Office of Admissions

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the admissions requirements?

Applicants must meet university entrance requirements in their own country and be able to present outstanding secondary or leaving exam results. Applicants must submit a complete application packet and it must arrive in the Office of Admissions by January 15 of the year in which they intend to enroll.. Applicants must also present results from one of the following approved standardized tests: TOEFL, IELTS, ACT or SAT I. While scores from more than one test will be considered, applicants are required to submit scores from only one of these four tests. The minimum score required for each test is:

TOEFL: 500 (paper-based); 173 (computer-based); 61 (internet-based)

IELTS: 5 overall and 5 in each exam area

ACT: 17 Composite

SAT I: 1210 Combined Score (current version); 810 (previous version); and 430 Critical Reading (either version)

Applicants must be fluent in the English language in both oral and written areas.

Do I have to take the TOEFL?

All applicants must submit scores from either the TOEFL, IELTS, SAT I, or ACT. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

Students whose native language is not English are strongly encouraged to take either the TOEFL or IELTS exam. Non-native speakers may submit results of the SAT I or ACT; however, they are much more likely to achieve a higher score on the TOEFL or IELTS. The College Board strongly recommends that colleges not accept TOEFL scores that are more than two years old. In extenuating circumstances, Berea College will consider older TOEFL scores, but almost never scores from a test taken more than five years ago.

When is the application deadline?

January 15, 2014. The next available term for international admission is Fall 2014.

When are admissions decisions made?

The International Admissions Committee reviews applications during the month of March each year. Applicants who are offered admission are notified in early April.

Can an international student apply for Spring Term admission?

No. New international students may enroll only in the Fall Term of each year.

Can an international student apply for admission more than once?

Yes, and many do. However, doing so does not improve the chances of being accepted. Sometimes, taking the TOEFL, IELTS, SAT I, or ACT again and improving the score gives an applicant a better chance.

Can international students transfer college credit to Berea?

Yes, but we rarely offer admission to transfer students.

When do accepted students receive an I-20?

Accepted international students will be issued an I-20 after they have paid a $50 entrance fee and placed on deposit the required $2,200, and after we have received official documentation of all academic records.

What is the cost per year?

All admitted international students receive financial aid and scholarships that cover 100% of tuition, room, board, and fees for the first year of enrollment. In subsequent years, international students are expected to save $1,000 (US) to contribute toward their expenses. The College does provide summer jobs to international students so that they may meet this obligation. Accepted international students are also expected to pay a $50 (US) entrance fee and a $2,200 (US) deposit to confirm their enrollment. This deposit can be used by international students for certain expenses during their four years of enrollment. For students who are unable to pay all or a portion of the deposit, additional financial aid is available.

When must I pay the $50 entrance fee and $2,200 deposit?

Payment must be made  by May 1st if the student expects to enroll. Students who have been offered admission to Berea will receive a letter from the Office of Admissions with specific details on the payment deadline and instructions for submitting payment. The College does have some sources of financial aid to help cover this amount, depending upon the student’s family financial circumstances. The I-20 is not issued until the required payment has been received.

How many international students do you have?

Each year, we admit about 30 new international students. In a typical school year, there are about 120 international students enrolled from approximately 70 countries around the world.

Where is Berea and what is it like there?

Berea College is located in the small town of Berea (population 12,000) which is located in central Kentucky about 40 miles south of the moderately sized city of Lexington (population 300,000). The terrain is hilly. Temperatures range from 60-90 degrees Fahrenheit during spring and summer and from 20-40 degrees Fahrenheit during the fall and winter. However, it can and does get hotter and colder, but usually not for extended periods of time.

Do you have a host family program?

Yes, many families in the Berea area participate in this program, providing international students a “family away from home” and an opportunity to get to know the American lifestyle better. It is, however, not a home-stay program and not a source of financial aid. All international students are encouraged, but not required, to participate.

Do you offer an English as a Second Language (ESL) program?

International students must have mastered the English language sufficiently to understand and participate in class lectures and discussions, read required texts and other materials, and complete written and other assignments.

However, all enrolled international students will take an exam when they arrive on campus to determine if the student needs to take an ESL course. Even the most fluent speakers of English sometimes have a little difficulty at first getting accustomed to American speech (and particularly American speech in the South).

Can you explain the work program?

Because the Berea College work program is considered part of our educational and financial aid programs, international students are able to participate even without work permits. Each student is required to work at least ten hours per week. Most international students work 15 – 20 hours per week and earn over $2,000 during the school year. Students may also remain in Berea during holiday periods and the summer months. During these times, students may work a full 40 hours per week.

Do you have accommodations for families?

No, Berea College is not prepared to provide accommodations or financial support for families. Students should also be advised that their earnings in the Berea College work program are not sufficient for them to provide for both their own expenses while enrolled and support for their family at home.

Do you have graduate programs?

No, Berea College offers only undergraduate work leading to a Baccalaureate Degree. Students who have already earned a Baccalaureate Degree are not eligible for admission.

How can I improve my chances of being offered admission?

It is absolutely essential that students submit their applications in the required format (a completed packet) by the deadline of the year in which the student plans to enroll. We also suggest that you give very careful attention to your autobiographical statement which will help the International Admissions Committee get to know you as a person and understand your purpose in applying for admission to Berea College, as well as plans for your career.

Can recommendations and test scores be sent separately?

No, a completed application packet is always required.

Every year we receive around 3,000 requests for applications, which later generates an enormous amount of application activity. The Admissions Office staff cannot process individual or miscellaneous application materials sent apart from their application packets. Since so many students submit completed application packets, incomplete application packets are not considered for admission. All components of the application, including recommendations and a copy of the TOEFL, IELTS, SAT I, or ACT score report must be submitted along with the application as one single packet.

What are my chances of being offered admission?

Admission to Berea College is extremely competitive. We receive hundreds of applications each year from very well-qualified applicants from all over the world, and can enroll only about 30 new international students each year.

Where are your international students from?

Berea College enrolls students from all around the world. In recent years, students have come from Afghanistan, Albania, Antigua & Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kampuchea, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, People’s Republic of China, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Sierra, Sierra Leone, Slovak Republic, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tajikistan, The Gambia, the former Tibet, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Yugoslavia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

How many students do you admit from a given country each year?

Berea is very interested in the cultural diversity which international students bring to our campus and we strive to have students from all parts of the world. It is rare that more than one student from any country be offered admission each year.

How are admissions decisions made?

During the month of March each year, members of the International Admissions Committee read and review all eligible applications. Their final decisions are based primarily on academic credentials, financial need, ambition and sense of purpose, and cultural and geographic diversity.

What accreditation is held by Berea College?

Berea College is a fully accredited college of the liberal arts and sciences by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission of Colleges. Courses taken at Berea are transferable to any regionally accredited college or university in the United States.

Can international students apply to pre-professional programs?

International students can participate in pre-professional programs. However, international students should be aware that after they complete their courses of study at Berea College, they must go through a separate application process with the college, university, or institute that they will wish to attend after Berea College. When transferring to, or beginning graduate studies at a new college or university, an international student will have their I-20 transferred to the new school.  A new visa is only required if the student leaves and needs to re-enter the United States.

Does Berea College accept international transfer students?

Although Berea College does accept applications for international transfer students, we typically reserve our very limited space for students who have had no opportunity to study higher education whether in their home country or abroad. Also, if you have earned any university credit after completing secondary school, you must apply as an international transfer student. We cannot accept a student as a new student if they have previously earned university credit.

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