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.

 

Differences between scholarships & financial aid?

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:

  1. Grants, which do not need to be repaid
  2. Loans, which need to be repaid after graduation
  3. 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 SFS through its assessment of the financial aid application) for each admitted student.

The Application Process

When must all application materials be submitted?

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
TOEFL or IELTS November 26 January 1 January 15
SAT or ACT1 November 15 January 1 January 15
Leaving Exams2 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 154 February 154 February 15
Slideroom items1 November 15 January 1 January 15
Interview3 November 26 January 1 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 attend/graduated from schools in African and Caribbean countries unless the curriculum is a western curriculum such as IB, A Levels, AP.

3 Interviews are optional and must be completed by the dates above. This includes on campus, alumna, Skype and third party (InitialView, Vericant, etc.) interviews. Only one interview per student will be considered.

4 After being notified of your admission decision, Early Decision applicants who were admitted, deferred or waitlisted should submit their Mid Year Reports by February 15.

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). NOTE: Duolingo does not meet the College's English proficiency requirement. 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.

To submit TOEFL or PTE Academic results, please refer to the test agency's score reporting procedures.

To submit IELTS results, you must follow the IELTS score request instructions as follows:

  1. Contact the test center directly where you took your IELTS exam
  2. Indicate that you wish your scores to be sent via the IELTS E-Delivery process
  3. Provide the test center with the exact information below:

Account Name: Mount Holyoke College - Admission
Address: 50 College St
City: South Hadley
State: MA
ZIP Code: 01075

Although the Duolingo English test does not satisfy Mount Holyoke's English proficiency requirement, the Admission Committee will review official Duolingo score reports. Duolingo test takers should still submit the official results from one of the English proficiency tests recognized by Mount Holyoke (see above). Self-reported Duolingo results and scored screenshots will not be considered or made part of a student's application record.

All testing must be completed in time for the official score reports to reach Mount Holyoke by November 26 (ED I), January 1 (ED II) and January 15 (Regular Decision) to guarantee that they will be reviewed.

If multiple English proficiency test results are submitted, the Admission Committee will review all results, usually putting most emphasis on the test date with the highest composite result. Mount Holyoke does not subscribe to the College Board's MyBest Scores test option.

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?

Leaving exams and national exam results are required of students educated in African and Caribbean countries whose curriculum includes these assessments.

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. 

When are financial aid applications due?

Please visit the Office of Student Financial Services website for details about financial aid deadlines.

Important: Filing financial aid documents after the application deadline could have an impact on admission decision and/or financial aid eligibility.

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. 

Important: Filing financial aid documents after the application deadline could have an impact on admission decision and/or financial aid eligibility.

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.