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Can I Attend U.S. College With a Foreign High School Diploma?

Every year, thousands of foreign students attend U.S. schools. They gain admittance based on their previous education, including high school diplomas or equivalencies awarded by their home country’s educational system. In 2011, the number of foreign students enrolled in United States colleges reached a record 764,495, with large numbers coming from Asian and Middle East nations.

Foreign Students College Admissions: Apply Early

Most colleges accept foreign student applications, although the application process is slightly different than for domestic students. While it’s always wise to apply to college as early as possible to ensure placement, foreign students should allow extra time for their application. If you are selected, you’ll need to secure a student visa, arrange for housing and plan your relocation — all time-consuming projects. The more time you give yourself, the less stressful you’ll find the process.

Early application may also improve your chance of securing scholarships, either from your home country or your chosen college. Remember most American students apply to several colleges, as admission to a particular institution is not guaranteed.

U.S. Diploma Equivalency

Foreign students applying to U.S. academic institutions should remember their home country’s education system may be very different from the U.S. system. Because of this, a college admission department may not be able to judge if your education matches that of American students.

Most U.S. colleges request foreign students have their high school diplomas and transcripts evaluated by third-party foreign credential academic evaluation services, which closely examines your transcripts to ensure your education meets U.S. requirements. In effect, the evaluation service compares your country’s high school requirements into their U.S. equivalencies.

Do remember, however, that this “translation” does not include actual translation from other languages into English. If your diploma is written in a language other than English, you’ll need to have it translated before sending the translation copy to the evaluating services or choose an evaluating service that includes translation services, like SpanTran. Never send your actual diploma — always submit a copy to avoid problems if the original gets lost.

Hundreds of thousands of foreign students attend college in the United States every year, based on academic achievements in their own country. You can as well.