Studying in the United States can be a very productive learning experience. You get to be familiar with a new culture while learning from some of the top schools globally. Studying abroad, even for as short as a year, can be a great benefit when sending out your resume.

For international students, gaining entry to your chosen school may be difficult. The first hurdle students must overcome is a rather significant one. The language barrier can hinder you from learning – both inside the classroom and out. For one to live and truly immerse themselves in a new country, one must be proficient in the language.

In this article, we will discuss what IELTS is, the universities that do not require IELTS for international students, and how to study in the USA without IELTS.


IELTS and International Students

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standard test for assessing English proficiency among students. It is an intensive examination that lasts nearly 3 hours in total. Here, you will be tested in your proficiency in the English language.

Interested students globally must score well on this test before they can plan any further. The IELTS is frequently required for students who want to attend schools overseas. It is also a prerequisite for people interested in migrating or working in other countries.

For students who may see this fast-paced exam as a daunting one, do not be alarmed. The IELTS, while a standard requirement for most universities, is not a mandatory one for all universities. Those interested may be exempted from the test in some universities, Of course, this would limit your options in school destinations, but the choices are there regardless.

A number of universities in the United States do not consider the IELTS as necessary for admission purposes. These universities include:

  • California State University
  • Drexel University
  • State University of New York
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Missouri
  • University of New Orleans
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Many other state universities

The first step is to check if your chosen school holds the IELTS as a mandatory requirement.

For the schools above, the IELTS is not a mandate in admission. Not a necessity, that is, if you meet their other equally important requirements. However, you may need to fulfill one of the following criteria.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Study in the USA without IELTS by Meeting These Requirements

Different institutions have different criteria for IELTS exemptions. However, these are some common requirements that exempt international students to study in the USA without IELTS. To see the specific information for different universities, it is required that students visit the university website.

English is your native language

A simple way to prove you are proficient is if you have been living in an English-speaking country. A variety of countries worldwide use English as their primary language. Citizens in these areas have adjusted well in other English-speaking countries because they are used to speak English. As a result, if your native language is English, many universities will exempt you from taking the IELTS.


Attended high school or a university whose primary language of instruction is English.

Your previous school may be able to help you land your dream university. Although standards are different for each, some universities will allow you to not take the IELTS if the secondary school or university that you have attended use English as a primary language of instruction.


English Language Programs

For those who are not interested in taking the IELTS, similar programs are available. Students will need to take an English language course commonly referred to as the English as a Second Language course. The classes cover English reading, writing, listening, and speaking. They also cover proper grammar use in both the written and spoken categories. These classes are offered at the university. So basically, students will take a year of ESL classes before starting their degree program.


Summing Up:

For those seeing all these requirements, you should remind yourself of one thing. These tests or ‘proofs’ of English proficiency is not to deter aspiring students. These tests are there to ensure that the student can take in and digest the school’s essences. For one to truly appreciate – and take full advantage of – the learning experience, one must first be familiar with the language. If you are also considering permanently living in the country, then the IELTS can immensely help in getting your foot through the door. Language competency is a requirement that one cannot simply skip.


For those taking the leap and heading out to schools internationally, we wish you good luck! Hopefully, this post on studying in the USA without IELTS was insightful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!