International Student Frequently Asked Questions

Am I an international student?

You are considered an international student if you are a non- resident who has or will be seeking an international student visa (F1 or J1). 

The grading system in my country is different from that in the United States. How can I determine if I would be a reasonable candidate for admission?

There are many resources available that convert foreign education credits to a U.S. Grade Point Average (GPA). The only guaranteed method is to have your school records reviewed by our International Student Admissions and Programs Office.

How can I get involved once I arrive at Colorado Mesa University?

The CMU International Student Alliance (ISA) club offers a unique opportunity to interact with students from all different backgrounds and provides guidance to new students on how to deal with culture shock, language barriers, tips for success and much more. To learn more about ISA and the many other clubs and activities at Colorado Mesa University, please visit Student Life.

How do I sign up for my classes?

Beginning as early as April (if starting in the fall semester), admitted students can register for classes through the Academic Advising office. Students who applied without an SAT or ACT score will first need to take placement exams in Math, English, and Reading before registering for classes. These tests can be set up remotely through our Testing Center and taken from your home country. It is recommended to register for classes early for best course selection.

What type of on-campus housing does Colorado Mesa University offer?

Colorado Mesa University has 11 different Residence Halls that offer various room types and themed environments to choose from. Please see Residence Life for more information. Students can apply for housing once admitted and are encouraged to apply for housing early for best selection.

Does Colorado Mesa University have International Student Advisors?

Yes. The International Student Admissions and Programs Office offers international student advising.

Does Colorado Mesa University have an international student orientation?

Yes. Orientation for new international students is held at the beginning of each semester (in August and January). You will receive details after admission with orientation and arrival information.

Can international students apply for terms other than fall?

Yes. Students can also apply for the spring semester which begins in January. There are summer sessions as well, but please note that fewer classes are offered during the summer than in the fall and spring semesters. Semester start dates and breaks are published three years in advance.

Do I have to declare an academic major/degree before I begin my classes at Colorado Mesa University?

Colorado Mesa University does not require undergraduate students to officially declare a major prior to arriving on campus. However, a degree of study is required on the I-20 and you may be asked about it at your visa interview. Typically, students will officially declare a major during their second year.

Can I find out if I'll be admitted to Colorado Mesa University before I submit an application?

Your application must be submitted and call supporting documents must be received before an official admission decision can be made.

When and how will I be notified of an admission decision?

Once your application is complete, you will be notified of an admission decision by email. Original admission documents will be sent to you by FedEx along with your I-20 once your shipping address has been verified. Typically, an admission decision will be made within 1-2 weeks of file completion.

Do I need to confirm my plans to attend Colorado Mesa University?

Students can confirm their intent to enroll at Colorado Mesa University by submitting a $50 enrollment deposit (applied towards your tuition bill). Students should also be in touch via email with the International Student Admissions and Programs Office about their plans to attend CMU.

Do all documents need to be submitted at the same time?

No. All documents do not need to be submitted at the same time, though to ensure timely processing this is preferred. As soon as your application is received, our office will begin corresponding with you by email regarding any missing documents

What is considered an official document?

A document is considered official if it is sent by email or by mail in a sealed envelope and comes directly from the institution or professional evaluation company that issued the document.

Can I submit photocopies of my transcripts?

For final admission, official copies must be received. All transcripts must be originals or official certified copies.

What documents are required for admission?

Please see the Admission Checklist for First-Time Undergraduate students.

Do I have to take the TOEFL/IELTS for admission?

Yes. The only exception to this requirement is if you are from a country whose official language is English or for students who are seeking conditional admission and will first attend an approved intensive English program. Students transferring from a U.S. high school or another U.S. college/university will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

Do I have to take the SAT or ACT test?

While not required, it is strongly recommended. Students who do not have an ACT or SAT score will be required to take placement exams in Math, English, and Reading before registering for classes. These tests are set up through our Testing Center. Please note that any NCAA athlete must submit an SAT or ACT score.

I have taken a test of English proficiency. Do I also need to take the ACT or SAT?

The ACT or SAT is strongly encouraged because it measures academic proficiency while the TOEFL and IELTS are tests of English language proficiency. NCAA athletes must submit an ACT or SAT.

I plan to take (or have taken) the ACT/SAT and wondered how the essay writing section will be used in the final admission decision. 

The writing section of the SAT/ACT will be reviewed but will not be used as part of the admission process.

What is the approximate cost for international students?

You can view the approximate annual costs for international students on the admission checklist for first-time undergraduate students page or the admission checklist for graduate students page. The amount for personal expenses and books & supplies is considered to be the minimum necessary. All costs are subject to change.

Does Colorado Mesa University provide financial aid for international students?

Yes, CMU offers a merit scholarship for high-achieving international undergraduate students with a 3.0 U.S.-equivalent cumulative GPA (grade point average). The scholarship is valued at $4,500 per semester or $9,000 per academic year for students enrolling in Fall 2019. There are several small scholarships available once a student is in their 2nd semester of study at CMU. F-1 students must be self-, family-, or home government-sponsored and should not rely solely on scholarships to fund their education. 

Am I eligible for an athletic scholarship?

The International Student Admissions and Programs Office does not award athletic scholarships. If a student is interested in an athletic scholarship, they must contact the coach of their sport directly. For more information on athletics at Colorado Mesa University, please visit our athletics website.

Can I work while I am studying in the US?

International students are allowed to work on campus on a part-time basis (20 hours/week or less) while school is in session and full-time (40 hours/week) during breaks, as long as the student is able to maintain their F-1 status. Student employment will help with supplemental costs but it is not sufficient to cover all educational expenses. On-campus jobs can only be arranged once a student has arrived on campus and are not guaranteed. The student is responsible for finding an on-campus job and for understanding the restrictions of employment as an F-1 visa holder. There are other opportunities for internships as students progress in their degree of study. Please inquire with the International Student Admissions and Programs Office for more information on employment opportunities.

Are there any financial loans to help international students study at Colorado Mesa University?

Colorado Mesa University does not provide loans to international students. Students must be self-, family-, or home government- sponsored.

Do I pay my tuition and housing costs before I begin my study at Colorado Mesa University?

Unless notified by the Office of International Programs, it is not required to pay tuition and housing costs prior to arrival on campus, though it is recommended. For on-campus housing, however, a deposit is required at the time of application. Colorado Mesa University works in conjunction with Flywire by peerTransfer, an efficient and economical payment solution for our international students. You will receive access to a secure, online portal and can select the international payment method that works best for you. To make a payment, go to

What is an I-20?

An I-20 form is the official U.S. government document which certifies that a person is eligible to apply for an F-1 student visa on behalf of Colorado Mesa University. This form is issued once a student is fully accepted and has demonstrated sufficient financial resources to cover one year of academic study and living expenses. The I-20 is then used to apply for the F-1 visa at a United States Embassy or Consulate in the student's home country. Canadian students receive an I-20 but are not required to apply for the F-1 Visa.

How do I get an I-20?

You must first apply, submit all required documents, and be admitted to Colorado Mesa University.

What is an F-1 Student Visa?

The F1 student visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows international students to enter the U.S. to attend a full course of study at a college, university or language program.

How do I get an F-1 student visa?

You must first be admitted to Colorado Mesa University and have the original I-20 that was shipped to you. You then schedule an appointment with a U.S. Embassy in your home country for an interview.

What is the Visa Application Process?

Once fully admitted to Colorado Mesa University, a student can begin the visa application process.

  1. Colorado Mesa University will mail your admissions packet, including the SEVIS I-20 document, to your mailing address in your home country.
  2. Pay the $350 USD SEVIS fee. More information on how to pay this fee is included in the application packet that is mailed to you.
  3. Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160 online. Print and keep the barcode page.
  4. Find the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate by searching and follow that U.S. Embassy/Consulate's instructions to schedule an interview for your F-1 student visa including payment of the visa application fee. It is important to apply for your student visa as far in advance as possible. The Visa can be issued op to 120 days in advance of the start date for the course of study.
  5. Prepare and bring to your visa interview the following items (along with anything else requested by your specific Embassy/Consulate):
    1. A passport valid for at least six months
    2. Form I-20 issued by Colorado Mesa University
    3. Colorado Mesa University acceptance letter
    4. The confirmation page of the completed Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160
    5. Photo: uploaded during the completion of the online Form DS-160 or printed photos as explained in the photo requirements.
    6. A receipt for the visa application fee
    7. A receipt for the SEVIS fee. If you have not received an official receipt in the mail showing payment and you paid the fee electronically, the consulate will accept the temporary receipt printed from your computer. If you do not have a receipt, the consulate may be able to see your payment electronically if your fee payment was processed at least 3 business days before your interview.
    8. Financial evidence that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses for the first year of studies.
    9. Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the U.S. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.
    10. Academic preparation documents such as: transcripts, diplomas, exams, etc.
  6. Complete the visa application and interview. Every U.S. Embassy/Consulate works from the same set of regulations and laws but will have different procedures for its location. Some will require a face-to-face interview, some will collect the documents and give the student a future appointment date, some will give an appointment and ask the student to come back with all the documentation, and some will conduct the entire process by mail.
  7. If the visa is approved, you will be given an F-1 visa foil in your passport.
  8. The visa is a machine-readable foil glued to a page in the passport. It indicates where the visa was issued, the date the visa was issued, the date the visa will expire, the number of entries, the type of visa and the visa number.

Arriving in the United States

  1. At the port-of-entry (first stop in the U.S.), you will present the following documents to the immigration officer:
    • Valid passport with valid visa
    • SEVIS I-20
    • Any other requested information such as financial documents and/or admission letter
  2. The immigration officer will:
    • Return the valid passport and visa with an immigration admission stamp which will reflect the class of admission (F-1, J-1, M-1, etc), the date of admission, and the admit-to date or D/S (duration of stay)
    • Review and return the SEVIS Form I-20
    • Return any other previously requested information

Special note regarding Canadians

Canadians do not need a visa to enter the U.S., but should have the following documents available at the U.S. port of entry: SEVIS I-20, other documents listed under item #1 above, as well as receipt of the SEVIS fee. If arriving at a land border point, the student will be issued a paper I-94. Keep this arrival card as evidence of legal entry into the U.S.