Education Advising

Education USA Logo

EducationUSA Kigali actively promotes United States higher education by offering accurate, comprehensive, objective and timely information about educational opportunities in the United States as well as guidance to qualified Rwandan students on how best to access those opportunities.

The EducationUSA Kigali Advising Center includes a small educational library of reference guides and catalogs from various U.S. colleges and universities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Each month, the EducationUSA Adviser hosts an open presentation for all levels of interested students. All presentations are one-hour long and will be conducted in the U.S. Embassy Library (American Center). Arrive early to check-in and be sure to bring a photo I.D. to enter. No electronic devices may be brought to the presentation. It is suggested that students bring a notepad and something to write with.

The Undergraduate Studies Info Session is for students currently in an Advanced Level Secondary School studies curriculum or has completed Advanced Level Secondary School studies and are interested in pursuing collegiate studies in the United States of America.

*Always contact the EducationUSA Adviser or the U.S. Embassy Library/American Center to confirm the presentation is scheduled as is.

The Graduate Studies General Info Session is for students currently in a Bachelor’s degree program or has completed a Bachelor’s degree program and are interested in pursuing further studies in a Master’s or Doctoral degree program in the United States of America.

*Note: Students MUST attend a General Info Session in order to participate in educational group or individual advising.

Educational Advising Services

The EducationUSA Advising Center in Kigali is located in the American Center in the U.S. Embassy. It provides a comprehensive array of resources and services to persons who wish to study, train, or do research in the United States.

Services and Resources Available:

  • Professional advice about the American system of education and the admission process. This service is available by appointment only. Students must have attended a General Info Session to schedule an appointment. Some exceptions may be made for special circumstances. If you are a student that has been admitted to a U.S. university, you do not need to attend a General Info Session to request an appointment. Email for more information.
  • Group sessions with an introduction to the structure of American higher education and information on the application process.
  • Information on how to find undergraduate, graduate, short-term/non-degree opportunities available in the United States.
  • Guides to funding sources for U. S. study.
  • Reference materials and information booklets on standardized tests (TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT).
  • Computer workstations for Internet searches on U. S. study.

Undergraduate, Graduate Open Group Advising Sessions & EducationUSA Workshops

These sessions provide an introduction to the structure of American higher education as well as information on the application process. They include a presentation on higher education in the United States, a question and answer session, distribution of related materials and handouts as available, and familiarization with Embassy educational library resources.  Presentations will not occur on American or Rwandan holidays. You do not need to register to attend. Special presentations or workshops for in-depth information regarding the U.S. college application process may be scheduled during application season. Check the U.S. Embassy Facebook page for the most up-to-date information on special presentations or workshops.

NOTE:  All undergraduate applicants must attend a group session before seeing the advisor individually.

Individual Advising Sessions 

Individual advising sessions are available on Mondays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the American Center. You can also call the education advisor at this number: +250788383822.
The purpose of these individual sessions is to provide you the opportunity to get customized guidance and in-depth advice to your admission-related questions.  Individual advising is not meant to assist you in filling out test registration forms or filling out applications to U. S. universities. Basic or general questions should be asked during the monthly Group Sessions.

To make an appointment, contact the Educational Advisor at:

Note:  All applicants must attend a group session before making individual appointments with the educational advisor. There is no fee for these general services. More general information can be found here:

Other resources/Links:

Note: The Educational Advising Center in Kigali does not offer scholarships and does not guarantee anyone admission to or financial aid/scholarship for any university or college.

In Rwanda, there are several standardized testing centers:

  1. School of Finance and Banking (SFB) for the TOEFL, SAT and GRE,
  2. Kigali International Community School (KICS) for the SAT and ACT.
  3. Global Computer Center (TOEFL IBT)
  4. International Student Support Center in Remera (TOEFL and GRE)

Center Codes:

  • SAT (School of Finance and Banking): 80135
  • SAT (Kigali International Community School): 80137
  • GRE (School of Finance and Banking): 10124
  • TOEFL (Global Computer Center): D 416
  • TOEFL and GREs (International Student Support Center in Remera): STN20326A

General Information

1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

This test is often required even if English is the medium of instruction in your school. The Paper-Based Test (PBT) is offered at the School of Finanace and Banking (SFB) in Kigali.
Test Fee: US $ 160

Find more information on test dates.

Please contact the EducationUSA Advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali at  for more information or assistance with testing.

Free TOEFL practice materials are available at American Embassy’s Educational Advising Center library or online .

2. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

The test is offered at the School of Finance and Banking (SFB) and at the Kigali International Community School (KICS):

Test Center Codes:
School of Finance and Banking (SFB): 80135
Kigali International Community School (KICS): 80137

Please check the SAT website for additional information on international registration deadlines.

Find a copy of SAT Bulletin and Registration Forms .

When filling in SAT test registration forms, please indicate the candidate’s postal (P.O. Box) and Email addresses in Rwanda.

SAT testing fee is US$ 81.00
See website for additional fees for subject tests, additional score report requests, etc…

NB: Note that an additional charge of $20 is required to buy a U. S. check at BANCOR S.A, plus RFW 45,000 for DHL to ship your mail.

Another option is to pay the test fee, the Western Union fee and the DHL charges at the test center by the deadline as you fill in the registration form. After the online registration deadline, you may register on the waitlist up to one week before the test provided that you pay a late fee of $45 in addition to the test fee.  Note that being on the waitlist does not guarantee that you will be able to test on that test date as there may not be enough materials.  Thus endeavor to register before the deadline. You are required to provide a photo to register for the SAT as of March 2013. Please make sure your names, gender, and date of birth are written exactly the same as they are on your ID.

Free SAT practice materials are available at American Embassy’s Educational Advising Center and at the School of Finance and Banking (SFB).

Mode of Payment: Payable to: ETS/ SAT
Credit card: Visa, Master Card, American express Card, JCB
International money order
Bank draft (Internationally)
U.S. Check

Find more information on the SAT.

3. The  American College Test (ACT)

The ACT is a standardized test designed to measure basic Math, Science, English, and Reading skills. Submission of either ACT or SAT scores is required by most American Colleges and Universities.
The ACT is currently offered online in two cities; additional schools and cities are being added.

Find more information on the ACT.

4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

GRE – The Graduate Record Examination measures verbal, quantitative, and analytical abilities of graduate school applicants. The Computer-Based test is not yet offered in Rwanda.   Find more information on the GRE.

GRE General Test Dates
Please check this website to learn the latest dates as soon as they have been published.

GRE General Test fee is US$ 175

When payment is made via Western Union, an addition charge of $16 is required by the bank, plus RFW 45,000 required by DHL to ship your mail. Another option is to pay the test fee, the Western Union fee and the DHL charges at the test Center by the Deadline as you fill in the registration form. After the registration deadline, call 0788532299 for possibilities of registering onsite as standby. Note that for the GRE, a standby fee of 50 U.S. dollars is required.

You can register online if you have access to a credit card.

  • Find a copy of the GRE Bulletin and registration forms or go to SFB
  •  When filling in GRE test registration forms, please indicate the candidate’s postal (P.O. Box) and Email addresses in Rwanda.
  •  Free GRE practice materials are available at American Embassy’s Educational Advising Center library or at this website.

5. Graduate Management Admissions Test  (GMAT)

This is a Computer-Based Exam, required for graduate programs in Business or Management.  It is not currently offered in Rwanda.  It is offered in Kampala, Uganda.

Registration forms can be obtained here or at the Education Advising Center at the U. S. Embassy in KAMPALA at 1577 Ggaba Road

Registration fee:  US $ 250

Test Center Location:   Makerere University Faculty of Computing and Information Technology – Tel: [256] 414540628


Please visit the U.S. Embassy Kampala website.

or  contact the EducationUSA Advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala at for more information or assistance with testing in Uganda.

6. DuoLingo English Test
Cost is $49 and can be taken from anywhere, no test center required. Website:

Going to the United States for higher studies can be a complicated, unfamiliar and expensive process but it is possible. There are over 4,000 accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. and they vary in terms of quality, competitiveness, size, character and cost. To help prospective students understand the process of applying more clearly, answers to the most commonly asked questions are outlined below.

How can I go to the U.S. to study?
There are many steps involved in going to the U.S. to study. First, you must have a strong academic background, solid financial support and very good English language skills. If you plan to apply for a Bachelor’s degree program, you must have completed at least 12 years of primary and secondary school or the equivalent of an A Level Certificate in Rwanda. If you want to apply for a Master’s degree program, you must have had 16 years of education in Rwanda (the equivalent of the U.S. Bachelor’s degree), i.e. a B.A. degree, a B.Sc. in Engineering or Agricultural Engineering or an M.B.B.S.

Second, you must decide which colleges or universities you want to apply to. Your selection will probably be based on several factors: does the school offer a good degree program in your field, how competitive is it, how much does it cost, does it offer financial aid, how big is the school, where is it located, is it accredited? The Embassy library has many reference books and university bulletins to help you compare institutions and make the best choices for you.

Third, you have selected approximately 10-15 institutions that interest you, you should write to each university requesting application forms and more information about admission requirements and the specific program you’re interested in. The Education Advising Center has sample pre-application forms. This process should be started at least one year before you plan to enroll. Most students enter U.S. universities in August/ September, but some universities also admit students in January and March.

Fourth, you will need to register for any of the standardized exams that the college or university requires for admission. All students should take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).  Most applicants for undergraduate study also will need to take the ACT or SAT while most graduate students will need to take GRE. Registration forms for the TOEFL and other tests are available at the Embassy Educational Advising Center.

Finally, after you have received information and application forms from the universities, you need to select schools to officially apply to. Send completed application forms, along with all other required documents, directly to the college or university’s Admission Office. Be sure you know each school’s application deadline date. Required documents usually include certified copies of your school transcripts (Certificates and mark sheets), test scores, letters of recommendation, the application fee, and documents showing you have enough money to pay for your education and living expenses. Transcripts should only be certified by the Notary Office (Notaire), Ministry of Justice. There is also usually a fee for applying to an institution, whether or not you are accepted or choose to enroll.

When you have submitted everything the school requires, you will eventually receive a letter from the college or university either accepting of rejecting your application. If you are accepted, the college or university will send you a letter of acceptance and an I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Student Status Visa). You must have this form before you can apply for a visa.

What do the terms Undergraduate and Graduate mean?
An undergraduate is someone studying for a U.S. bachelor’s degree at a college or university. A graduate student is someone who is studying for a U.S. master’s degree, a Ph. D or a professional degree in such fields as law, medicine, etc.

How much money do I need to study in the U.S. for one year?
The amount of money you need depends on which college or university you choose to attend. Tuition for one year at most public universities is now between U.S. $11,000 and $20,000. Some of the most expensive private colleges and universities cost as much as $50,000 per year. Be sure your sponsor has enough funds available for at least your tuition and expenses during your first year in the U.S. Your sponsor should also know how he/she will support you for subsequent years of study.

Can I get financial aid from the college or university?
It is extremely difficult for a foreign student to obtain financial aid for undergraduate studies (bachelor’s degree), so you must not expect it. The competition is intense and you must be an outstanding student. Usually only private colleges and universities offer financial aid to undergraduates. Financial aid seldom covers more than tuition, so a student must be prepared to pay his/her living expenses (U.S. $6000 to $8000 per year) even if he/she does get a scholarship.

Financial aid for graduate students:
Students studying for a graduate degree (master’s, doctorate) have more opportunities for financial aid from both public and private universities. Often the financial aid comes in the form of research or teaching activities. These awards may cover tuition expenses and provide a monthly stipend.

When can I apply for financial aid?
Applications for financial aid should be made to the university at the same time as your application for admission. The deadline for financial aid applications is usually in the month of January or February preceding September admission.

Can I get a job while I’m studying?
No. The terms of your visa do not allow you to work unless you are employed in an on-campus job or in practical training sponsored or approved by the university. On-campus jobs are difficult to obtain and do not provide enough funds to cover tuition or living expenses.

Who can be my financial sponsor?
Most students are sponsored by family members living in Rwanda or in other countries. A few students are sponsored by family friends or local organizations. Your sponsor must submit financial documentation showing that he/she has sufficient funds to pay for your educational expenses. In addition, your sponsor must state that he/she is willing to support you for your entire course of study.

Can I gain admission to a college or university without the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?

Students from Rwanda are required to take an English proficiency test such as the TOEFL/DuoLingo English test. Almost all universities require for an English proficiency test for foreign students from countries where the medium of instruction is not English. By preparing for and taking one, you will know your level of standard spoken English, and also have a chance to improve your English language skills before going to the U.S. Good English is a very important factor in success at an American college or university.

A few universities will conditionally admit students without a TOEFL score, but these students must sit for an English examination at the university before they can enroll in classes. If their scores are not high enough, they must take English as a Second Language (ESL) courses before they can enroll in a degree program. These courses are very expensive and can delay the start of your degree program by as much as one year. Even if you plan to take an ESL course, you should sit for the TOEFL exam before you go! If you do not submit a valid TOEFL score, your chance of admission will be reduced. You must enroll for the TOEFL test in advance.

What score do I need on the TOEFL to be admitted?
Each college or university decides what TOEFL score it requires. Many schools want a score 550 paper-based or computerized 213 or above, although some require only 500 paper-based or CBT 173 and others require at least 600 paper-based or CBT 250. However, an acceptable TOEFL score depends entirely on the requirements of each institution.

What other examinations do I need to take?
Each university or college decides what tests it requires. In addition to the TOEFL exam, tests frequently required are:

  • SAT: This test is for undergraduate applicants. It tests general academic aptitude and educational background.
  •  The Graduate Record Exam (GRE): This test is for graduate applicants. It tests verbal, quantitative and analytical skills. GRE Subject Tests evaluate knowledge in specific fields.
  •  The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT): This test is usually required for graduate applicants in business administration or management.  Note that GMAT, a Computer or an Internet Based Test is not available at the American Embassy Kigali Testing Center.  However, for all MBA program applicants interested in GMAT registration and testing, the Contact Information in Kampala for two Education Testing Services, ETS representatives (Centers) is available in the library.
  • ACT: The ACT is a standardized test designed to measure basic Math, Science, English, and Reading skills. Submission of either ACT or SAT scores is required by most American Colleges and Universities.

Is it important for the university to be accredited?
Yes, very important. The U.S. government does not accredit or control colleges or universities. Instead, there are six regional accrediting associations which accredit institutions that have met basic standards in their academic programs. There are also professional associations which accredit individual degree programs at a university in fields such as engineering and business administration. These accredited colleges and universities are listed in the book Accredited Institutions of Post-Secondary Education published yearly by the American Council on Education. You can also check if a college/university is accredited at

Don’t assume the university is accredited, even if it says it is. Check to make sure in this book at the Embassy Library. If the institution you choose is not accredited, your degree will not be considered valid and courses that you have taken will not be transferred to accredited universities. Your degree will be worthless. You may also experience difficulty obtaining a visa.

How do I go about getting a visa?
Visa applicants must appear in person at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali with a completed Non-immigrant Visa Application form.  See Embassy web site for complete information on the application process for non-immigrant visas.

You will also need evidence that you or your sponsor have the dollar funds available to cover the full cost of tuition and living expenses for one year (listed on the I-20 form). You must also show that you have access to these funds.

If the university is supporting you with a scholarship, fellowship assistantship, loan or on-campus employment, you will need a letter from the institution indicating the amount and kind of support provided. This must match the information on the I-20 form. If a sponsor outside Rwanda will pay your expenses, your sponsor will have to provide an affidavit of support and proof that he/she has sufficient funds.

So if I have a passport, an I-20, and funds for one year of study, will I get a visa?
This is not enough. You must also show the Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy that you are a bonafide student with the academic background and knowledge of English necessary to undertake a full course of study at the institution you have chosen.
Finally, you must show the officer that your permanent residence is in Rwanda and that you intend to return to Rwanda to live, after you complete your studies in the U.S. You can demonstrate that Rwanda is your permanent residence by offering such evidence as family, social, professional, financial, or other ties or commitments here which ensure your return.

Isn’t it true that even the best students are not given visas because the Consular Officer thinks they will stay in the U.S.?
No. There are many legitimate students who want to study in the United States and plan to return to Rwanda who obtain a visa without difficulty. The U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section issues visas to many Rwandans planning to study in the U.S., but admission to a university or college does not guarantee you a visa.

Where can I get more information?
Each student’s situation and needs are different. We recommend that if you want to study in the United States, you visit the Educational Advising Center at the Embassy Library, #2657 BLVD de la Gendarmerie, Kacyiru (use the entrance to the Visa Section). There you will find catalogues, guides, video-tapes, test registration bulletins and advice from a student Advisor.

Frequently Asked Questions About the TOEFL®

Paper-based Test (PBT)

About the Test

What is the test like?

The TOEFL PBT test has three sections and a 30-minute writing test, the TWE® (Test of Written EnglishTM).

It takes about four hours. There is no scheduled break.

Test Section Time Limit No. of Questions
TOEFL PBT Listening Comprehension 30-40 minutes 50
TOEFL PBT Structure and Written Expression 25 minutes 40
TOEFL PBT Reading Comprehension 55 minutes 50
TWE Test of Written English 30 minutes 1 topic


What am I tested on in each section?

Listening Comprehension measures the ability to understand spoken English.

Structure and Written Expression measures the ability to recognize language appropriate for standard written English.

Reading Comprehension measures the ability to understand non-technical reading material.

Test of Written English (TWE) measures the ability to write in English on an assigned topic.

Are all the questions multiple-choice?

Most of the questions are multiple-choice.

Do I have to take the TWE® (Test of Written EnglishTM)?

Yes. You have to take the Test of Written English if you are taking the TOEFL PBT.

There is no additional charge for the TWE.

If I am running out of time, should I guess or leave some answers blank?

Make every effort to complete each section. Data indicate most test takers get higher scores if they finish the test.

There is a chance that random guessing at the end of a section can seriously lower scores.

The best strategy is to pace yourself so you have enough time to consider each question without guessing.


How and when do I register to take the test?

The TOEFL PBT is offered six times a year. You can register online or by mail.

How much does the TOEFL PBT cost? 

The test fee is $160.

When will I have my admission ticket?

If you do not receive your admission ticket two weeks before the test date, contactTOEFL Services at

How do I cancel or reschedule my registration? 

Test date changes are not permitted. If you do not take the test and do not wish to register for another date, you may request a partial refund of half the registration fee by submitting. If you wish to take the test on another date, submit a new registration form and test fee.

Do NOT contact the test center before the day of the test. Staff at the test center will not have the information necessary to assist you. Contact TOEFL Services if you need help.

On Test Day

What should I bring on test day?

You must bring the following documents, information and supplies with you on test day:

A valid ID with your name, signature and photograph. The name on the document(s) must be the same name you used when you registered.

ID will be checked before you are admitted.

Your admission ticket with your registration number and the codes for the institutions you select as score recipients.

Your signed Photo File Record, with a recent recognizable photo.

Three or four sharpened No. 2 or HB pencils and an eraser. Mechanical pencils are not permitted.

Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before the specified start time. If you are late, you may not get in and could lose your test fee.

How long will my scores be valid? 

Scores are valid for two years after the test date