Application Deadline

In order to process all necessary documentation, including a student Visa, international applicants must apply and submit all of their documents by the following dates:

November 1, 2022 (for Spring 2023 start)

Please note that the application deadline for Fall 2022 has passed. 

Please contact us at 803.786.3766 with any questions about the enrollment timeline.  

COVID-19 Fall 2022 Enrollment Updates 

Open to International Students 

The Student Exchange Visitor Program continues to review temporary adjustments as necessary for U.S. Colleges and Universities. Our Principal Designated School Official may be contacted directly for any student experiencing difficulty with COVID-19 preparations and safety precautions. At this time, all federal guidance provided prior to the COVID-19 pandemic stands. Have questions? Contact Melissia Brannen at

What if I'm Unable to Return?

In the event a returning international student is not ready or unable to return to campus for in-person instruction, they should contact their P/DSO to discuss arrangements, including terminating status to allow for fully online instruction from their home country. Newly admitted international students who are unable or not ready to join us for in-person classes will have the opportunity to defer enrollment and should contact their Admissions Counselor to discuss details; the P/DSO will only need to be contacted in the event the student has already been admitted and Form I-20 has been requested or received. 

View our COVID-19 Campus Guidance for campus-wide information. 

How Do I Apply as an International Student? 

1. Complete Your Application

We encourage all international students to use the Common Application. Creating an account is simple and straightforward. An application essay is required as part of the process but you can always take a break and come back later.

A photocopy of your passport or a current visa should be uploaded with your application or emailed to your admissions counselor to ensure proper spelling and order of your name. This information is to minimize errors for name mismatch on your I-20.

2. Request Your Official Transcript

Request an official copy of your transcript. Official transcripts should be sent directly from each school you've attended. Please note that we can only accept English translated transcripts, records, and certifications.

Document Evaluation

We highly encourage you to utilize World Education Services (WES), a third-party credential evaluation service to complete a comprehensive report of your previous academic record. For a first-time, first-year student, fees for document evaluation range from U.S. $100-$145. For students who have completed some college-level courses or wish to transfer in from a non-U.S. institution, document evaluation fees range from U.S. $160-$205.

Please use the following address for transcripts and recommendations: 

Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Columbia College
1301 Columbia College
Columbia, SC 29203

3. Share Your TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo or SAT

You must submit scores from either the TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo or SAT. When submitting TOEFL or SAT scores, Columbia College’s institutional ID number is 5117.

Test Score Minimums

TOEFL scores are required for international students for whom English is a second language. The minimum score required for admission on the paper version is 550; the minimum score required for admission on the computer version is 213, the minimum required on the web version is 79, or 6.5 on IELTS.

Duolingo minimum English test score is 105. 

4. Certification of Finances

In order for us to issue an I-20 for study in the United States, we are required to verify that your family can afford the cost of education. Please complete all of the fields in the Certification of Finances form, and indicate the maximum resources available to you for study in the US.

5. Financial Aid

Information on scholarships and grants eligibility for Columbia College can be located with the Office of Financial Aid. Additional information from the U.S. Department of State for special opportunities and financial aid available to International students studying in the U.S. can be located through EducationUSA.

What kind of Visa do I need?

Once you have received your I-20 from Columbia College, you will need to apply for your F-1 visa for entry into and study in the US. We encourage you to visit U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or U.S. Homeland Security for steps, advice, and appropriate forms.

If you are a permanent residents, you are required to submit a copy of your permanent resident card. F-2 visas (F-1 dependents) are only allowed to take classes part-time and cannot obtain a degree.

We are only approved to accept non-immigrant students with F-1 visas (not J-1 or M-1 visas). To request a non-immigration student visa, follow these steps:

Check your I-20

Make sure the name and date of birth on your I-20 matches the information on your passport – if the I-20 information does not match your passport, please contact your designated school official so we can correct the information on your I-20.

SEVIS form I-901

Complete SEVIS form I-901 and pay the SEVIS fee – visit SEVIS to first watch the fee payment tutorial and then go to FMJFEE to complete the form and pay the fee.

Visit an American Embassy

After paying the I-901 fee and receiving a receipt of payment, you may apply for a visa at any American embassy or consulate before you make plans to leave for the United States.

Check your Visa Status

Visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs for useful information on academic studies in the U.S. and the visa process

What Happens Next? 

Admission Decision 

In most cases, we evaluate an application and respond with an admission decision within one week of receiving all the required documentsAdmitted students are notified by mail and will receive follow up information about next steps, like financial aid, housing, orientation, and registration.

Make your Deposit

To save your spot, you'll need to make an enrollment deposit of $200. You can pay your deposit online, through our secure portal.