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The Admission Process for International Students at U.S. Online Colleges and Universities

It’s easier than ever for international students to apply to U.S. online schools. Here’s what to expect.

From master’s to doctoral to certificate programs, online learning is becoming increasingly popular around the globe. If you’re living outside of the U.S. and are interested in attending a U.S.-based online college or university, the admission process may be easier than you realize. Many U.S. online institutions have developed streamlined procedures that help remove the stress from the application process, so you can keep your focus on your ultimate goals for your online education.

Here’s what many U.S. online colleges and universities will request as part of their international admission process:

The Admission Process for International Students at U.S. Online Colleges and Universities


Regardless of what online degree program you’ll be pursuing, expect U.S. colleges and universities to request a copy of your transcripts from previous education as part of the application process. Transcripts, which are typically required for U.S.-based students as well, help schools gauge all applicants’ past academic performance and level of education achieved. International students, however, must have their transcripts evaluated to determine the academic equivalency to U.S. education standards.

English proficiency test scores

Since you’ll be learning online in English, U.S schools typically request official scores from one of four English proficiency tests:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)
  • Academic modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • The Pearson Test of English

Because online learning success at a U.S. college or university depends on your ability to read, converse, and write in English, U.S. schools require a minimum English proficiency test score for admission.

Goal statement

Depending on the online degree program you’re interested in, many U.S. schools require a written statement about why you’d like to pursue a certain field of study at that particular institution. If you’re passionate about a particular academic area, writing a goal statement shouldn’t be difficult. And if you have any questions, many U.S. colleges and universities have friendly, knowledgeable Enrollment Specialists who are available to answer questions about your goal statement and other elements of the admission process.

Current résumé

In addition to a completed application, many online universities in the U.S. require a résumé for admission. Some U.S. colleges and universities may want to know how their degree programs align with your past and current professional experiences—and how you will put your online education to work after graduation.

Walden University, an accredited institution offering more than 80 online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, has supported students and graduates from more than 175 countries in earning their degrees.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,