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Refugee, Displaced Person, Asylum Seeker and Stateless Applicants

Macalester welcomes all students who have experienced the effects of displacement to apply and will ensure applications are given full consideration regardless of their official status. In line with the United Nations, Macalester acknowledges differentiations beyond students with official status as an asylee or refugee in the United States, including students who identify as a:

  • Refugee currently residing in a country outside of the United States: Someone who has been forced to flee their country because of persecution, war, or violence and is recognized by their current country of residence as having official refugee status.
  • Displaced Person: Someone who has been forced to flee or leave their home or place of habitual residence as a result of armed conflict, internal strife, repeated violations of human rights, or natural and human-made disasters. This can include an Internally Displaced Person who has not crossed an international border but was forced to move to a different region within their own country to flee conflict.
  • Asylum Seeker: Asylum seekers say they are refugees and have fled their homes as refugees do, but their claim to refugee status is not yet definitively evaluated in the country to which they fled.
  • Stateless Persons: A stateless person does not have a recognized nationality and does not belong to any country. Statelessness situations are usually caused by discrimination against certain groups.

Committee for Refugee Student Access (CRSA)
In the fall of 2016, then-senior Farah Haddad rallied a group of like-minded students who believe in Macalester’s responsibility to admit and support refugee and displaced students. Since the creation of Committee for Refugee Student Access (CRSA), student members have collaborated with administrators, faculty, and staff across campus to modify policies and attitudes in order to make admission to Macalester accessible for refugee and displaced students. CRSA is currently working towards establishing an endowed scholarship that will provide a sustainable path for future generations of refugee and displaced students to thrive at Macalester.

Financial Aid Policy

Macalester provides a financial aid package equal to 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students Admitted refugee, displaced person, asylum seeker, and stateless person students who are not permitted by law to work in the U.S. would receive an additional Macalester student loan to replace the amount typically earned through student employment. Please note, applicants with the highest levels of financial need face the greatest levels of competition in the selection process. 

Requirements for Your Application to Macalester

  • Common App Account & Application

    At you can create an account and choose Macalester for your college list. There are many resources to help you in your application process – including an Application Guide for First-Year Students.

    In keeping with Macalester’s values, we encourage students who self-identify as a refugee, displaced person, asylum seeker, and stateless person, to indicate so on the Common Application. Students can identify themselves by providing documentation with their application such as proof of status in their current country of residence; scan of a United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) card; and/or personal narrative within the Common Application essay, Additional Information section, or Macalester supplemental questions.

    Students who do not hold an official refugee or asylum status visa within the United States should select “I do not hold a currently valid US non-immigrant Visa” on the Common Application.

    If you wish to be considered for financial aid, you must indicate your interest when you apply via the Common Application. Applying for financial aid.

    Macalester does not have an application fee.

  • Early Decision Agreement

    If you are applying Early Decision, the Early Decision Agreement certifies that Macalester is your first-choice college and agreement that, if admitted, you will enroll at Macalester and withdraw all other college applications. More about Early Decision

  • High School Transcript

    Request that your secondary school(s) send Macalester official transcript(s) of all classes and grades beginning with 9th grade, through junior year.

  • Two Recommendation Letters

    Required: Two recommendation letters

    • One recommendation letter from a counselor or school official
    • One recommendation letter from a teacher – An evaluation from a teacher in one of the core academic subjects (English, social studies, world language, mathematics, or science.

  • First Marking Period/In Progress Grades

    Early Decision and Early Action applicants are required to submit official or self-reported first quarter, first marking period, first trimester, interim, or in-progress senior grades as soon as they are available. First term grades may be submitted after the application deadline but please note First Marking Period/In Progress Grades must be received for an admissions decision to be determined. 

    First term marking period grades may be submitted by:

    • Self-report using First Marking Period/In Progress Grades Form available in the Applicant Portal, or
    • Sending directly from a high school official (counselor or registrar)

    Regular Decision applicants must request that a school official (counselor or registrar) send us an updated transcript by February 14 if senior year first-term grades are not on the initial transcript. If an updated transcript is not available before February 14, please contact

For Non-U.S. Citizens/Permanent Residents

  • Proof of English Proficiency

    Macalester’s classes are instructed in English and only students who have a strong command of the English language (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) will be offered admission.

    If your first language is English and/or you attend a secondary school where the primary language of instruction is English:

    Applicants may request that this requirement be waived by completing the ENGLISH PROFICIENCY Testing Waiver Request Form in their Applicant Portal.

    If English is not the first language or the primary language of instruction:

    Applicants are required to submit one of the following exams in order to demonstrate proficiency in English.

    Self-reported test scores for IELTS and internet-based TOEFL will be accepted in the selection process. Admitted students who decide to attend Macalester will be required to submit official score reports.

    Scores for TOEFL Essentials and Duolingo English Test must be submitted directly from testing agencies. Testing Policy page.

Optional Items

  • ACT or SAT (optional)

    Macalester recently adopted a permanent Test-Optional admissions policy, starting with the Fall 2021 first-year class. This includes ACT, SAT, SAT II, AP, and IB.

    There will be no penalty for students who choose not to submit test scores in the selection process or distribution of merit scholarship. You can learn more about our Testing Policy here.

    If you believe your standardized test scores will add another positive layer to your application file, then please feel free to submit scores to our office or self-report them in the Common Application. Macalester’s testing codes are 2122 (ACT) and 6390 (SAT).

  • Submit Art Samples or Portfolio (optional)

    If you have made a substantial commitment to the arts in the areas of fine arts, music, theater or dance, you are welcome to submit samples in your application portal.

  • Online Interview (optional)

    Macalester interviews are offered to applicants who have begun their application process. Interviews are reserved for domestic applicants who are rising seniors, seniors, or prospective transfer students.

    Admissions interviews at Macalester are recommended, but are not required. Your interview will be part of your application file, so it’s an opportunity to share or address anything you’d like included in your application.

    All interviews are conducted by a Macalester staff member and are only offered virtually.

    Interviews for rising seniors begin on August 1. Seniors who wish to interview must do so by February 1 of their senior year. Transfer students must request an interview by April 15. Each student may only interview once and interviews are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Learn more or schedule your interview here.

  • Additional Recommendation Letter (optional)

    Applicants are not required nor encouraged to submit more than the two required recommendations. However, if you wish to have an additional letter of support, we ask that you choose carefully to ensure that the additional recommendation provides a new perspective not already present in your application.

Refugee, Displaced Person, Asylum Seeker and Stateless Applicants Contact

Elyan Paz
AVP, Dean of Admissions