International First Year Admission

International First Year Admission

Apply via the Common Application

First Time in College International Applicant

Howard University welcomes applications from talented international students as freshmen; that is, students who have never matriculated into a degree program at Howard University or any other post-secondary institution of higher education. International students are advised to begin the admission process at least one year prior to the time they wish to enter the University because additional time is usually essential for submission of required tests, academic documents, evaluations and immigration-related matters. Students are encouraged to apply via the Common App during their final year (12th/13th grade depending on your education system) of secondary school. 

This page is also applicable to US citizens/nationals who have studied outside the United States. Please complete the admission requirements listed below, as well as the FAFSA for financial aid consideration. 

As part of our holistic admission process, we consider student's secondary school academic record, standardized college entrance exams (SAT or ACT), leadership in school and community activities, unique talents and skills, and educational objectives.

Once an application has been submitted via the Common App, changes cannot generally be made. Thus, we do implore all applicants to thoroughly review their application prior to submission. 

As of August 2018, we no longer offer Spring entry for first year applicants. The first year admission team can be reached via email at We can also be reached via telephone at 202-806-2755. For the latest admission updates, follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

International First Year Application Details

Recommended Coursework

For admission consideration, an applicant should have a well-balanced college preparatory program that includes the following recommended course work: 

  • 4 years English  

  • 3 years mathematics 

  • 2 years social science 

  • 2 years science (w/lab) 

  • 2 years foreign language

Our students come from across the globe, so we are familiar with the differences in the various curricula. We place emphasis on a well-rounded curriculum, rather than the specific years recommended above. 

Admission Plans

First Time in College (FTIC) applicants have the opportunity to submit an application for Early Decision, Early Action or Regular Decision. 

  • Early Decision (ED) is a binding admission plan that is designed for students whose first choice is Howard University. ED applicants may apply to other colleges/universities while we review their applications, but may only apply to one college/university early decision. In general, if an ED applicant is offered admission to Howard, he/she must withdraw all other college applications. However, ED applicants seeking financial aid need not withdraw other applications until they have received notification about financial aid. If we have not met the full financial need of an admitted ED applicant (based on submitted FAFSA/HU ISFAA information), enrollment would not required. ED decisions are provided to students via email in late January. For more information on how to submit the agreement, visit the Common App Support site for Students or Recommenders.
  • Early Action (EA) is a nonbinding admission plan. EA allows high achieving students the opportunity to receive their admission decision early in the admissions process. EA decisions are provided to students via email in late January. Scholarships are also awarded at this time for all accepted Early Action & Early Decision applicants that meet the specific requirements.
    • NOTE: EA and ED applicants with incomplete applications after November 15 will be moved to the regular decision applicant pool.
  • Regular Decision (RD) is a nonbinding admission plan. Under our RD admission plan, students are provided with an admission decision via email by early April. RD applicants with incomplete applications after March 1 will not be able to receive an admission decision. Thus, we do encourage all RD applicants to submit their admission items by our posted document deadline.
    • NOTE: RD applicants with incomplete applications after March 1 will not be rendered with a final decision. These admission files will be marked as incomplete.

Please note: Once your application has been submitted, your decision plan cannot generally be changed. 

As of August 2018, we no longer offer Spring entry for FTIC applicants.

Application Fee

A non-refundable $45 application fee is charged as part of the Common Application process. Payment is made via Common App (personal checks are not accepted). Unfortunately, the Office of Admission does not issue fee waivers.

If paying the application fee may cause you and your family to face unusual financial hardship, we will accept the Common App fee waiver. If you will be using a fee waiver, please ensure your counselor submits the required Common Application fee waiver affirmation via Common App or via mail (if 'Offline' submission is selected). 

No other fee waiver form (e.g. NACAC, SAT, ACT etc.) is required. Only the Common App fee waiver affirmation is required. Fee waiver forms should not be submitted via email. 

If you erroneously submitted your application with a fee waiver, please follow the below instructions:

  1. Go to the Howard University section on the Common App.
  2. Select "Review and Submit- Common App".
  3. Click the highlighted link under "Application Fee Waiver Requested" and follow the instructions to make your payment.

Please see the Common Application's indicators of economic need for more information.

High School Academic Records

For admission consideration, students must submit academic records for grades nine to twelve (or thirteen). 

  • For students who have studied in any of these systems (PDF), an academic evaluation is not required. Please have your counselor submit certified copies of your internal high school academic transcripts (grades 9 to 12+), as well as external examination predicted grades and/or official national standardized examination certificates. Your counselor may certify and submit these documents via Common App (as an Optional Report-- highly preferred) or via mail (if submitting 'Offline'-- not preferred, as there may be significant delays in our receipt of mailed items). You may not submit your school records via email.

Examples of national standardized examination certificates include CSEC, CAPE, BGCSE, GCE, GCSE, IGCSE, IB, and WASSCE. Statement of results, provisional notifications of results, website print out of results, and results listed on high school transcripts will ONLY be accepted via the Common App/mail if the certificate has not yet been issued by the examination body. If your official certificate is available, please ensure your counselor submits it by the given document deadline. If you have not taken your final set of exit exams, but will take them during the school year, please ensure predicted grades are submitted by your designated counselor. 

  • If you are an international student who will graduate with a U.S. high school diploma, or you are a Canadian high school student, please follow the Domestic Admission requirements. If you previously attended a non-US high school, please ensure that you also submit certified copies of your academic records from your previous institution (for grades 9 to 12+).

  • An academic evaluation by a NACES member is required from all international students who have not met the above criteria (i.e. did not study in any of these these systems (PDF) or in the US/Canada). All transcripts from non-US educational institutions must be sent directly to the evaluation agency by the issuing institution. This is a requirement before admission can be granted. The academic evaluation requirement cannot be waived. Moreover, if your transcript, exit exam, leaving certificate, or grade scale system is in a foreign language, an official English translation is required. Statement of results, provisional notifications of results, and website print out of results will not be accepted. Students are encouraged to submit their documents for evaluation well in advance of the document deadline to avoid any potential delays. Please also ensure you select an evaluation report that will provide provide a U.S. equivalent high school GPA.

We highly encourage you to select a NACES member with electronic delivery. We are currently able to receive evaluations electronically via ECEIEEWES (ICAP), and SpanTran. Evaluations will not be accepted via email/fax. 

Please also note the below items as it relates to your counselor's Common App submissions.

  • Mid year reports are not required for admission, but may be submitted when available. Please do not make submissions of progress grades via email. 
  • Any available internal high school records submitted by the applicable document deadline will be considered for admission.
    • For example, if grade 12/13 grades are not yet available for early applicants, grades 9 through 11/12 records will be considered. 
  • If your counselor needs to submit a corrected/updated transcript, he/she/they may submit the new transcript (if a final report has not yet been submitted) via the 'Optional Report' or 'Mid Year Report' options if available.
  • If you attended multiple high schools, please have your current counselor submit ALL your available (including prior high school) academic records. 
  • We are unable to confirm receipt of recommender submissions prior to your application being officially submitted via Common App.

Students are able to track the status of their counselor's submissions in real time via Common App's 'Recommenders & FERPA' area if their counselor submits the 'School Report' via Common App. Mail and NACES member submissions are not visible via the Common App. 

Standardized Tests


For the 2022-23 admission cycle, SAT/ACT test scores are not required to render a first year admission application complete. Students who do not submit test scores will not be at a disadvantage in the admission process. This policy will extend to the Karsh STEM program. This policy does not extend to joint degree (e.g. BS/MD, BS/DDS, BA/JD) programs.

Please also note, applicants with complete files who do not submit official test scores by the given document deadline for their desired admission plan, will be rendered with a final decision based on the credentials that are on file. As such, we do implore all students to give serious consideration into their desired admission plan, and whether they will opt into the test optional choice. 

For example, an early applicant who does not submit test scores by November 15, but has all other required credentials on file, will be notified of a final decision in January. There will be no subsequent opportunities to appeal this decision or submit test scores for consideration. Also note, once your application has been submitted, your decision plan cannot generally be changed

For students who elect to submit SAT (school code – 5297) or ACT scores (school code - 0674)only official scores submitted via the testing agency will be considered. The below submissions will NOT be considered:

  • Self-reported scores.
  • Score reports from school counselors.
  • Scores on transcripts.

The essay section is not required for the SAT/ACT exam. We do not superscore the ACT exam.

October is the last test date that will be considered for early action & early decision applicants. December is the last test date that will be considered for regular decision applicants. Scores submitted after these test dates will not be considered.


A score of 90 on the Internet based (IBT)  Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for applicants whose native language is not English. Howard’s school code is 5297. Only official reports from ETS will be accepted. Note: in lieu of the TOEFL, applicants may submit results from IELTS (International English Language Testing System) with an overall score of a 6.5. Only the TOEFL/IELTS exams are accepted at this time.

We will automatically waive the TOEFL/IELTS requirement for international students who are from a nation where English is an official language or who have studied in the United States for at least four years. For students whose language of instruction in secondary school is English, we may also waive this requirement provided a letter and supporting documentation be submitted from an administrator at your school stating that the official language of instruction at your school is English, and that you have taken a curriculum in which the classes you took are taught in English. These items can be uploaded to your Common Application by your counselor.

Letters of Recommendation

Howard University requires two letters of recommendation for admission consideration. While you may assign recommenders via Common App/Naviance to submit additional letters, only two will be guaranteed to be considered as part of our review.

  • One letter of recommendation from a high school counselor submitted by your counselor via Common App/Naviance (highly preferred) is required. If your counselor is unable to submit your letter via the application system or a (linked) third party system, he/she/they may submit it directly to us via mail (not preferred, as there may be significant delays in our receipt of mailed items). You may not submit your recommenders' letter(s) on their behalf. Letters are not accepted via email.
  • One letter of recommendation from a high school teacher submitted by your teacher via Common App/Naviance (highly preferred) is required. If your teacher is unable to submit your letter via the application system or a (linked) third party system, he/she/they may submit it directly to us via mail (not preferred, as there may be significant delays in our receipt of mailed items). You may not submit your recommenders' letter(s) on their behalf. Letters are not accepted via email

If you would like to assign an additional recommender (note, only two letters will generally be considered) or to troubleshoot issues with non-Common App submissions, you may assign your non-counselor recommender as an 'Other Recommender' via Common App.

Students are able to track the status of their recommenders' submissions in real time via Common App's 'Recommenders & FERPA' area if their recommenders submit letters via Common App or a Common App Integration Partner (e.g. Naviance, Xello, Cialfo, BridgeU, Maia Learning, FolderWave etc.). Other service provider submissions (e.g. Parchment Exchange, SCOIR*) or mail submissions are not visible via Common App. 

*Once the item is marked as submitted, we are in receipt. Items will be periodically downloaded and added to each students' file.

Application Essays

As part of the Common Application, students must submit the main Common Application essay as part of their application. You may access the Common App essay prompts via the highlighted link. In addition to the main Common Application essay, Howard University has one optional essay that may be accessed via the Writing section of the Common App. Students are not required to submit the optional essay. Essays provide us with a chance to learn more about you, including your passions, goals, and general interest in Howard University. As such, we do implore all students to place considerable effort into crafting well-written essays that accurately reflect who they are, and what they hope to achieve should they be granted admission.

All essays must be submitted with your Common Application by the application deadline. Our application deadlines are November 1 for early applicants, November 15 for Theatre Arts performance majors (Acting, Dance & Musical Theatre), and February 1 for regular decision applicants. Once your application has been submitted, changes cannot be made. Email submission of (corrected) essays will not be accepted; as such, we do encourage all students to review their essays (including formatting, spelling errors etc.) prior to making their application submission.

Applicants to the BS/MD & BS/DDS programs will also be required to submit an additional essay for the respective program via the Writing section of the Common App. For more information, please see our Special Audiences webpage.

Tracking Recommender's Submissions

As noted in the above tiles, your assigned counselor should submit your transcript, counselor letter of recommendation, and fee waiver affirmation (if eligible) via the Common App. Moreover, you should assign one teacher to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf. Items are NOT accepted via email. If your school uses a Common App partner system (e.g. Naviance, Xello etc.), submissions will also appear on the Common App once your application has been linked (please contact your school counselor for assistance). Additional confirmation of receipt is NOT required once the items appear as submitted on your Common App.

To check the status of the items your assigned recommenders have submitted (only if they submit these items via Common App or a Common App partner system – highly preferred), please view your Howard University Common Application dashboard (click ‘Status’ then ‘Recommenders and FERPA’). If your recommenders will be making submissions via another system (e.g. Parchment, SCOIR etc.), items received will be marked as downloaded by our team via said system. Items submitted via mail are not preferred, as there may be significant delays in our receipt of mailed items.

All other updates on your application status and any outstanding requirements will be sent via email. Therefore, please add us to your email safe senders list, read all our emails carefully, and follow the outlined instructions. 

Additional Program Specific Requirements


All prospective Studio Art majors must submit a slide portfolio of 12-15 images and videos of original creative works. No more than 2-3 views of any one work should be included. To submit electronically, applicants should use the portfolio submission portal. For more information, visit

Theatre Arts

Prospective Theatre Arts majors must fulfill an audition, portfolio, and/or interview requirement as evidence of their ability to successfully pursue college-level work in their desired concentrations. For more information, visit Please note, all Theatre Arts applicants to performance majors (Acting, Dance & Musical Theatre) must submit their application for admission by November 15 via the Common App (applicants who apply after Nov. 1 must select the Regular Decision admission plan). All non-performance majors (Theatre Arts Administration & Theatre Technology) must submit an application by February 15. Admission into the Dance program at Howard is by audition and invitation only. Prospective majors must complete an intensive dance placement audition. An interview with the Dance faculty will follow the audition. For more information, visit


All prospective Music majors must present a successful voice or instrument audition, which is scheduled by appointment only. DVDs or CDs will be accepted from applicants who are unable to audition in-person. For more information, visit

NOTE: Students who apply to the above programs are granted conditional admission into Howard University pending their portfolio/audition results. To gain full admission, students must complete and receive a favorable decision from the respective Fine Arts department. Students who have not been admitted into the above programs at the department level may choose an alternate major if granted admission into the university. As such, we do implore all prospective fine arts students to give deep consideration to their second major preference. 

Architecture & Design Studies

A portfolio of creative works must be submitted to the department for consideration. The portfolio should include a minimum of one and a maximum of three examples of creative expression in graphic, written or audiovisual form. All portfolios should be submitted to For more information, visit

Financial Aid

International and DACA students must also submit the HU ISFAA to be considered for financial aid. Detailed instructions on how to submit the HU ISFAA, will be available in the coming weeks. Scholarship awards take into consideration students' need and merit achievements. As such, we cannot provide specific award amounts until your completed application and FAFSA/HU ISFAA has been received and reviewed. 

Students who do not submit test scores will not be at a disadvantage in the awarding process. Students who opt into the test optional choice are eligible for scholarship consideration, as other factors (e.g. academic records) will be considered. 

Students must submit their HU ISFAA by the corresponding application deadline for priority consideration. Our application deadlines are November 1 for Early Action/Decision, and February 15 for Regular Decision.

Please see the Financial Support page for more information on financial aid opportunities.


Students must submit their applications and supporting documents by the following dates.
Application Type Application Deadline (for receipt of submitted Common Application) Document Deadline (for receipt of optional test scores, letters of recommendation, academic records etc.) Notification Date (notices will be sent via email)
Early Action November 1 November 15 Late December
Early Decision November 1 November 15 Late December
Theatre Arts (Acting, Dance & Musical Theatre majors ONLY) November 1 November 15 Late December
Regular Decision February 1 February 15 Early April