from less represented geographical areas may be more prominent in the applicant pool.
What are some issues that international students consider in deciding where to apply?
Like domestic students, international students often have fixed ideas about what are “good” or “acceptable” schools. International students should consider that there are over 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States that provide a rich and broad array of academic and intellectual opportunities. See your counselor to discuss which colleges are the best “fit” for your post-secondary goals. We recommend that you cast your net wide in the application process.
What are some of the procedural pieces of the college process that are unique to international students?
Most colleges ask international students to include an affidavit of support and a certification of finances as part of their applications. An affidavit of support is a legal document signed by a parent or guardian stating that he or she will be responsible for all tuition, room and board and other fees for the four years of college. A Certification of Finances is a certified document from that person’s bank that reflects that the parents or guardian has the requisite funds to pay for four years of college. Most colleges require originals of these documents. Green Card holders are exempt from this requirement. Students can find the College Board’s International Student Certification for Finances Guidelines on most college websites.
What about financial aid for international students?
International students who are applying for aid should be aware that many colleges do not offer need-based aid for non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents. Other schools have limited need-based funds for international students. At many schools, financial need increases selectivity and can limit where student applies. When international students apply to schools with limited need-based funds for international students, they must understand that there are not enough dollars to meet the full need of every admissible international applicant with financial need. As a result, colleges often have to select the most academically talented and geographically attractive applicants for admission among the qualified students who need financial aid. Financial aid at many schools is based solely on family income and assets. Colleges will ask international students and their families to provide current information about income and assets. Many schools ask students to complete the College Board International Student Financial Aid Application.