Five things to know when applying as an international student

With more than 100 countries represented on campus, the University of Miami has a dynamic international community.
Five things to know when applying as an international student

The admissions process can be complicated, with lists of required materials and deadlines. Factor in applying from another country, and it can be even more daunting. Tamara Lapman, associate director of admission, shares a few tips to help get you through it.

1. Focus on the right fit for you.

Rankings and advice from friends or family members are out there, but ultimately, it’s you who will be spending four years living and learning in a new community. Consider your priorities, use university websites for research, and start the application process early. The more you take control of the process, the more confident and ready you’ll be to embrace—not fear—the experience.

TIP: The University of Miami combines the opportunities and resources of a big school with the personal attention of a much smaller school. We have a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1, accessible professors, and caring support from international student advisors and peer mentors.

2. Understand the requirements.

Will you need to take an English proficiency exam? What about the SAT or ACT? Do the schools on your list require an external evaluation of your high school transcripts? These shouldn’t be considered barriers to applying, but they do require some advance planning. University websites are the most reliable resource for these details. Bookmark these pages so you can easily refer back to them and ensure you have everything you need for each school to which you plan to apply.

TIP: UM’s undergraduate admission site has dedicated pages that address these types of questions. There you’ll learn that we are SAT/ACT optional, we require TOEFL or IELTS results if your first language is not English, and that an international evaluation may be required if you attend a high school outside the United States. Bookmark

3. Be honest and upfront about your need for financial aid and/or scholarships.

Students apply for financial aid during the application process, so if you’re going to need that support at any point during your educational career, be sure to answer all application questions honestly so schools can give you full consideration. This starts with an open conversation with your family about whether they can cover your educational costs for four years of undergraduate study. If the answer is no, it’s very important to make sure you’re applying to universities that offer aid to international students—not all schools do.

TIP: At the University of Miami, we consider international students for both merit-based scholarships and need-based financial aid—and that’s a big deal! Even better? We are committed to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students—regardless of citizenship status.  

4. Take advantage of virtual opportunities to explore and learn about schools anywhere in the world.

Traveling to visit universities can be time consuming and expensive; but now, more than ever, there are tons of virtual programs available to connect with faculty, staff, and even current students. We know you have lots of questions, so be prepared when you attend these events and don’t be shy. These resources are designed to provide you with answers.

TIP: UM’s virtual tour allows you to see our exquisite campus and gives you the option to listen in multiple languages. We also offer virtual information sessions specifically for international students, where you will hear from an admission counselor and have the opportunity to ask questions.

5. Authenticity is key.

Yes, your academic record plays a significant part in the application review process to ensure that you’re well prepared for the curriculum. But schools also want to know about your interests and activities, as well as the voice that you’ll share in the classroom and campus community. Your essays are where counselors are able to hear that voice; be thoughtful and put your best foot forward there. There’s no one activity, leadership role, or essay topic that we value above others. What we want is to get to know the real you, so let that shine.

TIP: UM uses a holistic admission process. The Admission Committee reviews every part of your application’s required materials to help us paint a picture of who you are and determine whether UM is the right fit.

Don’t forget to join our mailing list so we can keep in touch and share more helpful information with you. If you have specific questions about applying to the University of Miami as an international student, please email We look forward to getting to know you as you get to know us throughout your admission journey!