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.
All international applicants, regardless of their country of citizenship, whose first language is not English or who do not attend a school in which English is the primary language of instruction for a minimum of three years, must submit 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
Sending Your Scores
Official English proficiency scores are preferred. However, if sending official scores presents a financial burden, you can submit self-reported English proficiency scores. To self-reported English proficiency test scores, you must email a PDF of your score report to firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email, please also include your CMC reference number and birthdate.
We will not accept self-reported English proficiency scores from the Common Application or Coalition Application.
If an applicant who is required to submit English proficiency test scores is admitted with self-reported English proficiency test scores and chooses to enroll, they will be required to send official test scores prior to the Fall semester. The Admission Office will compare self-reported scores with official test scores, and students will be contacted in the event of any discrepancies.
English Proficiency Exam Waivers
If you meet the eligibility requirements for an exemption from the English proficiency requirement, and it is not automatically waived on your application checklist, please send an email to email@example.com with the subject line “English Language Proficiency Waiver Request”.
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.
Admission interviews are not required but are highly recommended for all applicants. International applicants, specifically those whose first language is not English, are strongly encouraged to complete an InitialView or Vericant interview which includes a timed writing sample. All interviews are evaluative and weighed equally in the admission process.
Interviews should be scheduled and completed before or very shortly after the application deadline in which you apply. Applicants are limited to one of the interview options below for their application.
- IntialView and Vericant interviews are unscripted, unbiased, and recorded. A recording of your interview and your writing sample will be included with your CMC application.
- Recorded Interview: While an InitialView or Vericant interview is not specific to CMC, we find these interviews helpful in getting to know you better. Through the interview recording we want to hear your authentic voice and see how you interact in an unscripted conversation.
- Writing sample: CMC does not offer English language or writing courses for non-native English speakers. Therefore, the writing sample is important when considering academic preparation for CMC.
- Convenience: IntialView and Vericant interviews can be scheduled in your time zone at a time that works best for your schedule.
- InitialView fee waivers: If the cost of an InitialView interview is prohibitive for your family, please contact InitialView for a fee waiver.
- CMC Interviews are conducted virtually by current student Senior Interviewers or Admission Officers. The interviewer will include a write-up of their conversation with you in your application. All virtual interviews are scheduled in the Pacific Time zone.
- Alumni Interviews are conducted by CMC alumni volunteers across the globe. The interviewer will include a write-up of their conversation with you in your application. Alumni interviews take place between September and December. In September a list of alumni interviewers will be available. Please contact alumni in or close to your time zone.
Optional Video Response
After submitting your application, you will receive instructions on how to submit an optional two-minute video. Similar to interviews, the optional video is an opportunity for you 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. Videos can be simple, filmed straight to the camera, and are not expected to have editing or be professional-quality.
While the video is not required, if you were unable to schedule an interview, the video is a great opportunity to add a personal component to your application. Applicants are welcome to submit the video in addition to an interview but are not expected to complete both.
Please note that the optional video response does not substitute the InitialView or Vericant interview for non-native English speakers. International applicants whose first language is not English are encouraged to submit an InitialView or Vericant interview with the writing sample.
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:
- 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?
- 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?
- Developing a personal narrative is key to understanding 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?
- 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-based 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, which means CMC takes into account a student's ability to pay the full cost of attendance for four years as a part of admission criteria for applicants who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. Permanent Residents. CMC has limited need-based 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, submit the following documents, and follow the financial aid application procedures for international students.
- CSS Profile
- Financial Aid Supplement for International Students - This CMC-specific form will appear in your CMC applicant portal after you submit your application for admission.
Need-based financial aid packages will include college grants, limited loans, and self-help (student summer savings contribution and work-study). Review the components of a need-based financial aid award here.
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, Senior 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