Admission Requirements

Do you offer conditional admission?

The ESL Academic Bridge Program at the University of Colorado Boulder is a conditional admission program for interested undergraduate students whose English proficiency does not meet the requirements for admission to any bachelor degree program on campus. Students in the ESL Academic Bridge Program will be given up to a year to complete the program which will fulfill their English proficiency requirement.

A section on the application asks me to list the units of certain types of classes I’ve taken. I attended a high school outside the U.S. that did not follow these guidelines. Am I required to complete this section?

Most international applicants will be able to leave the MAPS section on the application blank. Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS) are required for all international students who have completed more than four semesters of U.S. schooling. International students with four or less semesters of U.S. schooling are not subject to MAPS requirements and should refer to their country's specific requirements for admission information. Learn more >

How do I send an official copy of my transcript to you?

If we can verify the official’s identity, your high school counselor or registrar can send an electronic copy of your transcript to, which would count as official. Please contact us at to see if there are alternatives we will accept. Emailed transcripts from students or parents will not be accepted.

Please use one of the below mailing addresses:

Overnight/Express Mailing Address (DHL, UPS, Fedex)          

Office of Admissions/International               
University of Colorado Boulder                     
3100 Marine Street - 65 UCB
Bldg RL3 Suite A122
Boulder, CO 80303-1058 USA

For standard international mail or mail within the U.S., including USPS Priority and Express:

Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine St Suite A122
65 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0065 USA

Do I need a translation of my transcript?

If your school or university has issued your transcript in a language other than English, you must have a certified, literal English translation of your transcripts included in your application documents. A list of countries excluded from the translation requirement can be found on our Transcripts Requirements page.


What kind of translation should I get, and where can I get it?

We will require a literal, certified (or official) English translation. It should not be interpretive, nor should it try to convert the original grades into U.S.-style grades. A certified (or official) translation will be different depending on what is considered an official translation in your country.

Depending on the country, official translations may only be issued by the school, official government translators, or students might need to find a private professional translation service to issue the translation. We highly encourage students to consult with the local Education USA office who offers translations, or can refer you to a reliable service.

If you have already arrived on campus and need additional translation support, you may request services through CU Boulder. Many CU Boulder graduate departments now have a special section on their website that lists contact information for graduate students who are willing to do translations. These translations are considered official by the Office of Admissions. Please note: these translations are not free.

Spanish & Portuguese:




French & Italian: email requesting French or Italian translators

Do I need to submit my transcripts in a sealed envelope?

Students applying from a school or university outside of the US are not required to submit transcripts in sealed envelopes, as long as the transcript clearly has an original stamp, signature, letterhead, or is printed on official school stationery. We reserve the right to determine whether a document is an official transcript.

If we can verify the official’s identity, your high school counselor or registrar can send an electronic copy of your transcript to, which would count as official. Please contact us at to see if there are alternatives we will accept. Emailed transcripts from students or parents will not be accepted.

My school only provides one official transcript to me, how can I submit my application?

If we can verify the official’s identity, your high school counselor or registrar can send an electronic copy of your transcript to, which would count as official. Emailed transcripts from students or parents will not be accepted. To see if your situation allows for alternatives or exceptions, please email

Will you accept a notary public translation?

We do not accept documents from a notary public as official. This is true for transcripts in the native language as well as translations.

How do you evaluate my transcript? Should I convert my GPA for you?

We will evaluate all international transcripts in-house, and will convert grades from any educational system into an equivalent U.S. grade point average (GPA). You will not be required to do this yourself. CU Boulder does not accept transcript evaluations from any external companies.

Standard secondary education in my country lasts 13 years. Am I eligible to apply after 12 years? Do I get any advantage from that extra year?

If you are eligible to apply to university in your home country, then it’s likely you’re also eligible to apply to CU Boulder. In countries where secondary education ends after the 13th year, students may be eligible for some transfer credit. If you have questions about your country’s education system in relation to our admissions process, please contact

I wasn’t offered admission to the major and college of my choice. If I improve my TOEFL score, can I be reconsidered for that college and major?

All applications are given a holistic review and all of your submitted documents are reviewed to determine your admission to a particular major and college. If you were not offered admission to the college or program to which you applied, that decision was made based on your academic record and not your English Proficiency score. A higher TOEFL score will not change your admission decision.

I need a formal admission letter but all I’ve received is an email. How can I get an admission letter?

Email is considered an official communication method of the university. The email you received is indeed your formal admission offer. Additionally, a copy of your admission letter is posted to your application status page and is available to print. If you are an F-1 student, a printed (on letterhead), formal admission offer will accompany your I-20. Please contact us at if you have any additional requests.

How should I send my national examinations (I/GCSE, A-Levels, CBSE, etc.)?

National examination certificates must be submitted directly by the testing agency, verifiable high school counselor, or verifiable school registrar. High school officials may send results to Emailed results from students or parents are not accepted.

How many years of academic work should I submit?

Official transcripts should include the equivalent to US grades 9-12. Four years of academic work will be required. The last year of work can be in progress, but transcripts should still include the coursework that the student is currently enrolled in. For students applying from academic systems which comprise three years of secondary school, the final year of work from an official middle school transcript will be required.

How to Apply

I only use a first/given name, OR, I only use a last/family name. One of the name lines of my passport is blank. How should I indicate this on the application?

In both cases, you should enter a period “.” for your first/given name, and the entirety of your name into the “family/last” name field. We follow the SEVIS Name Standards in doing so. If you registered for a test (SAT, ACT, TOEFL, IELTS, etc.) under a different variation of your name, please provide us with your registration information by email to

My name and/or address has a character with an accent in it. Should I enter that in the application?

Please leave the accent off the character. Enter the character as if it had no accent.

I’ve applied for permanent residency, but haven’t yet gotten it. Which answer should I select on the application?

If you (or your family) have submitted the I-485 form (Application for Permanent Residency) and you’ve received a receipt for such, then you would be considered a domestic applicant. If you do not yet have a receipt for the I-485 form, you are an international student.

I am not a U.S. citizen, but I don’t have a visa yet. Which answer should I select on the application?

You should select the visa type you are planning to apply for. If you do not know which visa type to apply for, select F-1 under ‘Current Visa Type’, as it is the most common visa type for international students seeking a full degree. You may then leave the ‘Issue Date’, ‘Expiry Date’, and ‘Immigration Number’ blank.

What if I am a dual citizen?

If you have dual citizenship and the U.S. is one of the countries, indicate ‘U.S. Citizen’. If the U.S. is not one of them, please select the country whose passport you’ll be using to apply for your visa.

What if I am considering, or in the process of, changing my visa type?

If you’re changing, or considering changing your current visa type, please enter the information for what you have now. Also contact to let us know more about your visa status.

I have general application questions, where can I find answers?

You may email with specific questions regarding your application.


Do international students qualify for scholarships?

All international applications will be considered for merit-based scholarships as long as SAT or ACT test results are submitted in addition to the required application documents by the January 15th deadline. Applicants are notified of scholarship awards at the same time as their admission notification. We review applicants for scholarships at the same time we review their complete application for admission.

Applications that qualify will be reviewed for the Chancellor’s Achievement Scholarship as well as the Presidential Scholarship. The Chancellor’s Achievement Scholarship is typically awarded to the top 25% of our applicants, and the Presidential Scholarship to approximately the top 1% of our applicants. Generally this means having a GPA of 3.8 or higher (which translates to a very competitive record or one that is nearly perfect) with SAT or ACT scores equal to the top 25% or 1% of our applicants.

You can find the median scores for admitted students in the Requirements by College, School or Program section on the Admission Requirements page. These scholarships are only available to first-year applicants.

Do I need to take the SAT or ACT to be considered for a scholarship?

We are working with the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships to address the scholarship application process. Answers will be posted as soon as information is available.

Do you have scholarships to cover the complete cost of my education and living expenses?

On rare occasions, the Athletics Department can offer full scholarships that cover both tuition and living expenses. You would need to contact the sports team that you would like to play for. CU Boulder is a Division 1 university, and international students who occasionally receive these highly competitive awards are participating at the national level in their sport in their home country.

The College of Music offers full and partial tuition scholarships, but these do not cover living expenses. You would still need to demonstrate funding for room and board. Music scholarships are only awarded to students admitted to the College of Music.

Do you have any scholarships for international transfer students?

 All transfer students will be considered for the CU Boulder Transfer Excellence Scholarship. Award amounts, availability, etc. can be found here:

Who qualifies for financial aid?

US citizens qualify for federal financial aid. Non-US citizens are not eligible for federal student aid.

Transfer Credit

I’d like to transfer to CU, but I need to know how many credits I’ll get before I can do so. Can you tell me how many credits I’ll get, and how far along in my proposed major I’ll be?

Transfer credit evaluations are done for students who have been admitted and confirmed their intent to enroll at CU Boulder. Applicability of transfer credit is determined by your assigned academic advisor and can be viewed in your Degree Audit a few weeks before you arrive on campus.

If you’ve been attending a college or university in the U.S., you may be able to review your potential transfer credit in advance. CU Boulder has partnered with Transferology, a college planning and transfer credit resource. Create your free Transferology account to see what courses will transfer to CU Boulder. Your official transfer credit evaluation will be completed at the time you are admitted to CU Boulder. This resource is not yet available for non-U.S. institutions, so if you have only studied outside of the United States, you will have to wait until our office is able to perform a transfer credit evaluation (after you are confirmed) to determine which of your credits will transfer.

What kind of transfer credits will you accept from my non-U.S. school?

We accept transfer credit from international schools based on the same criteria we use to accept transfer credit from U.S. schools: the college or university must be accredited, the course must be academic in nature, you must have earned a grade of C- or higher, and we need to offer a similar course at CU Boulder. For these reasons, we do not accept transfer credit for English language study. We can only award transfer credit for classes taken pass/fail if your school’s official policy is that a passing grade in such a course is equivalent to a C- or higher.

Can I receive credit for my AP, IB, and A-level results?

Students who take AP or IB examinations and obtain strong marks can earn college credit at CU Boulder. Applicants may reference the University Catalog.

Students completing A-Level examinations with C or above on examinations may also obtain course credit at CU Boulder. For additional questions about A-Levels, please email

Confirming Intent to Enroll

What’s the deadline to confirm my intent to enroll? What is the deadline for my proof of English proficiency and funding information?

You must submit all necessary immigration materials such as proof of funding and proof of English Proficiency no later than the national confirmation deadline of May 1.

This means that we need to review your immigration materials, issue you the I-20 or DS-2019, and send it to you abroad. You then need to receive the I-20 or DS-2019, schedule and have your visa appointment, and wait for your visa to be issued before you can come and start your studies. Of course we will review your immigration materials as soon as they arrive, and will issue you the appropriate immigration form as soon as we can.

What is entirely out of our control is the visa application process. Hundreds of U.S. embassies and consulates issue these visas, and each has a different timeframe for issuing them. We do not monitor each embassy’s timeframe for this process (in part because every visa application case is distinct and can take different amounts of time), but we have found these visas can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to be issued. Contact the embassy or consulate where you’ll be going for your interview for an estimated timeframe, or talk to other students who have been through the process there. Those are the best sources of information for how long the visa application process itself might last.

Official English proficiency test results must be submitted no later than June 15 every year.


Who is an international student?

Anyone who needs a visa to enter the United States is considered an international student. Permanent Residents (green card holders) are processed as domestic students.

I’ve applied for permanent residency, but haven’t yet gotten it. Am I a domestic or international student?

If you or your family have a receipt for the submission of your I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence) form, you should indicate that you are a resident on the application even if your permanent residency has yet to be granted. You would be considered a domestic applicant. If your application for permanent residency is later denied, please let us know immediately at

I’m a dependent of a current visa holder. Am I allowed to study at CU? Do I still need to meet the English proficiency requirement? Do I still need to complete the financial statement?

Generally, dependents of most visa types are allowed to apply for and enter full time study at our university. Common examples are  E-2, F-2, H-4 and A-2 visa holders. However, if you have one of these visas now, you should note that most dependent children age out of their visa status when they turn 21. Therefore, before you turn 21, you would need to change your status to that of a student. This can be done either by: 1) exiting the U.S. and applying for and obtaining a new visa in order to re-enter in that status and continue your studies; or 2) by applying for a change of status within the USA.

It is our strong recommendation that you retain an immigration attorney for a consultation about attending CU in a non-F-1 or non-J-1 status. It is your responsibility to determine if you can study at CU in the visa status you have now, and to determine what effects, if any, your visa status will have on your time here.

Known Exceptions:

  1. B-2 dependents cannot be full time students. Those dependents can take a class or two in a non-degree seeking capacity if it is “incidental” to their visa and if they enroll for “vocational or recreational” purposes. Those students would need to work with the Office of Continuing Education in order to take a course.
  2. F-2 dependents can enroll but not for a full course of study. If you are an F-2 visa status and want to study on a full time basis, you will need to change to an F-1 visa status, or other appropriate visa status that allows full time study.
  3. Students on dependent visas do not need to demonstrate funding in order to finalize their admission if they remain in that dependent visa status, but if they do not qualify for an exemption for English proficiency, they do need to demonstrate such based on a TOEFL or IELTS result.
Do you require proof of my citizenship and visa type for admission?

We do not require these for admission to the university,  but we need as much information as possible in order to process your application correctly. Misrepresenting your citizenship and status on your admission application would be considered a violation of the honor code, and you could therefore be denied or have your admission offer rescinded. Please note that when admitted, International Student and Scholar Services will ask to see a copy of your passport and I-94 for their records. Students who qualify for DACA should email for more information.

When do I need to provide my financial statement?

You do not need to provide the financial statement for admission review. However, if you are admitted, you will need to submit need to provide a financial statement to finalize your admission and receive an I-20. It is best to submit the financial statement (Engineering and Business form or Arts & Sciences, Environmental Design, Education and Music form) no later than two months before the start of the semester, so you have enough time to apply for your student visa and book a flight to the US.

When do I need to provide my TOEFL or IELTS score?

You do not need to provide your TOEFL or IELTS for academic admission review. However, you will need to submit proof of English proficiency to finalize your admission and receive your I-20. Students must submit an official TOEFL or IELTS result by June 15 of every year, and are not able to confirm their intent to enroll until after CU receives the result.

Who can I bring with me as a dependent?

Dependents are limited to your immediate family, which is defined as your spouse and children. Parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces and nephews cannot be dependents. Additional 'proof of funding' must be demonstrated for each dependent that will accompany you. The estimates of "per-dependent" costs can be found on the financial statements.


How do I get an I-20?

You must complete the online application, submit all required materials, be offered admission, meet all immigration regulations (which includes proof of English proficiency, proof of funding, and a copy of your passport) and confirm your intent to enroll in your application status page to be issued an I-20. By law, our office cannot issue I-20s until all of these steps have been completed and all required documents have been received.

How do you arrive at the estimate for living expenses?

The Office of Financial Aid publishes an Estimated Cost of Attendance Budget every year and estimates the rates of room and board, health insurance, books and personal costs.


I looked up tuition rates and they appear higher/lower than what’s on the financial statement. Can I only demonstrate tuition for the program to which I’ve applied?

The amounts listed on the financial statement are estimates only (used to expedite the issuance of your I-20) and can vary by college and school. Your actual tuition bill may be higher or lower. Please refer to the Bursar’s Office tuition estimates to see exact cost for your reference.

If I live off campus do I still need to demonstrate living expenses funding?

Yes. While the estimate for living expenses is based on rates for living in campus housing, you can expect to pay a similar amount (if not more), if you’ll be living off campus. Therefore, the living expenses line is an estimate for either on- or off-campus living. If you have family that lives nearby, and if you plan on living with them and getting your meals from them, we can reduce the amount on the financial statement by the living expenses estimate. We will need a document stating that this is the case for exceptions. Please contact for questions about exceptions.

I will be exclusively buying and renting used textbooks and my program doesn’t require many extra supplies. Can you reduce the “Books and Supplies” costs on the financial statement?

The “Books and Supplies” cost is fixed and will not be adjusted. This estimate is based on student experience.

My spouse will be looking for a job as soon as he/she arrives. Can I thereby avoid demonstrating additional funding for them?

No. Holders of some dependent visas are not authorized to work in the U.S., so they are ineligible to hold a job. Also, a possible future job is not evidence of current ability to pay. Therefore you must demonstrate the full amount required.

I can meet the immigration regulation to provide proof of personal funding, but I’m hoping to get aid or a scholarship. If I provide proof of funding to satisfy the regulation, am I or my family obligated to pay if other funding becomes available?

No. While your family or sponsor is stating that they will support you in your studies when they complete the “Affidavit of Support” on the second page of the financial statement, they are not obligated to pay if additional sources of funding become available. If you won’t find out about such scholarships or loans until a later date, we would suggest submitting the financial statement with your family or sponsor’s demonstration of funding.  

I was admitted, but the source of funding as stated on my I-20 has changed. Should I get a new I-20 to reflect this? What if I already have my F-1 visa?

Yes, you should get a new I-20 to reflect the funding change. Please let us know this information immediately, so we can update it in the SEVIS system. If you already have your F-1 visa, and there is no time to get the new I-20  to you, you can use the current I-20 to enter the U.S.A. Immigration officials have access to that database, so you should bring the new financial documentation reflecting the funding change with you when you travel, in case they ask for it. Of course we’ll be happy to provide a letter from our office noting the change of funding as well.

If there is time to get a new I-20 to you, we can mail it to you so you have it with you before you travel.

Whenever any information that appears on your I-20 changes, please let us know immediately at

How long does it take to get my I-20? Can you send it by express mail?

When your I-20 is ready, it will be sent to you at no cost by DHL express mail. You will receive tracking information from DHL. Such deliveries typically take 5-8 business days, so you can expect your I-20 about 7 – 11 business days after you confirm your intent to enroll through the application portal.

If you are in the USA now and already have an F-1 visa, you need to both confirm your intent to enroll through your application status page, and to arrange for the transfer of your current F-1 record to our school in the SEVIS system. This transfer can only occur AFTER the end of your current studies, however, so if you are already in the USA with an F-1 student visa you will not receive your I-20 from us until AFTER your current program is over (and you’ve asked them to transfer your record to us). Depending on when you leave the U.S. after the end of your current program, you will have it sent to you by regular post within the US, or by DHL express mail if it needs to be sent to your home country address.

In all cases, if you are admitted and provide us with materials necessary to meet F-1 student visa regulations, we will contact you about your I-20 and what to do to get it.

My I-20 lists 60 months/five years as the duration of the program. I thought the bachelor’s degree program was only four years- why is my I-20 different?

We always ask for the most amount of time possible on our I-20s per F-1 visa regulations. Many students do complete the bachelor’s degree in four years, but some take longer, and some pursue ‘optional practical training’ (an internship or job allowed under F-1 regulations) after the end of their studies. We cannot change the length of study for particular students – all undergraduate I-20s are issued for 60 months, regardless of how long you expect to take to complete your degree, and regardless of how many transfer credits you may have.

I’ve been waiting for my I-20, but it hasn’t yet arrived. Can you send me another copy?

You may track the progress of your shipment using the DHL website. If you’ve waited more than 4 weeks, please email

I’ve been admitted, and I’m trying to pay the SEVIS fee online. Can you send me a scan of my I-20?

Federal regulations prevent us from scanning and emailing or faxing this document to you. However if you send an email to, we’ll be happy to provide you with the necessary information from your I-20.

The major that appears on my I-20 is not the exact name of the major/department to which I was admitted. Is this an error?

Not all majors at CU Boulder have their exact names in the federal (U.S. government) SEVIS system, so there’s a chance that the major on your I-20 will not match your major at our school. This is not an issue - visa officers understand that the names of majors may be different from your I-20 and admission letter. For example, all new students in the Leeds School of Business will have “Business Administration and Management” as the major on their I-20 even if they were admitted to Finance, Accounting, or Marketing. If you’re admitted to the College of Arts and Sciences, Open Option major, this major will appear as “Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies” on your I-20. It is also OK if your major name appears to be cut off.

I received the I-20, but there’s an error on it. What should I do?

It will depend on the kind of error. Your name and birth date need to match your passport exactly (except for accent marks in your name), so if there are errors there, they will need to be changed. (For this purpose it’s a good idea to review your personal information on your application status page as soon as you’ve created one, as your I-20 information will be pulled directly from that data.) If your major name appears incorrect, please first check your admission letter to make sure that you were indeed admitted to the school and major for which you applied, and then check our response to the previous question. If there still appears to be an error in your major name, that will need to be corrected.

If the name of your sponsor is completely wrong, that will need to be corrected. If the difference is a matter of spelling, and if the spelling is correct within two or three characters, we’ve found that a letter from our office is sufficient for visa officers who might notice the difference, and the form therefore does not need to be corrected. Lastly, if the form is not signed in blue ink we’ll need to send you another. Please communicate any issues with your I-20 to

I provided a bank statement that demonstrated more funding than what’s required, but my I-20 only shows my sponsor has the minimum amount necessary. Can you change the form to reflect the full amount demonstrated on the bank statement?

The immigration regulation you are satisfying when providing a bank statement is for “proof of funding”. As long as you provide a statement which shows at least the minimum amount, there’s no need to state exactly how much was there. We therefore only state that we received evidence that your sponsor or family has sufficient funding as we require, which is the amount on the financial statement. You’ll need to independently prove to your visa officer that this amount exists, so be sure to bring these statements with you to your visa appointment. They will then see exactly how much funding was demonstrated. We will not change I-20s to reflect the total we saw in your bank statements.

If I’m awarded an academic merit scholarship from CU Boulder, how much funding would I need to demonstrate?

Each scholarship features an annual award amount. You can subtract the scholarship amount you will receive for your first year at CU Boulder from the total required amount needed on the financial statement. For example, if you have received the Chancellor’s Scholarship, you can subtract $6,250 from the total amount you need to provide to us for the first year.

Is the financial statement a reflection of the actual costs for tuition and fees, living expenses, books and supplies and personal expenses?

The financial statement is an estimate of costs, determined up to 12 months before the beginning of classes for a given semester. The I-20 may not reflect the official costs for the individual student. Actual tuition and fees rates for the current term can be found at the Bursar’s website; the new official rates will be posted there as well, once they are determined.