Admissions Requirements for International Students

Admissions Requirements for International Students

Required Application Materials

Penn State requires a number of different materials from international students to complete an application. Please review the following requirements to ensure you can provide all of the proper documentation to complete your application.

  • Academic Records
    • Secondary School Records
    • Post-Secondary School Records
  • English Language Proficiency
  • Standardized Tests
  • Special Program Requirements

Academic Records

Penn State requires official secondary school records for all international students, as well as official post-secondary records for attempted college/university coursework (if applicable). The following requirements apply:

  • All documents submitted for review must be official, that is, they must be either originals or copies certified by the examining board, an official at the institution, the Ministry of Education, or consulate. A “certified” copy is one that bears an original signature of the registrar or other designated school official, an original impression of the institution’s seal, or signature/seal of the examining board. Uncertified or notarized copies are not considered official documents.
  • All documents should be submitted in the original language. All documents in languages other than English must be accompanied by a certified line-by-line, literal English translation.
  • Should the school, examining board, Ministry of Education, or consulate mail the official document to you, the applicant, rather than Penn State, please forward the unopened envelope to Penn State. Official copies that are not sent directly to Penn State and are opened by the applicant can no longer be considered official.
  • Records can faxed to 814-863-7590, or mailed to:

Penn State Undergraduate Admissions
201 Shields Building
University Park, PA 16802-1294

Please note: All documents submitted as part of the application will be confidentially discarded after our review. If original documents are submitted that must be returned to you, a written request is required at the time the documents are submitted.

Secondary School Records

Secondary records are required for both first-year and transfer international applicants. Transcripts of coursework and grades are required for all years of secondary school study. International applicants should send the following:

  • Secondary school records that list the subjects studied each year and the mark or grade of proficiency earned in each.
  • A key to the marking system with information on the minimum passing mark.
  • Examination results, if you complete secondary school in a country where a secondary school leaving examination (GCE, GCSE, CXC, French Baccalaureate, Abitur, etc.) is administered.
  • Certified copies of diplomas or certificates, if you have already completed secondary school.

In order to know what is required to send, please review our list of required credentials from selected countries.

Review Required International Academic Credentials

Please note: In reviewing an application, we look for students who have successfully completed courses or examinations in the core subjects of mathematics, physical science, social science, and language in all years of high school. Students who have not successfully completed these courses may not be eligible for admission to Penn State.

Post-Secondary Records

If you attend or have attended a post-secondary institution outside the United States, we require the following:

  • Official transcripts, which include all subjects studied each year and the grade/mark earned in each subject.
  • A key to the marking system with information on the minimum passing mark.
  • Course descriptions of all classes you have taken and intend to take prior to the semester in which you hope to enroll at Penn State. If descriptions are not available, please provide 3- to 5-sentence descriptions of each course. Include the content, scope, credits/number of hours for each course or the number of hours per week, and the number of weeks per semester.

If you attend or have attended a post-secondary institution in the United States, official transcripts should be sent directly from the institution to Penn State.

For further information on transferring to Penn State, including program-specific admissions requirements, please see the information for transfer students.

English Language Proficiency

International students whose native language is not English must submit proof of English language proficiency. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are not required to provide proof of English language proficiency, regardless of native language.

If you are providing proof of English proficiency based on one of the test scores listed below, please note that the score reports must be official and come to Undergraduate Admissions directly from the testing service. The scores must be less than two years old. The following are ways in which you can satisfy the language proficiency requirement:

  • TOEFL: A minimum TOEFL score of 80 on the Internet-based TOEFL or 550 on the paper exam (code #2660)
  • IELTS: A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 on the academic test
  • SAT: Score of 530 or higher on the critical reading section (code #2660)
  • ACT: Score of 24 or higher on the English section (code #3656)
  • IGCSE: Score of A, B, or C on the English language exam
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): Score of 5 or higher on the English Language & Literature (SL/HL) exam
  • U.S. College or University: Completed two years of full-time academic coursework at a U.S. college or university and have a grade of C (2.0) or higher in a standard English composition course
  • IECP: Receive official certification through Penn State’s Intensive English Communication Program (IECP)

Standardized Tests

Penn State requires first-year international students to submit an official score from the SAT or ACT examination.

Writing Component and Subject Test

Please note: The writing component of standardized tests (SAT or ACT) is not required. The writing component will not be used as part of our evaluation. If your test scores include the writing component, by all means, have those scores sent to Penn State. Additionally, we do not require SAT Subject Tests.

Please visit the College Board or ACT to arrange to take one of these exams. The code for Penn State that should be listed on the registration form for the SAT is #2660 and for the ACT is #3656. Generally, U.S. embassies and U.S. Information Service (USIS) offices have information on testing dates and places. Please request that your SAT or ACT test scores be sent directly to us.


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