Documentation requirements: how to make it easier for international students?

College application process can be challenging

Applying to college can be a daunting experience.  When I look back on my college applications process, there were so many questions I asked myself.  My first difficult decision was deciding what I wanted to study (with the mindset that I would not be switching from major to major).  Once that was determined, deciding where to go was the next task.  This led to me realizing that every institution had its own application process and requirements.   

For international students, going through the application process can be even more challenging.  The idea that every institution can set its own policies and procedures when it comes to the application process, among many other things, can be difficult to understand.  Different applications and fees, documentation requirements, and English proficiency requirements are among the many things they will encounter.     

How to make it easier for international students?

Is your institution being transparent about the application process and its documentation requirements?  Here are some questions to consider in terms of documentation requirements: 

  • Are your documentation requirements listed on your website? 

  • Is this information easily accessible on your website and is it mobile-friendly? 

  • Do you require the same type of documentation from every student (i.e. sealed transcripts, copies, etc.), or are country standard practices taken into consideration? 

  • Do you require official documents at the time of application, after acceptance, before enrollment, etc.? 

  • Are political conflicts taken into consideration when determining documentation availability? 

  • Is country-specific documentation listed for each country/system or is generic wording used (transcript, diploma, etc.), particularly at the secondary level? 

  • Do you have documentation requirements listed for varying types of students (freshman, transfer, graduate)? 

When important information is transparent, accessible, and easy to understand, it will make a difficult task much less stressful.  For international students, having clear information and instructions can make their interactions with your institution much more pleasant. We all know that there are many factors international students take into consideration when deciding which school to enroll at, but this factor may play a part when making that ultimate choice.

Lindsey Gullicksrud is a Senior Evaluator and has been in the field of credential evaluation since 2006 and has also spent time working in international admissions and recruitment.   She enjoys working with credentials that may be a slight challenge and involve some research. 



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