Center for International Studies
Applying to Western -- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I apply online?
Yes. The International Application for Admissions is available online.
Is there a deadline?
Please reference the Deadlines page in our system: Deadlines.
Where do I send my documents?
Clearly mark all envelopes and documents with your full name. Send documents to:International Admissions Memorial Hall 342 Western Illinois University Macomb, IL 61455 USA
How will I know if my documents are received?
An email will be sent to the email address given on your application verifying receipt of your documents and informing you what other documents are still necessary.
What are considered official academic credentials?
Official academic credentials are academic credentials sent directly from the issuing school to the International Admissions office or if submitted by the prospective international student must be received in an envelope bearing the institution’s seal or stamp and/or an appropriate signature across the sealed flap.
Some schools do not issue official academic credentials. For those schools please send copies of your academic credentials which are attested by the Controller of Examinations or Registrar. If you are sending secondary school academic credentials, we will accept copies attested and signed by the presiding school principal. The procedure for receiving the attested copies is the same as official academic credentials.
Please note: if you send attested copies, we may still request official academic credentials or ask you to present original documents once you arrive on campus.
What is considered an official English translation?
An official English translation is a document translated from the original academic credentials. The translation must be made by either a translating company or the institution from which the academic credentials are issued.
What is considered an original bank statement or bank letter?
An original bank statement or bank letter is a bank statement or bank letter which is issued by the institution - not a fax or photocopy. An original bank letter must be on bank stationary which has the printed address of the institution with the signature of a bank official in fresh ink.
Do I have to take the ACT or SAT?
No, a prospective undergraduate international student does not have to take the ACT or the SAT.
How soon before I know if I have been accepted?
You will be notified by email of your admissions status followed by an official letter sent through US airmail.
If you are applying as an undergraduate student, you will receive an admission decision by US airmail approximately one month after all necessary documents are received. Students applying at the graduate level may find it may take longer than a month to receive an admissions decision as some graduate departments and schools will wait to make admission decisions until all applications are received.
What is Western’s institutional code to receive test scores?
Western’s institutional code is 1900. Use this institutional code to have official TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT scores sent to Western.
I am a transfer student from a US university; do I need to include the non-US universities I have attended?
Yes. Academic credentials from ALL educational institutions attended are required. This includes non-US schools as well as secondary school academic credentials.
After I apply, what is the application process?
For prospective undergraduate students, once the application and all necessary documents are received, the grade point average (GPA) is calculated. Depending upon the GPA, you will be either accepted or denied. You will be emailed the admission decision and an official accept/deny letter will be sent to you by US airmail.
For prospective graduate students, once the application and all necessary documents are received, the grade point average (GPA) is calculated. A transmittal form is prepared and sent along with all supporting documents to the appropriate graduate department. The graduate department makes the admission decision and returns the transmittal to International Admissions. International Admissions staff prepares the official accept/deny letter and will send it to you by US airmail.
I am having difficulty submitting my online application. What do I do?
If after clicking on the "Continue to Payment Screen" button, the next screen shows "ERRORS: The following fields are incomplete or incorrect" please review your application and make the corrections as indicated. If after reviewing and making corrections you are still having difficulty submitting your online application, please contact an International Admission staff member at International-Ed@wiu.edu.
Please include any error message(s) you are receiving, if applicable. The International Admission staff will review your application to determine what the cause of the difficulty is and will respond to you.
When will I receive my I-20?
If you are transferring to Western from a US institution and have submitted your transfer form, you will receive your I-20 when you arrive on campus.
If you are currently living abroad, your I-20 may be mailed by regular US airmail or by courier. Once you are admitted, you will receive an email from our office containing details on how to request courier service. Courier service is provided at your own expense and generally takes 3-5 days for delivery.
If you choose to have your I-20 mailed by regular US airmail, please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery.
How much does it cost to apply?
A $30 (USD) non-refundable application fee is required for processing. The application fee is valid for two consecutive years from the first application semester. For example, if you originally applied for fall 2012 semester you have up to and including fall 2014 semester to change your initial application semester.
How may I pay the processing fee?
After completing the online International Application for Admissions you click on the "Continue to Payment Screen" button. On the payment screen, click on either the "Pay by Credit Card” link or the "Pay by Check or Money Order" link. If you click on the "Pay by Credit Card" link you will be taken to a separate screen which asks for the necessary credit card information. After submitting the necessary credit card information, click on the "Finish” button. Your online application will be submitted and the credit card will be charged the application fee.
If you wish to pay by check or money order, click on the "Pay by Check or Money Order” link. A separate screen will appear on which you will need to click the "I Confirm That I Want to Mail my Payment by Check or Money Order" button. A final screen will appear which shows that your application has been successfully submitted; however, you need to click the Payment Voucher link and print the payment voucher to send with your check or money order.
NOTE: The check or money order must be made payable to "Western Illinois University."
Can the application fee be waived?
No. The application fee cannot be waived or deferred or refunded. The processing of your application will not begin until the application fee is paid.
What if I do not pay the application fee?
Your application will not be processed until the application fee is received.
How much does it cost to study at Western Illinois University?
The approximate cost to study at Western for one academic year (2015-2016 fall and spring semesters) is as follows:
- Undergraduate student $25,910
- Graduate student $23,540
- WESL only student $31,545 (includes summer session)
Prospective international students wishing to study at Western must provide a Declaration of Finance and evidence of financial support showing the minimum amount given above for their classification.
If you are married and plan to bring your spouse and/or children, a proportionately larger amount must be certified: an additional $6,200 for your spouse and $3,100 for each child.
If you are entering Western through a Study Abroad exchange program or special agreement program, please contact the Study Abroad Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The amounts given above are subject to change without notice and do not include expenses such as books and supplies or personal allowance (transportation, clothing, laundry, extra food, entertainment, etc.).
What if I do not send the Declaration of Finance or the evidence of financial support?
Without the Declaration of Finance or the evidence of financial support, it is not possible to send you the form you will need to apply for your visa. Please be aware it is possible to be admitted to Western without submitting the Declaration of Finance or evidence of financial support. However, the form necessary for you to apply for your visa will not be sent to you until both the Declaration of Finance and evidence of financial support are received.
What if I cannot show adequate financial support?
The form necessary for you to apply for your visa will not be sent to you until the Declaration of Finance and evidence of financial support shows funds exist at least for the first year of study and, barring unforeseen circumstances, adequate funding will be available from the same or equally dependable sources for subsequent years.
Can I show financial support from more than one source?
Yes. However, for each source of financial support a Declaration of Finance form must be completed and the evidence of finances must be provided. The cumulative total must be equal to or greater than the minimum amount required for the particular classification.
What financial assistance is available for international students?
Although international students are not eligible for U.S. federal financial aid, international students may investigate other financial resources including grants, scholarships, on-campus student employment and for graduate students, graduate assistantships. Visit the following websites to learn about options from off campus entities:
- www.iie.org (Click on Program Portal link to begin search)
May I work while I attend Western Illinois University?
International students may work within the limitations set by the type of visa which is held. For example while maintaining F-1 status an international student may be employed on the campus of the school they are authorized to attend for a maximum of 20 hours per week while class is in session.
Graduate students may apply for a graduate assistantship. View the graduate website for further information regarding graduate assistantships.
However, please be advised student employment or a graduate assistantship cannot provide enough funds to meet all expenses.
Evidence of English Proficiency
Do I have to take the TOEFL?
No. However, Western requires all prospective international applicants to demonstrate satisfactory proficiency in English. There are a number ways in which you can demonstrate proficiency in English.
What if my TOEFL score is not high enough?
You may take the TOEFL as many times as you wish. Western will use the highest valid score.
Does Western accept the IELTS?
Yes. However, you will be admitted conditionally pending satisfactorily meeting of Western’s evidence of English proficiency requirement.
What does it mean to be admitted conditionally pending evidence of English proficiency?
To be admitted conditionally pending evidence of English proficiency means if you are accepted into a degree seeking program, you will not be able to begin that program until you provide satisfactory evidence of English proficiency.
How do I provide satisfactory evidence of English proficiency?
There are several means by which a prospective international student may provide satisfactory evidence of English proficiency:
- For the prospective international graduate student, this may be done by one of the following: obtaining a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Unless otherwise stated in the departmental sections, a satisfactory TOEFL score.
- Obtaining the satisfactory score (IELTS).
- Successfully completing the English as a Second Language Program through the WESL Institute.
- Completing a bachelor’s degree from an American institution with four years in residence, and within two years of matriculation at Western Illinois University.
Some graduate departments may require additional demonstration of verbal English proficiency before full acceptance into the program will be granted. Only students whose native language is English are exempt from the English proficiency requirements. All students who have not provided evidence of English language proficiency before arrival on campus must take the WESL placement test during New International Student Orientation.
For the prospective international undergraduate student, this may be done by one of the following:
- Obtaining a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A satisfactory TOEFL score is a 73 or higher on the internet-based version, or a 533 or higher on the paper-based version.
- Obtaining the satisfactory score of 6.0 or higher overall bands (IELTS).
- Successfully completing the English as a Second Language Program through the WESL Institute.
Only students whose native language is English are exempt from the English proficiency requirements. All students who have not provided evidence of English language proficiency before arrival on campus must take the WESL placement test during New International Student Orientation.
Can I defer (postpone) my acceptance?
If you have been accepted as an undergraduate student, your acceptance may be deferred (postponed) for two years beyond the original semester for which you were accepted, for example, fall 2014 semester is valid through fall 2016 semester. However, you will need to send an email to International-Ed@wiu.edu to inform the International Admissions staff you wish to change semesters.
For the majority of graduate programs, your acceptance may be deferred (postponed) for two years beyond the original semester for which you were accepted, for example, fall 2014 semester is valid through fall 2016 semester. However, some graduate departments place your application in the application pool for each semester and an admission decision is made based upon that application pool.
If you wish to change the semester you start at Western, send an email to International-Ed@wiu.edu to inform the International Admissions staff of the desired to defer (postpone) your acceptance. The International Admissions staff will then email you to inform you whether or not a new admission decision will be necessary.
I had my academic credentials evaluated by an evaluation company. Should I send the evaluation?
If you wish to send an evaluation by an outside agency, you may. However, Western does in-house evaluation of academic credentials.
I was not accepted by Western. Can my documents be returned to me?
No. All documents become the property of Western Illinois University and are not returnable.
I am a pending permanent resident. Am I still considered an international student?
Yes. Until you have the permanent resident card or received an I-551 stamp in your passport, you are considered a non-immigrant student. You must apply as a prospective international student. Please do not indicate you are a permanent resident on the application. This could send your application to domestic admission and delay your application process.
Once you receive your permanent residency card, please fax a copy to us and your application will be transferred to our domestic admissions office to (309) 298-2405. When you arrive on campus, you may be asked to present the original permanent residency card for verification.
What does it mean to be admitted conditionally as an undergraduate student?
A prospective international student who lacks certain supporting documentation required for regular admission, may be admitted conditionally to a degree-seeking program.
Conditions placed on admission may include but are not limited to:
- Submission of evidence of English proficiency
- Presentation of original academic credentials and degree certificates once arrive on campus
Any conditions placed on the student’s admission are included in the letter of admission.
What is the minimum number of courses I can take?
To be considered full-time a WESL only student must enroll in reading/writing, listening/speaking and lab courses for 19 hours of instruction per week.
For an undergraduate student, full-time academic enrollment is twelve semester hours of credit during the regular semester (fall or spring) or six semester hours of credit during the summer term. For a graduate student, full-time academic enrollment is nine semester hours of credit during any regular semester (fall or spring) or six semester hours of credit during the summer term.
Graduate Applicants Only
Do I have to take the GMAT?
Graduate applicants to the Accountancy program or the Business Administration program are required to take the GMAT to be considered for admission to these two programs. Visit the graduate Accountancy program website, or the Graduate Business Administration program website, to learn how the GMAT score is used in the admission decision.
Unofficial GMAT score report may be used to forward your application to the graduate Accountancy program or Business Administration program for the admission decision. However, until an official GMAT score report is received by International Admissions, your acceptance letter will not be mailed to you.
Do I have to take the GRE?
Graduate applicants to the Psychology program are required to take the GRE.
What does it mean to be admitted as a probationary student?
To be admitted as a probationary student means the student did not meet the graduate school and departmental grade point requirements for regular admission to a degree program.
Undergraduate students are NOT able to be admitted as probationary students.
I have been admitted as a probationary student. How do I change to regular admissions?
Upon completion of at least six semester hours of graduate-level work at Western Illinois University with at least a "B" average, probationary graduate students may petition the departmental graduate committee and the Graduate Council for a change in their admission status.
If the degree program requires the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), action on the petition will not be taken until the student’s GRE/GMAT scores are available. If the petition is approved by the department and the Graduate Council, the hours earned while a probationary graduate student may be used to satisfy the requirements for the degree.What does it mean to be admitted conditionally as a graduate student?
When a graduate student is admitted conditionally, the graduate student has departmental deficiencies which must be fulfilled.
I've taken some courses at the post-secondary (tertiary) level. Can these courses be used in my program of study at Western?
As an undergraduate transfer student, please be aware that the total number of hours required to complete your particular degree will depend upon the evaluation and distribution of prior coursework at your previous post-secondary institution(s). The distribution will include coursework in general education, your major, a minor, if required, and any other areas mandated by the university graduation requirements.