Application Instructions for First-Year International Applicants
International students are an integral part of the Claremont McKenna College community and, in fact, make up 16% of the undergraduate student body. International students bring diversity of thought, talents, and culture to our community and as a residential college, all students learn from each other through this diversity.
All prospective first-year students must follow the application instructions for first-year applicants to apply for admission at Claremont McKenna College. International applicants may have additional requirements to be considered for admission. Please review the information below to determine if these requirements apply to you.
International applicants, regardless of their country of citizenship, whose first language is not English and who do not attend a school in which English is the primary language of instruction, must submit official score results from one of the following approved English language tests:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet-Based Test Only – 100 minimum score
- TOEFL Essentials is not accepted.
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – 7.5 minimum score
- Cambridge English C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency – 190 minimum score
- Duolingo English Test – 120 minimum score
English Language Proficiency Test Waivers
If you have submitted your application to Claremont McKenna College and you believe you qualify for a waiver from this policy, please make this request by sending an e-mail to email@example.com with the subject: “English Language Proficiency Waiver Request”.
Effective written communication is vital to the success of each student at CMC. To assess the writing skills of our international applicants, CMC requires a short writing assessment of each applicant for whom English is not their first language or the language of instruction at their high school.
To complete the writing assessment, schedule an InitialView interview with the timed writing component. If you need assistance with the cost of the InitialView, please contact InitialView or the CMC Office of Admission.
For applicants who have not completed the InitialView interview prior to the application deadline, CMC has collaborated with Initialview to administer a short writing assessment that is conducted online. Applicants that are required to participate in the English Writing Proficiency assessment will be notified after they have submitted their application with instructions on how to complete the requirement.
Beyond Academic Promise
CMC actively recruits a diverse group of students from around the world. In the application process it is important to provide information that helps us understand your personal background as well as your academic preparation. As a selective college we are interested in knowing who you are, what is important to you, and what you have accomplished outside of the classroom. Your essay, extracurricular activities, short answer response, interview, and/or video response are perfect opportunities to highlight these aspects and show us how you can contribute to and benefit from the CMC community and mission.
Interviews are not required for most students but they are highly recommended for all students. Interviews for CMC are evaluative and are a part of your application. The interview allows you to tell us more about your personal background, as well as your accomplishments, talents, and goals.
There are several options for participating in an interview for international applicants. Please choose one of the following:
- Initialview with timed writing sample is an unscripted, unbiased, and taped interview. A recording will be added to your application and viewed during the application review process. This option is available to all students. If the cost of an Initialview interview is prohibitive for your family, please contact IntialView for a fee waiver.
- Online Interviews are conducted by student Senior Interviewers and time slots are in Pacific Time.
- Alumni Interviews are conducted with CMC alumni volunteers across the globe. Alumni interviews take place between September and December.
Applicants from China – all Chinese citizens that attend any school in China are required to submit an Initialview interview with the writing sample. If the cost of participating in an Initialview interview will place an undue hardship on your family please contact InitialView for a fee waiver.
Optional Video Response
After submitting your application, you will receive instructions by email from the CMC Office of Admission on how to submit an optional two-minute video. Similar to interviews, the optional video response gives you an opportunity to tell us more about yourself beyond the information you provided in your application. The most compelling video responses have a genuine voice and highlight your thoughtfulness and authenticity.
While the video response is not required, if you were unable to schedule an interview, the video response is a great opportunity for you to tell us about yourself beyond what you provided in your application.
Video response prompts:
1. Claremont McKenna College is a special community because it is composed of talented people who individually and collectively contribute to improving the life of the College. How do you hope to contribute to the CMC community?
2. The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum represents the intellectual mantelpiece of the Claremont McKenna College community, bringing students, faculty, and staff closer together through active engagement and discussion on a daily basis. Knowing that diversity of thought and respectful dialogue are vital elements to the Athenaeum’s mission, who is someone you would want to hear speak at the Athenaeum in order to better understand a diverse perspective or experience from that of your own?
3. Developing a personal narrative is key to understand one’s own values and unique voice. Instances of personal adversity are key markers when determining an individual’s character, resoluteness, and sources of inspiration. When was the last time you were moved to great emotion and how did you positively respond from that moment in time?
4. People support each other and their communities in various ways. How do you support those around you and how has this shaped your unique perspective?
Merit-Based Scholarships (Priority Deadline December 1)
Merit-based scholarships are available for all first-year applicants and are determined by the Office of Admission through the application review process. For priority consideration for merit scholarships, your application for admission and all supporting credentials must be submitted by December 1. There is no separate application process for CMC scholarships.
For more information about merit-based scholarships please visit www.cmc.edu/admission/scholarships. For more information about need-based financial aid, please visit the Financial Aid Office at www.cmc.edu/financial-aid.
If you would like to be considered for merit-based scholarships:
- Only available for first-year applicants
- Submit your Common Application or Coalition Application by December 1
- If you would like to be considered for the Interdisciplinary Science Scholarship, complete the required need-base financial aid forms (see below)
- If you qualify and would like to be considered for the Lingdaoli Scholarship, complete the required need-based financial aid forms (see below) and submit your application at the Early Decision 1 deadline (November 1)
Need-based Financial Aid Policies for International Students
CMC is "need aware" for international students, CMC takes into account a student's ability to pay the full-cost of attendance as a part of admission criteria for applicants that are not U.S. citizens or U.S. Permanent Residents. CMC has limited financial resources for international students.
Any student that needs financial assistance to cover the full-cost of attendance must indicate that they are applying for need-based financial aid on their admission application and follow the financial aid application procedures for international students.
Students who do not apply for or do not receive financial aid upon admission are not eligible to be considered for financial aid in future years while enrolled at CMC.
Jennifer Hirsch, Associate Dean of International Admission
International territories: Africa, East and Southeast Asia, Europe, Middle East, and Oceania
Rachelle Ehrman, Senior Assistant Dean of Admission
International territory: Canada, Caribbean, Central and South American, Central and South Asia