Checklist for International Graduate Applicants

PLEASE NOTE: If you are planning to enroll in one of our purely online M.A. degrees, please complete the first two items in the checklist only.

Apply to Western following Admission guidelines

  1. Complete and submit Western’s Online Graduate Application. 
  2. If you earned your degree at a U.S. institution, please submit official copies of all college transcripts.
  3. If you earned your degree at a foreign institution,  submit a credential evaluation prepared by a National Association of Credentials Evaluation Services member. Each credential evaluation agency has different names for different services. The evaluation, regardless of what it is called by the evaluation agency, must include a detailed listing of the courses completed while you were enrolled at the overseas institutions, the grade received in each course, and an overall evaluation of your cumulative coursework at each institution. International applicants who will not have earned a degree prior to applying to a graduate program should request that the evaluation agency note the US equivalency of the anticipated awarded degree. Evaluations must be sent directly from the evaluation service agency. Photocopies are not accepted.
  4. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) – International students must demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting TOEFL or IELTS results. Minimum scores on the TOELF are iBT (internet based test): 79-120, Paper Version: 550, Computer-Based Test: 213. Applicants from countries where English is the SOLE OFFICIAL language of instruction (Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada-except Quebec, England, the Gambia, Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad, Tobago, Uganda, and Wales) are typically not required to submit TOEFL results. For more information on TOEFL, please visit
  5. The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is required by some academic programs. Check the requirements for GRE scores with your particular program. All test scores must be submitted directly by the testing agency. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) code for Western Colorado University Graduate School is 7527. Photocopies of test scores are not accepted.

Application Deadlines

Students are considered for summer admissions for the graduate programs in Creative Writing and the Master of Environmental Management. Students are considered for fall admissions for Master of Arts in Education and the High Altitude Exercise Physiology master program. Completed application forms must be on file with the Graduate Office by March 1 for admittance for the summer semester, and by May 1 for the fall semester.

Submit Supporting Documents:

As an international student, additional documents are required before you can get a visa to attend Western.

☐ Affidavit of Support. An Affidavit of Support Form for your specific graduate program is required. You should include it with your application for Admission to Western. Western Colorado University and the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement require that admitted students planning to enter the U.S. on an F-1 (student) visa provide proof of financial support before immigration documents (I-20) can be issued. Proof of the ability to cover the first year’s educational costs, living expenses and other miscellaneous expenses must be made available to the University. The program specific Affidavit of Support contains estimated tuition and fee cost for each program. The tuition and fee cost for each program is subject to change.

Affidavit of Support Form for Your Program:

Please download, fill out and send the correct Affidavit of Support Form for the graduate program you are interested in:

☐ A letter of financial support and bank statement showing sufficient funds to cover the first year of study. Original bank statements are required, copies cannot be accepted.

☐ A photocopy of your passport, listing official name, birthdate, etc.

☐ If you are in the U.S., a photocopy of your visa and I-94 by which you entered the country.

You must submit financial documents via postal mail.

Send materials to:

Western Colorado University
Laurel Becker
Taylor Hall 301
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231
Phone: 970.943.2232

* We do not accept documents received by email or fax. We do not return documents submitted as part of a graduate application. Federal financial aid is not available to international graduate students.

Application Status

Typically, you will receive your admission decision four to six weeks after we have received all of your application materials. Contact your program director for additional information.

Visa Requirements

Once the you have been accepted by Western, and provided all required documentation (Affidavit of Support, financial documentation, and complete application), you will receive a DRAFT of your I-20 from the Designated Signing Official, DSO, (Laurel Becker) by email. You will review the DRAFT for accuracy and return with any corrections to the DSO.

Once you have approved the I-20 information, the DSO will email instructions on how to set up the mailing of the FINAL I-20.

Western is pleased to make available DHL, FedEx Express, and UPS mailing of initial attendance immigration documents (I-20) to our foreign students that are applying for F-1 visas. We use an express mail service that will allow you to receive your documents through DHL, FedEx, or UPS.

The DHL, FedEx, and UPS mailing must be paid by credit card (Visa, Mastercard or Discover cards only). To get started, go to the following secure website:(works best with Internet Explorer & Mozilla Firefox browsers)


Complete instructions on how to use this mailing service will be included in the email from Laurel Becker.

☐ Pay $200, I-901 SEVIS fee. There is an online video tutorial at that will walk you through how to make the payment. You MUST print your receipt at the end of your payment.

You will make an appointment with their U.S. Consulate where you will be approved or denied an F-1 visa to attend Western. Having received and I-20 from Western does not mean you will automatically be approved for an F-1 visa.

Visa Exempt Countries

If you are a resident of Canada, Bermuda, or certain other islands, you DO NOT need to apply for a visa with your U.S. Consulate. However, you are still subject to the SEVIS I-901 fee. You must make the payment prior to arriving at the port of entry. Proof of payment will be required.

There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply. Please consult the instructions available on the embassy or consulate website where you intend to apply.

Students must make sure to bring the I-901 SEVIS fee payment receipt with them to their appointment.

More information about visas can be found here:

Prepare to enter the U.S.

As a student, you should carry with you the following documents when entering the country:

☐ Your signed I-20

☐ The valid visa containing the SEVIS ID and showing that they will be attending Western (not required for visa exempt countries)

☐ Financial documentation as evidence of ability to pay tuition and living expenses

☐ A valid passport

☐ Proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee

***Additional information about entering the U.S. can be found at . You can also follow Study in the States on Facebook and Twitter***

Once I arrive at Western

Once you arrive at Western, you need to come see Laurel Becker in the Office of Student Affairs, Taylor Hall 301, at your earliest convenience. You should bring with you the following documents:

☐ Your I-20

☐ Your valid visa (not required for visa exempt countries)

☐ A valid passport

☐ Your current local address in Gunnison

☐ Your current foreign address

☐ Your intended major field of study

  • We will look up their I-94 entry documentation online at the office.

Additional Information about the F-1 Student Visa

***Students will get an email from the DSO each semester to verify all information is up-to-date. It is REQUIRED that the student reply in a timely manner.

***If a student is planning on leaving the country over holidays/breaks, the MUST come see the DSO before doing so.

***Questions about academics, applying for Social Security cards, applying for a driver’s license, filing taxes, or other items not related to the student’s visa, can be addressed to Katie Wheaton in the Academic Resource Center, Taylor Hall 302.

As an F-1 nonimmigrant student, you agree to maintain your nonimmigrant status by:

  • Understanding and following the terms and conditions of your F-1 nonimmigrant status. Some of these conditions are listed below:
  • Enroll in a full course of study at the beginning of every session (excluding authorized break periods, i.e. summer break). If you plan on taking any online courses, you will need to let the DSO know before doing so.
  • Consult with the DSO (Laurel Becker) before dropping below a full course of study for any reason
  • Report address changes to the DSO within 10 days of the change
  • Report any change in sources of financial support to their DSO
  • See the approval of the DSO/USCIS before engaging in employment or practical training
  • Report any changes in program of study to the DSO
  • Report any change in academic status to the DSO
  • Notify the DSO prior to traveling outside the U.S.
  • Notify the DSO upon applying for change of nonimmigrant status
  • Notify the DSO upon approval of an adjustment of status to an immigrant
  • Consult the DSO to extend your program (if needed)
  • Notify the DSO if you intend to transfer
  • Notify the DSO about changes in dependent status
  • Providing the DSO with timely information needed to maintain your SEVIS record. An email will be sent to your Western email each semester to verify your information. Timely response is REQUIRED.

PDF versions (printable) of International Student Checklist:

Visa Exempt International Graduate Student Checklist (for residents of Canada, Bermuda, and other islands)