After accepting an offer of admission from a college or university, it is important that international students reach out to the institution if they have any questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is Early Decision really binding?
Q: Can a student deposit at more than one university? What about if a student applies to universities in multiple countries?
A: If the student is attending high school in the USA, every student may submit one deposit to one university or college by the May 1st response date. However, if they are applying to institutions overseas, they may be obliged to submit a deposit to a US before having all the necessary information to make an informed decision by May 1. The rules for accepting an offer of admission by an university overseas may be different than those in the United States.
If your student deposits at a US institution by the May 1st deadline and then later decides to go to another institution, advise them to notify the US school at which they deposited and inform them that they will not be attending. Also, alert them to the fact that if they deposit and then retract their commitment following May 1st, they will lose their deposit fee.
Q: What questions should an accepted international student ask from the International Student Services Office at a college/university?
A: Here are some sample questions your students may want to consider asking their International Student Services office:
- What is their process to obtain an I-20 from the institution?
- Is there a special orientation program and are there multiple orientation dates?
- Is there special transportation services for international students from the nearest airport to campus?
- How does one purchase the bedding for the residence halls if you are traveling from abroad?
- How do international students arrange for local banking?
- Do they offer driving lessons?
- What kinds of international organizations are there?
Q: If the institution does not have an International Student Services office, who should you ask?
A: In the absence of this office, students should start by directing their questions towards the admission office or Dean of Students.
Q: What financial documents are necessary for the issuance of the I-20 by the college?
A: Some institutions will ask for proof of one year’s worth of tuition, fees, housing, living expenses and transportation costs. Others may request proof of additional amounts (up to four years). Unfortunately, there is no uniform designation.
Q: How are payments for deposits, tuition and fees handled at the college for international students? Is it by credit card, bank wire transfer of funds, or through a third party payment provider?
A: The Registrar/Bursar office is the usual arbiter of how payments are made to the college. Many do accept credit cards directly or through a third party vendor. Bank wire transfers are also accepted by most colleges but it does require more paperwork and the fees associated with this can be expensive.
Q: How are special dietary needs addressed at the college? What is available in the local community?
A: Please ask the Dining Services office about special meals and dietary concerns. They will work with students to make sure that the appropriate foods are available.
Q: Can students work while they are enrolled in college/university?
A: International students may work on campus and off-campus. There are specific rules associated with student visas so students should check with their international student adviser and DSO before accepting employment.
Q: Can students participate in internships or co-ops?
A: Many international students participate in internships and co-ops. The caveat is that the internship must match their area of studies and the total amount of hours is set by the US government. Before an international student starts an internship or coop, the information must be approved by the Designated School Official (DSO) and posted in the SEVIS system.
Q: Are there post-college graduation opportunities for research, work or internships? Are there special requirements?
A: There are post-graduation options for international students and it is the student’s responsibility to check on whether the option meets the student visa rules. Most are granted with a one to two year limit and most often granted in professional fields such as health sciences or engineering. There is an expectation that international students will return home after graduation unless they are employed, participating in an approved internship or enrolled in graduate programs.
- The Office of International Student Services (or its equivalent) at the student's college is a good source of general information relevant for international students.
- Questions about campus orientation can be directed to the Dean of Students, Housing Office, Dining Services, or Public Safety Offices of the college or university the student is attending.
- Visa interview questions can typically be answered by US Embassies or consular offices in the home country or US State Department resources.
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