The Philippines is one of the most convenient countries to study in as an international student. Firstly, it offers a very low cost of living and cheap tuition fees—you get a high-quality education at a fraction of the cost! Secondly, the Philippines’ official language is English, so getting around inside and outside the university will be a lot easier than usual. Lastly, the warm climate and friendly atmosphere make studying in the Philippines feel like you’re on vacation.
If you’re looking to study as an undergraduate student in the Philippines, here are some things you should know.
- How to get a Philippines Student Visa
- Cheap Universities in the Philippines
- Universities in the Philippines with the Highest Acceptance Rates
- Best Scholarships in the Philippines
- Singapore Government Scholarships (SINGA Award)
- Best Scholarships in Thailand
Application Requirements for Applying for Bachelor’s in the Philippines
Application requirements in the Philippines will greatly vary depending on the university you’re applying for. However, the following are the most commonly-required documents for admission to Filipino universities.
An academic transcript is among the requirements to apply for a bachelor’s degree in the Philippines. This are a comprehensive list of all the classes you took in secondary school and their corresponding grades. This document is arguably given the most weight in the application process—Filipino universities tend to prioritize academically-gifted students with the grades to prove it.
Certificate of Graduation/Diploma/Entrance Exams
A certificate of graduation and/or diploma is one of the major requirements to obtain a bachelor’s degree in the Philippines which certifies that you are qualified for university education. This document can be obtained from your high school, and original copies of these are usually required.
Additionally, some universities will require further proof to know if you’re qualified for enrollment. These come in the form of entrance exams that help the universities gauge what your skills are in science, math, reading comprehension, and language proficiency. Because there is no standardized aptitude test in the PH, these universities come up with their own entrance exam. You may have to take multiple entrance exams if you’re applying to more than one university.
Some universities will accept equivalents of these entrance exams. Accepted equivalents are an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, General Certificate of Education (GCE), or Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
Letter of Reference
Reference letters are another commonly-required document to get a bachelor’s degree in the Philippines. They highlight a student’s academic and extracurricular activities and explain why they would be a good fit for a university. These letters should be written by people who know your academic qualifications like teachers, guidance counselors, or principals.
Most universities in the Philippines will ask for an application fee. This is usually less than $50. You will need to show proof of payment (usually by bank transfer) for your application to be processed and considered.
Bachelor’s Degree Language Requirements for the Philippines
English is widely spoken in the Philippines and is the preferred language of instruction in universities.
Universities will generally take this as a given. They will assume you already know how to speak English even before applying to their program, which is why you will find a lack of English proficiency test results in their list of required documents. As an international student, however, and in particular those coming from countries whose first language is not English, you might be required to submit proof of your fluency in the form of IELTS or TOEFL scores. This is a major requirement to get a bachelor’s degree in the Philippines especially for top, high-demand universities in the the country.
Filipino is also a language you are highly recommended to learn. While they generally teach in English, teachers, and professors tend to explain lessons a lot better when they mix some Filipino with what they’re saying. This also allows for better class discussions as students are more comfortable speaking their native languages. While you can definitely get by just speaking in English, you lose a bit of quality in education and may even feel alienated in your classes.
Thankfully, most universities will require you to take Filipino classes during your study period. Filipino is a general elective and is required in most curriculums regardless of the course you’re taking.
How to Apply for Bachelor’s Programs in the Philippines
College applications in the Philippines usually occur once a year, and the application period will depend on the university you’re applying for. Generally, however, applications open around September and will last until the end of the year. Regardless, you should always make sure to check and double-check your university websites to see their timelines.
1. Compile All Your Documents
As previously mentioned, there is a lot of variation in application requirements. Some universities will have a shorter or longer list of required documents, some require documents to be mailed rather than uploaded online, some will require original rather than photocopied documents, and lots more. The first step is to check your preferred university’s website for more information on their application process.
Here is a list of top universities in the Philippines:
- University of the Philippines-Diliman
- Ateneo de Manila University
- University of San Carlos
- Silliman University
We recommend you get your documents ready as early as possible. Competition gets heated towards the end of the application period, and a late submission may risk your chances of getting admitted.
2. Possibly Take an Entrance Exam
If you are applying to a top university in the Philippines without a university qualifying certificate, you will likely be asked to take an entrance exam. Again, check their websites to inquire about this requirement—some international students are automatically admitted and don’t need an entrance exam, while others are still required one.
If you need an entrance exam, you need to prepare for travel to the Philippines. Entrance exams are written and will be held either in August during the application period, or right before you can enroll at your chosen university.
3. Submit Your Application
Depending on the university you’re applying to, you will be required to submit your application in either of the two ways: online, or by mail.
For online applications, start by visiting the university’s website. The link to their application portals will be uploaded at the start of the application period. Fill in the necessary details, upload scanned copies of all your documents, and hit submit. The school will then verify your documents, evaluate your application, and email you if you’ve been accepted to study for a bachelor’s degree in the Philippines.
For hard-copy applications, start by compiling all of your documents. These should be certified if needed. Seal them in a long, brown envelope and mail them to the address indicated on the university website. You will be notified about your application by either mail or email.
Take note that in both cases, you will be required to send original, hard copies to the universities. Online applicants will be required to do so only after they’ve been accepted to their universities.
I hope that this article on Study Bachelor’s in the Philippines was helpful. To know more information on how you can study in Asia, visit the Asia Scholarships Page.