This is the second in a series of posts about choosing and applying to a college or university in the United States as an international student. We’ve already discussed how to decide what degree and major are right for you. Later, you’ll find out what exams you need to take, how to handle transcripts, how to prepare admissions essays and get letters of recommendation, and what other paperwork you must prepare.

Identify schools you’re interested in

Once you know what degree you want, it’s time to start looking for colleges and universities that fit your needs. Of course, you need to look for schools that offer the major and degree you want. Depending on your individual situation, you may also need to think about the location of the school, it’s cost, and whether it offers scholarships for international students. You might also have preferences about what size school you want to attend, how many international students study there, and its reputation in the U.S. and abroad.

Check school’s websites to find this information, and especially look for information about international admissions. IEI students can also consult the university guide in our office and talk with the academic director for guidance in choosing schools to apply to. The list of major colleges and universities in Nashville and Middle Tennessee below is also a great place to start.

Time to apply

On each school’s website, you should be able to find a list of exams and other paperwork needed to apply (we’ll talk about this in the next few posts). There is a fee required by each school you apply to. It’s smart to apply to at least three schools. Include at least one that you think you have an excellent chance of being accepted into, even if it’s not your first choice. Americans call this a “safety school”.

Decide on when you want to begin studying at the university. You need to allow time to have your immigration documents in order, including proof that you have the money to pay for university if you are on or plan to be on a student visa. You also need time to perfect your English skills and make required exam scores. However, do not wait until you have a TOEFL score or other exam score to apply. You can apply at any time and then have these scores sent to schools. You don’t want to run out of time by trying to complete the entire application process in a short time.

Colleges and universities in Nashville and Middle Tennessee

The links below lead to international student admission information for each school. Review our earlier post to learn about the different types of degrees, and click here to download this information as a PDF table.

Austin Peay State University

  • Clarksville, TN (50 miles northwest of Nashville)
  • 10,723 students
  • 5 associate’s, 56 bachelor’s, and 17 master’s degrees available

Belmont University

  • Nashville, TN
  • 6,647 students
  • 75 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and 4 doctoral degrees available
  • Meet Murtadha, an IEI student who attends Belmont University.

Columbia State Community College

  • Columbia, TN (50 miles southwest of Nashville)
  • 5,297 students
  • 62 associate’s degrees available

Cumberland University

  • Lebanon, TN (30 miles east of Nashville and accessible by commuter train)
  • 1,500 students
  • 6 associate’s  and 28 bachelor’s degrees available
  • Offers scholarships for international students

Lipscomb University

  • Nashville, TN
  • 4,278 students
  • 78 bachelor’s, 30 master’s, and 2 doctoral degrees
  • Offers scholarships for international students

Middle Tennessee State University

  • Murfreesboro, TN (40 miles southeast of Nashville)
  • 22,729 students
  • 117 bachelor’s,  69 master’s, and 12 doctoral degrees
  • No TOEFL score required for undergraduate students who complete level 6 at IEI or complete level 5 with letter of recommendation from IEI
  • No TOEFL score required for graduate students who complete level 6 at IEI
  • Meet Cristina and Corry, two IEI students who graduated from MTSU.

Nashville State Community College

  • Nashville, TN
  • 9,853 students
  • 86 associate’s degrees available
  • Meet Miri, an IEI student who attended Nashville State.

Tennessee State University

  • Nashville, TN
  • 10,389 students
  • 2 associate’s, 45 bachelor’s, 24 master’s, and 7 doctoral degrees available
  • No TOEFL score required for undergraduate students who complete level 6 at IEI or complete level 5 with letter of recommendation from IEI
  • No TOEFL score required for graduate students who complete level 6 at IEI
  • Meet Mahabad, an IEI student who graduated from Tennessee State.

Tennessee Technological University

  • Cookesville, TN (80 miles east of Nashville)
  • 11,339 students
  • 44 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and 3 doctoral degrees available
  • Offers scholarships for international students
  • No TOEFL score required for undergraduate students who complete level 6 at IEI or complete level 5 with letter of recommendation from IEI
  • Meet Claudia, an IEI student who graduated from Tennessee Tech.

Trevecca Nazarene University

  • Nashville, TN
  • 2,345 students
  • 2 associate’s, 86 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and 2 doctoral degrees available
  • Meet Jian, an IEI student who is attending Trevecca Nazarene.

Vanderbilt University

  • Nashville, TN
  • 12,714 students
  • 70 bachelor’s, 76 master’s, and 59 doctoral degrees
  • Meet Taichi and Yosuke, two IEI students who were research fellows at Vanderbilt.

Volunteer State Community College

  • Gallatin, TN (30 minutes northeast of Nashville)
  • 8,193 students
  • 82 associate’s degrees available
  • No TOEFL score required for students who complete level 6 at IEI or complete level 5 with letter of recommendation from IEI

apply now

We hope that this series has been useful to you. Applying to a college or university in your second language is not always easy, but we’ve helped hundreds of students to achieve their dreams of earning a degree in the U.S. Read a few of their stories here, and if you’re ready to take the first step in preparing to reach your goal, find out how we can help you!

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