International Student Checklist

Heading to college from outside the U.S.? Here's your "To Do" list.

By SLU Staff Writers

Starting your college search far away from the university you want to attend? There is some extra work involved, but it's worth it. Here's what you need to do if you'll be an international student at an American college or university. 

Applying to College? 

Study for college admission tests.

Apply for a passport.

Take the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE. The ACT or SAT is also accepted. Submit these scores to the schools you are interested in.

Contact your college admission counselor. Saint Louis University has admission counselors specifically for incoming international students.

Apply. Make sure the name on your college application exactly matches that on your passport.

Send original or certified secondary school transcripts. Credentials that are required might vary by country. All official transcripts should be accompanied by English translations.

Recommended additional steps: Admission interview with your college admission counselor and send an activity resume and letters of recommendation.

Apply for financial aid.

Accepted to College?

Submit additional documents. A declaration of financial support from the person or agency paying your college expenses, as well as supporting documentation from a bank and your final secondary school transcripts will be required.


Receive your Certificate of Eligibility, either a Form 1-20 for an F-1 student visa or a Form DS-2019 for a J-1 exchange visitor visa.

Pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee to the United States Department of Homeland Security, submit form I-901 and complete all other needed forms.

Schedule a visa interview at your local United States embassy.

Arrange for housing.

Accept your scholarships online.

Get any needed immunizations.

Submit health forms and insurance confirmation to the university.

Visit the university's International Services office.

Make travel arrangements to get to the United States.


Identify your country's closest embassy or consulate.

Reach out to on-campus organizations for international students.

Arrange for airport pick up/transportation to campus.

Attend student orientation.

Pay tuition bill.

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