International Admission FAQ
The answers here are meant to help you before, during and after you apply to Mount Holyoke.
We welcome questions from prospective students and their families, so feel free to email the Office of Admission if you do not find answers on this page or elsewhere on our website. Please do not send the same message to multiple staff; messages sent to the general admission email account will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member for response.
Before you apply
The flexibility and choice that are hallmarks of the liberal arts and sciences education are two of the most compelling reasons that international students choose to study in the United States.
A liberal arts and sciences education is a concept rarely found in educational systems outside the United States. It combines both depth (intense study in an academic major) and breadth (the opportunity to explore other areas of interest beyond the academic major) to produce graduates who are not only scholars in their chosen fields, but well-rounded interesting people who are conversant about a wide variety of subjects.
Liberal arts and sciences colleges emphasize critical thinking, analysis, writing and communication skills that are more relevant than ever in today’s fast-paced, globally interconnected world. Graduates see connections among different ideas, opportunities and challenges, making them extremely adaptable throughout their lifetime.
Scholarships are merit-based awards whereas financial aid is need-based.
Scholarships are awarded by the Admission Office based on the student's application for admission within the context of the full applicant pool. The Admission Office considers academic information, transcripts, grades, test scores (if applicable) alongside writing samples, letters of recommendation, and background to determine which students will be awarded merit-based scholarships. Scholarships are a "gift," meaning they do not need to be paid back. All students are automatically considered for scholarships when they apply for admission and their eligibility for a scholarship does not have anything to do with a family's financial situation.
Need-based financial aid is packaged by Mount Holyoke's Office of Student Financial Services (SFS). Students should apply for financial aid if their family is not able to pay the total cost of attendance to Mount Holyoke. The financial aid application (the CSS Profile and tax returns) provides SFS with the information they need to determine how much each family can pay toward the total cost of attendance at Mount Holyoke. This is known as the demonstrated financial need or eligibility for financial aid.
Financial aid is awarded based on a family's financial need, not based on academic or extracurricular accomplishments. Several components can make up a financial aid award:
- Grants, which do not need to be repaid
- Loans, which need to be repaid after graduation
- Work study, which guarantees a campus job in order to support personal expenses while enrolled such as books, cell phone and personal items.
Mount Holyoke promises to meet the demonstrated financial need (as determined by Student Financial Services through its assessment of the financial aid application) for each admitted student.
During the application process
Admission officers begin reviewing applications long before students receive their admission decision. As a result, in order to avoid a delay in your admission decision, the latest dates to submit all required and optional credentials are as follows:
|Early Decision I||Early Decision II||Regular Decision|
|Application||November 15||January 1||January 15|
|English Proficiency||November 26||January 1||January 15|
|SAT or ACT1||November 15||January 1||January 15|
|Leaving Exams2||November 15||January 1||January 15|
|National/External Exams3||November 15||January 1||January 15|
|Recommendations||November 15||January 1||January 15|
|School Transcripts||November 15||January 1||January 15|
|Mid Year Report||February 155||February 155||February 15|
|SlideRoom items1||November 15||January 1||January 15|
|Interview4||November 26||January 3||January 25|
1 The submission of SAT and ACT results are optional. Music, art or other talent submissions are optional. Students electing to send talent portfolio items must utilize the Common App or Coalition App link to SlideRoom.
2 Leaving exams are required of students who already graduated from secondary schools in African and Caribbean countries unless the curriculum is a western curriculum such as IB, A Levels, AP.
3 National/External exams are required of students studying in a national curriculum or a program such as IGCSE which includes external assessments, usually after year ten.
4 Interviews are optional and must be completed by the dates above. This includes on campus, alum, Skype and third party (InitialView, Vericant, etc.) interviews. Only one interview per student will be considered.
5 After being notified of your admission decision, Early Decision applicants who were deferred or waitlisted should submit their Mid Year Reports by February 15.
Yes. International students are welcome to apply as Early Decision (ED) candidates if they are certain that Mount Holyoke is their first choice.
It's important to remember that an ED application is binding and that all other applicants must be withdrawn if admission to Mount Holyoke is offered.
If your school does not have a counselor (advisor) for students applying to university, please ask a school official such as a principal or head teacher to complete the School Report form and submit it with your secondary school transcript. If this person cannot upload it directly to your application, please have them email scanned copies of the documents to the Office of Admission from their official school email address.
Students who have completed leaving exams and national/external exams are required to submit their results.
What must be submitted with the application for admission?
Applicants must submit academic transcripts documenting day-to-day performance in secondary school, including previous external exam results (if any) and predicted grades.
Is credit awarded for IB or A Level coursework?
Students who have completed the full IB Diploma with a total of 36 or more points, including three higher level grades of 6 or 7, are eligible to apply for sophomore (second-year) standing. Students who have completed 3 A Level courses with grades of C or better may apply for advanced standing of 8 credits (usually the equivalent of two Mount Holyoke courses) per A Level exam.
When is credit awarded?
Advanced standing is granted after a student has been admitted, arrives on campus, and presents official exam results to the Office of The Registar.
Need-based financial assistance is awarded to admitted international applicants (non-US citizens) based on their financial eligibility as determined through review of the CSS Profile. Applicants must apply for financial aid at the same time they apply for admission. Need based aid is awarded for four years, so candidates anticipating financial need at any time during their Mount Holyoke career must apply for aid as a prospective student. After a student has been admitted, it is too late to initiate an application for aid.
Important: Filing financial aid documents after the application deadline could have an impact on admission decision and/or financial aid eligibility.
After you are admitted
The document required to apply for an F-1 Student Visa (Form I-20), is sent to incoming international students in mid-May.
Mount Holyoke’s McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives issues the Form I-20. Questions about this process should be emailed to Jenny Medina, Immigration Advisor for International Students.
Yes. On-campus housing is guaranteed for all four of your years at Mount Holyoke.