What Is a Conditional Acceptance for IELTS takers?

If you’re applying to go to a college or university in the United States, UK, or Canada, but English is not your first language, then you will need to take an English language exam like the IELTS. A good IELTS score will show that you know English well enough to succeed in an American school. Many schools in the U.S. require that you have at least a certain IELTS score before they’ll let you enroll to take classes there.

However, if you meet all other admissions requirements but still don’t have a passing IELTS score, some schools offer what is called a “conditional acceptance.” A conditional acceptance allows you to take certain classes, like English as a second language classes, at a college before getting the IELTS score you need.

Which Schools Offer Conditional Acceptance?

Not all U.S. schools offer conditional acceptance. You should be able to find out if a school offers conditional acceptance on the international admissions page of their website. However, some schools might call it by a slightly different name, like “conditional admission.”

To see if a certain school offers conditional acceptance, look at their international admissions information, or Google the name of the school and then the phrase “conditional acceptance.”

Are All Conditional Acceptances the Same?

Unfortunately, when it comes to conditional acceptances, different schools have different rules.

For example, Drexel University offers conditional acceptances that allow you to take language courses as well as up to 21 credit hours of regular college coursework. The University of New Haven’s conditional acceptance program, however, only lets you take English as a second language classes at their ELS center.

Passing the IELTS Exam Turns a Conditional Acceptance Into a Regular Acceptance

All conditional acceptances have one thing in common: Once you get a high enough score on the IELTS exam, your conditional acceptance ends, and you become a student at that school. All of the limitations that come with a conditional acceptance fall away – you’ll be able to take any of the classes that you would otherwise be able to take as a college student.

A Passing IELTS Score Changes, Depending on the School and Program

What IELTS score do you need to go from a conditional acceptance to a regular acceptance?

Unfortunately, that also depends on the school you are trying to get into. Some schools require one score, other schools require a different one. Even within the same school, the required IELTS score can change, depending on the program you are trying to study. For example, engineering programs often require a lower IELTS score than liberal arts or business programs.

However, the required IELTS score for a specific program should be listed in that program’s admissions information.

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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  • Sean

    Sean is a former IELTS administrator and an IELTS blogger for Magoosh. He has a degree in English literature from the University of New Hampshire, and a law degree from the University of Cincinnati. He has also studied abroad in Cambridge, England and in Botswana. In his spare time, he plays ultimate Frisbee, reads, plays guitar, and writes novels, though not all at the same time.

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