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Incoming Exchange Students FAQ

Can I come to Macalester as an exchange student?

We welcome applications from students nominated by one of our partner institutions. Macalester College has exchange agreements with:

  • Ashesi University College, Ghana
  • Leiden University College The Hague, Netherlands
  • Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Sciences Po, France
  • ISEP, various locations

How do I apply to Macalester’s exchange program?  

First, contact your university’s international office and follow your on-campus application process. If you obtain a nomination from your home university, you are ready to apply to Macalester.

Second, visit the Study at Macalester College Exchange website to open an application. Click on the “apply now” button near the bottom of the page and follow the prompts to open an account in the online application system. Note: If the “apply now” button is not visible, this means that an application cycle is not currently open.

Please keep these important deadlines in mind:

  • Applications for the fall semester or the academic year are due on April 3rd.
  • Applications for the spring semester are due on October 2nd.

The following items are required as part of your application:

  • Official transcript
  • TOEFL or IELTS Scores (if applicable)
  • Signature Form (available in online application system)
    • Online questionnaires:
    • Personal Information (name, phone number, address, citizenship information)
    • Academic Information (previous education, current coursework, coursework you would like to enroll in at Macalester)
    • Emergency Contact Information
    • Essays (educational objectives at Macalester, co-curricular experiences)
    • Passport scan

We suggest students contact their home university’s international office and ask about sending official documents (e.g., transcript and TOEFL/IELTS scores). Many universities send these documents on behalf of students.

What are the costs of studying at Macalester as an exchange student? 

Macalester’s exchange agreements vary by partner institution. Your costs will depend on your home institution. Contact your home university’s international office or Macalester’s Center for Study Away for information specific to your home university.

The below costs are for Fall 2023 semester.

Please note that depending on the bilateral agreement between your home institution and Macalester, some of these costs are included such as room & board and health insurance.

  • Tuition: N/A (all exchange students pay tuition to their home university.)
  • Room & Board: $7,491
  • Activity Fee: $230
  • Health Insurance: $1,528 (NOTE: Depending on your home institution, you may be able to obtain your own health insurance that includes sufficient overseas medical coverage as defined by Macalester College.)
  • Estimated books: $463
  • Estimated personal expenses: $840

What happens after I am accepted to Macalester’s exchange program? 

If you are admitted to Macalester as an exchange student, you will need to get your visa.

  • For ISEP students: your home institution will work with you on how to get your J-1 visa.
  • All other partner institutions: You will have to submit financial information through your online account. This information will be used to complete your I-20 (immigration form) and is generally due 3-4 weeks after acceptance. Macalester’s International Student Programs office will reach out to you with more information and deadlines once you have been accepted.

In the weeks following acceptance, you will also be contacted via email about course registration, housing preferences, arriving on campus, and more.

What should I know about course registration and academics? 

Ann Minnick, Director of Academic Programs, will contact you via email soon after acceptance. She will work with you to register for classes.

Most academic courses at Macalester earn 4 semester credits, and students generally enroll in four courses per semester for a total of 16 credits. Additionally, many exchange students choose to enroll in 1-credit physical education or dance courses. You may participate in music activities on a non-credit basis.  Exchange students must enroll in 12-18 credits per semester.

To learn more about classes commonly offered in the fall or spring semester, review the class schedule for a recent semester. Additionally, there are course descriptions available on the website of each department or interdepartmental concentration.

At the end of your exchange term at Macalester, we will send an official transcript to your home university. Students should direct questions about transferring credit and degree requirements to their home institution.

What are my options for housing and meals? 

Living on-campus is a central part of experiencing life at a residential liberal arts college and is a required part of Macalester’s exchange program. All admitted incoming exchange students are guaranteed placement in on-campus housing.

After acceptance, you will be contacted by Residential Life. They will ask for your housing preference and place you in housing based on availability. You can read more about Residence Halls online. Please note that incoming exchange students are often placed in Kirk Hall along with other juniors and seniors.

Residential Life at Macalester utilizes a student-focused learning-centered approach. Read more about this Community Learning Model online.

All exchange students have a meal plan to eat on-campus. Dining options include Café Mac, the Grille, Nessie’s, Atrium Market, and Scotty’s. Café Mac posts their daily menus online. Once you arrive, you will have the option of changing between different meal plans to select the balance of meals and flex dollars you prefer. Exchange students can select Meal Plans A, B, C or D. The cost is the same for all options (see cost information above).

How do I get a student visa (non-ISEP students)? 

After acceptance, you will need to submit financial information including the Certificate of Finance through your online account. Once this is received, International Student Programs (ISP) will use this information to complete your I-20 and send it to you. You will use this information to secure a visa. Please contact your home university’s international office or ISP for more information relating to visas. ISP should email you for additional details in mid-May for Fall and Academic Year students and mid-November for Spring students.

When should I arrive on campus? 

Information on arrival dates will be shared with students soon after acceptance. Helpful information can also be found in ISP’s Pre-Departure Checklist and FAQs.

Before classes begin, incoming exchange students are required to participate in Pre-Orientation for International Students (PO4IS) followed by regular Orientation Programming. Be mindful of the arrival date for orientation. You are required to attend.

What co-curricular activities can I participate in? 

Many exchange students participate in ISP programming, such as the Talk and Tea and Country Spotlight. Also, Campus Activities and Operations regularly organizes events like Mac@Night, Midnight Breakfast, and more. The Program Board (PB) hosts events throughout the year, including Springfest, Pub Quiz, Movie Nights, and more. Many exchange students join student organizations while at Macalester. You can find out more information about these organizations by attending the Student Organization Fair or check out the list of 100+ student orgs online. Additionally, exchange students often volunteer in the local Minneapolis-St. Paul community. The Civic Engagement Center (CEC) connects students with community organizations. The Department of Multicultural Life (DML) hosts a wide range of campus groups and events, as do the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center and the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life.