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International Students at Columbia College-Elgin

Three Korean students

Yes, you part of Columbia College!

At Columbia College-Elgin, we welcome international students and work with them to ensure a smooth admissions and academic process.

Checklist for transfer students requesting admission to Columbia College-Elgin

  • Complete the application for admission with a $35 application fee
  • Request official, original transcripts from all colleges/universities in the native language and an official English translation of these transcripts be mailed directly to the Elgin campus
  • Show proof of English proficiency: TOEFL score of 500 or above on the paper-based exam or 173 or above on the computer-based exam; proof of completion of an equivalent of English Composition I with a grade of 'C' or higher; or APIEL score of 3 or higher
  • Provide a bank statement issued within the last 90 days to show ability to pay for tuition, living expenses and other personal/educational needs. The amount must be a minimum of $14,780.
  • Provide copies of your current I-20 form, visa, I-94 card and valid passport
  • Complete the SEVIS Supplement Form PDF document icon
  • If transferring from another U.S. institution, submit the completed Transfer Authorization Form PDF document icon

Once these documents are received and reviewed, you will be notified of the admission decision in writing. If eligible, your I-20 will be issued and sent to the Elgin campus office.

Maintaining your F-1 status

  • Attend the college or university you are authorized to attend
  • Enroll full-time for each academic session - full-time is 6 credit hours every eight weeks. Six hours includes two land-based courses or one land-based and one online course
  • Report any address changes to the Associate Director of the Elgin campus within 10 days of the change. This includes both addresses in the U.S. and your home country
  • Do not work off campus unless you have received prior authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. For more information, please contact the Elgin campus
  • Have the school official endorse page 3 of your SEVIS I-20 form if you are traveling outside the United States during breaks and vacation periods
  • Request a new I-20 form whenever you make a change in degree level or change of major
  • Apply for an extension if you are not able to complete your program by the end date indicated on the I-20. Extensions must be filed at least 30 days in advance

Other important information

Enrollment and Attendance: Students may be authorized for a reduced course load for medical necessity or during the final session of enrollment. You must have authorization prior to taking a part-time course load.

Vacation: Summer is considered the normal vacation period for international students. However, students who wish to take a different term for vacation must have completed four successive sessions and enroll for the next available term.

Optional Practical Training: Students have the option to apply for optional practical training. The application must be submitted prior to the completion of studies - preferably two sessions before completing the degree requirements.

Reinstatement: International students have up to five months to request reinstatement if they fail to maintain status.

Completion of the Program: International students have a 60-day grace period after the completion of their program to depart the United States and return home, or transfer to another U.S. institution to start a new program. This information applies to students who are not doing OPT.

For more information

If you have any questions, please contact the Elgin campus at (847) 214-7197, or email at