It’s no secret that IELTS exam results are widely accepted in countries like Australia, Canada, and the UK, but does taking the IELTS for USA entry really work in 2023?
In this post, I’ll explain why the myth about IELTS acceptance in the US isn’t completely true, and I’ll provide you with resources for determining whether or not your desired university or organization in the US accepts IELTS results.
Trust me, I’ve got great news for those of you looking to study or work abroad in the US:
The IELTS exam is NOT just for acceptance to institutions in the previously mentioned countries!
The Myth about IELTS Results
Many candidates looking to enter the US to study or work might think they need to look elsewhere for accepted proof of their English-language proficiency. This myth stems from the fact that the IELTS exam is developed and supported by British Council and Cambridge Assessment English, two UK-based organizations that aim to help with cultural relations, English learning, and other educational opportunities for non-native speakers of English.
As they are British organizations, many of the first organizations to begin accepting results from the IELTS exam were UK universities and companies. Additionally, it became widely accepted in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Plus, there’s the Common European Framework:
This gives you the English-language proficiency scores you’re probably most familiar with if you’re from a European country using a letter/number combination (as shown in the image to the right). This was developed by the Council of Europe-still, no mention of the IELTS and the U.S., right?
If you check the introduction to IELTS on the official IELTS website, you’ll see that they describe the test as being “for people applying for higher education or professional registration, and…for those migrating to Australia, Canada and the UK’.
So, it’s no surprise that the exam gained traction in those areas with its roots in the UK, and it’s apparent why you’d think at first glance that results from the IELTS exam might not help you study or work abroad in the US.
But the IELTS exam has grown in popularity over the years and expanded, and there’s more to the development of the creation of the exam itself, as well.
The Real Answer: Is IELTS Accepted in the USA?
You see, the organizations behind the IELTS exam take careful care to ensure that the test produces consistent results by creating an exam that treats all test takers fairly and removes cultural bias. This means that it includes English as it’s spoken across all English-speaking countries to accurately mimic real-world situations.
Teams of test writers and language specialists from all the major English-speaking nations-including the USA-meet to develop the subject matter and create questions best suited for the test given carefully determined specifications to follow.
Over the years, the IELTS exam’s reputation has grown across the world-again, including in the USA-and the exam now has a specific division dedicated to expanding its acceptance by universities and institutions across the country.
Despite not being accepted for VISA entry to the US, at the time of publishing this article:
- over “3,000 institutions in the USA, including boarding schools, associate, undergraduate, graduate, professional and law programs” accept IELTS results and
- “Approximately 99% of American 4-year colleges and universities that enroll more than 1,000 international students now accept IELTS as proof of English proficiency for their international applicants.” (IELTS.org)
So, how do you know if the school or organization you want to go to will accept your results?
How do you know what band score you should shoot for?
Let’s take a look!
Does Your US University or Organization Accept IELTS Results?
There’s actually a very simple way to determine which universities and companies accept IELTS results as proof of English-language proficiency:
- First, click the link to use the search feature that shows who accepts IELTS scores.
- Use the Advanced options to filter by the type of organization you are searching for, the specific location if you have one in mind, and the minimum band score if you already know your scores.
- Look at the Min. Band Score column for information about the minimum band score you’ll need to get accepted!
In the video below, I’ll walk you through these steps and give a bonus tip about how to search for Visa entry requirements if you’re also considering moving to the UK, Canada, or Australia.
Click here for more information on the U.S. college admissions process.
If you want to study, work, or migrate to an English-speaking country like the UK, Canada, or Australia, the IELTS exam is your best bet:
It’s fair, unbiased, and widely accepted across the world.
But if you’d like to study or work in the United States, you’re still in luck! There are over 50 test locations in the U.S. and 48 test dates a year, plus over 3,000 institutions that accept IELTS results for USA entry to work or study.
So, what are you waiting for?!
Don’t miss out on a better future for yourself and your family abroad, and start preparing today!