Study at an American University: Conditional Admission Can Help!

Conditional admission to an American university is quite possibly the most common request from international students planning to study in the United States, but what exactly is conditional admission?  In a few words, conditional admission is an official letter from a university stating that a student is academically admissible to a degree program and will be granted full-admission upon reaching an appropriate level of English proficiency.


Depending on the university to which you are applying, conditional admission can work in a few different ways.  Understanding the process and making the appropriate preparations can make securing a conditional admission letter a much easier task than you might think.


Conditional admission can only be granted to students who meet standard admission criteria for the university.  This means you must demonstrate an acceptable GPA (Grade Point Average) for all secondary school coursework completed.  If you are applying to a master’s or PhD program, all undergraduate (bachelor’s degree) coursework must meet the minimum GPA requirements for that particular program.  It is generally more common for conditional admission to be issued for bachelor’s degrees, but many universities will allow master and PhD students to apply for conditional admission.  These advanced degrees typically require you to provide up to three personal recommendation letters from previous university professors or employers and a personal statement about why you would be a quality candidate in the program.  Don’t worry; if you are not ready to submit a personal statement in English, this can be submitted later with proof of English proficiency.  As with full-admission, applying for conditional admission will require proof of financial capability through an official bank statement or scholarship letter if the government or an employer sponsors you.


The following are a few of the different ways that universities issue conditional admission letters.  In each scenario you would still receive a conditional admission letter before arriving to the university, but the way that you demonstrate English proficiency is determined by the policy of the individual university.


  • Conditional Admission with IELTS/TOEFL Waiver:  This type of conditional admission is the most attractive to international students because it allows them to focus on reaching English proficiency knowing that when they complete the Bridge University Pathway Program they will be granted full-admission to the university without the added pressure of taking the IELTS or TOEFL exam.
  • Conditional Admission with Level Testing:  This type of conditional admission requires a student to take an English placement exam when arriving to the university campus.  Based on the results of this exam, the student may enter the degree program directly, be required to take English courses during the first term, or be required to complete one or more terms of academic English before entering the degree program.
  • Conditional Admission with IELTS/TOEFL Testing Required:  This type of conditional admission still requires an official IELTS/TOEFL score before beginning a degree program.  This is an attractive option for students who just need a conditional admission letter to be able to study in the United States and are expecting to prepare for IELTS/TOEFL during their English program.


After you receive confirmation of conditional admission, you typically have up to one year to reach the required level of English proficiency outlined in the letter.  If a situation arises where you need to extend this period of time, a simply request to the university is usually sufficient.


Now that you understand how conditional admission works, all you need to do is gather your documents, contact a Bridge Admissions Advisor, find the BridgePathways University Partner that is the right fit for you, and begin the journey toward receiving a university degree in the United States!