International Student Services



International Student Services

» Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a difference between a university and a college?
International students are often confused about the difference between universities and colleges in America. Some people use the terms interchangeably, since both refer to institutions of higher learning where students complete four-year programs leading to an undergraduate degree. Historically, universities have also offered graduate and doctoral degree programs, while colleges have not. However, many colleges—such as Elmhurst—have recently added selected graduate programs to their academic offerings. Here we offer several graduate programs in addition to approximately 50 undergraduate fields of study.

Is there a special application for international students?
No. International students should follow regular admission procedures for new freshmen or transfer students. However, you are also required to:

  • Submit both secondary school academic records, including all grade reports (transcripts), and leaving/national examination certificates. These records must be in both the original language and certified English translation. The original language records must be official school records—sent directly to Elmhurst College by the school —and must bear the official stamp or seal of the school. Certified copies, if sent by the school and bearing the stamp or seal of the school, are acceptable.
  • Submit transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended or are currently attending. These records must be in both the original language and certified English translation. The records must be official school reports—sent directly to Elmhurst College by the school—and must bear the official stamp or seal of the school. Certified copies, if sent by the school and bearing the stamp or seal of the school, are acceptable. A syllabus for each course taken may also be needed for transfer credit to be awarded.
  • Complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System(IELTS) or the Michigan English Language Assessment  (MELAB). English proficiency must be demonstrated by scoring a minimum of 550 (paper)/213 (computer)/79 (Internet-based) on the TOEFL, 6.5 on the IELTS or 77 on the MELAB. Completion of Intensive Level 112 at an English Language School is accepted in lieu of these tests.

Are there any local resources in my country that can help me prepare my application and advise me regarding the visa application process?
We highly recommend that you contact our local U.S. Embassy/U.S. Consulate/Office of Public Affairs for referral to an overseas educational advising center near you, or consult the list available at the web site of the U.S. Department of State's Education USA web site.

How do I transfer from a two- or four-year college to Elmhurst College?
If you are transferring from another college or university, please contact an Elmhurst College admission counselor as soon as possible. General information, as well as information specific to international students, can be found on the Elmhurst College Admission web site. Transfer students who have been admitted to Elmhurst must complete and submit the Transfer-in Form for F-1 Students.

What are my test score requirements if English is not my first language?
As proof of your ability to complete college-level work in English, we look for minimum scores of 550 on the paper-based TOEFL, 213 on the computer-based TOEFL, 79 on the Internet-based TOEFL, 6.5 on the IELTS,  or 77 on the MELAB. In lieu of these scores, you may achieve Intensive Level 112 at an English Language School. (Follow this link for more information about program and locations.) Please note: This requirement applies even to students who are bilingual and have studied in an English-speaking country. If you’d like to request a waiver of this test requirement, please contact Stephanie Levenson at

Should I take any tests in addition to the TOEFL?
Yes. New freshmen (and transfer students with less than one year of transferable credit) also need to complete either the American College Test (ACT) or the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).

Do you need my transcripts?
Yes. Ask your secondary school to send either the original or a certified copy of your transcript, as well as your leaving/national exam certificates, directly to Elmhurst College. These should be in their original language, accompanied by a certified English translation, and should bear the school’s official stamp or seal. The Secondary School Credentials List included in the International Guide for Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions provides a list of the credentials required as part of your application to Elmhurst. If your country of origin is not listed, or if you have special needs, please contact Stephanie Levenson.

International transfer applicants should submit transcripts from all colleges or universities attended. A syllabus for each completed course may also be needed before transfer credits can be awarded.

The educational system in my country is different than that in the U.S., and your application doesn’t seem relevant to my experience. What should I do?
Please submit official certified copies of your transcripts/ leaving exams/certificates/mark sheets. If these records are not in English, also include a certified English translation. If you have questions, please contact Stephanie Levenson.

Do you offer scholarships or other financial aid to international students?
Yes. Although Elmhurst College cannot offer need-based aid to international students, those who are academically well-qualified are eligible for a limited number of merit-based scholarships. For a complete listing of available opportunities and deadlines, visit financial aid.

Are international students eligible for on-campus employment?
Yes. while on-campus employment is not guaranteed, international students who maintain F1 status are eligible to apply for on-campus employment. They are not eligible for work/study positions. For a more detailed explanation of student employment at Elmhurst College, visit student employment. For a list of campus job opportunities, visit student job opportunity. Please view the Employment Workshop presentation for additional information.

Do I need to pay any deposits before arriving at Elmhurst?

  • A $100 nonrefundable advanced tuition deposit must be paid before you can register for classes
  • A $300 refundable housing deposit is required if you plan to live on campus
  • A $200 nonrefundable graduate tuition deposit is required of graduate students only

When will I receive my tuition bill and how can I pay it?
You should receive your first bill about 30 days before classes start if you registered early. If you register after August 15 (Fall Term) or after January 15 (Spring Term) you will receive your bill a few days after you register. If you do not receive a bill on schedule, contact the Office of Student Accounts; international students who do not maintain their account in good standing risk violating their F1 status. Remember, it is your responsibility to see that all charges at the College are paid in a timely manner.

You have several payment options:

  • You can pay via an international wire transfer. Contact the Office of Student Accounts for instructions.
  • You can pay online on Bluenet with DISCOVER, VISA, MasterCard or Amex.
  • You can pay in person by cash, check, or credit card at the Office of Student Accounts.
  • You can mail your payment by check or credit card to the Office of Student Accounts.

What are my housing options at Elmhurst College?
Most international first-year students live in residence halls on campus. International transfer students can also live in campus housing if they notify the Office of Residence Life in a timely manner, or they can arrange for private housing.

How do I reserve campus housing?
If you indicated on your application that you want to live in campus housing, you will receive information from the Office of Residence Life regarding how to apply for it. Housing does tend to fill up quickly, so be sure to send your housing deposit and application as soon as possible.

Can I check into residence halls early and on weekends?
Residence halls open approximately one week before the first day of classes. However, arrangements can be made for earlier and weekend check in. Please contact the assistant director of international student services to make these arrangements.

Is campus housing available before the term starts, and during holidays and breaks?
Campus housing is available one week prior to the international student welcome. Some campus housing remains open during holidays and breaks for those international students who need it, but food service is very limited at those times.

How far in advance should I arrive in the U.S.?
You may arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date on your I-20. You should plan to arrive at least a day or two before the international student welcome that is held at the beginning of orientation week so that you can rest from your trip.

Are there any useful resources that will help me prepare for study and living in the United States?
You can download the booklet Getting Ready to Go: Practical Information for Living and Studying in the United States at the EducationUSA site.

Which airports serve the Chicago area?
Most international flights arrive at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, though Midway International Airport also serves the Chicago area. O’Hare is the more convenient location.

Is transportation available from the airport to campus?
The assistant director of international student services can usually arrange for you to be picked up from the airport, if you give sufficient notice. Otherwise, you can take a taxi or limousine from the airport to campus.

What are some resources that I might find helpful after I arrive?
Immigration Issues

ACLU Know Your Rights

City of Chicago

City of Elmhurst

Metra Commuter Railroad

Chicago Transit Authority

Whom should I contact with questions about my account at the College?
Office of Student Accounts:
(630) 617-3013
Fax: (630) 617-3487

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