Credential Evaluation for Education
American universities and colleges, including community colleges, have long-standing procedures for the recognition of foreign credentials, given that there are so many foreign students attending U.S. institutions. “Foreign students” usually refers to students who are enrolled in institutions of higher education in the U.S. who are not immigrants, refugees or U.S citizens. Institutions that admit foreign students will have guidelines and experience with assessing foreign education that will also benefit immigrants.
Give Good Advice
Immigrants and refugees with high school or college degrees who wish to pursue further study in the US. often do not have the support or advice that is available to foreign students through the International Student Services Office of the college or university. At the same time, immigrants may be eligible for tuition benefits and opportunities for scholarships that foreign students do not have!
Advisors can help clients find the information they need and apply to programs they are eligible for –for example, how to submit their foreign credentials for evaluation, how to access conditional enrollment pathways and ESL support services, and how to gain transfer credit or advanced standing based on previous education.
The best advice you can give an immigrant is to move forward on the foundation of their previous education.
Follow Application Guidelines
Credential evaluation begins with understanding the admissions requirements that the college or university for foreign educated candidates has for foreign-educated candidates.
Some universities, usually ones with large immigrant and/or foreign student enrollments, perform their own credential evaluations and will not accept an evaluation from an external service. However, most academic institutions rely on external credential evaluation services to authenticate documents as well as interpret the equivalency of foreign education to the U.S. educational system.
- If an institution relies on external services, it is important to obtain a list of acceptable credential evaluation services (usually provided by the Admissions, Registrar’s, or International Student Services Office). Virtually all institutions will require a comprehensive or course-by-course evaluation that matches the original transcript.
- Virtually all institutions will require a comprehensive or course-by-course evaluation.. With a course-by-course evaluation, admissions officers will have the information they need to recognize education successfully completed abroad as comparable to U.S. standards.
- If an institution has its own process for evaluating foreign degrees, the admissions application fee will usually include the cost of the evaluation.
- Do not assume that a credential evaluation accepted at one university will be accepted at another.
See the Immigrant Resources/Education section on our website for more information on applying to higher education, paying for education and using a credential evaluation to obtain transfer credit.