SUNY logo cialis philippines
Blog of The State University of New York
Campus Life

5 Frequently Asked Questions International Students Ask SUNY (and the answers)

Two asian female researchers conducting TB research at StonyBrook.

Of the nearly 460,000 students enrolled at SUNY campuses across New York State, more than 22,000 (nearly 5%) come from outside the United States. These students represent more than 150 countries across the globe, making SUNY a true melting pot of cultures and traditions.

Are you from outside the United States with dreams of being an international student? Has it always been your dream to attend college here in the US? Well, SUNY may just be the best choice for you. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have questions about the process. In fact, we receive quite a few questions from potential students looking for their future school. So we’ve decided to make it easy and  gather these frequently asked questions and answers all in one place.

Read on for some common pieces of information that international students commonly seek out.

What is it like to study at SUNY?

At SUNY we have little something for everyone. We have numerous programs and degrees. And the variety is not just through our programs, it’s also from our campuses. With 64 unique campuses to choose from across New York State there is a lot of options. Whether you want to live somewhere rural or urban, SUNY has a campus there. You can look up the many programs and campuses SUNY has to offer on our website.

How can I apply to SUNY?

And the application process is simple whether you’re an international student or not. All students applying to a SUNY school must complete the standard application. Many campuses require additional forms. You are encouraged to contact an admissions officer at the school you are interested in if you need to submit additional forms. In particular, you should be aware that most campuses require proof of English proficiency and will accept either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

What scores do I need on the TOEFL or the IELTS in order to attend SUNY?

The requirements for theses tests vary from campus to campus. You can view the TOEFL and/or IELTS requirements for individual SUNY campuses on the SUNY website and learn about qualification for entry into English-speaking universities.

What if I just want to improve my English (or I want to go to a SUNY school but didn’t receive high enough English test scores)?

If you want to work on your English, SUNY has programs for that too. There are several campus-based Intensive English Programs (IEPs) which provide training and instruction in the English language, preparing students for full-time academic study at the completion of the program. These programs also provide cross-cultural skills, tools and perspectives to assist international students in adapting to the culture of the classroom, campus and community.

IEPs are year-round, full-time programs. Admission to the university or college is not required to register for an IEP and, in some cases, SUNY campuses will provide conditional admission based on successful completion of the program. These programs are available at a number of campuses including:

University at Albany Intensive English Language Program
Buffalo State English as a Second Language Program
University at Buffalo English Language Institute
Fulton-Montgomery Community College English as a Second Language Program
Nassau Community College Language Immersion at NCC
SUNY New Paltz Haggerty English Language Institute
Stony Brook University Intensive English Center
Westchester Community College English Language Institute

Will the culture shock be hard?

A little bit of culture shock is normal and natural. Many students face this when going to study abroad too. But there are a lot of ways you can prepare and adjust! Many of the SUNY Intensive English Programs (IEPs) teach cross-cultural skills, but there is still a lot you can do on your own. For example, you can do your research on the campus culture before you arrive. Read the campus website, join the Facebook page and don’t be afraid to ask questions. This way you can understand the reasons for cultural differences. And make new friends native to your new host country. A trusted friend can really help with the adjustments.


So now that you have the answers to some of the most common international student questions, you’re on your way to Be Part of SOMETHING BIGGER. Good luck!SUNY sitting students on wall with SUNY bags in front of them.

Written by Kay Broughton

Kay is a student assistant with the SUNY Office of New Media. She is a University at Albany undergraduate working towards a double major in English and East Asian studies with a double minor in communications and film.

Tags: , , ,



Join the Conversation:


There are 2 comments

  • This is an interesting article. I remember the first time I came to SUNY. I had so many questions regarding different aspects of my life as an international student in New York. Starting from student loans through the most suitable accommodation options, everyday expenses, finding an internship, etc. I find this article really useful for new students.

  • Julien says:

    Interesting piece. I had some of the same questions. One of the questions I had as an international before coming to NY concerned the cultural shock and finding housing to ease me into the new culture of New York. From my experience finding the right housing situation, whether it is resident housing (finding the right roommate) or off-campus (again finding the right roommate) can make the living situation so much better. After my experience I’ve started my own platform to help with just that – Internationals can search and reserve a place even before leaving home and increase their chances of finding the right roommate or place to live.

  • Leave a comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    SUNY - Be Part of Something Bigger