International FAQ

Before you Apply

What is a liberal arts college?

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. 

Who is considered an international student?

Mount Holyoke values diversity and recognizes that internationalism can be defined in many ways. 

For the purpose of admission and financial aid, students who don’t hold US citizenship are designated as international students.

The international experiences of US passport holders who live outside the US, as well as students with dual citizenship (US citizenship plus one other nationality) and those holding Permanent Resident or DACA status, will be considered in the admission process.  However, these students do not fit the official designation of international student because they do not require a student visa to study in the United States. 

How internationally diverse is Mount Holyoke?

Currently there are more than 500 international students representing more than 60 countries and 6 continents. Learn about the Class of 2021, including the home countries of its students.

 

The Application Process

Can international students apply Early Decision?

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It's important to remember that an ED application is binding and that all other applicants must be withdrawn if admission to Mount Holyoke is offered.

Must documents be submitted in English?

If your secondary school documents and letters of recommendation are not in English, you must submit notarized translations along with original documents. Translations are also required for any documents submitted to the Office of Student Financial Services.

Are copies of documents acceptable?

Transcripts, standardized test results and English proficiency results are expected to be submitted as official documents. Academic transcripts must be submitted directly from your school and test results must be sent by official test organizations (ETS, College Board, ACT, CIE, Edexcel, etc.).

If your circumstances make the submission of official documents impossible, you may email the Office of Admission to request alternate arrangements. Any approved copies must be emailed directly from a school official with the official’s signature and school stamp.

What if I do not have a school counselor?

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.

What are the English proficiency requirements?

Non-native English speakers are required to submit English proficiency test results (TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic). Mount Holyoke has no minimum score, although the average TOEFL score is over 100, the average IELTS score is over 7 and the PTE is above 68.

All testing must be completed in time for the official score reports to reach Mount Holyoke within two weeks of the application deadline to guarantee that they will be reviewed.

Mount Holyoke does not "superscore" English proficiency results; if multiple test results are submitted, the Admission Committee will review all results, usually putting most emphasis on the test date with the highest composite result.

Based on native language and secondary school language of instruction, a waiver of this requirement may be granted by emailing the Office of Admission 48 hours after the application and required academic credentials have been submitted. If a waiver is approved, but the Admission Committee needs more information to assess the readiness of a candidate, the Committee may request English proficiency testing, a writing sample or an interview at a later date.

Are external/leaving exam results required?

Students from most African countries, the Caribbean, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh are required to submit official external/leaving exam results as soon as they are available (i.e. WASSCE, EGSE, KCSE, CAPE, IGCSE, CBSE,  ISC, SLC). Please ask an official at your school to upload or email exams results to the Office of Admission along with the other required academic credentials.

How is IB and A Level work evaluated?

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. 

What is the policy on using agents for help?

It is not necessary to use an agent to achieve admission to Mount Holyoke College. 

Please note that if we detect that a portion of an application was completed by someone other than the applicant, the application may be denied regardless of the strength of the credentials submitted.


Is financial aid available?

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. 

Which financial documents are required?

Non-U.S. citizens seeking financial aid must submit the College Board PROFILE and a Certified Verification of Income. More details are available at the Office of Student Financial Services website.

Non-U.S. citizens not seeking financial aid are required to submit the Mount Holyoke International Financial Declaration (MHIFD), available through the application status page (login ID and password are emailed to applicants within 48 hours of application submission). A link to the MHIFD appears in the application requirements checklist. Candidates should click on the link and submit the MHIFD form within one week. 

Once Admitted

How do I apply for a visa?

In the middle of May, the document required to apply for an F-1 Student Visa (Form I-20), is sent to incoming international students.

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.

Is housing guaranteed?

Yes. On-campus housing is guaranteed for all four of your years at Mount Holyoke.

More questions?

Don’t see the answer you’re seeking? Take a look at the first year FAQ.

MHC welcomes questions from prospective students and their families, so feel free to email the Office of Admission if you do not find answers 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.