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Welcome International Students!

International students are a welcome and vital part of AMDA's culture. Students from around the world just like you come to AMDA each year with a shared passion to excel and a common aspiration to become the leading artists of your generation. There are currently 127 international students studying at AMDA's 2 campuses, representing 8% of our total student population. We are sensitive to your needs and will help you to make the most of your AMDA experience.

AMDA offers international student scholarships and grants. However, these cannot be offered until you have been accepted, so it is important to provide all required documents in a timely fashion.

Please note that applying to AMDA is a multi-step process. Be sure to follow ALL 6 steps below to ensure the submission of a successful application.

  1. Apply Online and Submit Your Personal Essay +

    To apply, you must be at least 16 years old and/or in the final two years of high school/secondary education*. If you meet the minimum age requirement, you will be eligible to apply.

    Towards the bottom of the application, space is provided for you to write a personal essay (500 words minimum) on the following topic: "Describe a challenging experience in your life and what you learned from it". Remember, this is an important part of your application, so answer thoughtfully!

    * If you are not yet 16, we would encourage you to consider attending the AMDA High School Summer Conservatory.

  2. Pay the International Application Processing Fee +

    Upon submitting the application, you will be prompted to pay the $50 International Processing Fee (payable in U.S. funds only), which is nonrefundable.

  3. Complete The Audition Requirement +

    Admission to AMDA requires an audition. AMDA offers numerous audition opportunities in select international cities. We also offer monthly auditions at both AMDA campuses and in cities across the United States. A complete list of audition sites can be found on the Audition page. We strongly encourage all students to audition in person, as it is the best way for adjudicators and admission advisors to get to know you and fully evaluate your skills set. However, if you are unable to find a suitable audition location, video submissions are also accepted.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: To better prepare for your AMDA audition, we strongly encourage ALL applicants to review the Audition Requirements and Tips page prior to scheduling an audition or submitting a video submission.

  4. Submit Your Official Academic Records (Transcripts) +

    Download the "Transcript Request" form, fill out the required information then give it to your school counselor, as a reminder, to ensure your transcript is promptly submitted to AMDA.

    Unofficial transcripts may be emailed to docs@amda.edu for an expedited decision.

    Official records or certified copies of your academic records must be mailed to AMDA in an unopened, sealed envelope to:
    AMDA – Records Department
    211 West 61st Street
    New York, NY 10023

    1. International applicants who have already graduated from high school and/or who have taken any post-secondary college-level course work must send their Academic Records (transcripts and diplomas from all educational institutions attended) via email to docs@amda.edu to obtain an expedited admission decision from AMDA. Official certified copies of all academic records can also be submitted in lieu of original records. This should be done once you've successfully submitted your online application.
    2. International applicants who have not yet graduated from high school must submit an in-progress academic record (transcript) up to and including the most recent term or year that they have completed, along with an official letter from their high school stating the applicant's intended graduation date, and including a notarized translation if the records are not in English.
    3. If your transcripts and academic records are not in English, you must submit a notarized word-for-word, literal translation for all academic records (transcripts and diplomas) that are not in English.
    4. Final, official academic records must be received by AMDA in a sealed envelope before the start of classes-along with any translations-as noted above. Documents can be received by registered mail or by courier, to ensure there is a tracking number, sent electronically via Parchment by the school, or hand-delivered at AMDA's class registration.
    5. Upon receipt of your academic records, the AMDA Admissions Office may require additional information or further evaluation of your transcripts by a NACES approved credential evaluator. AMDA recommends any one of the following evaluators spantran.com, gceus.com, ierf.com, wes.org, ece.org. That said we highly encourage all applicants with foreign academic credentials to secure these evaluations prior to applying to AMDA as this would significantly help with expediting your application processing time.
  5. Submit One Letter of Recommendation +

    Request a Letter of Recommendation or a Reference Letter from your teacher, guidance counselor, director, coach or anyone familiar with your work and potential as an actor, singer, or dancer. Your recommendation letter must be written in English and signed and dated by the person making the recommendation. AMDA has a recommendation form that you can send to your reference to facilitate the process. Recommendation letters/forms may be submitted via email to docs@amda.edu or by mailing to the address on the form.

  6. Submit Proof of English Proficiency +

    English is the language of instruction for all AMDA programs. The better your command of English, the more likely you are to succeed. Therefore, all international students from non-English speaking countries are required to provide proof of an acceptable level of English proficiency. This can be done in one of several ways:

    1. You may provide proof of English language proficiency by passing any one of the following 11 AMDA -approved English language proficiency examinations +

      Testing must have been completed no more than two years prior to the date of your application to AMDA. Test results must be received by AMDA directly from the testing service. Below is a list of the approved examinations and minimum scores for "Direct Admission" into AMDA's 2-year conservatory programs and 4-year degree granting programs.

      Test Name Minimum Score for AMDA's 2-Year Conservatory Programs Minimum Score for AMDA's 4-Year Degree Granting Programs
      Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
      AMDA New York School Code for TOEFL is C064
      AMDA Los Angeles School Code for TOEFL is 8571
      70 iBT 79 iBT
      International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 6 6.5
      Cambridge English Language Assessment B2 C1
      EIKEN Test in Practical English Proficiency Pre-1 Pre-1
      Elash 2 Test 137 150
      International Test in English Proficiency (iTEP) 3.7 3.9
      Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) 73 76
      Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) 50 53
      SAT: (previous Sat) 500 on the SAT Critical Reading 500 on the SAT Critical Reading
      SAT: (redesigned SAT) 550 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing exam 550 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing exam
      ACT 20 on the ACT English exam 20 on the ACT English exam
      Cambridge Certificate of Education in one of the following exams: GCSE, IGCSE, CSEC, O-Levels, AS-Level, or A-Levels "C" or Better in English "C" or better in English
      International Baccalaureate (IB) "5" or better on the "English A" Higher Level (HL) Examination. "5" or better on the "English A" Higher Level (HL) Examination.
    2. By successfully completing an ESL pathway program at one of our four partnering institutions or at another accredited ESL pathway program* +

      *Please note: All independent ESL pathway programs must be accredited by the Commission on English Language Accreditation (CEA) or by the American Council of Continuing Education and Training (ACCET). This does not apply to ESL programs affiliated with regionally or nationally accredited institutions of higher education.
      • If you choose to enroll into an ESL pathway programs, you should apply to both the ESL school for "Direct Admission" and to AMDA for "Conditional Admission". Conditional Admission is also known as "Conditional Acceptance". Your initial I-20 for the F-1 visa will be issued by the ESL school.
      • To obtain Conditional Acceptance at AMDA, you must complete all other components of the admissions process, except for the proof of English language proficiency. Your personal essay and audition may be submitted whenever you believe you are adequately fluent in English to prepare them competently. This will most likely be in the final months of your English language training at the ESL school.
      • To obtain Direct Acceptance at AMDA, you must submit a certificate of completion or official transcript from the ESL pathway center confirming that you have successfully completed your English language training for academic purposes. This will also allow you to obtain a new AMDA I-20 and successfully transfer your SEVIS record to AMDA for F-1 visa and U.S. immigration purposes. Once you complete this part of the process, you will be able to begin taking classes at AMDA as a full-time international student.
      • AMDA's 2-year conservatory programs require the successful completion of an "Intermediate Advanced" level of ESL training for academic purposes. AMDA's 4-year degree granting programs require the successful completion of a "High Advanced" level of ESL training for academic purposes.
    3. You may also offer proof of English language proficiency by providing any one of the following +

      • A high school diploma from a four-year U.S. high school with a letter from the institution verifying that you graduated without ESL support. Please note, GED Diplomas are not accepted.
      • Completion of a transferable non-ESL English composition course- with a grade of "C" or better-from a regionally or nationally accredited U.S institution of higher education (a 2-year college or a 4-year college or university).
      • An official transcript from an international/non-U.S. high school, college or university which you attended for a minimum of three years. The institution must be accredited by its home country's Ministry of Education (MoE) or Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE). The transcript must also be accompanied by a letter from the institution verifying that the language of instruction was English.
      • An associate, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree from the U.S. or overseas campus of an accredited U.S. institution of higher education.
      • A high school diploma or post secondary degree from one of the following 36 countries:
        • Anguilla
        • Antigua and Barbuda
        • Bahamas
        • Barbados
        • Belize
        • Bermuda
        • British Virgin Islands
        • Canada (Except Quebec)
        • Cayman Islands
        • Dominica
        • Fiji
        • Gambia
        • Grenada
        • Guyana
        • Ireland
        • Jamaica
        • Liberia
        • Marshall Islands
        • Montserrat
        • New Zealand
        • Nigeria
        • Northern Ireland
        • Papua New Guinea
        • Puerto Rico
        • Scotland
        • Sierra Leone
        • South Africa
        • St. Kitts and Nevis
        • St. Lucia
        • St. Maarten
        • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
        • Trinidad and Tobago
        • Turks and Caicos Islands
        • United Kingdom
        • U.S. Virgin Islands
        • Zimbabwe

Admissions

  • What classifies a student as international? +

    "International students" are those students who require an F-1 nonimmigrant visa classification to study in the U.S. You cannot study on the B-1/B-2 Tourist Visa. Legal permanent residents of the United States, residents of U.S. territories, and naturalized citizens are not considered international students.

  • What is the deadline for being accepted? +

    AMDA has rolling admissions, which means we accept students throughout the year. It is recommended that you complete your admissions file no later than 60 to 90 days from your intended start date. International students need time to complete the Form I-20 process, which is necessary to apply for your F-1 Visa. Expedited processing can be requested if an admissions file is completed within 30 to 60 days from the intended start date.

  • What happens if I do not pass the audition? +

    Acceptance to AMDA's programs is competitive. You will be offered the opportunity to re-audition one year or later from your first audition. Take the intervening time to work on your craft with a coach, to take a class or workshop, and to renew your passion for performing.

  • Does AMDA Recognize the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program? +

    Yes. International Baccalaureate (IB) courses may be evaluated for potential transfer credit by submitting an official academic record (transcripts) to AMDA. Only IB courses with HIGH LEVEL (HL) designation and assessment score of 5 and above may be considered for transfer. Approved transfer credit may be used to satisfy only the General Education requirements. Courses listed under the category of Standard Level (SL) will not be considered for evaluation.

  • Where can I take a language assessment test? +

    Please visit Cambridge Assessment English, ELASH 2 (for Latin America and the Caribbean), IELTS, or TOEFL for information about testing sites around the world.

  • What do I need to do once I am accepted to AMDA? +

    Upon acceptance, you will be assigned an Admission Advisor who will guide you through the visa application and the enrollment process.

  • What do I need to do to get my student visa? +

    In order to apply for the F-1 student visa from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country, you will need a valid Form I-20 issued by AMDA. In order to eventually receive the I-20, you must complete the I-20 application form and provide all required information and supporting documents requested. A critical part of the application is providing original and certified translations of documents (if not in English) proving that you or your parents/sponsors have the monetary funds to support your education at AMDA, including living expenses. Funding for the first year must be in cash or other liquid funds. Funding sources for all additional years of study must be identified and proven. The more complete and the sooner this information is received by AMDA, the quicker the I-20 can be issued.

    Depending on your country of citizenship, the F-1 visa application process at the U.S. embassy/consulate in your country can take a few days to several weeks. The moment you receive the I-20 from AMDA, immediately apply for a multiple-entry F-1 student visa. Please see additional information from the U.S. Department of State. Note that Canadian citizens do not need a visa to enter the U.S.

    The F-1 visa, stamped on your passport, is your invitation to visit the U.S. The visa, together with the Form I-20 must be presented to the Customs & Border Protection Officer at the port of entry. To maintain your student status and keep your I-20 valid, you must be enrolled in full time study at AMDA for the duration of your program. Other requirements will be explained to you by your International Student Advisor upon arrival at AMDA. Even if you already have a visa, you may enter the U.S. not earlier than 30 days before Orientation week. After graduation, you may stay up to 60 days to prepare for departure, unless you have been approved for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or you have been admitted to another SEVP-authorized school.

Finances

  • Am I eligible for AMDA scholarships? +

    Yes. As an international student, you are eligible for an AMDA scholarship. When you audition, you will be evaluated for potential talent-based scholarship. Scholarship amounts range from $1,000 to $10,000 per year. AMDA does not offer any full-tuition scholarships. You will receive a scholarship determination upon acceptance to AMDA and after a review of your admissions file.

  • Is other financial assistance available from AMDA? +

    Yes. Upon acceptance to AMDA, you can apply for a need-based AMDA International Grant. Amounts range from $1,000 to $4,000 per year. In order to assess whether you qualify for an AMDA grant, please complete the International Grant Application for the year and term of your intended start date and return it to the AMDA Financial Aid Office. International students cannot receive U.S. government-based financial aid. You are not eligible for any scholarships, grants, or loans that are subsidized by the U.S. government.

  • Are there other financial resources available? +

    Research what scholarships outside of AMDA are available to you. Contact your Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture, or your country's equivalent of a National Arts Council to see if AMDA is approved to receive funds on your behalf for your studies. In some countries, banks provide low interest education loans for students planning to study in the U.S. Here are other resources for potential scholarships:

    • FASTWEB, The Institute of International Education, Rotary International, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
    • There are special search engines that help students find and/or apply for scholarships. Be very careful before providing any confidential information on the internet. Research the organization or company that is promoting the grant for legitimacy before proceeding.
    • A loan from a U.S. bank is an option to cover your remaining balance. However, such loans require a cosigner willing to assist you. A cosigner may be a relative, friend, or personal contact, who is a U.S. citizen. Such loans are credit-based and not guaranteed. More information can be viewed on the Scholarships + Financial Aid page.
  • Can I work while I am a student? +

    AMDA has a limited number of on-campus work-study positions. International students may apply for these positions without additional approval from the USCIS. During orientation, you will be given information about on-campus work-study. International students are not allowed to work off-campus. Failure to comply with this requirement can jeopardize your F-1 student status and can lead to immediate deportation. It is therefore of the utmost importance that you have adequate financial resources while studying in the U.S.

  • What is optional practical training (OPT)? +

    Optional Practical Training is a benefit attached to the F-1 visa. If granted approval by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), F-1 students may remain in the U.S. for an additional year after graduation in order to receive practical training to complement classroom education. Employment must be related to the student's program of study. Prior financial planning for the one-year OPT period is recommended: approximately $15,000 to $18,000 to cover living expenses.

Student Life

  • Is there assistance for international students in adjusting to a new environment? +

    Each campus has a dedicated International Student Advisor (ISA)/Designated School Official (DSO). During international student orientation, the ISA/DSO will explain immigration regulations and your reporting responsibilities as an F-1 student. Your ISA maintains office hours to address your questions and concerns, as well as assist in the day-to-day lifestyle changes you may face as a student in a new culture. Your advisor can explain processes and etiquette in the U.S. educational system and direct you to other campus representatives that can appropriately advise and/or assist you.

  • Where will I live? +

    AMDA offers Student Housing at both campuses. AMDA Housing provides convivial community living, conveniently located within walking distance of all AMDA facilities. You will receive instructions for making your housing arrangements upon confirmation of your enrollment to AMDA. To indicate interest, a $200 housing deposit is required, which can be paid with your $500 program deposit.