What Is Conditional Admission What Does It Mean for You



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Every year, many international students receive conditional admission to colleges and universities across the U.S. But what is conditional admission exactly? And how can it benefit you?

In this article,

we explain how the conditional admission process works for international students

. We also give you a lengthy list of U.S. schools offering conditional acceptance as well as a few key tips on when to consider accepting or rejecting a conditional admission offer.

What Is Conditional Admission? Is It Bad?


Conditional admission, also called “provisional admission” or “conditional acceptance,” means that you will be admitted to a college or university on the condition that you make up for a certain requirement you do not presently meet.


For international students, conditional admission means you’ll be admitted to a school if and only if you successfully complete further English-language training.

Conditional admission is generally offered to academically qualified international applicants whose English abilities are lower than what’s required by their schools for regular, or unconditional, admission.

Once you fulfill all of your school’s English-language requirements, you will become an unconditional student and be able to take regular academic courses for your degree. If, however, you fail to meet your school’s requirements, you will either be rejected or un-enrolled from classes, depending on when you must complete your English-language training.

So is conditional admission a good thing or a bad thing? The reality is, it depends on how you choose to look at it.

On the one hand, conditional admission proves that you’re

100 percent academically qualified for a school you want to attend.

On the other hand, conditional admission can be frustrating because it means that your English ability is the

only

factor preventing you from being regularly admitted to a school.

Furthermore, conditional admission can be

burdensome,

as you’ll likely need to complete an intensive English-language program before you can even begin enrolling in classes that count toward your degree.

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How Does Conditional Admission Work?


Like the college application process,

the process of applying for and receiving conditional admission varies depending on the school

. Thus, it’s best to consult schools directly to get more information about their admission processes and whether they offer conditional admission to students.

Below, we give you an overview of the typical conditional admission process at U.S. schools.


Step 1: Apply to your chosen schools.

At some U.S. schools, you may have the option to directly apply for conditional admission by simply selecting or noting it on your application. At other schools, such as the

University of Minnesota

, you may be automatically considered for conditional admission based on your overall application and TOEFL or IELTS scores. (Note that not all schools require TOEFL or IELTS scores for conditional admission consideration.)


Step 2: Receive conditional acceptance.

If you’ve been successfully admitted to your school as a provisional student, you will receive an acceptance letter indicating your conditional acceptance. At this time or shortly after, your school will explain to you in detail what you must do to satisfy its English-language requirement and eventually become a fully (instead of conditionally) admitted student.


Step 3: Fulfill your school’s English-language requirement.

To successfully fulfill your school’s English requirement and transition from a conditional student to a regular student, you will most likely need to do one or more of the following:

  • Complete an intensive English-language program
  • Attain certain grades (usually B or higher) in English-language courses
  • Achieve a certain qualifying score set by your school on the TOEFL, IELTS, or other English-proficiency test

Most often, conditionally admitted students will enroll in school-approved intensive English-language programs on or off campus to make up for their English deficiencies. These programs usually need to be completed

before

you can enroll in regular academic courses, but some schools may allow you to take regular classes and English courses simultaneously.


Step 4: Transition from conditional acceptance to full acceptance.

Once you’ve met your school’s English-language requirement, you will become a regular, unconditionally accepted student. This means that you will no longer need to take English-language courses, allowing you to instead focus entirely on your selected degree program. (If you fail to meet your school’s English requirement, however, you will

not

be admitted unconditionally.)

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Which Schools Offer Conditional Admission?


By now, you’re probably wondering which schools actually offer conditional admission. And the answer is, a lot of different kinds! From small community colleges to large public institutions, schools offering conditional acceptance can be found all over the U.S.


Below is a list of 82 U.S. schools offering conditional admission to international students.

All schools are arranged in alphabetical order, and each entry includes the academic level(s) offering conditional admission as well as the English-language requirements for ultimately securing full admission.

Note that this list is by no means a complete list of U.S. schools offering conditional admission. If there is a school you want to apply to that is

not

on this list, I recommend contacting it directly to ask whether conditional admission is available for international students.


School

Academic Level

English-Language Requirements

Arizona State University
Undergraduate Complete Advanced 2 level of English-language course at

ASU Global Launch

Baldwin Wallace University
Undergraduate, graduate Enroll at

LADO International Institute

Berkeley College
Undergraduate, graduate Complete

approved ESL program

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

(Cal Poly Pomona)
Undergraduate, graduate Complete Cal Poly English Language Institute (CPELI) Level 5

California State University, Chico
Undergraduate, graduate Enroll at

American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI) Chico

California State University, Sonoma

(Sonoma State University)
Undergraduate, graduate Enroll at

Sonoma State American Language Institute (SSALI)

City College of San Francisco
Undergraduate Complete

Intensive English Program (IEP)

and meet minimum required score on Institutional TOEFL or placement test

Clark University
Undergraduate, graduate Enroll at

American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI)

College of Charleston
Undergraduate Enroll at

English Language Institute (ELI)

College of Southern Nevada
Undergraduate Complete ESL Program or Bridge Program

College of Staten Island, CUNY
Undergraduate, graduate Enroll at

English Language Institute (ELI)

and meet minimum required TOEFL score

DePaul University
Undergraduate, graduate Complete

English Language Academy (ELA)

and receive

University Bridge Certificate

Drexel University
Undergraduate, graduate Undergraduate students enroll in

Drexel International Gateway

program; graduate students enroll in

Drexel Graduate Bridge program

Eastern Washington University
Undergraduate Complete EWU’s

English Language Institute (ELI)

program

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Undergraduate, graduate Enroll in the

Embry-Riddle Language Institute (ERLI)

Fairleigh Dickinson University
Undergraduate, some graduate Take FDU’s Online English Placement Test to determine English proficiency needs

Felician University
Undergraduate, graduate Apply to and complete the

ESL Academic Bridge Program

Foothill and De Anza Colleges
Undergraduate Enroll at

approved language center

Fordham University
Graduate Contact the

Office of International Service

George Mason University
Undergraduate, graduate Enroll in an

Academic English Language program at the INTO

Georgia Southern University
Undergraduate Complete

English Language Program (ELP)

Georgia State University
Undergraduate Complete specific courses in

Intensive English Program (IEP)

Glendale Community College
Undergraduate Enroll at

approved ESL language school

Grossmont College
Undergraduate Complete

American Collegiate English (ACE)

program

Los Angeles Trade Technical College
Undergraduate Enroll in

Language Systems International

or

other approved language program

Loyola University New Orleans
Undergraduate Enroll in

LIEP Pilot Program

Manhattanville College
Undergraduate, graduate Complete Level 5 of

BridgePathways Academic English Program (AEP)

Michigan State University
Undergraduate Complete English courses through

English Language Center

Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
Graduate Enroll in

Intensive English Program (ESL)

Middlesex Community College
Undergraduate Enroll at

partner English-language school

Mississippi State University
Graduate Complete one year of ESL courses and pass required language test

North Central College
Undergraduate, graduate Complete Intensive English Program at

English Language Institute (ELI)

North Dakota State University
Undergraduate Enroll in

Intensive English Language Program (IELP)

Northeastern University College of Professional Studies
Undergraduate, graduate Complete Phase 3 of

American Classroom Program

Ohio University
Undergraduate, graduate Complete

Ohio Program of Intensive English (OPIE)

or Bridge Program, depending on English proficiency level

Pace University
Graduate (master’s only) Complete

Global Pathways Program

Palomar College
Undergraduate Complete

approved TOEFL waiver program

Pennsylvania State University

(Penn State)
Graduate Complete certain remedial English courses

Pierce College
Undergraduate Complete Intensive English Program (IEP)

Queens College, CUNY
Graduate Enroll at English Language Institute (ELI)

Rochester Institute of Technology
Undergraduate Take English courses

through English Language Center

San Francisco State University
Undergraduate Enroll at

American Language Institute (ALI)

Seattle Pacific University
Undergraduate Complete level 6 of partner ESL program (

A.C.E. Language Institute

or

Washington Academy of Languages

)

South Dakota State University
Graduate Complete Intensive ESL Program and meet minimum required TOEFL or IELTS score for desired graduate program

South Seattle College
Undergraduate Complete

Intensive English Program (IEP)

Southern Illinois University
Undergraduate Enroll at

Center for English as a Second Language (CESL)

Southwestern Oregon Community College
Undergraduate Enroll at

partner language school

Temple University
Undergraduate Complete Access Temple 2 English program

Texas Christian University
Undergraduate, graduate Take exams through TCU’s

Intensive English Program

Towson University
Undergraduate, graduate Undergraduate students must complete English Language Center Level 4; graduate students must complete English Language Center Level 6

Truman State University
Undergraduate, graduate Retake TOEFL or IELTS, or enroll at

The Language Company (TLC)

University of Alabama
Undergraduate Enroll at

English Language Institute (ELI)

University of Arizona
Undergraduate Enroll at Center for English as a Second Language (CESL)

University of Arkansas
Undergraduate, graduate Enroll at

Spring International Language Center (SILC)

UCLA Extension Certificate Programs
Certificate Enroll at UCLA Extension American Language Center (ALC)

University of Dayton
Undergraduate, graduate Complete Intensive English Program (IEP)

University of Delaware
Undergraduate, graduate Undergraduate students enroll in

Academic Transitions (AT) program

; graduate students enroll in

Conditional Admissions Program (CAP)

University of Denver
Undergraduate, graduate Enroll at

English Language Center (ELC)

University of Illinois Springfield
Undergraduate Complete

Intensive English Program (IEP)

or take level-appropriate ESL courses depending on TOEFL or IELTS scores

University of Iowa
Undergraduate Complete

Iowa Intensive English Program (IIEP)

University of Kansas
Graduate Undergo

Applied English Center (AEC)

testing and take level-appropriate English classes

University of Maine
Undergraduate Enroll at

Intensive English Institute (IEI)

University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Graduate Enroll in ESL courses through

English Language Institute (ELI)

University of Miami
Undergraduate Complete level five of

Intensive English Program (IEP)

University of Michigan-Flint
Undergraduate Enroll in

English Language Pathway Program

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Undergraduate Complete one year of intensive English-language study at

Minnesota English Language Program

University of Missouri
Undergraduate Complete Intensive English Program (IEP)

University of Montana
Graduate Enroll at

English Language Institute (ELI)

University of Nevada, Reno
Undergraduate Contact the provost’s office at the university

University of North Texas
Undergraduate, graduate Enroll at

Intensive English Language Institute (IELI)

University of Northern Iowa
Undergraduate Complete

Culture and Intensive English Program (CIEP)

University of Redlands
Undergraduate Complete

Monterey Institute of International Studies Intensive English as a Second Language (MIIS IESL)

program

University of South Carolina
Undergraduate, graduate Complete required English courses at

English Programs for Internationals (EPI)

or fulfill departmental English-proficiency requirement

University of Southern Indiana
Undergraduate, graduate Complete

Intensive English Program (IEP)

University of Texas at Arlington
Graduate Complete

Graduate English Skills Program (GESP)

University of Texas at San Antonio
Undergraduate Complete

Intensive English Program (IEP)

Valencia College
Undergraduate Complete

Intensive English Program (IEP)

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

(Virginia Tech)
Undergraduate Complete Language and Culture Institute’s

Intensive English Program

through Level 550

Washington State University
Undergraduate Complete Level 5 of

Intensive American Language Center (IALC)

Wayne State University
Undergraduate, graduate Complete highest-level English courses at

English Language Institute (ELI)

Western Washington University
Undergraduate Enroll in

Intensive English Program (IEP)

and

Global Pathway Program (GPP)

Winona State University
Undergraduate, graduate Enroll at

English Language Center (ELC)

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Should You Accept Conditional Admission?

Now, we get to our final question: if you are offered conditional admission, should you accept it? Your answer to this question will depend on what you hope to get out of your particular school. Here, we present to you a few situations in which you may want to consider accepting conditional admission and in which you may be better off rejecting it.

Consider Accepting Conditional Admission If …


  • You want to improve your English in an English-speaking country.

    Are you excited about the prospect of learning English in an English-speaking country? Then conditional admission will likely be an excellent fit for you, especially if you’re genuinely enthusiastic about getting to hone your English skills in an intensive English-language program.

  • It’s your dream school.

    If you’ve received conditional admission from your dream school, you should definitely consider accepting the offer! Ultimately, as long as you’re committed to working hard on your English skills and fulfilling your school’s English requirements, you shouldn’t have any problem transitioning from conditional student to unconditional student. Plus, if your dream school is particularly selective, this might be your

    only

    shot at attending it!

Consider Rejecting Conditional Admission If …


  • You’d rather improve your English skills on your own time.

    If you’re not interested in enrolling in an intensive English-language program or paying extra money for English courses, you’ll probably be better off rejecting the conditional acceptance offer and taking time to improve your English abilities on your own. The following year, you can then reapply to your school with a (hopefully) higher set of TOEFL or IELTS scores and receive a regular acceptance offer.

  • You have an unconditional acceptance elsewhere.

    If you’ve already received a full acceptance to a different school that you like just as much as the one to which you’ve been conditionally admitted, consider rejecting your conditional offer, particularly if you’d prefer to attend a full academic program right away (instead of having to take English courses first).

Summary: What Is Conditional Admission? What Does It Mean for You?

For international students, conditional admission — also known as “provisional admission” or “conditional acceptance” — means that you have been accepted to a school

on the condition

that you raise your English level through approved English-language training.

Many schools across the U.S., from community colleges to public universities, offer conditional admission to undergraduate and graduate students. Above, we’ve provided you with a list of

82


schools offering conditional admission to international students

. If you’re not sure whether a school offers conditional admission, contact the school to ask about its admission policies.

Whether you should accept or reject a conditional admission offer ultimately depends on what

you

want to do with your academic plan. If you are OK with having to take English courses or really want to attend a particular school, it might be best to accept your conditional admission offer. On the other hand, if you’re uninterested in taking English courses or have received an unconditional offer from an equally good school, you might want to consider rejecting your conditional acceptance offer.

What’s Next?



Not sure whether your TOEFL score is high enough for regular admission?

Check out

our extensive list of popular U.S. schools and their minimum TOEFL requirements

.


Want to get a great TOEFL score?

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how to properly prepare for the TOEFL

and learn about

what features make the exam especially challenging

.


Considering taking the IELTS instead?

Read

our guide

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our handy conversion charts

.


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