You are considered an international student if you do not have U.S. citizenship, dual-U.S. citizenship, or have permanent residency.

Emerson College happily welcomes students from across the globe to participate in our Pre- College program. The Pre-College program offers high school students the opportunity to further their academic foundation while experiencing an immersive city experience in the heart of Boston. In order to make the transition into the U.S. as smooth as possible, please carefully review the following information:

1. Applying to a Summer Pre-College Program

Deadline: International students must submit all application materials by April 3, 2020.

  • All of Emerson's Pre-College Studio Programs and Summer Institutes for high school students are available to international students.
  • You may apply to two programs if you wish. If you apply to two programs, you must send us all required application materials for both programs.
  • If you are applying to one of the Pre-College Credit Programs — Acting, Musical Theatre, or 16mmFilmmaking — you must submit an official secondary school transcript translated into English with your application.

2. Language Proficiency Test

FOR STUDENTS FROM COUNTRIES WHERE ENGLISH IS NOT THE NATIONAL OR PRIMARY LANGUAGE: Take the TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo English, Cambridge English (Advance or Proficiency) or PTE Academic

If your native language is not English, you must provide proof of your proficiency in the English language.

If you submit one of the English Proficiency Examinations, please note the minimum score requirements for admission to Emerson College:

Please mail supporting credentials to:

Emerson College Undergraduate Admission Processing Center
PO Box 880
Randolph, MA 02368-8880

If you are an International Baccalaureate (IB) student, or if you attend an English immersion school, you are not required to send TOEFL or IELTS scores. However, we require a letter of English proficiency from an instructor or a guidance counselor.

3. Visa Requirements 

You will need an F-1 student visa to participate in our Pre-College Programs. You cannot participate in our Pre-College Programs with a tourist visa.

Note: The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires all F-1 student visa applicants to pay a one-time fee before applying for a visa. Visit U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement to read current fees and visa application requirements.

Prior to receiving their F-1 Visa, international students must first be issued an official Form I-20. Once accepted into the program, Emerson College must receive the following before you can have your Form I-20 issued:

  • Full payment of tuition and room and board
  • Digital Copy of your current valid passport
  • Completed International Student Contact Form
  • Proof of health insurance coverage, for the student, provided by a United States-based insurance company or an international insurance company.
  • U.S. citizens living outside of the United States must submit a copy of their U.S. passport.

After the above items are received, you will be issued and sent your Form I-20, which you will use to apply for your F-1 Visa. 

Visa Application Instructions 

After receiving your Form I-20, in order to acquire your F-1 Visa, international students must follow the steps below: 

  • Pay I-901 *SEVIS fee 
  • Make a Visa appointment with your particular Consulate or Embassy. You can locate your specific location here:
  • At your Visa appointment, be sure to bring with you the following: o SEVIS Form I-20 
    • SEVIS fee receipt 
    • Emerson College Admissions Letter 
    • Proof of funding for program 
    • Valid Passport

Note: The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires all F-1 student visa applicants to pay a one-time SEVIS fee of $200.00 before applying for a visa. Visit U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement to read current fees and visa application requirements.

Arriving from your Home Country into the U.S.

Have all of your important documents ready to present at Customs & Border Protection (CBP) at the airport.

Documents include:

  • Original I-20 
  • Passport (valid for at least 6 months into the future)
  • F-1 Student Visa (Canadian citizens do not require a visa prior to entry)
  • Emerson College Admissions letter
  • Proof of funding for the program

The airline will give you a form to complete that you must give to the CBP Officer when going through Customs. This form will be entered into the automated I-94 system and become your arrival / departure document.

Going through Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Have all of your documents ready to provide to the CBP Officer for the CBP inspection process. Your I-20 and your F-1 Student Visa will be reviewed and your passport will be stamped by the officer. Make sure to enter the U.S. using your F-1 Student Visa!! Make sure CBP DOES NOT record you as a tourist! Be polite and answer all questions they ask you truthfully. You may be asked further questions. It is important to have all of the above documents in order to provide supporting evidence of your F-1 status. Electronic devices are subject to search. If the officer determines that they need more information or to search your electronics, you may be asked to complete form DS-5535- Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants.

If you have any trouble going through customs, contact Tori Weston at tori_weston [at] or 617-824-8940.

Complaints should be directed to either a CBP supervisor or commander. If you need to discuss a complaint further, speak with your international student advisor upon arrival to campus.

After you Arrive in the United States 

Once you arrive in the U.S., CBP will record your arrival information electronically and this becomes your I-94 record*. You will be able to retrieve your I-94 record electronically from, as follows:

  • In your internet browser, type: 
  • Select “Get Most Recent I-94”
  • Read the Notification and select "Consent and Continue" .
  • Type your information into the fields provided and select "Next".
  • The I-94 record will appear. Check to make sure that your name, all personal information, visa category and expiration date of your authorized stay is accurate. NOTE: expiration date should say D/S, which stands for Duration of Stay. The name on your I-94 should match your passport.
  • If errors are found, CBP should be contacted as soon as possible. You may contact OISS for information on how to reach CBP.
  • If there are no errors, print the I-94 record and keep it with your passport and I-20.
  • When you arrive on campus, bring all immigration documents to orientation.

*You will receive a paper I-94 card only if you enter the U.S. by car or boat.


Below are links to U.S. Embassies around the world and additional Visa information:

4. Immunizations and Health Insurance

Tuberculosis Skin Test

International students must be tested for tuberculosis no earlier than three months prior to the start of the program if you are from a country not listed below:

  • Albania
  • America Samoa
  • Andorra
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile
  • Cook Islands
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Montserrat
  • Netherlands
  • Netherlands Antilles
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • United Arab Emirates,
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • United States Virgin Islands

All international students must be covered by a health insurance plan provided by a United States-based insurance company. Proof of insurance is required.

You will need to provide proof that you have received all immunizations listed for undergraduates, as well as three doses of Polio immunization.

If you have other questions, please tori_weston [at] (email Tori Weston at ) or call 617-824-8940.

5. Residence Life

All international students must stay in one of the College’s residence halls, and students are typically assigned to a four- or six-person suite. The residence hall has 24-hour building security.

Acting, Creative Writers, 16mm Filmmakers, Digital Filmmakers, Design/Tech, Musical Theatre, students may move into the residence hall on Saturday, July 4, 2020. They must move out of the residence hall by noon on Sunday, August 9, 2020.

Sports Communication students may move into the residence hall on Saturday, July 4, 2020. They must move out of the residence hall by noon on Sunday, July 11, 2020.

Journalism students may move into the residence hall on Saturday, July 4, 2020. They must move out of the residence hall by noon on Saturday, July 25, 2020.

TV Writing & Production students may move into the residence hall on Saturday, July 4, 2020. They must move out of the residence hall by noon Saturday, July 18, 2020.

Esports students may move into the residence hall on Sunday, July 12, 2020. They must move out of the residence hall by noon on Saturday, July 18, 2020.

Politics, Activism & Leadership students may move into the residence hall on Sunday, July 12, 2020. They must move out of the residence hall by noon on Saturday, July 25, 2020.

Professional staff and student staff members live in the residence hall, explain College policies, refer students to College services and offices, respond to emergency situations, sponsor after-program activities, and provide general support services to residents. Support services include mediation of interpersonal conflicts, responding to emergencies, enforcement of College policies, and assisting students in general during their stay.

Curfew: Two curfews will be enforced.

Building curfew: Students must be inside the residence hall no later than 10:00 pm.

Room curfew: Students must be in their rooms by midnight.

Room assignments: A week or so before the program begins, you will receive your room assignment, along with your class schedule and other information, such as class locations. Roommates are assigned based on completed roommate questionnaires.

6. Student Life

Rules & Policies

Each pre-college student will receive a Student Handbook. You will be expected to follow Emerson College’s rules and all policies explained in the handbook. Special Note: Drinking age in the United States is 21 years old. Smoking is prohibited in all Emerson College-owned or -leased buildings. 

Leaving Campus

Residential students may leave campus during non-program hours if they sign out with two other residential students. The sign-out policy is explained in the Student Handbook. If you plan to sleep off campus, your parents must submit a completed and signed Parental Permission form. The three-week and five-week programs are intensive. We strongly suggest that you miss no more than one class, and that you limit off-campus overnight visits to weekend and non-program hours.


Evening activities are offered frequently. Activities will be scheduled by our professional staff and may include activities based on information pre-college students provide to us in an activity questionnaire. Often students participate in such activities as an author reading, a museum visit, or attendance at a play.

7. Frequently Asked Questions

  1. As an international student, can I apply to the Pre-College Program?
    Yes. You can apply to the program. 
  2. I’m not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and I’d like to come to Pre-College, can I attend the program on a tourist visa or on the visa waiver program?
    No. You enter the U.S. with an I-20 in F-1 student status, NOT as a B-1/B-2 visitor. The Department of Homeland Security prohibits full-time study in the B category. The regulation states with regard to B-1/B-2: “Enrollment in a course of study prohibited.” 8 CFR 214.2 (7) 
  3. I want to come to your Pre-College Program and I am already attending a high school in the U.S., do I need an F-1 visa?
    No, you do not need an I-20 immigration document if you are already attending high school in the U.S. in a legal non-immigrant status and if you plan to return to that school fall semester. 
  4. I have a Canadian passport. Do I still need an I-20 or F-1 visa to attend?
    Yes, you will need an I-20. 
  5. How long after I am accepted will it take for me to receive my I-20 paperwork?
    Once you are accepted into a Pre-College Program, you will receive a link to upload various forms. Once ALL of the forms are completed and your Pre-College bill is paid in full, your I-20 will be mailed either by FedEX or DHL. 
  6. Once I get my I-20 and F-1 student visa and get to Emerson College, is there anything else I need to do or am I done with my immigration requirements?
    There is one more step to take. The Department of Homeland Security requires that you check in with your office to complete the immigration status. During orientation, you must bring your original I-20 Certificate of Eligibility and your passport with you.

If you have any additional questions, please contact: