International Applicant Frequently Asked Questions | Admissions and Financial Aid | Colby College
Colby College Logo
Apply and Afford

International Applicant Frequently Asked Questions

Application Materials

  • Completed Application for Admission: Colby accepts the Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge Application.
  • Academic Records: We require your high school transcript, a completed secondary school report from a school official, one counselor recommendation, and two teacher recommendations.
  • Early Decision Agreement Form (required for Early Decision applicants only)
  • Language Proficiency Exam Results: A score report of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), TOEFL Home Edition, or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also required if English is neither your first language nor your current language of instruction. You may self-report your scores when applying to Colby, either by reporting them on your application to Colby or sending a pdf copy of your score report via email to As of August 1, 2019 we will super score the TOEFL and accept MyBest score.

Optional Application Materials

  • Standardized test score results: Colby is a test optional institution. Students may choose whether or not to submit standardized test scores with their application for admission.  Self-reported SAT, ACT, and Subject Test scores are permitted.  The College will accept standardized test scores submitted through one of the following means: (i) scores included on the Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge Application; (ii) scores sent to the admissions office via a PDF score report or from the testing agency; and/or (iii) scores submitted through the optional update form.
  • Additional recommendation letters
  • Arts Supplements, including art, music, creative writing, and performing arts materials, may be uploaded after an application has been submitted.
  • If you filed your application early in the fall and would like to provide new information or accomplishments, please email us at

Colby conducts routine audits of select applications to confirm the accuracy of the information submitted as part of the application process. By submitting an application to Colby, applicants grant consent to Colby to contact individuals, schools, and other organizations identified in applications for the purpose of these audits. The submission of materially false of misleading information in an application is grounds for Colby to deny or revoke admission.

Financial Aid

Through the Colby Commitment, we pledge to meet 100 percent of each admitted student’s demonstrated financial need without loans. In recent years, more than 90 percent of families with an income of $200,000 or less have qualified for some form of financial assistance.

If your family has a total income of $65,000 or less and has assets typical of this income range, we’ve ensured they will have a parent or guardian contribution of $0.

For families earning up to $150,000 with assets typical of that range, our Fair Shot Fund now ensures your parent or guardian contribution will be capped at $15,000 — which may make Colby cost less for you than any other four-year college or university.

Colby College is more affordable than you think. Use the MyinTuition calculator to estimate your college costs in just five minutes.


Application Dates and Deadlines

Financial Aid
Materials Due
Early Decision INov. 15Nov. 15Dec. 1On or before Dec. 15
Spring TransferNov. 15Nov. 15Nov. 15On or before Dec. 15
Early Decision IIJan. 1Jan. 1Jan. 15On or before Feb. 15
Regular DecisionJan. 1Jan. 15Jan. 15On or before April 1
Fall TransferApril 1April 1April 15On or before May 15

Advanced Standing

Can I transfer or earn credits from AP courses or the IB Diploma program?

Colby participates in the Advanced Placement program of the College Board. Credits will be recorded on the Colby transcript for official AP scores of 4 or 5, and, where appropriate, advanced course placement will be granted. These credits may also be applied to certain academic areas of the College’s distribution requirement (see Academic Requirements section), but AP credits may not be counted toward the 128 credits required for graduation.

Colby recognizes the International Baccalaureate and offers advanced placement and credit based on individual Higher Level examination results, as well as performance on the full IB Diploma program. At the discretion of individual academic departments, advanced placement may be earned for scores of 6 and 7 on higher level examinations. A full year of credit toward the 128 credits required for graduation and up to two full semesters toward the residency requirement may be earned for an IB Diploma point total of 36 or better, assuming all examination scores are 5 or better.

Finally, students who receive an A or B (superior level) on A-levels or comparable scores on the Leaving Certificate (Ireland), the Abitur (Germany), or the Baccalauréat (France) may be eligible for advanced placement.

Early Decision

What is the difference between Early Decision and Early Action?

Early Action allows a student to apply and learn a decision early, but does not require a commitment to enroll until May 1. Colby does not offer the Early Action option.

What are the Early Decision deadlines at Colby?

The Early Decision I (Fall Option) deadline for submitting an application is November 15; decisions are mailed by December 15. The Early Decision II (Winter Option) deadline for submitting an application is January 1; decisions are mailed by February 15.

What is the difference between Early Decision I and II?

The only difference is timing. Early Decision I requires that you have identified your first-choice college at an earlier point in your senior year. The admissions process is the same for students regardless of which ED deadline they apply under.

May I convert my application from Regular Decision to Early Decision after these deadlines?

Yes, if you have filed your application prior to the deadlines of November 15 or January 1, you can convert your application to Early Decision by submitting a signed Early Decision Agreement prior to December 1, in the case of ED I, or by January 30 at 5 p.m. EST, in the case of ED II.

How do I apply Early Decision using the Common Application?

Early Decision candidates are required to submit the Common Application Early Decision Agreement. You should also indicate on the Colby Common Application Supplement which deadline you are applying under, and request that your counselor send your first term senior grades with your transcript.

Do I have to withdraw my other college applications if I am admitted Early Decision to Colby?

Yes. In order to abide by the Early Decision Agreement, and in fairness to other colleges and other applicants, you must withdraw all other applications immediately, and you may not initiate any new applications.

What happens to my application if I am not admitted Early Decision?

In some cases, students are notified that their applications will be reviewed again in March along with Regular Decision applications. Students may submit additional application materials to update their files, and they are notified of their final admissions decision by early April. In other cases, students are notified at Early Decision that they will not be offered admission to Colby. We believe that being forthright with this news gives students who are not admitted sufficient time to explore other colleges.

If I apply Early Decision and am not admitted, can I apply Regular Decision?

No. The Office of Admissions will inform you if your application will be reconsidered in the Regular Decision process.

May I apply for financial aid if I am applying Early Decision?

Yes. Many students who are admitted Early Decision apply for financial aid and your financial aid award will be the same regardless of whether you are admitted Early Decision or Regular Decision. To apply, you must file the College Scholarship Service’s Profile form.

When will I hear about financial aid?

Your estimated aid offer will accompany your admissions decision, provided that all required documentation arrived at Colby on time. This estimate of financial assistance will be finalized after we have reviewed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other required documents.

What if the estimated offer of financial aid is not enough to enable me to enroll at Colby?

Colby remains committed to meeting the full financial aid eligibility of every student we admit. If we offer you admission, we certainly want you to enroll here. The first thing you should do is contact our office and request a review of your aid eligibility. In some cases, we may not be able to revise your aid package, but we do want the opportunity to understand your financial circumstances and to help you and your family find a way to meet college costs.

When must I take the required standardized tests if I am applying Early Decision?

If applying Early Decision I, you should take all required tests by November 15. Early Decision II applicants must complete all required tests by January 1.

What are the advantages of applying Early Decision?

Early Decision is a clear statement that Colby is your first-choice college. Applying ED allows those students who are admitted Early Decision to finalize their college enrollment plans much earlier in the year. In addition, students who apply EDI and are admitted typically have not invested time completing other applications for admission.

Are there any disadvantages to applying Early Decision?

Many students do not have a clear first-choice college, and in that case, they should not apply Early Decision. College preferences may change over the course of senior year.

Loan Payment

Colby financial aid packages are designed to meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need with grants and employment. There are families, however, who choose to borrow for out-of-pocket (family contribution) costs or who wish to spread out payments over a period of time.

Which loan or payment plan is best for us?

There are many factors that will affect your decision on how you pay your college bills, including the size of the required payment, your current income, other obligations, future expenses, and employment plans. We suggest that you start by estimating the amount you can pay per year and then comparing that amount to the amount to be paid by parents in the payment worksheet.

If you think that the total amount is manageable and that you will be able to pay half in August and half in January, then you may choose the standard semester payment plan. If the amount is manageable, but it would be more convenient to spread the payments over 10 months, you may select a monthly payment plan. If you would prefer to borrow rather than to pay the entire bill in one year, it may be helpful to ask yourself the following questions as you consider a parent loan:

If I itemize deductions for federal or state tax purposes, would deducting the interest paid on the loan allow me to reduce my federal or state income taxes?

Note: an attorney or tax expert would be the best person to help you answer this question and questions you may have about the Hope Scholarship, Lifetime Learning Credit, and other sections of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.)

Financial Aid Definitions

Wait List

What does being placed on the wait list mean?

As an admissions committee, we believe that you have the potential to succeed at Colby. However, due to the competitive nature of the applicant pool and our need to carefully manage the number of students enrolling at Colby, we are unable to admit all qualified candidates. It is our intention to admit students from the wait list provided we have space available after we have heard from the students who were initially offered admission.

How many students are typically on the wait list?

We won’t know how many students are on the wait list until we hear back from the students to whom we have offered the wait-list option. We expect that about 500-600 will be active on the wait list, based on the numbers in recent years.

Is the wait list ranked?

No, the list is not ranked. Once we know which students are still interested in being considered, we will evaluate all of them based on the overall strength of their applications and on the interest they have shown in Colby.

If I decide to remain on the wait list, will I be considered for midyear admission, as well as for the fall?

Yes. We anticipate enrolling approximately 40 new students on campus in January 2016. We will consider all eligible wait-list candidates for any available places at midyear. These students will be admitted to Colby’s fall semester programs in Salamanca, Spain, or Dijon, France.

What is the likelihood of being admitted from the wait list?

It is impossible to predict. It is our goal each year to admit students from the wait list to achieve our enrollment target rather than to exceed that target with our initial offers of admission. Last year we were able to enroll 20 students from the wait list for the fall semester; in the prior three years we enrolled five, nine, and 16 students. In some years we have been able to admit students from the wait list into our January group only. Our ability to make offers in part depends on the number of admitted students who enroll, which varies greatly from year to year.

What other materials should I send?

Submit the online form no later than May 1. In addition, we encourage you to write a letter (or email) emphasizing your interest in Colby. You are also welcome to send new academic information such as updated grades and new information about academic or extracurricular accomplishments. Please direct any correspondence or new information to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at by May 1.

Is it worthwhile to come to campus for an interview or to have a second interview? What about an interview with an alumni volunteer?

Interviews are not offered to wait-list candidates. Students on the wait list who have not yet visited campus and would like to do so in order to decide whether to remain active candidates for admission are welcome to come for a general information session and/or campus tour.

Will housing or course selection be affected?

No. Housing assignments and course selection will be done over the summer, and students admitted from the wait list will be treated like all other enrolling students. Housing is guaranteed for all Colby students.

What if I have to deposit at another school by May 1?

You should reserve your place at an alternate college by making a deposit there by May 1 as it is unlikely that we will be able to determine the size of our incoming class before that date. As soon as we can, we will notify students on our wait list if there are additional spaces for the fall semester. If you are admitted from our wait list and choose to enroll at Colby, you will forfeit your deposit at the other college.

If I know of someone who is not accepting an offer of admission to Colby, may I have that spot?

Unfortunately, the process doesn’t work that way. Each year we admit more students than we expect will enroll since we know that many students will have lots of college choices.

If I am admitted from the wait list, am I still eligible for financial aid?

Any student who is admitted from the wait list and qualifies for need-based aid will receive a financial aid award that meets 100 percent of their demonstrated need. Students admitted from the wait list are notified of any financial aid eligibility at the time of the decision. Because Colby has limited financial aid resources, the ability to offer admission from the wait list to students who qualify for financial aid depends entirely on how much of the financial aid budget remains after those students who have initially been offered admission have responded. In recent years, Colby has admitted students from the wait list who have been awarded financial aid. If your financial circumstances have changed since you initially applied and you no longer need financial aid, you are encouraged to communicate that information to the Office of Financial Aid.

When will I hear whether or not I am admitted from the wait list?

If there is room for us to admit additional students for the fall semester, we will notify those students by telephone or e-mail in late April or early May. If we contact you and you are interested in considering a formal offer of admission, we will send a letter of admission. There may be additional offers of admission made throughout the month of May. By mid-June, we hope to have provided final decisions to all wait-list candidates.

If I am offered admission from the wait list, may I defer my enrollment?

When we offer admission to students on the wait list, we do so to fill available spaces in that specific class. As a result, we do not typically honor requests for deferrals from students admitted from the wait list.