Preparing for College

Is TOEFL required after 8 Years in the US?

Question: I am a high school senior. I applied to Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and they sent me a email saying that it is required of me to take the TOEFL exam. I didn't have a problem with any of my other colleges. I have been in New York for the past 8 years. I took ESL when I first came and passed their test in a couple of years. I took the SAT and the ACT. My high school career does show that I am strong in academics. Do I really need to take the TOEFL for them? I don't understand what to do.

For reasons that mystify me, Albany College Pharmacy and Health Sciences requires the TOEFL from ANY applicant whose first language isn’t English and who has been in the US (or studied in an English-language school) for fewer than 10 years. Typically, colleges use 4 years—not 10—as the cut-off, and 10 seems extreme!

Some colleges that require the TOEFL for all non-native English speakers will waive it when standardized test scores are good. How were your Reading and Writing scores on the SAT and ACT? If they were strong—or at least fairly strong—you might want to contact the college and ask if they will waive the TOEFL requirement for you. (By "strong," I mean that they were roughly at the median at ACPHS, which means about 575 in Critical Reading or mid- to upper-20's on the ACT English test.)

You can either try to do this via email or you can telephone the admission office and ask to speak to the staff member who oversees applicants from your high school. Explain your situation and cite your grades (especially in English) and your tests scores, assuming that they were decent. If the staff member agrees to waive the TOEFL requirement, ask him or her to send you an email to confirm the decision in writing.

(posted 2/6/2013)