Freshman Admissions Criteria

The University at Buffalo welcomes international first-year students (freshmen) who are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities offered by a top-quality public research university.

What is required for freshman admission?

Admission to the freshman class at the University at Buffalo is based on more than just your grades. We perform a holistic review of your application that considers your academic marks, test scores, essay and recommendations.

We are looking for students who excel academically, engage in extracurricular activities, and maintain a good school-life balance.

Am I a freshman or transfer applicant?

Freshman or transfer status has a strict definition which is based upon the facts of your educational background.

What is a freshman?

  • You have never studied or enrolled in any college / university or postsecondary studies after completing secondary school.
  • You are a freshman even if you have “advanced standing” for which you may receive university credits. This includes A Levels, International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP).

What is a transfer?

  • You have completed secondary school and you subsequently enrolled or studied one or more subjects in a college or university.
  • You may or may not have passed the class(es); you may or may not have earned university credit for the class(es); you may or may not have changed your major or stopped studying because you did not like your major.
  • If you engaged in any study in a college or university, you must apply as a transfer applicant; you cannot “choose” to be a freshman.
Still not sure if you are a freshman or transfer? Take this test.

If a minimum of one item in statement 1 and all of statement 2 is true, then you are a freshman applicant. Otherwise you are a transfer applicant.


STATEMENT 1:   A minimum of one item must be true.

A.  I am currently studying in high school (secondary school).

B.  Even though I am not in high school, I am studying a secondary school curriculum.

C.  I have completed high school.




STATEMENT 2:   This statement must also be true.

I have never enrolled in or studied at a postsecondary institution after completing secondary school.


Both are true?  You will apply as a Freshman.

Any part not true?  You will apply as a Transfer.

What do admissions counselors consider?

Academics English Language Standardized Tests Other Requirements

Students who are ready for academic success:

Admission to UB’s freshman class is selective and is based in part on the quality of your secondary school academic record and the number of spaces available in the class.

You should feel confident applying to UB if you have an above-average academic record and have taken challenging courses in high school to help prepare you to be successful at university.

UB uses a 4.0 grading scale and we expect students applying here to have the equivalent of a 3.0 on that scale. That is the same as a grade of B or 83 on a 100-point scale.

Our admissions counselors are experts in the many education systems around the world. They know how to compare your country’s grading scale to the one we use here at UB.

Find required academic documents by country

We will need to evaluate your academic performance in secondary school. We do this by reviewing your transcripts (mark sheets, grade sheets, report cards) or state exam results. Listed below by country of education are the specific documents you should include in your application.

In addition, before you can start your studies here, you will need to show that you have earned the equivalent of a U.S. high school diploma. Also included in the below list are the credentials we recognize for each country and type of academic curriculum.

If you have already completed secondary school, we ask that you submit your graduation document along with your transcripts when completing your application.

If you haven’t graduated yet, don’t worry. You can bring proof that you completed secondary school with you when you arrive on campus for orientation. In the meantime, you will just submit copies of your transcripts.

Academic credentials we expect from you

Must be submitted with application

Must be submitted before enrollment


Any document not written in English must be accompanied by an English translation.

Already completed secondary school?

Submit both your academic transcripts and your proof of graduation with your application documents.

Learn about admission to your intended major

Several major programs admit freshmen directly at the time of university admission. All other departments evaluate students for admission during their studies at UB and admit students to the major after all requirements have been met.

The following departments may admit freshmen directly to the major:

  • Accounting
  • Architecture
  • Business Administration
  • Computer Science
  • Dance
  • Engineering
  • Exercise Science
  • Music
  • Music Theatre
  • Nuclear Medicine Technology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Theatre

The SAT/ACT is required* for direct admission as a freshman to:

  • Engineering
  • Biological Sciences/Dental Medicine Combined BS/DDS
  • Architecture

*If SAT / ACT are not offered in your country, this requirement may be waived if you have earned high marks in relevant high school subjects.

Check your major’s requirements before you apply

Find your major in the UB Undergraduate Catalog