Frequently Asked Questions

Who is an international applicant?

“International applicants” are individuals who need a visa in order to study or live in the United States.

What materials do I need to send with my application?
In addition to your application for admission, you will also need to send:

  • $60 USD non-refundable application fee that can be paid by credit card, money order or check
  • An original or certified copy of secondary school academic records, transcripts or mark sheets. If you have attended a post-secondary school, you must submit those records as well, whether or not you completed the term. If the document is not issued in English, you must provide a certified English translation and submit both the original language document and the English translation
  • One letter of recommendation from a teacher, school principal, director or counselor
  • Proof of English proficiency with a TOEFL or IELTS exam, or proof of successful completion of an approved ESL course
  • Certification of Finances form
  • Copy of passport photo page

Can I apply online?
Yes. First complete the Common Application and then mail the original documents noted in the list above.

How do I pay my application fee?
You can pay your application fee online by credit card. Follow the directions when you submit your application.

Do my documents need to be translated?
Yes. However, an official copy of the document in the original language must be sent with the translation.

What is a GPA?
GPA is an abbreviation for "Grade Point Average." Grade Point Average is a way to calculate academic achievement.

To calculate a GPA:

A=4 points
B=3 points
C=2 points
D=1 point
E or F= 0 points

Add the points for each academic subject and divide by the number of subjects.  This is a GPA.

Do I need to send a bank statement with my application?
No, but it is wise to send one with your application. You will need to complete the Certification of Finances form before you receive your SEVIS I-20 document from the College. You will need both the SEVIS I-20 and the bank statement to apply for a visa at the U.S. Embassy. You must prove you have sufficient funds to study in the U.S. during your first year. If your certification of finances and bank statements are on file at the time of acceptance we will include an I-20 with your acceptance letter.

My TOEFL score is low. What can I do?
Saint Mary's does not offer an ESL program. We work with several local schools that offer ESL programs: American Language & Culture Institute at California State University Chico; ELS Language Centers in Berkeley, San Francisco, San Rafael, Silicon Valley, or Santa Cruz; College of Marin, Intensive English Programs; and others. Please contact us for other references.

Can I waive the TOEFL or IELTS requirement?
Either exam may be waived if the student has met one of these conditions: 1) completed 4 consecutive years of study at a U.S. high school and submitted SAT or ACT Scores; 2) completed a bachelor's degree; 3) completed an educational program in a country where the medium of instruction is English; 4) completed an approved ESL program; or 5) scored 450 or above on the SAT 1 Critical Reading and Writing exams, or 21 or above on the ACT English and Reading exams.

When will I receive my immigration paperwork?
Once a decision has been made on your application and your Certification of Finances is verified, you will receive your acceptance letter and immigration paperwork by mail or courier service. You will also receive an email from the Admissions Office when you have been admitted to the College.

How do I apply for a visa?
If you are accepted to Saint Mary's, we will send you the necessary paperwork to apply for a student visa, as well as instructions on how to apply for a visa, how to pay the SEVIS fee and more.


How much does it cost to attend Saint Mary's?
To find our costs, please visit our Tuition & Fees page.

Are international students eligible for financial aid or scholarships?
Yes, international students are eligible for merit scholarships.

After I am accepted, do I have to pay my tuition before I come to Saint Mary’s?
No. You must pay a tuition deposit to secure your place at the College. Your tuition deposit is due before you arrive on campus. Your tuition is due when you register for classes. You will be able to check on your tuition bill online after you are accepted. Tuition is due before classes begin.

Student Life

Is housing available? What is it like?
All freshmen must live on campus and housing is guaranteed for your first two years. The community created in each residence hall supports the learning environment of the College.

Each room is equipped with a bed, closet, dresser, sink, desk, cable TV hook-up, high-speed internet and other basic student needs. Each hall has a common lounge, kitchen and laundry facilities. Please visit the Residence Life web pages for complete housing information.

Why is health insurance required?
All international students are required to purchase the Saint Mary's Medical Insurance coverage. The policy we offer you is one of the best available and is at a good price.

Does Saint Mary’s offer special resources for international students?
Yes! The Center for International Programs helps coordinate programs and activities, assists students with matters relating to immigration status, and provides other support services specific to the needs of international students. The center organizes a two-day orientation for students every fall term.

Where is Moraga? What is the nearest airport?
Moraga is 30 minutes by car from downtown San Francisco. San Francisco International Airport is the largest airport in the area. Oakland International Airport is a bit closer. San Jose International Airport is about 1 – 1 ½ hours away from campus. Public transportation is available from all 3 airports, but it is more convenient to travel from San Francisco (SFO) or Oakland (OAK) to campus. You can contact Center for International Programs for pickup information.


Where can I go in my country to learn more about studying at Saint Mary's and in the United States?
Visit the EducationUSA Office. You can find the office nearest you by visiting their website.

Do you have more questions?
Email us at or call our office at 925-631-4224