For students applying to college, the jargon used in the application process can be quite overwhelming. Things get even more confusing for international students, who need to learn a new set of terminologies, especially since these phrases can imply various things at different schools. I have compiled a list of terminology that I believe international students should be familiar with before applying to Tufts.
Who is considered an international student at Tufts? Any applicant who requires a student visa to study in the United States. Students who are already in the United States and have non-immigrant visas (such as an E2, H2, or L2) are also considered foreign students.
Merit Scholarship Vs. Need-based Aid
Tufts doesn’t offer merit scholarships; we only offer need-based financial aid. Merit-based aid offers financial support based on a student's academic achievements. Need-based aid provides funds for students based on their level of financial need. Tufts is committed to providing financial aid based on a student’s need. That means families who earn more money will pay more money whereas families that make less money will pay less money. Tufts covers 100% of students’ demonstrated financial need regardless of citizenship status, so international students can receive full scholarships if needed -- thanks to the generosity of Tufts, I received a scholarship that covers tuition, room and board.
English Language Proficiency Requirements
Unless applicants have attended an English instruction school for at least three years, all students whose native language is not English must present proof of English proficiency. Students with at least three years of study at a secondary school where English is the primary language are not required to submit English proficiency testing, though they may if they like. Students enrolled in ESOL classes during secondary school may be asked for proof of proficiency. Tufts accepts the following English language tests: TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, Duolingo and doesn’t have minimum required scores -- though successful applicants do well on these exams.
Tufts I-20 Process
When a student applies for a Visa to enter and study in the United States, they must provide proof of enrollment at Tufts as well as proof of adequate funding to live and study in the U.S. Tufts will generate and supply to committed students a document called an I-20, or specifically a “certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student status.” Tufts will only provide an I-20 to students who have applied, been accepted, and committed to enrolling at Tufts. Students must submit a copy of their passport's photo page, as well as proof of funds sufficient to one year of Tufts study, in order to acquire their I-20. I-20s are normally provided 2-3 months before the start of the semester in which a student would begin studies at Tufts.
International students must prove that they have sufficient funds available to pay for their educational and living expenses for the first academic year. Along with your application for admission, you must submit the Financial Statement of Personal or Family Support, which must be supported by proof for available funds (such as statements for savings deposits, checking accounts, or a portfolio of liquid assets) or a signed bank letter certifying your ability to pay school expenses. If you receive a need-based scholarship from Tufts that covers the full cost of attendance, your financial aid award letter will replace your financial statement.