International FAQs | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
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International FAQs

Northwestern hosts numerous international students every year. Here are the most frequently asked questions regarding international studies at Northwestern.

Students holding up flags from various countries

Am I an international student?

You are an international student if you intend to study under an F-1 student visa.

When should I start my application?

We encourage international students to begin the admission process early, as it can take up to a year to complete.

How do I apply?

If you are interested in taking the next step toward enrolling at Northwestern, please complete these steps:

  1. Submit our online college application
  2. Send us your official high school transcript 
  3. Submit your test score (ACT, SAT, TOEFL, or IELTS)

What is the timeline?

Fall 2021 Semester:

  • July 1: Student has all paperwork completed and deposit paid
  • July 16: Visa must be secured
  • August 2: Final remaining balance paid
  • August 15: Arrival to MSP/UNW (Flight arrival should be during the day)
  • August 16: Settle into dormitory/shopping/bank set-up etc.
  • August 18: International Student Orientation
  • August 20: General Orientation

Spring 2022 Semester:

  • December 1: Student has all paperwork completed and final remaining balance paid
  • December 15: Visa must be secured
  • December 20: Airport Ticket Information
  • January 4-5: Arrival to MSP/UNW (Flight arrival should be during the day)
  • January 7: Orientation
  • January 10: Classes Start

*Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these dates may change at any time. Please be in communication with your admissions counselor for the most up-to-date information.

    Can I come visit?

    Yes! International students who are currently in the United States and interesting in applying can set up a time to visit our beautiful lakeside campus.

    How much does it cost to attend Northwestern?

    In the past, the average amount international students such as yourself have needed to supply is approximately 75% of the total cost to attend Northwestern. For the 2019–2020 school year, standard tuition, room and board, and other necessary expenses will be approximately $44,430. Therefore, 75% of that figure is $33,322. International students have paid these expenses through personal funds, sponsorships and outside scholarships, etc. For more details about expenses, you can visit our tuition and fees page.

    Can I work while attending Northwestern?

    International students may apply to work on-campus at Northwestern. Students who have a student visa are generally not allowed to work off campus. We cannot guarantee employment at Northwestern to any international students.

    Do I need to take the TOEFL or IELTS exam?

    All international applicants must take one exam in order to meet the requirement for admission. Below are the ones we accept:
    • ACT = 18 or above
    • SAT (critical reading + math) = 940 or above
    • TOEFL = (ibt = 71), (cbt = 97), or (pbt = 530) or above
    • IELTS = 6.0 or above

    If my current exam score does not meet the minimum requirement can I apply for conditional admissions?

    You may be admitted conditionally by fulfilling one of the below requirements for admission:
    • Retake the ACT, SAT, TOEFL or IELTS and meet our minimum score
    • Attend our partner program, Global Language Institute, and successfully complete the required level of English language training

    I want to transfer credit for my classes from a university outside of the United States. Will I receive transfer credit?

    International students who attended universities outside of the United States must submit official transcript(s) from all post-secondary institutions attended. College transcripts from any international college/university are required to be verified through World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators or any NACES accredited organization.

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