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International Student Admission Policy


This policy sets out the College’s procedures and principles for the admission of international students to Columbia College.


This policy applies to all international students at Columbia College.


Columbia College is welcoming of international students and encourages applications from non-citizens. An international student is categorized as a foreign-born person who is not a citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States, nor individuals who have been granted asylum or refugee status. Applicants who have applied for residency or citizenship must provide all application materials necessary to be considered for international admission until residency or citizenship has been granted. The College does not extend admission to undocumented persons (students who are currently granted classification as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are exceptions).

International students seeking a SEVIS I-20 Form from the College for an F-1 visa are eligible for undergraduate admission through the Day Campus, Elgin Campus, Denver Campus, or Salt Lake Campus only. International students who are accepted for admission will receive a housing contract and I-20, if applicable. International students not seeking an I-20 from the College may apply for admission to any venue so long as the current visa status of the applicant allows for academic study while in the United States. Persons in F-2 status may apply for admission to the College only as non-degree students and are limited to part-time avocational and recreational studies. There are several other visa types that are eligible for full-time study at the College. International applicants should contact the Admissions Office for enrollment eligibility information.

New International undergraduate freshmen

International applicants are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must complete a full sequence of university-preparatory studies that would qualify for admission to post-secondary studies in their home country. In general, students who present a minimum 2.5 cumulative grade point average from university preparatory studies are considered for admission. This requirement is equivalent to the twelve-year program of elementary, middle, and high school in the United States.

International Undergraduate Student Application Process

International applicants must provide complete application materials as outlined below. All documents must be received by the College no later than four weeks from the start of the fall semester and no later than five weeks from the start of the spring semester respectively. To be considered for admission to the College, an international student must:

Submit the application for admission

  1. Submit the SEVIS Supplement form.
  2. Request official, original secondary school records in the native language and an official English translation to be sent directly to the Admissions Office. The College evaluates advanced secondary school education from other countries, such as the British Advanced Level Examinations, the French Baccalaureate, the German Abitur, and the Canadian CEGEPs. Students who successfully have completed advanced secondary school education may receive advanced standing or transfer credit at the College. Such credit is evaluated on a course-by-course basis. Students may be asked to submit course descriptions and/or course syllabi for evaluation purposes.
  3. Request official, original transcripts (in the native language) from each college/university attended and an official English translation to be sent directly to the Admissions Office.
  4. Submit official bank documents to provide evidence of adequate financial support (in U.S. dollars) for one year of study at the College.
  5. Demonstrate evidence of English language proficiency.

Complete a Transfer Recommendation Form and furnish a copy of a valid passport, visa, I-94, and I-20 from the last school attended if transferring to the College from an institution in the U.S.

International Graduate Student Application Process

International applicants are required to submit the following materials to be considered for graduate admission. All documents and fees must be received before Columbia College will issue an I-20 Form. Application materials should be sent to: Graduate Admissions, Columbia College, 1001 Rogers Street, Columbia, MO 65216.

  • A completed and signed application for graduate admission.
  • Proof of English language proficiency as evidence by a TOEFL score of at least 550 on the paper-based exam or 80 on the Internet-based exam. The minimum IELTS score required to demonstrate English language proficiency is an overall band score of 6.5 with no individual band below a 6. See English Proficiency Requirements below.
  • Official, original transcripts in the native language from each undergraduate and graduate college or university attended, as well as English translations that are notarized by the translator.
  • Three completed Columbia College graduate program recommendation forms. All should attest to the applicant’s ability to successfully perform graduate work and at least 80% of the quantified descriptors should be in the two highest categories. Applicants should utilize the recommendation forms available during the application process.
  • A personal goal statement which establishes a correlation between the goals of the graduate degree program and the applicant’s personal and professional goals and a summary of relevant work experience. Applicants must also submit a current, professional resume.
  • Official bank documents attesting to the applicant’s or the sponsor’s ability to pay tuition, books, supplies, fees, and living expenses for one year. Students must also complete a SEVIS Supplement form. The total cost of attendance will be determined on an annual basis by Columbia College.
  • Students transferring to Columbia College from an institution within the United States must complete a Transfer Eligibility Form and furnish a copy of a passport, valid visa, I-94 and I-20 from the last school attended.

International applicants attending the Columbia, MO, Elgin, IL, Denver, CO or Salt Lake, UT campuses may speak with their local campus representatives for information on admissions requirements and the issuance of I-20 Forms.

Students who have studied graduate-level work at international universities/colleges may petition to receive graduate transfer credit. International institutions will be checked for regional accreditation; if an institution does not have regional accreditation, then the institution will be evaluated per the Office of the Registrar international credentialing process (see Evaluation of Credit and Testing  for additional information on the transfer process.)

Because of the legal requirement that international students must take a specific proportion of their classes in a face-to-face setting, not all degree programs are available to international students. Please consult with the Director of the International Center before deciding on a program.

The College reserves the right to deny admission to any applicant and to deny and/or rescind admission to any applicant who provides false or misleading information to the College.

English Proficiency Requirements

All applicants whose native language is not English (regardless of citizenship) must provide proof of English proficiency. Please see the English Proficiency Requirement Policy for specific information.


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