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International Student Admissions

Step 1 - Apply

Admission to Southern begins with an application. You can apply online to get started.

For international students interested in our graduate programs, click here.

Apply Online

Step 2 - Submit Your Documents

The following items must be submitted before applications can be processed:

Other documents that may be required:

*Transcript evaluation is not required for students graduating from high schools in Bermuda and The Bahamas.

** Citizens of Australia, The Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, or United Kingdom may be exempt from taking the English Proficiency Test.

Step 3 - Wait for Application to be Processed

In addition to the general requirements for admission, English proficiency, both written and oral, must be determined as part of the admission process. This may be done by one of the following:

Regular Admit

Regular Admit + ESL


Duolingo English Test

115 and above


84 or less

TOEFL IBT (Internet Based)

79 and above


44 or less

TOEFL (Revised Paper Delivered)

Average of 20 & above

Average of 11-19

Average of 10 or less

TOEFL PBT (Paper Based)

550 or above


449 or less


6.5 or above


5.4 or less


4.0 or above


2.9 or less

English as a Second Language (ESL) Program - Southern Adventist University offers a limited number of classes in ESL to international students who would like to pursue a college degree, but are only at an intermediate level of speaking, writing, and reading in English. View more ESL details.

Step 4 – Apply for Student Visa

Once you are accepted for admission and the additional criteria above are fulfilled, the I-20 is issued for you by Southern Adventist University. You then obtain a student visa (F-1) by presenting the I-20 in your home country.

Student Visa Regulations
Students entering the United States on a student visa must:

  • Provide proof of ability to pay tuition, university, and living expenses while in the United States.
  • Register for and maintain at least a full course of study (12 undergraduate or 9 graduate credit hours) each semester.
  • Obtain permission from the international student adviser if it is necessary to drop below full-time credit hours.
  • Accept only on-campus employment of up to 20 hours per week after registration of classes.*
  • Report address changes within 10 days to the Records Office.
  • Return to their home country after completing their university education as required by United States immigration laws.
* Social Security Number is required for all international students who work on campus. For more information, contact Human Resources

Step 5 - Plan for Your Arrival

Check your email frequently. The admissions office will be sending important instructions via email.

Before you arrive:

  • Pay International Commitment Deposit - $3000*
  • Register for Classes
  • Provide Southern with:
    • Date you will arrive in the United States
    • Date you will arrive at Southern Adventist University

*Students from Canada, Bermuda, and The Bahamas will pay Commitment Deposit described on the general admissions requirement page.  

Don’t Leave Home Without…

  • Letter of acceptance from Southern Adventist University
  • Immigration Form I-20 from Southern Adventist University
  • Valid passport
  • Valid visa for travel to the United States
  • Sufficient funds for the first year at Southern

Step 6 – Stay Connected

Stay in touch with the International Student Services Coordinator.

Christina Donesky
Email: cdonesky@southern.edu
Phone: 423.236.2845

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Fall Semester (August)
    • June 1: Application Deadline
    • July 1: Acceptance Deadline
  • Winter Semester (January)
    • October 1: Application Deadline
    • November 1: Acceptance Deadline

Proficiency in English, both written and oral, must be determined as part of the admission process. This may be done by taking an English Proficiency Test (see Step 3) or by meeting one of the exceptions below:

  • Complete or will complete four years of secondary education within the United States with a GPA of 2.5 with either a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in English subjects or by scoring a Composite, English, and Reading score of 18 or above on the ACT.
  • Student is a citizen of Australia, The Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, or United Kingdom.

Students who attended a non-U.S. school for any High School/Secondary equivalent or University institution, must have documents submitted through a foreign credit evaluation service before an admission decision is determined.

Official transcripts of all school work must be submitted to Enrollment Services. Certified English translations (not an interpretation) must accompany original transcripts in other languages. Documents from institutions located in Bermuda and the Bahamas are exempt from using the evaluation services.

We recommend SpanTran as it is the cheapest option. A high school transcript evaluation (without translation) will cost about $140 ($90 for the initial evaluation and $50 to update* the evaluation after graduation).

Order foreign transcript evaluation from SpanTran.
*To update your evaluation, send an email to intake@spantran.com. Mention you would like to add additional documents to an exisiting evaluation and include your case number and any additional documents.

Acceptance to Southern for international students is granted by the Admissions Committee, which reviews the student's academic preparation, finances, and English proficiency. Health and character may also be considered.

For additional academic information, refer to the Undergraduate Catalog.

For additional financial information, refer to the Student Finances page.

Duolingo has provided a limited number of waiver coupons for high achieving, low income applicants. However, students must first apply to Southern Adventist University and then we will email out a link with the Waiver Request form.

Please note that in order to determine if students qualify for this waiver they must complete the following items:

  • Submit Evaluated HS Transcripts
  • Submit Declaration of Finances