International Students

International Students

Thank you for your interest in San Diego Christian College! We look forward to helping you through the application process.

Since its inception in 1970, San Diego Christian College (SDCC) has been home to a diverse student population with many of our students coming from numerous countries around the world. Currently, we have 14 countries represented on our campus. The Admissions department is here to help international students through the application process, with an experienced staff committed to helping international students take the necessary steps to reach their educational goals at SDCC.

Steps to Apply

Submit the following documents. Once they have been submitted, your file will be complete and ready for an admission decision within two weeks.

  1. Application

Complete and submit your official application for admission.

  1. High School and College Transcripts

Transcripts must be translated to English and evaluated by WES or IERF (if instruction was not completed in English) and must show the name of the institution, dates of attendance, credentials received, individual courses taken and the U.S. equivalent credit/unit value and grade. When ordering your evaluation from WES or IERF, you will need to select the “translate and evaluate” option and send your sealed, official transcripts directly to them. They will send the completed evaluation with the transcripts to us.

Student Athletes: Use to get your transcripts evaluated.

College transcripts from a US institution can be sent directly to SDCC Admissions:

Office of Admissions
San Diego Christian College
200 Riverview Parkway
Santee, California, 92071

  1. SAT or ACT Scores

SDCC is a test optional college.  We allow students to decide whether they want to submit test scores with their application. 

  1. English Requirements

Applicants from countries whose primary language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency in one of the following ways to ensure a successful experience at SDCC.

  •  TOEFL Score: A recent official test score report with a minimum of 67 on the iBT
  • IELTS Score: A recent official test score report with an overall score minimum of 6.0
  • GREC Score: A recent official test score report with a score minimum of 1125


  1. Bank Statement

Official bank statement in English showing a student has the financial means to pay for one year of attendance at SDCC.

6. Affidavit Form

7. Valid Passport 

Important Deadlines — Fall
  • Complete application deadline: June 1
  • Deposit Deadline: June 15
  • Payment Deadline: July 1
Important Deadlines — Spring
  • Completed Application Deadline: November 1
  • Deposit Deadline: November 15
  • Payment Deadline: December 1
Frequently Asked Questions for International Students
Frequently Asked Questions for International Students


  1. Can I study part-time?

No, international students cannot study part-time. U.S. immigration law requires that all international students on F-1 student visas maintain full-time enrollment. To be considered full time, undergraduate students must be registered for a minimum of 12 units. Graduate students must be registered for a minimum of 9 units to be considered full time.

  1. Can international students work on campus?

Yes, according to U.S. law, on-campus employment is the only legal employment for international students. If you are interested in an off-campus internship, talk to your DSO to see if you qualify.

  1. Do I need health insurance?

Yes, all international students are required to have health insurance that is valid in the US. You can also purchase health insurance through the school.

  1. Can I live off campus?

Students under 21 are required to live in on-campus housing with a meal plan. You can submit a petition to live off-campus with a family member but you must submit documentation to confirm residency. Once you are over 21, you can live off campus. If you need accommodations for the summer, we may be able to find you housing with a host family.

  1. Do I have to attend International Student Orientation?

Yes, International Student Orientation helps students with their transition to SDC and America and is required for all new students.

  1. When can I enter the U.S.?

You may enter the U.S. in “INITIAL” F-1 or J-1 status (meaning you are a new international student, not a SEVIS transfer student) up to 30 days before the program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019.

If you are an F-1 student with an I-20, the earliest date you can enter the U.S.  is printed on the document.


7.     What documents do I need to show to enter the U.S.?

Have the following documents with you in your carry-on bag. Do not put these travel documents in your checked suitcases! (* = required)

  • Passport (valid for at least 6 months into the future)*
  • F-1 or J-1 Visa (Canadian citizens exempt)*
  • SEVIS Form I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1)*
  • SEVIS fee receipt (for your first entry to the US)
  • Supporting financial documentation (most students use the same as for the visa application)
  • Proof of class registration

We also recommend you review the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) travel FAQs before coming into the U.S. You will also be completing forms about items you are bringing into the U.S. in your luggage.

  1. I am graduating soon, what are my options?

Within 60 days of graduation, you must either leave the country or apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). This allows you to work in America for 1 year after graduation.

  • Your OPT application will cost $410 and can take up to 90 days of processing
  • OPT Employment must be directly related to the student’s field of study and you cannot begin working until you receive your EAD card
  • The student does not have to have a job offer to apply, though it is encouraged so that time available for OPT (12 months) is not lost
  • If interested, make an appointment with your PDSO for further instruction.



NAFSA Visa Tips
NAFSA Visa Tips

  1. Explain ties to your home country.

Under US law, all applicants for non-immigrant visas are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must therefore be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. “Ties” to your home country are the things that bind you to your hometown, homeland or current place of residence: job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc. If you are a prospective undergraduate, the interviewing officer may ask about your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-range plans and career prospects in your home country. Each person’s situation is different, of course, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate or letter, which can guarantee visa issuance.

  1. Speak in English.

Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview. If you are coming to the United States solely to study intensive English, be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country and what you have already done to show you are a bona fide student (e.g. English classes in your home country).

  1. Speak for yourself.

Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf. If you are a minor applying for a high school program and need your parents there in case there are questions, for example, about funding, they should wait in the waiting room.

  1. Know the program and how it fits in your career.

If you are not able to articulate the reasons you will study in a particular program in the United States, you may not succeed in convincing the consular officer that you are indeed planning to study, rather than to immigrate. You should also be able to explain how studying in the United States relates to your future professional career when you return home.

  1. Be concise.

Because of the volume of applications received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick, efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute or two of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep your answers to the officer’s questions short and to the point.

  1. Keep any supplemental documentation short.

It should be clear at a glance to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. Remember that you will have 2–3 minutes of interview time, if you’re lucky.

  1. Explain that you are not seeking employment in US.

Your main purpose of coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. While many students do work off-campus during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their US education. You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program. If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the United States. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the United States. Volunteer work and attending school part-time are permitted activities.

  1. Explain why dependents are remaining at home.

If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gains the impression that your family members will need you to remit money from the United States in order to support themselves, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied. If your family does decide to join you at a later time, it is helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa.

  1. Maintain a positive attitude.

Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal. You will receive a letter stating the section of the law under which you were refused. If it says 214(b), it means that the consular official was not convinced of your non-immigrant intent.

NAFSA would like to credit Gerald A. Wunsch, esq., 1997, then a member of the Consular Issues Working Group and a former US Consular Officer in Mexico, Suriname and the Netherlands and Martha Wailes of Indiana University for their contributions to this document. NAFSA also appreciates the input of the US Department of State.

The F-1 Student Visa

The F-1 student visa is a nonimmigrant visa. In order for this visa to be issued, the applicant must provide proof that:

  • He or she has a permanent residence outside of the U.S. which they have no intention of abandoning.
  • He or she is desirous to obtain temporary nonimmigrant status into the United States for the sole purpose of engaging in a full-time course of study at San Diego Christian College, who issued them the I-20 Form.
  • Applicants for an F-1 student visa will need to apply at the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate of their permanent residence. The U.S. Consular will require an interview with the applicant, and it is required for the applicant to present a valid passport and the I-20 Form as well as the proof of financial support. Each applicant for an F-1 student visa must also submit the following information:
    • Forms DS-156, DS-157, and DS-158.
    • A valid passport for travel to the U.S.
    • One or more photographs, based on the requirements specified.
    • I-20 Form from San Diego Christian College.
    • Proof of financial support from a financial institution.
    • Pay the one time $350.00 SEVIS fee online before the consular interview.

Mexican or Canadian citizens admitted to the United States either as an F-1 or F-3 status as “border commuter students” are admitted for a fixed period of time that coincides with the term of session end-date on their I-20 Form. They are not admitted for “duration of status” like regular F-1 students. A new I-20 Form is required for each new semester.

To qualify you must:

  • Be a Canadian or Mexican citizen.
  • Be registered as a border commuter student.
  • Attend a U.S. College located within 75 miles of the border.
  • Be enrolled in a degree program, pursuing it part-time.
  • Maintain actual residence and place of abode in their country of citizenship, and commute through a land border port-of-entry to the U.S. for study.

SEVIS Database

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is an Internet database system designed to track International students while they are in the United States.

While in the United States, F-1 International students must report correct and up to date information regarding their personal information, U.S. address, enrollment status, and academic progress to the Admissions Office. The PDSO will then enter this information into the SEVIS database.

PLEASE NOTE: It is very important for a nonimmigrant student to maintain his or her immigrant status while in the United States. It is the responsibility of the International student to keep all immigrant documents current. If an International student fails to maintain the conditions of their nonimmigrant status, it could jeopardize their status, and could possibly be grounds for deportation from the United States under the U.S. immigration law.

I-20 Requirements

The I-20 Form (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status) is issued by the Admissions Department of San Diego Christian College to international students who have been accepted into SDCC’s degree program.

Evidence of financial support from a financial institution is required in the amount stated on the I-20 Form before the I-20 Form can be prepared for the international student. This proof of financial support must be submitted in the pre-application stage of the admissions process.


Once a student receives notice of acceptance to San Diego Christian College, the next step is to pay a $500 tuition deposit before the I-20 will be processed. If the student does not have a U.S. bank, payment can be made by calling the Student Accounts Office to make a payment over the phone. Students who are paying with a U.S. debit/credit card can make payment here .

Once the student has submitted his/her tuition deposit, an I-20 will be generated for the student and mailed to their home address. The student must then make an appointment with the embassy in his/her home country in order to apply for an F-1 student Visa. The student must bring their valid I-20 (along with the documentation listed below) to the appointment.







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