How to Apply as an International Student

The international student application for College of the Desert and the Intensive English Academy is easy to complete and the response time is fast! Just follow these simple steps to begin your studies in the beautiful Palm Springs, California area!

  • Step 1:

    • Gather and scan your supporting documents.

      F-1 student applicants should be prepared to submit a current passport, proof of readily availa​ble funding, proof of English proficiency (for academic admission), and transcripts from previously attended schools. There are additional documents requested of F-1 students already studying in the U.S.A.

  • Step 2:

    • Complete the online application (for both enrollment options). Click "Apply Now!" in the blue listing on the left.

  • Step 3:

    • Check your email regularly for important updates and requirements.

  • Step 4:

    • Once you have received your acceptance packet and Form I-20, contact the US Embassy / Consulate in your home country to apply for your F-1 Visa.

We are happy to provide guidance and support with each of these steps!

English Proficiency Requirements:

Admission to the Intensive English Academy (IEA)

English proficiency tests are not required.

Admission to College of the Desert

Requires submission of one of the English proficiency tests below OR completion of approved level at indicated intensive English school.
(See "English Proficiency Waiver Options" below):

English Proficiency Scores

Test Name: Required Score:
TOEFL Paper 400
Duolingo 70

English Proficiency Waiver Options

Students who have attended an ESL school in the USA may be able to waive the TOEFL/IELTS/EIKEN requirement. College of the Desert has agreements with the following schools and will waive the English proficiency requirement if students have completed the specified level as listed below:

ESL School Name: Level Required for TOEFL Waiver:
COD's Intensive English Academy Completion of Level 3
EF Language Schools Completion of B2 (Upper Intermediate)
ELS Language Schools Completion of ELS Level 108
FLS Language Schools Completion of FLS Level 7
Language Studies International (LSI) Completion of LSI Advanced Level
Mentor Language Institute Completion of Advanced Level
POLY Language Institute Completion of POLY Advanced Level

Funding Requirements:

Students are required to submit documentation showing proof of readily available (liquid) funding such as a current bank statement, financial guarantee, etc. to comply with F1 regulations. Available funds must equal the estimated cost of enrollment for your selected program.

Click here to view the Estimated Costs of Enrollment for international students at College of the Desert and the Intensive English Academy.

Application Deadlines and Programs Dates:

Application Deadlines:

Rolling Admission - Accepting applications now

Semester Start Dates:

Spring 2024: January 29, 2023 (Orientation begins January 17) 

Fall 2024: TBD

Transfer Students:

Students who are currently studying in the United States and would like to transfer to College of the Desert or the Intensive English Academy must submit the International Student Application and the Transfer Form. The Transfer Form must be completed by your current Advisor in order to have your SEVIS record transferred to our institution. Please download our COD Transfer-in Form. Application deadlines for transfer students are on a rolling admission basis. Early application is encouraged as admission cannot be guaranteed for those applying after the published deadlines.

Health Insurance Requirements:

College of the Desert (COD) and the Intensive English Academy (IEA) are concerned about the health and safety of our international students. US health care costs can be very expensive. This is especially true in cases of a catastrophic accident or illness. For this reason, the Desert Community College District Board policy 5021 requires all international students to purchase the COD mandated health insurance plan.  Visit the Health Insurance page, for more details and enrollment instructions

Foreign Transcript Evaluation:

College of the Desert’s International Education Program welcomes international applicants who have already earned college or university credit outside of the United States. In some cases, previously completed international coursework may be used to help us determine the COD courses in which you are eligible to enroll. We may also be able to substitute some of your international higher education coursework for COD degree requirements. In order to make these determinations, we request that you submit a certified foreign transcript evaluation report to the International Education Program with your other application materials.The following International transfer credit will direct you to institutions that provide fee-based foreign transcript evaluation services. COD does not promote working with any particular evaluation provider. This list is provided only as possible sources for this service. Please contact our office to confirm that the service you will use for foreign transcript evaluation will be approved by COD when you plan to apply.