Application Instructions for First-Year International Applicants

Please use the links below to learn more about CMC's application process. The Office of Admission looks forward to reviewing your application. 

Application Checklist

  • Common Application or Coalition Application
  • $70 Application Fee
  • Additional Academic Credentials
    • School Report and Counselor Recommendation
    • School Profile
    • Two Teacher Recommendations
    • Official High School Transcript(s) from all secondary schools attended
    • Official SAT or ACT (sent directly from the testing agency)
      • SAT Writing or ACT Essay section required for applicants whose first language is other than English
    • TOEFL or IELTS for students who attend a high school in which the primary language of instruction is other than English
  • Financial Aid CSS Profile (if applying for financial aid)
  • Early Decision Agreement (required for ED1 and ED2 applicants only)

Common Application and Coalition Application

CMC accepts the Common Application or Coalition Application for first-year admission, without preference for one over the other. Applications can be submitted online at or

Application Review

Admission to CMC is based on a holistic review process that considers a broad range of factors, including a prospective student’s academic and leadership achievements, commitment to CMC’s values, and potential to benefit from and contribute to CMC’s mission.

School Report and Counselor Recommendation

Please have your school's college counselor or school official send the school report, a recommendation, school profile (if available), and official high school transcript reflecting work completed through your junior year. If you attended multiple high schools, please submit all secondary school transcripts. For transcripts not in English, you must submit a certified translation.

The School Report and Counselor/School Official Recommendation provide the Admission Committee with important context about your high school. Understanding the context of your high school helps us best assess your academic preparation for CMC.

While there is no minimum GPA requirement, competitive candidates for admission pursue the most demanding course work possible and receive strong grades. We strongly recommend taking advantage of honors and advanced coursework when available. Many competitive applicants often go beyond the minimum recommended program listed below. 

Minimum Recommended High School Program

The Admission Committee recognizes there are many different curricula and high school programs around the world, and it is understood that all students may not be able to complete the recommended high school program. We will evaluate each student individually with this consideration and we expect each student to complete the necessary courses for completion of their national curriculum. 

  1. Four years of English
  2. Three (preferably four) years of mathematics
  3. At least three years of a language other than your native language (this can be three total years or up to the third level)
  4. At least one year of history
  5. At least two years of science

Two Teacher Recommendations

Recommendations should be completed by teachers who have instructed you in core academic areas (mathematics, science, languages, or social sciences).

Teacher recommendations are important in giving the Admission Committee insight into your engagement in classes, collaboration with peers, and ability to manage rigorous class work. We recommend asking teachers who can speak to your strengths and progress academically and personally throughout high school.

If the recommendation is written in a language other than English, we require a certified translation accompanied by the original letter, by either an official from the applicant’s school or a third-party.

Standardized Tests

CMC requires the SAT or the ACT for first-year admission and does not prefer one test over the other. The SAT Writing or ACT Essay section  required for students whose first language is other than English. We will superscore both tests. Standardized test scores must be submitted directly to CMC by the appropriate testing agency. Scores received via any other means (i.e., fax or high school transcript) will not be considered official.

If the payment associated with taking the writing section of the SAT or ACT, or requesting your scores from the ACT or The College Board poses a financial hardship for you, please email us at to request assistance with the payment.

ACT middle 50% range 31-34

SAT EBRW middle 50% range: 670-730

SAT Math middle 50% range: 680-770 

SAT Subject Tests

The Admission Committee does not require that you take the SAT Subject Tests. Home-schooled students, however, are required to submit scores from two exams. One of the scores submitted must be from a math Subject Test.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS): 

Students whose native language is not English must also submit official results from the TOEFL or IELTS. A minimum score of 100 on the internet-based TOEFL exam. For the IELTS, a minimum band score of 7.5 is required. A waiver can be granted for students whose primary language of instruction throughout high school was English. If you believe that you qualify for a waiver from this requirement, please contact the Admission Office (, after you have submitted your application.

Mid-Year High School Transcript

Please have your school’s college counselor or school official submit an official transcript when seventh-semester or tenth-trimester grades are available. 

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.


While interviews are not required, they are highly recommended. All homeschooled applicants are required to interview. 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. The interview process also provides you with a valuable opportunity to understand the CMC experience through a one-on-one interview with an Admission Officer, Senior Interviewer, or Alumni Interviewer. If possible, we recommend scheduling an interview on- or off-campus. Interviews typically last about 30 minutes. To schedule an interview, please visit

We have alumni interviewers available in some international locations September through December. Please visit to see if there is a CMC alumni interviewer in your area.

For applicants seeking to interview from China and are unable to visit campus, CMC has partnered with InitialView and Vericant to offer the opportunity to submit an unscripted, unbiased, and taped interview as a part of the application process. This option may be available to applicants abroad in other locations. 

Interviews for first-year applicants are offered May through mid-December and can be completed before you submit your application for admission. Early Decision I applicants should plan to interview by mid-November.

If you are unable to schedule an interview by mid-December, we strongly encourage that you consider submitting the optional video response. Applicants who interview may submit the video response as well.

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 for fall 2018 applicants:

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?

Early Decision

Students for whom CMC is clearly their first choice may apply under an Early Decision (ED) option. Students must complete the Early Decision Agreement found in the Common Application. The applicant, parent, and college counselor must electronically sign this form. Candidates who are admitted under Early Decision are expected to enroll at CMC, to withdraw all other college applications, and not to initiate new ones. The admission decision is binding. 

Merit-Based Scholarships (Deadline December 1)

Merit-based scholarships are available for first-year applicants and are determined by the Office of Admission through the application review process. If you would like to be considered, 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 For more information about need-based financial aid, please visit the Financial Aid Office at

If you would like to be considered for merit-based scholarships:

  • Only available for freshman 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 committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated need of all admitted first-year students, regardless of citizenship. However, as a "need aware" institution 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.

Admission Deadlines

Application due Nov. 1
Merit application due Nov. 1
Decision notification Dec. 15
Candidate's reply due early January

Application due Jan. 5
Merit application due Dec. 1
Decision notification Feb. 15
Candidate's reply due early March

Application due Jan. 5
Merit application due Dec. 1
Decision notification April 1
Candidate's reply due May 1

Financial Aid Deadlines

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE due Nov. 1
Award notification Dec. 15

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE due Jan. 5
Award notification Feb. 15

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE due Jan. 5
Award notification April 1

General inquiries:

Conor Fritz, Associate Dean of Admission

International territory: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Middle East, Oceania and all other international territories not assigned

Jennifer Hirsch, Associate Dean of Admission

International territory: Canada and Mexico

Megan Latta, Assistant Dean of Admission

International territory: Central America and South America​

Updates for those affected by the Coronavirus