International Students

We welcome applicants from around the world, and do not discriminate based on country of origin. The application process for non US citizens is the same as for US citizens. The information below may prove especially helpful for international applicants.

English Proficiency

Being able to effectively communicate in English is critical to succeeding at Colburn, which is why English proficiency is a requirement for admission. In order to demonstrate proficiency, applicants who are not native English speakers must submit a TOEFL or IELTS test score. To prevent delays in the application process, it is recommended that you take the test no later than November 1 in the year prior to your desired enrollment date (i.e. no later than November 1, 2021 for a desired enrollment in the fall of 2022).

If you are invited to the live audition, you may also be asked to interview with faculty and staff for further assessment of your English proficiency beyond your submitted test score.

TOEFL Information

Find your nearest testing center on the TOEFL website. Be sure to enter the Colburn code “8477” on your test document so we receive your official score.

TOEFL minimum score requirements for admission are:

79 iBT
60 iBT
AD and PSC
65 iBT
86 iBT

Please note, Colburn only accepts TOEFL iBT scores from a single test date, not MyBest scores.

IELTS Information

Find your nearest testing center on the IELTS website.

IELTS minimum score requirements for admission are:

6.0 with no subscore lower than 5.5
5.5 with no subscore lower than 5.0
AD and PSC
6.5 with no subscore lower than 6.0


English Proficiency Waiver

If you believe your English skills are strong enough to be granted a TOEFL/IELTS waiver and you meet the requirements below, you may request a waiver. Please note that waivers are granted at the discretion of the Admissions office, and meeting the requirements listed below does not a guarantee a waiver.

  • Bachelor of Music applicants: Attended at least four years of secondary school in an English-language institution.
  • Master of Music applicants: Attended at least two years of high school in an English-language institution, AND has completed (or will complete during current academic year) a bachelor’s degree at an English-language institution.
  • Artist Diploma/Professional Studies Certificate: Has completed (or will complete during current academic year) a bachelor’s degree at an English-language institution.

To request the waiver, you may e-mail before December 1 and submit the following documentation:

  • Your high school transcript (BM and MM applicants)
  • Your college transcript(s) (MM, AD, and PSC applicants)
  • A copy of any previous TOEFL/IELTS tests (all applicants)

Admission in Cases of Substandard English Skills

Applicants to the Colburn Conservatory do not always have adequate English proficiency at the time of the audition, as evaluated by the Admissions Committee. In such cases, we may choose to admit applicants as follows:

  • Bachelor of Music applicants with a TOEFL score below 79 may be admitted to Colburn’s Performance Diploma program. Applicants then have the option of remaining in the PD program for four years or be tested to matriculate into the BM program after one year. If you do not pass the test, you will remain in the PD program. English as a Second Language instruction is required of all students with an insufficient TOEFL score or whose skills are assessed as inadequate by the Admissions Committee.
  • Provisional admission may be offered to students whose TOEFL score is 79 or above but whose English skills are weak. In this circumstance, students will be tested during the fall orientation to determine if the student can begin the Bachelor of Music program or must begin studies in the Performance Diploma program. Students admitted on a provisional basis will be provided with academic support to be successful in their academic studies.
  • Master of Music applicants who do not meet the required TOEFL score of 86, or who have been assessed inadequate by the Admissions Committee, will not be permitted to enroll in the MM program. We do not offer TOEFL waivers to MM applicants. These students may be placed in either the Artist Diploma or Professional Studies Certificate programs.
  • Artist Diploma and Professional Studies Certificate applicants whose English skills do not meet the required 65 TOEFL score, or whose English proficiency has been assessed inadequate by the Admissions Committee, may request tutoring from Colburn’s ESL instructor.

Student Visa (F-1 Visa)

International students coming to the Colburn Conservatory of Music can obtain the Student Visa (F-1 Visa) only after applying to the school, receiving and accepting an offer of acceptance, returning all necessary documentation (including proof of finances), and paying the enrollment deposit. At that point, the school will issue you a Form I-20 (students are responsible for shipping costs; visit this page for more information). You must bring the Form I-20 to the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate to obtain the visa. The US government charges a fee (U.S. $200 or more) for F-1 Visas that must be paid before its issuance. There also may be separate processing charges, all of which must be covered by the student. You can find more details here.

If international students need proof of enrollment for processing visa documents, contact the Colburn Conservatory of Music staff. Proof of enrollment generally includes the student enrollment date, anticipated graduation date, program of study, and whether the student is in good academic standing.

Proof of Finances

Proof of finances are only required of applicants who are accepted to the Conservatory. We ask international students to provide proof of finances because Form I-20 requires evidence of funds to cover expenses not provided by the school. Because Colburn provides full tuition scholarship and grants for on campus room and board, we require proof of finances only on the Net Price, which can be found here. Acceptable proof must be in the form of an official bank statement.


The US government strictly enforces visa regulations. International students are permitted to work off campus or on campus for the Colburn School on a case-by-case basis and with the approval of the Designated School Official (DSO). Depending on individual circumstances, students may engage in curricular practical training, which includes off-campus practical training for pay. If you have specific questions about being able to work while attending Colburn Conservatory of Music, please contact the DSO or the Dean of the Conservatory.

If you have additional questions about what’s required of international students wishing to attending post secondary school in the United States, go the EducationUSA’s website. EducationUSA advisors are affiliated with the US Department of State.