Summer Challenge: Information for International Students

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to study at a world-renowned university in the United States with students from around the globe? Do you want to engage in new academic challenges and experience American culture in one of the most historic, exciting cities in the nation? Then come join us at Boston University!

International students must submit an International Student Data Form and a copy of your passport with your program application.

We strongly encourage international students to bring a mobile phone that operates in the United States. 

English proficiency

English is the language of instruction at Boston University, and a high degree of competency is assumed. International students need to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test (DET). You need to have minimum English proficiency levels equivalent to: 

  • 84–90 on the internet-based TOEFL (iBT)
  • 7 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • 120 on the Duolingo English Test (DET)

If you do not meet these requirements, you may want to consider the three-week EducationUSA Academy program, held at BU’s Center for English Language & Orientation Programs (CELOP). The program is designed for international students interested in applying to an American college or university. Find out more information on CELOP’s website.

Visa information for Summer Challenge students

Since Summer Challenge is a short-term noncredit program designed for high school students, it does not qualify for F-1 immigration student sponsorship. Therefore, international students are encouraged to enter the United States in a temporary visitor status that allows for participation in a short course of study for which no academic credit is granted. For citizens of countries requiring a visa to enter the US, participants should obtain a B-2 “Visitor for Pleasure” visa. Citizens of countries who enjoy the benefits of the Visa Waiver Program should obtain ESTA clearance and enter the US in WT, “Waiver Tourist,” status.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires all full-time or part-time international students who will be attending classes in person to submit proof of immunization against the following communicable diseases: measles, mumps, rubella (MMR); tetanus (must be Tdap vaccine); hepatitis B; (bacterial) meningitis; varicella; and tuberculosis, depending on country of origin. Your doctor or healthcare provider must complete the Immunization Requirements Form to show proof of these immunizations. The Immunization Requirements Form will be provided to each accepted student as part of your online Participation Agreement.

In alignment with Boston University COVID-19 guidelines, we strongly recommend that all Summer Term pre-college students remain up to date with all CDC COVID-19 vaccination recommendations. All students must abide by University-wide health and safety policies.

If you are not in compliance with all BU health immunization requirements when you arrive on the Boston University campus, you have 7 days to obtain the necessary vaccination(s) or you will be considered out of status. You may obtain vaccinations (by scheduling an appointment in advance) at:

Student Health Services

881 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-353-3575

Medical/health insurance

All residential students enrolled in the Summer Challenge program are required to have medical/health insurance. Since many US doctors and hospitals do not recognize out-of-country coverage, it is strongly recommended that international students participate in the Boston University Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).

You are not automatically enrolled in SHIP upon registration and must enroll on your own. You may contact Student Accounting Services at 617-353-2870 or email in advance of your arrival for information on how to enroll in SHIP.

It is recommended that students seeking to enroll in SHIP send their request for SHIP coverage at least 3 weeks prior to their arrival.

To compare plan coverage, visit, select View your insurance plan details, then scroll down and review the 2023–24 Plan Documents and Benefits. Summer 2024 is part of the 2023–24 Plan Year, which ends on August 14, 2024. (Students do NOT enroll themselves in SHIP at Aetna Student Health’s website.)

Contact us

If you have any additional questions or comments, please contact us.

A Day in the Life

What's it really like to be a Summer Challenge student?


Applications Closed

All sessions in the Summer Challenge program are now full, and we are no longer accepting applications for summer 2024.


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