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FAQs

International Admissions and Related Processing Questions

  1. What are the admission requirements for international students?
  2. What are the application deadlines?
  3. Can I apply online?
  4. When can I see a counselor?
  5. When can I register?
  6. How many units am I required to take?
  7. Can I take online courses?
  8. Do you have an ESL (English as a Second Language) program?
  9. What if I have a low score in ESL/English and/or math on the placement test?

Financial Questions

  1. How much does it cost to attend each semester?
  2. Are my fees due at the time of registration?
  3. Are there scholarships for international students?
  4. Do I have to purchase the college-approved health insurance? If so, how much is it?

Immigration Questions

  1. How do I apply for a student visa?

International Admissions and Related Processing Questions

  1. What are the admission requirements for international students?

    • Checklist of Required Documents
      We accept scanned documents for application purposes, but original or certified documents must be mailed to the International Student Program Office at the college of your choice. Only applications with all of the supporting documents will be considered. Please Note: Students under the age of 18 will need to show proof of high school graduation or the equivalent.
    • Select college of your choice and major (List of Majors) OR select from the List of 1-Year Certificate Programs (offered only at Skyline College).
      • Cañada College
      • College of San Mateo
      • Skyline College
    • Complete and submit the online International Student Application for Admission at: https://smccd.edu/international/apply/index.php.
    • Submit proof of English proficiency. A minimum score or higher on any of the following examinations is required for admission:
      TOEFL – 480 (paper based) or 56 iBT (internet based) or IELTS Band 5.5
    • Complete the Financial Data Form included in the application below and submit a Bank Verification of Funds document showing funds of at least $20,000 for tuition, fees and living expenses.
    • Submit original or certified English translations of your high school/university transcripts. For high school equivalencies, see Approved High School Equivalencies.
    • Submit a non-refundable $50.00 USD application fee by: international money order, bank draft (payable through a U.S. branch), or Application Fee Form. Cash is not accepted.
    • Submit a Personal Essay (300 words in English explaining your educational and career goals).
    • Submit copy of Passport
    • Submit a completed Release of Information Form only if an agent, family member, or friend assisted you with this application.
    • Submit a completed Authorization for a Minor Student form only if you are a student under the age of 18.
  2. What are the application deadlines?

    Semester Application Deadline Classes Begin
    Fall July 1 August
    Spring November 15 January

  3. Can I apply online?

    Yes. Required documents may be faxed or scanned for initial review. Original test scores must be submitted by mail prior to the student’s arrival to the college.

    Apply Now

  4. When can I see a counselor?

    New international students meet with a counselor during International Student Orientation before they register for classes.  All students are encouraged to meet with a counselor once a semester.

  5. When can I register?

    New international students receive assistance to register for courses from the International Student Office during the International Student Orientation. 

  6. How many units am I required to take?

    All international F-1 students are required to be enrolled on a full-time basis.  Full-time means at least 12 units during the Fall and Spring semesters.  Enrollment for the summer session is not required.

  7. Can I take online courses?

    Yes. However, the number of online courses that may be taken is limited. Immigration regulations require international students to enroll in and complete a minimum of 12 units each semester, only three online units can be counted towards full-time enrollment. Nine units must be in-class coursework every semester.

  8. Do you have an ESL (English as a Second Language) program?

    Cañada College, College of San Mateo and Skyline College do not offer an intensive ESL program. Applicants must submit proof of meeting our minimum English proficiency requirement. 

    If your TOEFL score is below 480 (paper-based) or 56 (iBT) or you have an IELTS of less than 5.5, you have an option of attending one of our partner language schools first.

    List of partner schools and proficiency requirements

  9. Do I have to take any exams prior to registering for my classes?

    Yes.  All students are required to take placement tests in ESL (if your native language is not English) or English and math.  Test results will indicate appropriate English and math courses for the student’s academic program.

  10. What if I have a low score in ESL/English and/or math on the placement test?

    For low scores in English, we do offer ESL classes based on your placement test results.  Our math classes range from remedial to advanced math.

Financial Questions

  1. How much does it cost to attend each semester?

    International students are required to have one year of available funds (as verified in your sponsor’s bank statement). This covers all of your estimated expenses such as tuition, fees, living expenses, books, and health insurance for the year. You only need to pay these fees as they are incurred. For example, you pay for your registration fees one semester at a time.

    List of itemized expenses

  2. Are my fees due at the time of registration?

    Yes. Students should be prepared to pay all fees at the time of registration or by the fee payment deadline. You also have the option of signing up for a payment plan at the time of registration. The payment plan has an enrollment fee of $20 and payments may be made in monthly installments until the end of the semester.

  3. Are there scholarships for international students?

    International students can apply for the Global Beca Scholarship during the application period.  Once a student has completed a minimum of one semester, there are other scholarship options.

    More about scholarships

  4. Do I have to purchase the college-approved health insurance? If so, how much is it?

    Yes. San Mateo Colleges require all international students to purchase the college-approved health insurance policy prior to registration each semester. Private plans are not accepted unless they are from a government sponsored program or it is a private plan that offers comparable health insurance (as verified by the international program staff). For your health and financial security, health insurance is very important.  Without insurance, health care costs are very expensive in the U.S.

    Current medical insurance costs

Immigration Questions

  1. How do I apply for a student visa?

    The F-1 student visa application process must be completed through the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country. Contact the U.S. Embassy/Consulate to verify the requirements for scheduling an interview and for processing a student visa. Usually the requirements for a student visa are the following:

    • Current passport (valid for at least 6 months)
    • I-20 Form and college acceptance letter
    • Affidavit of Financial Support (bank statement to show proof of funds)
    • SEVIS and Visa Application Fee Receipt
    Note: Other documents such as prior transcripts and all I-20s may be requested.