Some international students attend Illinois State as exchange students. This special population comes through official agreements between Illinois State University and institutions abroad or organizations.
You can see whether an exchange agreement already exists between your university and Illinois State by reviewing our list of partner universities, or contacting the Incoming Exchange Coordinator at InternationalStudents@ilstu.edu.
Universities abroad who are interested in creating a new partnership with Illinois State University, or have questions about an existing agreement, are welcome to contact the Study Abroad Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Exchange students can be degree-seeking or non-degree seeking, but the majority are non-degree seeking and study here for one or two semesters.
Course registration for exchange students is a specialized process. Students will receive help from both the J-1 Exchange Coordinator in International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) and an Academic Advisor in University College (U-College).
The higher the course number, the more background knowledge you will be expected to have, and generally the more challenging the course will be. Here is what course numbers mean at Illinois State:
You may also wish to consider your level of English fluency and that you may need time to adjust to the American style of education in your first semester.
Many international students are surprised by the amount of reading and assignments due every week. International students are advised to take a course load of 12 credit hours (or 9 for graduate students). Exchange students are also encouraged to make time for social and cultural activities as a part of the requirements for the J Visa program.
Exchange students completing degrees at Illinois State University will be assigned an academic advisor in the specific department noted on the DS-2019 who will help students enroll in classes. This advisor will work with ISSS to arrange as much of your schedule as possible before your arrival on campus. After arriving on campus, you should meet with your departmental academic advisor to discuss your plan of study and course registration.
If your transcript from home has been updated since you applied to Illinois State University, please scan and email it to InternationalStudents@ilstu.edu. Any new classes you have taken could increase your ability to enroll in specific courses at ISU.
Incoming international exchange students must officially apply to Illinois State University for admission through one of our exchange partners.
Exchange students applying to Illinois State University will need to submit the following items as part of their application.
You must submit an Application for Admission to apply to the University.
Click on "Visit Student Application Portal" to create an account. Once you create an account, you should:
Complete the After You’re Admitted Steps to ensure you are prepared for your arrival to campus.
After you have been admitted to the university and submitted your J-1 Proof of Finances, you will be issued a DS-2019 document. Your application checklist will contain the F-1 Proof of Finances, please do not use this form as it does not contain accurate financial information. You should instead fill out the J-1 Proof of Finance form, this document is needed in order to apply for your J-1 visa. You will be notified via email when your new DS-2019 and admissions packet has been mailed to your home university exchange contact.
Read through the Exchange Student Pre-Arrival Guide that contains all kinds of information about when to arrive, how to apply for your visa, course registration, and more.
In the email, you will also be given a link to the Course Request Form. You will complete this form by listing all the possible courses you would like to take while at Illinois State University. Please list as many ideas as possible. Illinois State's Course Finder and complete course catalog is available online.
The form that Illinois State will create so you can apply for your visa is called the “DS-2019” or “Certificate of Eligibility”