TOEFL Required for US Citizen in India?

Question: I’m a US citizen by birth but did my entire schooling in India. I’ve studied English for 14 years now and speaks the language better than my ancestral language of malayalam. Do I need to take TOEFL or similar exams along with my SATs?

If you, as an American citizen living abroad, indicate on your applications that English is your primary language, you will not be expected to take the TOEFL. The college folks don’t want to waste your time … or their own.

However, if any of your college Web sites insist that the TOEFL is REQUIRED for all students attending a high school where English is not the main language of instruction, you should send an email to the admission office asking for a waiver.

Most admission offices have at least one staff member who oversees applicants from outside of the US. So it’s not a bad idea to make contact with this individual at all of your target colleges. Introduce yourself and ask any questions you may have. You can also use the email to explain what you have told “The Dean”–that the TOEFL would not be appropriate for you.

But … if your verbal SAT scores are below the medians at the colleges you’re considering, you might want to take the TOEFL anyway and not be so quick to proclaim your prowess in English!

(posted 9/12/2016)