Timothy Bassett (M.A. ’19)
The diversity at GRTS has caused me to be slower to speak and quicker to listen. I’ve learned that my perspective is not always the majority nor is it the correct one. I’ve appreciated that element to my education here.
Seminary International Students
Christ’s church is all around the globe, and we love when our brothers and sisters from around the world are able to join the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary learning community. It is a gift to learn from diverse perspectives, this helps us better understand God’s Word and world. We have enrolled students from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Honduras, Jamaica, Ghana, Nigeria, the Philippines, Romania, South Korea, Sudan and Chad.
Seminary Application and Supporting Documents
First, you will need to complete the application for admission and send copies of all required supporting documents. The application includes both a ministry reference and a personal reference form. These need to be completed by two individuals who have known you for at least a year, are not relatives and can attest to your Christian character and aptitude for graduate education
Supporting documents include:
Acceptance and Registration
After you have been accepted to GRTS, the admissions staff will register you for classes.
Once accepted for admission, you must send a tuition deposit of at least the cost of your first semester’s tuition and fees. This total includes a tuition deposit and registration fee.
If for any reason you do not enroll as planned, we will return all of the funds to you and/or your financial supporters.
After receiving your tuition deposit, we will send you a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. This form is more commonly called the I-20. You can then apply for your student visa at the US consulate/embassy in your home country. You will also need to pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System processing fee as part of the visa process. The following documents are required in addition to the I-20:
- A valid passport, which must be valid six months past the last date you expect to be in the U.S.A. (your expected time of graduation).
- Proof of sufficient finances, which is your completed student financial support form, letters of support from each supporter and copies of bank statements verifying that those funds are available.
- Proof of English proficiency, which may be either citizenship in an English-speaking country or TOEFL/IELTS scores.
Travel and Starting Classes
Once you have your visa, you can purchase your plane ticket to come to Grand Rapids. You are able to arrive up to 30 days before your semester begins. Please make sure to keep your admissions counselor updated on your travel plans.
If your undergraduate or graduate education was completed outside of the United States, it must be evaluated for U.S.A. equivalency. Students must submit official transcripts to the Educational Credential Evaluators. Please carefully follow the steps outlined on their website.
Certification of Finances Form
The Certification of Finances serves as evidence that you have financial support throughout the duration of your degree program. The form must identify enough funds to cover: tuition, fees, housing, living expenses and travel to the U.S. You must include letters of support from each organization or individual who will be providing you financial support. Each supporter must send bank statements from the three most recent months to demonstrate their ability to meet their financial commitments.
70% of GRTS students receive financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships. During the application process, complete the Seminary Scholarships and Grants Application to qualify for financial aid. Be sure to ask your admissions counselor about all scholarship opportunities.
Proof of English Language Proficiency
International students who are not lifetime residents of Australia, Canada (other than Quebec), New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States (other than Puerto Rico) must demonstrate their English language proficiency by submitting a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS score. The TOEFL must be taken within one year prior to the admission application date.
For the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), GRTS requires a minimum score of 577 written, 90 internet-based or 233 internet-based for admission. GRTS requires a minimum score of Band 7 for admission.
If your previous academic work was completed in English, you may submit writing samples to demonstrate English language proficiency. These submissions are subject to the evaluation of the GRTS Admissions Committee. Exceptions to Proof of English Language Proficiency requirements are made only in exceptional circumstances.
At GRTS, our academic calendar operates around a three-semester schedule. Our fall semester begins in September, our spring semester begins in January, and our summer semester begins in May.
International students should identify a semester they would like to begin, and then begin an application as soon as possible. Because of the many variables that surround international student applications, the application process can sometimes take several months. Please ask your admissions counselor about the specific start dates for the upcoming semesters.
Applications are due two weeks before the beginning of each semester. Please contact your admissions counselor for specific details.
International students may apply for on-campus jobs as they become available. You will not be able to work more than 20 hours per week (even if employed in more than one job) as stipulated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement regulations. The Admissions Office can assist you in applying for a U.S. Social Security number which you need to begin working.
Off-campus employment is only possible on an extremely limited basis in the event of financial distress. In such a case, you will need to apply with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in order to receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You are not eligible to work off-campus until you have received your EAD.
GRTS does not offer health insurance for students. International Student Insurance is a helpful resource in finding insurance.
Scholarships and Financial Guidance Resources
All international students are considered for the Timothy Scholarship, which would cover a portion of your tuition costs. For more scholarship opportunities and information on student loans, visit these informational websites.
Meet Your Counselor
At Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, we have dedicated counselors who want to guide you through the admissions process every step of the way. They will assist you in developing a personalized plan forward in the process and answer any questions you may have. Reach out to your counselor today and introduce yourself.