Columbia College welcomes all international students to apply for admission. There is no separate or different application for international students. As a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified school, the College’s Designated School Officials (DSOs) can issue the Form I-20 Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status to assist eligible students in applying for the F visa. If you are an international student who is not sure whether you should seek a non-immigrant student (F-1) visa, please contact Melissia Brannen at

Application Deadline

In order to process all necessary documentation, including a student Visa, international applicants must apply and submit all of their documents by the following date:

  • July 1 for Fall Enrollment
  • November 1 for Spring Enrollment

Please contact us at 803.786.3766 with any questions about the enrollment timeline.  

How do I apply as an international student? 

Third-Party Application Services Statement

Columbia College encourages interested applicants to apply using the Common App. The use of third-party agencies that charge you to assist with the application process is not supported by the College. If you require assistance in determining your status or need assistance with translation of your academic credentials, please contact Dr. Melissia Brannen, Diversity Officer and Principal Designated School Official (PDSO). 

1. Complete Your Application

We encourage all international students to use the common application. Creating an account is simple and straightforward. An application essay is required as part of the process but you can always take a break and come back later.

A photocopy of your passport or a current visa should be uploaded with your application or emailed to your admissions counselor to ensure proper spelling and order of your name. This information is to minimize errors for name mismatches on your I-20.

2. Request Your Official Transcript

Request an official copy of your transcript. Official transcripts should be sent directly from each school you've attended. Please note that we can only accept English-translated transcripts, records, and certifications.

Document Evaluation

Columbia College requires you to utilize World Education Services (WES), a third-party credential evaluation service to complete a comprehensive report of your previous academic record. For a first-time, first-year student, fees for document evaluation range from U.S. $100-$145. For students who have completed some college-level courses or wish to transfer in from a non-U.S. institution, document evaluation fees range from U.S. $160-$205.

Send Transcripts & Recommendations: 
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Columbia College
1301 Columbia College
Columbia, SC 29203

3. Share Your TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo

You must submit scores from either the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo. When submitting TOEFL scores, Columbia College’s institutional ID number is 5117.

English Proficiency Test Score Requirements:  

Columbia College accepts all versions of TOEFL, IELTS and Duolingo tests.

  • TOEFL: Web-based – 79, Computer (testing center) – 213, or Paper (testing center) – 550
  • IELTS: 6.5
  • Duolingo: 105

4. Certification of Finances

In order for us to issue an I-20 for study in the United States, we are required to verify that your family can afford the cost of education. Please complete all of the fields in the Certification of Finances form, and indicate the maximum resources available to you for study in the US.

What kind of Visa do I need?

Once you have received your I-20 from Columbia College, you will need to apply for your F-1 visa for entry into and study in the US. We encourage you to visit U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or U.S. Homeland Security for steps, advice, and appropriate forms.

If you are a permanent resident, you are required to submit a copy of your permanent resident card. F-2 visas (F-1 dependents) are only allowed to take classes part-time and cannot obtain a degree.

We are only approved to accept non-immigrant students with F-1 visas (not J-1 or M-1 visas). To request a non-immigration student visa, follow these steps:

Check your I-20

Make sure the name and date of birth on your I-20 matches the information on your passport – if the I-20 information does not match your passport, please contact your designated school official so we can correct the information on your I-20.

SEVIS form I-901

Complete SEVIS form I-901 and pay the SEVIS fee – visit SEVIS to first watch the fee payment tutorial and then go to FMJFEE to complete the form and pay the fee.

Visit an American Embassy

After paying the I-901 fee and receiving a receipt of payment, you may apply for a visa at any American embassy or consulate before you make plans to leave for the United States.

Check your Visa Status

Visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs for useful information on academic studies in the U.S. and the visa process

What happens next? 

Admission Decision 

In most cases, we evaluate an application and respond with an admission decision within one week of receiving all the required documents. Admitted students are notified by mail and will receive follow-up information about the next steps, like financial aid, housing, orientation, and registration.

Save Your Spot

To save your spot, you'll need to make an enrollment deposit of $50. You can pay your deposit online through our secure portal.

A Campus that Embraces Everyone

We are proud to celebrate the international students, faculty, staff, and alumnae who have come to Columbia College from more than 25 countries! We're a great fit for students of all nationalities because we are a community that proudly celebrates diversity and multiculturalism.

Have questions?

Applying to study in the United States can be difficult, let us help you navigate the application process. We're available at 803.786.3871.