International FAQs

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Am I an international student? 

We typically have three categories of “international” students: non-U.S. citizens abroad, non-U.S. citizens living in the U.S., and U.S. citizens/permanent residents abroad. 

If I’m a permanent resident or hold U.S. citizenship, but live outside of the U.S., should I apply as a U.S. student or as an international student?

On the Common Application or Coalition Application, a student must list their country/countries of citizenship. Therefore, we’ll see that a student is a U.S. citizen on their application, but that they’re applying from abroad. We’ll take this into consideration when we evaluate the application, as we know there are cultural and social contexts. 

Is the admission process need-blind for international students?

We are need aware for international students, meaning that a student's ability to pay does affect the admissions decision. Every non-U.S. citizen is required to submit a Certification of Finances and supporting financial documents via their applicant status portal as part of the application for admission. 

Is financial aid available to non-U.S. citizens?

We offer need-based financial aid for non-U.S. citizens, but it’s limited and competitive. To apply for financial aid, you must submit the Certification of Finances, as well as the CSS Profile.

What GPA do I need to be competitive for admission?

There’s no minimum grade point average or class rank required, but know this: You’re up against the best and the brightest in the world. The more rigorous your course selection, the better your grades, and the higher your class rank, the more competitive your application will be.

What if my GPA is not on a 4.0 scale? Should I re-calculate my GPA so it is on a 4.0 scale?

We receive applications from over 100 different countries, so most international students do not have a GPA on a 4.0 scale. We evaluate applications within the context of an applicant’s environment, so we are used to seeing a variety of academic systems and grading scales. When you complete the application and when your counselor completes the school forms, simply list the grading scale that your school uses, and we will use that to evaluate your application.  

Are there any full scholarship offers?

There is not a maximum or minimum amount of need-based financial aid scholarships. However, the less need-based aid you need to attend Notre Dame, the easier it is for us to meet your financial need. That is to say, it’s more feasible to award five partial need-based aid packages to five different students, rather than one full need-based aid package to one student. Although we have the ability to offer need-based aid meeting the full estimated cost of attendance, those are given to students who truly need the entire cost to attend Notre Dame and stand out across the board in our application process.

How can I receive a merit scholarship?

When determining scholarships, the Admissions Committee evaluates your academic qualifications, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation. The best way to be considered for merit scholarships is to meet Notre Dame’s qualifications.

Are merit scholarships available for international students? 

All international students and U.S. citizens abroad will be considered for merit scholarships. Most scholarships don’t require a separate application for consideration.

Is financial aid available for international transfer students?

We do not offer financial aid for international transfer students. 

What type of classes should I be taking in high school?

Please visit our website on evaluation criteria for guidelines as to what classes are recommended. We expect students to take the most challenging curriculum offered to them.  

I’m in the International Baccalaureate program. Does this help?

When we evaluate applications, we look at the rigor of your curriculum. We recognize the demands of the International Baccalaureate program. Being in the IB program assists in the application process, and in the transition to college life. Oftentimes, students are able to obtain credits for their IB classes. They also adapt quickly to the college curriculum, since they’re used to performing at a challenging level.

Students outside of the US who will be completing the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) and who submit predicted scores are eligible for Notre Dame's test flexible policy.

If I’m in the International Baccalaureate program, do I need to send my predicted IB scores?

We ask that students in the IB program send their predicted IB scores. 

If my school does not offer AP courses and does not have the IB curriculum, will I be at a disadvantage?

We evaluate applications within the context of your high school and cannot expect you to take classes that your school doesn’t offer. Instead, we look towards what is offered at your school and how you performed there. We have students from over 80 countries at Notre Dame, so we’re used to evaluating different types of curriculums. 

Can the application fee be waived?

Eligibility for the Common Application and Coalition Application Fee Waivers is based on financial need. Qualified applicants may use this payment method to satisfy the application fee requirement. Your counselor will receive notice of your intent to use the Fee Waiver, and will need to verify that you meet the eligibility criteria outlined by the Common Application or Coalition Application. Once eligibility is confirmed, the Common Application or Coalition Application process will bypass the payment step. 

Can I obtain a fee waiver for the CSS Profile?

We are not able to offer fee waivers for the CSS Profile. If you have difficulties completing the CSS profile, please contact the Admissions Office at

Is the SAT or ACT mandatory, or can it be waived?

Notre Dame is test-optional for the 2024 and 2025 application cycles, meaning students may choose whether or not to submit their test scores with their applications. See our test-optional questions for further details.

For international students, we do still require proof of English proficiency in our review process.

Regarding tests: If you choose to submit your test scores with your application, we do not have a preference as to which standardized test you choose. 

Can the English proficiency test be waived?

English proficiency testing will be REQUIRED if either the applicant's primary first language is not English, or the secondary education has not been primarily in English.

We will waive the English proficiency test if:

An applicant scores 650 or above on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section of the SAT  
An applicant scores 26 or above on the English or Reading sections of the ACT.

Oftentimes, a strong score on the English proficiency exams helps balance your testing record. If you are attending a high school in which English is the only language of instruction, please contact to inquire about a waiver.

What if no English proficiency test is offered near me or it is a financial burden to take the exam?

If there are no offerings, or limited offerings of the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic near you, or if taking these exams presents a financial burden to your family, Notre Dame does accept the Duolingo English Test (DET). Please email to review other options to meet the English language proficiency requirement.  

What’s the minimum TOEFL score for admission?

We strongly recommend 100 out of 120 on the Internet-based TOEFL exam. 

Can I send documents by email or fax?

We strongly encourage students to submit documents via the applicant status portal. 

How can I schedule an interview?

We do not offer alumni or on-campus interviews in the application process. However, students from China are encouraged to do an interview with InitialView or Vericant

Are there admissions quotas by region, country, or high school?

We do not have quotas per region, country, or high school. We judge students on the merits of their academic and extracurricular talents rather than where they reside. If we have more students from one country over another, it’s simply because we receive more applications from that one country. We will admit as many applicants from a high school and country that meet all the qualifications for Notre Dame. You are not competing against the other students from your high school or country applying to Notre Dame. Rather, you are competing against yourself and how you measure up to the standards Notre Dame is looking for. There’s no guarantee that we’ll admit the same number of students the next year from a particular school or country, as the quality of the applicants may change.

As an international student, can I work on campus?

Yes, but you cannot work more than 20 hours a week.

When do I receive my I-20?

I-20s are processed by the ISSA office on a rolling basis, and processing is only initiated upon an admitted student’s confirmation of enrollment and receipt of the enrollment deposit.

Is the International Student Orientation required for all international students?

International Student Orientation is mandatory for all F-1 and J-1 visa holders. U.S. visa holders, U.S. citizens who grew up abroad, and parents are also invited to attend Orientation. 

What is the Parent Authorization Form? 

The Parent Authorization Form is an email that is sent directly to the email address a student designates for their parent in the Certification of Finances. The parent is asked to verify the funding amount(s) that the student has submitted in the Certification of Finance. Please have your parent check the Spam folder if they have not received the email in their Inbox, and/or double check the email address you have used in the Certification of Finances.

What is the applicant status portal?

The applicant status portal is your resource for items related to your application to Notre Dame. Please watch for an email regarding your applicant status portal within two to three days after you have submitted an application for admission to Notre Dame. This email will be sent to the email address you used to apply. The email will include instructions for establishing your Notre Dame applicant status portal account.

Through the applicant status portal, you will be able to view the following: 

  • Your application checklist (including received/missing materials)
  • Application updates (first-year applicants)
  • Your admission decision
  • Financial aid checklist 

Check your applicant status portal regularly for any updates regarding your application. Learn more about the applicant status portal.

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