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If you’re looking for a university outside your country that provides quality education and a cultural experience at an affordable price, then the Philippines should be in your list. In this article, we will be going over how international students can study in the Philippines.

One of the many great things about studying in the Philippines is the warmth and hospitality that Filipinos have. First, it’s not difficult to befriend them because they are naturally fun and friendly. It’s not also difficult to adapt to the Filipino culture because of the Spanish, American, Malay and Islamic influences in their lifestyle.

Moreover, the Philippines is an emerging tourist destination in the world that offers fascinating beaches and other places under its tropical climate – indeed, a perfect getaway after school sounds rewarding. No wonder, a lot of students from different parts of the world opt to study in the Philippines.

Ways that International Students Can Study in the Philippines

  • You need to be able to finance your education in the Philippines. Without this crucial step, you can’t study in the Philippines. To do that, there are multiple ways, which includes studying in affordable universities, working while studying, and paying with your own money.
  • Next, you will need to prepare your application materials. In this article, we will cover what requirements that you need to meet.
  • Then, you need to apply and get accepted.
  • After that, you need to apply for a student visa.

Financing Your Education

There are a lot of state and private universities that accept international students around the Philippines, and tuition cost varies from university to university. However, tuition cost in the Philippines are more affordable and much cheaper compared to other countries.

Despite the cheaper price, Philippine universities offer quality education. In fact, the University of the Philippines, the country’s top and premium university, ranked 65th among top universities in Asia.

Tuition fees in most universities in the Philippines range from $700 to $1600 per semester. This includes the miscellaneous, library, International Student Fee and others. Cost of living is also much affordable because the expenses in the country may range from $350 up to $715 monthly, depending on the type of accommodation and lifestyle.

According to the University of the Philippines, the average budget of a student is from $150 to $200 per month. Generally, a non-Filipino student should prepare around $100 to $2500 per semester if he/she wants to study in the Philippines. To further help the international students, some universities also offer housing accommodation.

Meeting the Application Requirements

Most universities in the Philippines require their local applicants to take an admission exam and this is also applicable to international applicants.

For undergraduate programs, international applicants will be evaluated according to their performance on the College Admission Test and their weighted average of final grades obtained in secondary school.

For the graduate programs, you need to have a bachelor’s degree from a documented institution or higher learning, a General Weighted Average which is not lower than 3.00, an intellectual capacity and aptitude for advanced studies and research, language proficiency and health clearance from the graduate programs office.

Some universities may also require an admission exam for the undergraduate programs, but some universities accept the result of their Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in lieu of the admission exam. An international applicant must have taken his/her SAT within the last two years prior to application.

Language Requirements for Undergraduate Programs

Most universities use English as their primary language of instruction. With that, international applicants are expected to be able to communicate in the same language to be able to study in the Philippines.

If an applicant’s medium of instruction in their previous school is not English, he/she should take and pass TOEFL and get a score of 500 if paper-based, 173 if computer-based or 61 if internet-based tests. The applicant can also take IELTS with minimum score of 5.5. For some universities, they don’t require a certificate of English language proficiency but this is also subject to the evaluation of their certified secondary scholastic records.

Language Requirements for Graduate Programs

For graduate programs, most universities require a proof of English proficiency upon filing of the application. In Ateneo De Manila University, they require a minimum of 80 (Internet-based test) and 550 (Paper-based test) test scores for TOEFL. IELTS score should have a minimum total score of 6.5, while if you take the Cambridge Assessment English, you should have a minimum total score of 176.

Please note that the minimum requirements for English proficiency may vary and depends on the university you are applying in. You may have to check the websites of each university.

Application Requirements for Undergraduate Programs

To be able to study in the Philippines, you must first submit your application requirements. For the undergraduate program, most universities in the Philippines need the following documents:

  • Certified Correct Secondary Scholastic records (Report Card and Transcript of Records)
  • Duly-accomplished application form (downloadable from the university’s website)
  • Recommendation forms from High School Subject Teacher, Class Adviser or Guidance Counselor
  • Four (4) 2×2 or passport size ID pictures
  • Photocopy of Birth Certificate, ACR/IR or passport
  • Certification of English language proficiency or TOEFL/IELTS results (if needed)
  • SAT official test results (in lieu of College Entrance Test)
  • Medical Health Certificate from the Bureau of Quarantine

Application Requirements for Graduate Programs

For the graduate programs, the same documents are also required but there are additional requirements such as the following:

  • Certificate of Eligibility to Pursue Graduate Studies (if your Certificate of Graduation does not clearly indicate that they are university/college degree holder)
  • Two (2) copies of Personal Essay
  • Certificate of Marriage (photocopy for female married applicant only)
  • Notarized affidavit of support including bank statements, notarized notice of grant for institutional scholars to cover expenses for the student’s accommodation and subsistence, school dues and other incidental expenses
  • Duly authenticated police clearance/certificate of non-criminality/NBI clearance

Applying to Universities in the Philippines

Application process for each university may vary, so if you are interested in a particular university, you may have to visit their website. Moreover, the dates of application and submission of requirements are dependent on the academic calendar of each university. In the Philippines, the academic calendar varies from university to university, but mostly, the first term of the school year starts in August.

You will need to definitely apply in order to study in the Philippines as an international student. The application procedure vary, so you need to check the university website that you are interested in.

Applying for a Student Visa

If an applicant is accepted, he/she should proceed to the International Center Coordinator to submit his/her student visa as well as the authenticated Transcript of Records by the Philippine Embassy from the country of origin, and secure a Certificate of Eligibility.

This final step is the easiest step for international students wishing to study in the Philippines because most of the hard requirements is already taken care of (i.e. letter of admissions).

Most universities in the Philippines help in processing the student visa through their Office of Student Activities. Take note that only universities that are accredited by the Bureau of Immigration can accept and enroll international students.

Below are the procedures in applying for a student visa according to the Bureau of Immigration:

  1. You have to download and accomplish the Consolidated General Application Form (CGAF) from the website of the Bureau of Immigration.
  2. Once all the documents needed are complete, submit it to the Central Receiving Unit for pre-screening.
  3. Prepare your payment for the processing fees (estimated of $250) and secure the copy of official receipts. These receipts will also be submitted.
  4. Afterwards, you will be taken a photo and other identification process in the Image and Fingerprint Capturing Counter of the Alien Registration Division (ARD) for the processing of your ACR I-Card.
  5. You can view the status of your visa application on their website. Once your application is approved, you need to submit your passport to get your visa.
  6. Afterwards, you have to claim your ACR I-Card once the department release it.

Processing time of student visa usually takes two (2) days to few weeks or months, depending on the nationality. If you are planning to study in the Philippines, you may have to process your admission at least six (6) months before the registration period of the term you are applying for.

International students who fail to process their student visa during the term enrolled will be mandated for a penalty of $400. You may also visit the Philippine Embassy website available to your country for more details.

Studying in a different country may require a lot of preparation, like buying of airplane tickets, looking for better accommodation and other things. However, your hard work in the process will surely pay off. Remember, learning not only takes place inside the school. You also learn from the country you choose to study in and certainly, you will learn a lot from the Philippines.












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