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Articles / Applying to College / Must I take the TOEFL?
Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Jan. 30, 2013

Must I take the TOEFL?

Question: I am a Canadian permanent resident and have lived in Canada for 4 years. I have also attended 4 years of regular high school in Canada. So if I want to apply to Yale, do I need to take the TOEFL? I don't speak English at home, but I go to regular high school and am not an ESL student anymore. So is it still mandatory for me to take TOEFL? Thank you.

If English is the primary language of instruction at your high school, you do not need to take the TOEFL to apply to Yale.


But, if your SAT Critical Reading score is well below the norm at Yale, you might want to try the TOEFL anyway, because you don't speak English at home and you have only been in Canada for four years.

In general, colleges that require the TOEFL from ALL international students whose first language isn’t English will usually waive the requirement when the student has been in an English-speaking high school for four years. And those colleges that still expect a TOEFL from non-native speakers in English-curriculum high schools will commonly waive it when SAT Critical Reading scores are strong. So you need to check each college’s Web site carefully because expectations will vary from college to college.

(posted 1/29/2013)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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