Apply as an International Student

Berea College has a long history of welcoming students of all nationalities, religious faiths, races, and ethnicities. If you come to Berea, you will surely be welcomed. Admission to Berea College is competitive, and students are encouraged to read all information provided here before submitting an application. Check out this guide with step-by-step instructions on how to apply.  Please contact us with any questions.

InternationalEarly Action IRegular
Application DeadlineOctober 15January 15
Decision Notificationmid-Decembermid-March
Deposit DueApril 1May 1

The following items are required to complete an application for admission. All materials should be submitted via the online application portal.

1. Apply for Free Online

Complete the Berea College Application for Admission for International Students when it becomes available in August. There is no application fee.

2. Personal Essay

The essay should be 2-5 pages. As this essay may be used to assist in course placement, students should receive no assistance in writing or editing the essay.  The essay prompt is provided to all students once the online application is submitted.

3. Copy of official secondary school records

These must include all secondary school records, university transcripts, matriculation exams, and other leaving exams appropriate to your country. Academic records should be translated into English and the copies certified by school officials.

4. Two Teacher Recommendation Forms

Whenever possible, you should request that persons writing recommendations on your behalf submit the official form provided via the online application portal. You may also download the form here and upload the completed form to your online application portal.  We will accept written recommendations, preferably typed, which are not completed using our official form.  All recommendations should be written in English.

5. Financial Resources Confirmation Form

This form should be completed by a school administrator, employer, religious leader, or another individual who can make a statement about your personal and financial resources, as well as barriers, as they relate to your pursuit of higher education. This form may NOT be completed by a close relative.  The Financial Resources Confirmation Form should be written in English.

6. Official Test Scores

All international applicants must submit a report from one of the following exams: IELTS, Duolingo, TOEFL, SAT or ACT. This requirement includes students from English-speaking countries. You must provide a copy of your test report as part of your online application, even if you have requested an official copy be sent to Berea from the testing center.  International applicants may NOT apply test-optional.

Worldwide Wednesdays

Available for international students, join us for our virtual Worldwide Wednesdays! This visit is designed to allow international students the chance to learn more about Berea College and the application process. Worldwide Wednesdays feature a 20-minute information session with an Admissions Counselor and a 60-90 minute live virtual tour of campus.

Register for a date that suits your schedule:

September 7, 2022, 9 a.m. EST

October 5, 2022, 2:30 p.m. EST

November 2, 2022, 9 a.m. EST

December 7, 2023, 2:30 p.m. EST

January 11, 2023, 9 a.m. EST

Additional Information

  • Costs and Financial Aid
  • Previous International Applicants: If you have previously applied to Berea and wish to apply again, a new online application must be submitted, including all supporting materials (test scores, transcripts, recommendations, etc.). Please be sure to tell us of any college or university coursework you are currently pursuing or have completed since your last application.

Frequently Asked Questions

Applicants wishing to be considered Early Action must submit all application components by October 15.  The Regular Deadline for August enrollment is January 15.

Once a complete application has been processed, a confirmation email will be sent to the applicant. All Early Action applicants will receive an update on their admission decision status in December. Regular admissions decisions will be released no later than March 31.

Accepted international students will be issued an I-20 after they have submitted the required $2,200 deposit and completed all required forms (e.g. passport bio page, medical history form).

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 $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.

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.

Students who are unable to submit an online application may apply by completing all steps outlined in our international admission packet and mailing their completed application in one envelope to the Office of Admissions no later than their chosen deadline.

Applicants must meet university entrance requirements in their own country and present outstanding secondary or leaving exam results.  Applicants must also present scores from one of the following approved standardized tests:  TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, ACT or Duolingo. The minimum score required for each test is:  

TOEFL:  520 (paper-based); 190 (computer-based); 68 (internet-based)

IELTS: 6 overall, 5 in each area

ACT: 19 Composite

SAT:  980 Combined Score

Duolingo: 95

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

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 will consider scores from a test taken more than five years ago.

Applications must be fully submitted no later than January 15.  Each academic year begins the following August. 

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

Yes, and many do. However, doing so does not improve the chances of being accepted. Sometimes, taking an English proficiency exam again and improving the score gives an applicant a better chance.

Each year, we admit about 30 new international students. In a typical school year, there are about 120 international students enrolled (nearly 10% of the student body) from over 70 different countries around the world.

Berea College is located in the small town of Berea (population 14,000) 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.

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.

No, 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 one 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).

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.

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.

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.

We suggest that you give very careful attention to your personal essay, 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.

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.

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.

Members of the International Admissions Committee read and review all eligible applications using a holistic approach when considering academic credentials, financial need, ambition and sense of purpose, recommendations and cultural and geographic diversity.

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.

International students can participate in pre-professional programs except for Pre-Engineering. 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.

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 follow the international application guidelines and include all transcripts from universities previously attended.