I'm actually an United States citizen who has been living and being educated in Malaysia. So currently my family decided to send me back to the States to continue my future studies. Some people told me that I need TOEFL/SAT results to prove my English but some of them said that I don't need it because I'm a citizen. I'm kinda lost now... What should I do to prepare myself before going there?

  • 7
    Read the application requirements for the schools where you want to apply. They should explain what exams are required. Mar 2, 2019 at 1:32
  • But my situation is kinda different... should I still refer to them because they might not being able to apply on my situation
    – gsey
    Mar 2, 2019 at 2:02
  • @gsey No, really, read the applications requirements for the schools where you want to apply. If you read them and they don't cover your situation, ask the admissions department of the school. You are not the first non-resident US citizen to ever apply to a US university and, even if their written guidelines don't address your situation, they will certainly know how to handle it. Mar 20, 2019 at 15:17

3 Answers 3


As Nate Eldredge already mentions in a comment, there will be a statement somewhere on the application page that specifies who needs to provide language scores as part of their application and who doesn't. Since schools receive large numbers of applications, there isn't really any leeway for special cases: Just follow the letter of the application requirements. If this requires that you to take the TOEFL or SAT, then that's what it is -- whether you think that's fair or necessary or required is a question that's entirely unimportant.


There is no general rule on it. Each university may have its own requirements. You need to follow admission requirements which are often clearly declared on the universities' website. Otherwise, send an email and ask admissions office about your specific condition.

However, depending on universities' policies, some candidates who have not lived in an English speaking country may not need to sit English tests. As an instance, if applicants have been studied in an institute in which the language of instruction is English or have worked in a company in which the main working language is English (such as international companies, foreign affairs/business/translations/education departments, etc.) for more than two years; these candidates usually do not need to sit any language tests. They need to prove this fact, like the language of instruction should be written in their graduation documents, their manager/ instructor/ supervisor should write a letter to the university and clearly declare that candidate have been working in an English environment, etc.

So, the point that you are a citizen of an English speaking country does not really mean that you do not need to sit any required tests. It is important that you have lived in a non-English speaking country. Language of instruction is very important. If you have studied in local schools and in Malaysian, you may need to prove that you have enough language skills by sitting a test.

Please also note that some programs require test scores of GRE/SAT etc as part of their assessment of all the candidates, even native English speakers. These tests are not language tests and mainly focus on assessing candidate's skills in mathematics, logical reasoning, etc. Sometimes candidates need to sit both a GRE/SAT test (depending on which program they are applying to: undergraduate or graduate degrees) as well as an English test and both are part of their admission documents.


If you are a native speaker, don't bother. If you are not, do.

It is possible to not be a citizen and be a native speaker. And vice versa. Consider babies moved at 5 months.

  • Oh I see :) uhm may I know what's versa?
    – gsey
    Mar 2, 2019 at 1:53
  • @gsey I think it was supposed to be "vice versa", not "via versa"
    – Darren Ong
    Mar 2, 2019 at 1:59
  • 1
    I would blame auto-correct but operator error is more likely root cause.
    – guest
    Mar 2, 2019 at 2:01
  • 7
    "sorry cause my English isn't that good" Thus you need to take the test.
    – guest
    Mar 2, 2019 at 2:31
  • 2
    Downvoted. If the application instructions say you have to take it, then you have to take it, even if you are a native speaker.
    – JeffE
    Mar 2, 2019 at 17:03

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