International Students | USC Undergraduate Admission (2023)

Who Is an International Student?

With students representing 135 countries around the world, USC’s vibrant student body mirrors the rich diversity of the global community. International students make up more than a quarter of our entire student population.

(Video) International Applicants: How to Apply for Undergraduate Study

At USC, an international student is defined as an individual who will enter or has already entered the United States with a student visa to live and study in the U.S.–including those on non-immigrant visas such as the E2, H2 or L2 visa.

Please note that students with DACA or other undocumented statuses are not considered international students.

International Students | USC Undergraduate Admission (1)

International Applicant Academic Considerations

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Academic Records
With the few exceptions noted below, international applicants to USC follow the same application steps as other first-year or transfer applicants. We are familiar with the many educational systems from which students apply and will consider your application within the context of your educational environment. When preparing your application, you must:
  • Provide official copies of academic records from all secondary or senior secondary schools, pre-university programs, and colleges and universities attended.* These records must be sent directly from the schools or testing agencies. They must also be submitted in the native language, accompanied by an English translation, if the native language is not English;
  • Send external examination results and/or predicted results, e.g., GCSE/IGCSE results as well as predicted IB or A-Level results, Indian board examination results, Australian ATAR, etc.; AND
  • Affirm that your application and all presented work is your own, factually true, and honestly presented.

When completing the Common Application, please write your name as it appears on your passport and/or your I–20 or DS–2019. If the name on your academic record is different from that on your passport, enter the name from your academic record in the “Preferred name” section. As an international student, you must provide a valid address outside the United States that is not a P.O. box, even if your current mailing address is in the United States. Please submit a copy of your current passport together with the required forms.

USC does not contract with, nor is represented by, non-USC entities such as educational agents in the recruitment and selection process.

*High school and/or secondary school academic records should include what is considered the equivalent of U.S. grade 9 through U.S. grade 12, with students on track or having already completed the equivalent of a U.S. high school diploma prior to the start of their USC enrollment.

Admission Expectations
We expect international applicants to have qualifications equivalent to the standards of our U.S. applicants. We accept a range of international qualifications. Students should send external examination results or predicted results. Examples: predicted IB, Indian board exam, GCSE/IGCSE, predicted A-Levels, Australian ATAR results, etc. Below are the admission requirements for a few common educational systems. Please contact the Office of Admission for more information.

International Baccalaureate
We typically require the full Diploma with strong academic performance (scores of 5-7 on all HL and SL exams) across all subjects. Please include predicted grades with your application.

British Curriculum
Please send external results for GCSE/ IGCSE examinations in addition to predicted results for A-Level/Pre-U subjects. Students are not eligible for admission with only IGCSE/GCSE results. Students are admitted with predicted A-Level results and will be asked to verify their final results once they are released. Competitive applicants will have predicted results of a B or above for at least three A-Level/Pre-U exams. There are no subject requirements for entry into USC.

Complete Year X and Year XII state board or CBSE/ICSE exams. Competitive applicants typically achieve high marks, primarily A1 and A2 grades or scores above 80.

Successful students enrolled in the Chinese National Curriculum achieve high marks, primarily 90+ out of 100 and 135+ out of 150. For students in an international curriculum, refer to academic expectations for IB or A-Level results.

French Baccalaureate
Students enrolled in French Baccalaureate schools are expected to earn scores of 10 or higher, and most competitive applicants typically score 14+ points in each subject.

Standardized Test Scores
USC will continue our test-optional policy for the upcoming year, meaning that first-year applicants to the 2023-24 academic year are not required to send SAT or ACT scores to apply. If sent, SAT or ACT scores will be considered in admission review alongside other relevant academic information.

However, please note that international applicants who wish to use either the SAT or ACT to demonstrate their English language proficiency will have their scores assessed for both English language proficiency and general admission review.

More information about this test optional policy can be found on ourFrequently Asked Questionspage.

International Students | USC Undergraduate Admission (2)

International Applicant Financial Considerations

Need-Based Financial Aid for International Applicants

USC does not offer need-based financial aid for international applicants. Therefore, allinternational applicants must provide, at the time of application, financial documentation affirming their ability and intent to finance USC’s full cost of attendance (tuition and expenses) for at least the first academic year. Financial documentation must be verified by a bank and dated within the past year. Applicants relying on support from their home government or another official agency must send USC a similarly appropriate financial support document from their sponsor at the time of application.

Merit Scholarships Eligibility for International Applicants

All international applicants who submit an application by the appropriate deadline are eligible for USCMerit Scholarships. Merit scholarships are not based on financial need and are awarded on the basis of a comprehensive academic and scholastic review of an applicant’s candidacy. There are no minimum eligibility requirements for USC Merit Scholarships. Scholarship selection is a highly competitive process, and therefore international applicants should not rely on these awards to demonstrate their ability to pay. No USC Merit Scholarship covers the full cost of USC attendance.

Financial Statement of Personal or Family Support

The United States government requires all international applicants to provide proof of ability to pay tuition and living expenses before USC can issue a formal letter of admission and the forms required to obtain a visa.

Please be aware that international students will not be able to pay for the full amount of their educational expenses by working while they are in the United States. U.S. government regulations strictly limit employment authorization and require holders of student visas to be full-time students. Therefore, job opportunities are extremely limited.

The Financial Statement of Personal or Family Support includes:

  • Asigned form.
  • Proof of sufficient funds (see list of acceptable documents below).
  • Copy of current passport.

For timely and accurate admission review, the Financial Statement of Personal or Family Support should be uploaded via your USC applicant portal at the time of application. To see the current estimated cost of attendance for USC students, please visit theFinancial Aid website.

Acceptable documents*:

  • Bank statement.
  • Bank letter.
  • Organizational sponsor (government, corporation, etc.).
  • Approved/sanctioned education loans. “In-principle” sanctioned loans will not be accepted.
  • Investment portfolio.

*Documents must be dated August 2022 or later.

Documents NOT typically accepted:

  • Tax returns.
  • Tax documents in general.
  • Mortgages.
  • Employment or salary statements.
  • Pending or Provisional Education Loans.
  • Property (real estate, jewelry, automobiles, etc.) valuations.
  • Life insurance.
  • Retirement accounts.
(Video) University Interview for International Students| Interview Experience for Scholarship and Admission

International Students | USC Undergraduate Admission (3)

EnglishProficiency Expectations

Academic, extracurricular, and professional success at USC depends on the ability to engage in academic English confidently and comfortably. Because of this, all USC international applicants must effectively demonstrate their English language proficiency as part of the admission review process.

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All international applicants whose native language is not English should plan on submitting an USC-approved English proficiency examination for admission consideration. USC’s approved exams and recommended minimums are:

  • TOEFL (or TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition) with a minimum score of 100 and no less than a score of 20 in each section.*
  • IELTS (or IELTS Indicator) score of 7.
  • PTE score of 68.
  • 650 on the SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section.
  • 27 on the ACT English section.

*We do not accept TOEFL ITP Plus for China.

USC’s most competitive applicants submit English proficiency exams above the minimum ranges. For example, the average TOEFL iBT score for admitted students is 111, scoring a 25 or higher in each section. Applicants are admissible with scores below the recommended minimums, however, at reduced admission rates.

Considering the continued challenges with testing accessibility abroad, we have expanded our options to demonstrate your English language abilities. If you are not able to sit for one of the USC-approved examinations, you can instead sit for the Duolingo English Test. You must achieve a minimum score of 130.

All international applicants admitted to USC with only the Duolingo English Test are required to sit for the International Student Exam offered through USC’s American Language Institute upon matriculation. Students who submit a valid USC-approved English language proficiency exam do not need to sit for the ISE exam upon matriculation.

English Language Proficiency Supplements

USC does not offer evaluative admission interviews. USC applicants may choose to submit DuoLingo, InitialView, and/or Vericant interviews as additional and optional means of showcasing their English proficiency. Third-party interviews are used only as an additional tool to assess English language ability and are not evaluative in nature. To ensure timely review of your application, we encourage you to submit any additional English interview supplements by December 1 if applying Early Decision or by January 31 if applying Regular Decision. Please note that your USC application fee does not include the cost of the supplement.To learn more about these opportunities, please visit the websites forDuolingo,InitialView, andVericant.

International Students | USC Undergraduate Admission (4)


Is it harder for international students to get accepted? ›

Is it harder for international students to get accepted at US universities? In general, no. Many international students are accepted into US universities every year. In 2020, the average acceptance rate for international students at top US universities was 43.8%.

Is it hard to get into University as an international student? ›

As outlined in that post and in our methodology, we've found that it is between 2–3x more difficult for international students to gain admission to top US colleges when compared with domestic students.

How much harder is it for international students to get into college? ›

Go into the US college admissions process with realistic expectations based on a more accurate understanding of the admissions statistics: on average, it's 2–3 harder for you if you're an international student.

Do international students get accepted more? ›

For many schools, the international admissions rate is less than half that of the overall admissions rate. This means that international students are competing against each other in numbers just as large as domestic US students but for fewer spots.

Why is it harder for international students to get into college? ›

As a result, while over 100 universities and colleges are “need-blind” for qualified US students, only a handful (5 or 6) are for international applicants. Thus because international students are held to a higher standard in terms of ability to pay, they face lower admission rates.

Why do international students get rejected? ›

Common Reasons behind Student Visa Rejection

Lack of sufficient financial funds or proofs to support foreign education. The inability of confirming a necessary return to India after completion of education. Incorrect or false documents. Inadequate language or communication skills.

Do colleges favor international students? ›

Many schools admit most or nearly all international applicants. It's easier for prospective international students to gain admission to some U.S. colleges than others.

Is acceptance rate lower for international students? ›

The main factor that lowers international student admission rates is that schools try to mostly accept domestic students. Only about 10% of the student body is international at most schools.

Do grades matter for international students? ›

American schools use a Grade Point Average (GPA) system for grading students. As a foreign student, US colleges might have a hard time interpreting what your grades mean – which is why your SAT scores will matter more. There are no minimum academic requirements for all colleges in the US.

Which university accepts most international students? ›

New York University

What are the easiest universities to get into for international students? ›

Easiest Universities to Get into in the USA
  • Boston Architectural College.
  • Cameron University.
  • Dickinson State University.
  • Feather River College.
  • Granite State College.
  • Glenville State College.
  • Montana State University-Billings.
  • Maharishi International University.

What do colleges look for in international students? ›

Entry requirements depend on individual colleges, but generally as an international student you can expect to be asked for your grades from high school, a standardized SAT or ACT test result, a TOEFL or IELTS English language score (if applicable), and an essay (or a personal statement) demonstrating why you want to ...

Which university gives admission fast? ›

Evidently, ESUT is one of the best universities you can gain admission easily in Nigeria. The university has the least number of students who apply for admission every year. Thus, if you are looking for a university you can gain admission with an average score in JAMB examination, you can apply for this university.

Can international students fail? ›

F-1 regulations require that students should be making “good academic progress”. However, DHS has recognized that students may fail a class and this does not affect your status.

Which country is most popular for international students? ›

USA. For decades, the US has reigned supreme as the world's most popular study abroad destination. The country's prestigious institutions dominate global university rankings, attracting students from across the world with an appetite for academic excellence.

How many colleges should international students apply to? ›

4–6 is enough for some applicants but often students apply to 8 or more. If you don't know how to pick colleges, that is a big blind spot you'll need to address. Can you be an out-of-state and an international student?

Can international students Get likely letters? ›

Orakwue report for The Harvard Crimson in a piece entitled “Who Gets Likely Letters?,” “Athletes aren't the only ones who might receive the coveted likely letter. Sasha Agarwal '24-25, an international student from India, received a likely letter that cited her academic, extracurricular, and personal accomplishments

Do international students get college acceptance packages? ›

Usually, you will receive both an electronic as well as a hard copy of your acceptance letter, but this may depend on the university in the US.

What do you do if all universities reject you? ›

How to deal with being rejected by a university
  1. Validate your emotions. No one likes rejection in any form. ...
  2. Find ways to relax. ...
  3. Create a list of pros and cons. ...
  4. Stick to what makes you happy. ...
  5. Change your perspective. ...
  6. Chat to a friend. ...
  7. Visit other universities. ...
  8. Rejection doesn't define you.

What happens to international students if they fail? ›

Failure to academically engage in the course may put a student's visa status at risk. Schools monitor designated academic sessions/meetings/coursework that all students would be expected to attend/submit as a normal part of their studies.

Can you ask universities why you were rejected? ›

Universities don't have to give you a reason, but if the rejection has left you wondering you could contact the university to ask for feedback.

Why do universities accept international students? ›

International Students Foster a Diverse Campus Environment

Universities that bring in foreign students and work hard to foster a culturally diverse campus environment offer students authentic opportunities to learn about themselves and the world they live in.

Is GPA necessary for international students? ›

Most study abroad programs require a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, and programs accepting students with a GPA under 2.5 are rare. But low grades don't have to ruin your dreams of studying overseas. There are limited programs with relaxed requirements out there—you just have to be motivated and know where to look.

What is the minimum GPA for international students in USA? ›

International transfer requirements

A 2.0 cumulative GPA from a US institution or college OR 3.0 cumulative GPA from a USA high school is required for full admission. If you are coming from a language center, a 2.5 converted GPA is required.

What's a good GPA for an international student? ›

Good Academic Standing

A student is doing satisfactory work when a GPA of 2.00 or better is maintained and substantial progress is made toward completion of graduation requirements.

Do universities accept lower grades 2022? ›

You may find that your grades fall short of the entry requirements you needed for your university offer. Don't despair yet! There's still a chance a university will accept you with lower grades if you narrowly missed the mark (though trying your luck with three Cs when your offer was ABB probably won't work).

Can weak students study abroad? ›

There is no need to worry because even with a low GPA score, there are ways through which you can still apply to universities abroad.

Which country gives students visa easily? ›

A: Undoubtedly, you need to put some effort to acquire a student visa for any country, however, the most prominent options to accomplish easy attainment of student visa as an Indian student are Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Which university has high acceptance rate for international students? ›

US Universities With Highest Acceptance Rates for International Students
Name of the UniversityUS News Rank 2023International Student Acceptance Rate in Fall 2021
University of Cincinnati15185%
Seton Hall University1377%
Iowa State University of Science and Technology12786%
University of Colorado Boulder9780%
7 more rows

Which country is best for international students 2022? ›

Top 10 Study Abroad Destinations for 2022
  1. Italy. With its amazing food, sexy language, beautiful art, and dynamic history, Italy is the most sought-after destination for aspiring study abroad students. ...
  2. Spain. Spain boasts historic festivals, siestas, and flamenco dancers. ...
  3. England. ...
  4. France. ...
  5. Germany. ...
  6. Australia. ...
  7. Japan. ...
  8. China.
8 Sept 2022

What is the hardest university to be accepted into? ›

Top 10 Hardest Colleges to Get Into
  1. Harvard. Cambridge, MA. 3.19%
  2. Columbia. New York, NY. 3.73%
  3. Caltech. Pasadena, CA. 3.92%*
  4. Stanford. Stanford, CA. 3.95%*
  5. MIT. Cambridge, MA. 3.96%
  6. Princeton. Princeton, NJ. 4.38%*
  7. Yale. New Haven, CT. 4.47%
  8. Brown. Providence, RI. 5.03%

Do international colleges care about GPA? ›

The minimum GPA requirements for study abroad programs vary by institution, faculty, and partner university. Most programs require at least a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale), but some programs out there that do accept lower GPAs!

What are five factors that universities look for when accepting students? ›

Students should know that many factors influence admission decisions, including:
  • Courses taken.
  • Grades received.
  • Class rank.
  • Standardized test scores.
  • Personal statements and essays.
  • Recommendations.
  • Extracurricular activities.
  • Interviews.

How do international students get into university? ›

Usually, you can apply through the website of the university directly and submit all the required documents or send them by post. In some countries, you can apply through a specific online platform that is easier to use and also gives you the possibility to apply to more universities at once.

How can I increase my chances of admission? ›

  1. Earn Good Grades in Challenging Courses. ...
  2. Get a High SAT/ACT Score. ...
  3. Write a Compelling Personal Statement. ...
  4. Demonstrate Interest. ...
  5. Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation. ...
  6. Apply to a Diverse Selection of Colleges. ...
  7. Opt for an Early Admission Plan. ...
  8. Manage Your Online Reputation.

How can I get admission easily? ›

Preparing and passing your JAMB examination is the way to gain admission in Nigeria. The simple rule is that the higher your JAMB score, the higher your chances of gaining admission. I implore you to strive to get a high JAMB score. Read how to study and pass JAMB excellently to know the right strategies to score high.

How long do universities take to accept you? ›

The average turnaround time for an admissions decision for schools with rolling admissions is four to six weeks, though in some cases students might have to wait longer. For regular decision candidates, the wait is more like eight to 12 weeks.

Which country rejected visa most? ›

Which Countries Have The Highest Rejection Rates? According to Schengen Visa Statistic 2021, the 4 countries with the highest rejection rates were: Sweden, Norway, France, and Denmark.

Which country is cheapest for student visa? ›

The cheapest countries are the preferred choice among international students. So many countries offer programs at affordable tuition fees.
Living Cost.
CountriesAverage Living Expenses (in Lakh)
New Zealand5.47
7 more rows
16 Aug 2022

Which country has highest student visa acceptance rate? ›

Australia is known as the best student destination globally because of its high-quality education, low cost of living and opportunities to work. Australia welcomes international students from all over the world, and the higher education system in Australia differs from other countries.

Why do international students struggle? ›

International students can experience challenges in a number of areas, including language barriers, academics, social and cultural differences, discrimination, financial stressors, and mental health concerns. These are not easy problems to overcome, and there is so much we all can do to help.

Is it harder to get into uni as an international student? ›

Yes, it really is as difficult as you've heard, probably even more. The most elite universities reject 98-99 international applicants for each one they accept. You can improve your odds by being among the best students in your country.

Which country is best for undergraduate degree? ›

5 Best Countries For Undergraduate Studies
  • USA.
  • UK.
  • Canada.
  • Australia.
  • Germany.

Which country is difficult study? ›

Which country has the hardest education system? South Korea, Japan, Singapore are a few countries which have one of the hardest education systems.

Which country is No 1 in education? ›

The United States

Is applying to 4 universities enough? ›

When it comes to the number of colleges you should apply to, many experts suggest students submit four to eight applications, though some experts recommend submitting as many as 15 applications. Regardless of expert opinion, your college decisions depend highly on your wants and needs.

Is 7 colleges enough to apply to? ›

There is no magic number, but five to eight applications are usually enough to ensure that a student is accepted into a suitable institution (depending, of course, on the individual student's record and circumstances). This number should be made up of a combination of “safety,” “match,” and “reach” colleges.

Is acceptance rate higher for international students? ›

For many schools, the international admissions rate is less than half that of the overall admissions rate. This means that international students are competing against each other in numbers just as large as domestic US students but for fewer spots.

Which college accepts the most international students? ›

Universities hosting the most international students in the United States in 2020/21
CharacteristicNumber of students
University of California - Los Angeles, CA10,273
University of California - Berkeley, CA9,184
University of Washington, WA8,777
University of Texas - Dallas, TX8,475
9 more rows
17 Nov 2021

Which country accepts most international students? ›

United States

Which country accept international students easily? ›

August 4, 2021
Sr NoCountryNo. of Students
6 more rows
4 Aug 2021

Is it harder for international students to get into Harvard? ›

What is the rate of acceptance for International students at Harvard? Answer- The university receives approximately 62,000 applications from international students every year. However, the acceptance rate is only 12.2% for them.

Which country give visa easily? ›

Iceland. With a rejection rate of just 12% if a visa is applied from the New Delhi consulate, chances are that you will get an Iceland tourist visa easily. This is also because since the country receives less visa applications, this country is also a good option to get a visa to the Schengen area.

Which country provide visa easily? ›

Luxembourg. Getting a work visa in Luxembourg is relatively easy, and the country offers a number of options from short-term to long-term.

Which country is cheapest for international students? ›

Some of the best places to study abroad are also ones where tuition fees are low, or even non-existent. Read on to find out more about 10 of the cheapest countries to study abroad, in no particular order…
10 of the Most Affordable Places to Study Abroad
  • Norway. ...
  • Taiwan. ...
  • Germany. ...
  • France. ...
  • Mexico. ...
  • India. ...
  • Argentina. ...
  • Poland.

Which country is No 1 in study? ›

Russia has the world's most highly-educated population, with over half of Russian nationals holding a university degree. One major advantage of studying in Russia is the scholarship opportunities available. Each year, the Russian government grants thousands of scholarships to international students.

Which country has highest student visa success rate? ›

Australia is known as the best student destination globally because of its high-quality education, low cost of living and opportunities to work. Australia welcomes international students from all over the world, and the higher education system in Australia differs from other countries.

Which country has most international students 2022? ›

The UK is the top choice of international students. The UK is the most preferred and desirable destination. And it is according to the best countries for international students 2022. According to QS city rank, the United Kingdom has a group of best student cities.

Which country sends most international students abroad? ›

According to data collected by Studyportals, the top five countries where Indian students choose to go abroad are:
  • Canada.
  • Germany.
  • Australia.
  • United States.
  • Italy.
4 Oct 2022

Which Ivy League is easiest to get into for international students? ›

Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate.

Do international students get acceptance package? ›

Usually, you will receive both an electronic as well as a hard copy of your acceptance letter, but this may depend on the university in the US.


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