Frequently Asked Questions from International Applicants

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 November 30. Applicants must also present results from one of the following approved standardized tests: TOEFL, IELTS, ACT or SAT. While scores from more than one test will be considered, applicants are required to submit scores from only one of these four tests. OEFL iTP scores are not accepted. The minimum score required for each test is:

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

IELTS: 6 overall and 5 in each exam area

ACT: 19 Composite

SAT I: 1330 Combined Score or 980 Combined Score

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

All applicants must submit scores from either the TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, 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 will consider scores from a test taken more than five years ago.

Completed application packets must arrive by November 30. Each academic year begins the following August.

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

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 the TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, or ACT again and improving the score gives an applicant a better chance.

Accepted international students will be issued an I-20 after they have paid the $50 entrance fee, 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 $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.

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.

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.

It is absolutely essential that students submit their applications in the required format (a completed packet) by the deadline. We also 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

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, or ACT score report must be submitted along with the application as one single packet.

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 College enrolls students from all around the world.  For the 2019-2020 academic year, students were enrolled from 76 countries.

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.