International Students

Recently Admitted Students

studentsCongratulations on being accepted to Chadron State College. As a newly accepted student at Chadron State College, you have a lot to think about. We want to ensure your travel to the United States and transition to college life at CSC is as smooth as possible. The following information is with the purpose of assisting you with your pre-departure planning.

Please read the following information thoroughly and carefully. Immediate action is required for some issues. (see “Things to Do Immediately”)

Things to Do Immediately

#1 Arrange Your Campus Housing

If you plan to live on campus and have not already submitted your application for housing, do so immediately. Housing is limited and fills very quickly. CSC offers double and single occupancy in a variety of room arrangements. All residence halls are located on campus in close proximity to classroom and campus activities. Visit the Housing website to learn more about the various housing options available on campus. Remember, time is running out!!

To apply for housing on campus, visit the following link and submit your application today: Room Reservation

#2 Sign Up for Orientation

All new international students are required to attend New Student Orientation (NSO), prior to the start of fall classes. You can choose to bring up to two adult guests for the Thursday and Friday orientation sessions. Each new, incoming student is automatically charged a $100 NSO fee to cover the cost of this event, for the student and up to two parents/guests. To sign up for NSO, please visit the Orientation registration page.

Midway down the NSO Registration form, the following question will be asked: “Are you involved in collegiate extracurricular activities that will affect schedule building? If so, please list them here.” Make sure to type “INTERNATIONAL STUDENT” (along with any activities that may affect schedule building) so that we can ensure you have registered for orientation.

  • For transfer students: There is a section in the NSO registration form that asks you to select a “First Year Inquiry” (FYI) course as part of our new Essential Studies program. You are not required to take those courses, so do not select a course. If you are unable to submit the form without selecting an FYI course, go ahead and do so. Once we receive it, we will simply remove the FYI course from your schedule.

#3 Register for Courses

Incoming Freshmen: When you complete the New Student Orientation (NSO) registration form, you will be required to select a First Year Inquiry (FYI) course as part of our new Essential Studies program. Once you complete the NSO Registration form and submit it, the Chadron State College “START Office” will review your FYI course selection. The START Office will then build the rest of your initial course schedule.

Once the START Office has built your course schedule, you will receive an email from the START Office notifying you that your course schedule is set for fall 2012. You can then review your course schedule (per the instructions in the email from the START office). If you have any modifications you want to make to your schedule, you can contact them directly.

Incoming Transfer Students: Once you complete the NSO Registration form and submit it, the Chadron State College “START Office” will review your transcripts that are on file. The START Office will then build the rest of your initial course schedule.

Once the START Office has built your course schedule, you will receive an email from the START Office notifying you that your course schedule is set for fall 2012. You can then review your course schedule (per the instructions in the email from the START office). If you have any modifications you want to make to your schedule, you can contact them directly.

Incoming Graduate Students: You will receive an email from the Office of Graduate Studies. This email will provide you with instructions on which courses to register for and how to do it.

#4 Pay SEVIS Fee

Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee online on the SEVIS fee page. The method of payment depends on the country and Consulate.

#5 Apply for Student Visa

  • Apply for your F-1 visa through a U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • See steps on the Travel Government page.
    NOTE:Students from Canada are not required to appear for a visa interview.
  • Prepare for your personal interview.

Pre-Departure Checklist

You have packed everything and are now all ready to depart for the United States! Before you do, review the checklist below to make sure you have some of the most important items packed. Also, make sure you have taken care of all your pre-departure arrangements such as housing, etc.

Things to do Immediately

  • Pay SEVIS Fee
  • Apply for your Visa
  • Arrange Housing
  • Register for Classes
  • Register for new Student Orientation
  • Check out USA pre-departure check list

As Soon As Possible

  • Submit your travel itinerary to the OIE. We will plan to pick you up at the Chadron airport. This is VERY IMPORTANT. There is no public transportation from the airport. This is the only way you will get to campus.
  • Start preparing all of your travel and immigration paperwork.

Items to Carry with You throughout Your Air Travels

  • Admission Letter to Chadron State College
  • Current Passport
  • Current U.S. Visa
  • Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
  • SEVIS Fee Payment receipt
  • Proof of Funding (financial documentation as listed on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019)
  • Evidence of student status, such as recent tuition receipts and transcripts
  • Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797
  • Name and contact information for "Designated School Official", including a 24-hour emergency contact number at the school.

Items to Pack

  • Various types of clothing to accommodate changing seasons
  • Necessary personal items such as glasses (put in carry-on bag)
  • Prescription medications (put in carry-on bag)
  • U.S. currency to cover immediate expenses such as meals, etc.

Important note:
When planning your trip to the U.S., remember you should have at least $1,500 USD to cover your initial costs such as food, housing, text books, and unexpected expenses that may arise during your first few weeks here. Even students with full scholarships or graduate assistantships should have access to this much money when they arrive.

Planning Ahead

As you begin packing for your upcoming travel and stay in the United States, it can be very daunting to determine what you need and should bring. Hopefully, the following information will provide you with some assistance.

Document check

Before leaving your home country, be sure that you have all of the required documents and that they are correct. Specifically, be sure that you have your valid passport, your valid visa, form I-94, the I-20 form signed by the CSC PDSO/DSO, and original copies of your financial resources. Also be sure you have the name and contact information for the PDSO/DSO at Chadron State College.

Travel Tips

  • Don’t carry everything in one bag in case your luggage is lost or stolen.
  • Do not put essentials items like medications in your checked luggage in case you need them.
  • Make copies of your passport. Leave one at home and carry one separately from your original.
  • Be sure you know what your luggage looks like (or take a photo) in case you have to describe it if lost or stolen.
  • Arrive at least 2 hours early to the airport for your international flight.
  • Plan your travel itinerary to make allowances for unexpected delays.

Clothing

Chadron has a varying climate with four separate seasons: Summer (June-September), fall (September- November), winter (November-March), spring (March- May).

Temperatures vary considerably on a daily basis so it is important to have a variety of different types of clothing. During spring, summer and fall, light rain and thunderstorms may occur; snow falls occasionally during the winter months.

You are advised to bring the following types of clothing:

  • A lightweight jacket and a heavyweight jacket
  • Lightweight clothing for warm days
  • Heavyweight clothing such as sweaters and coats for winter
  • Warm hats, scarves, and gloves
  • Warm boots

Personal Items

In addition to your clothing, you may have some personal items you would like to bring to the United States. Many students bring mementos to remind them of home, such as pieces of art, traditional dress, or photographs. Throughout the school year, our international students make presentations about their home country on campus and in the community. These items can serve as excellent display pieces throughout your presentation.

You are also encouraged to bring items you use regularly such as your eyeglasses, camera and so on. If you are living on campus, basic furniture will be provided such as a bed, chairs, and a desk. Bed linens, blankets, pillows, and towels are not provided. You can buy these items once you get to the United States if desired, or you are welcome to bring a bed sheet, a light blanket, and a towel with you from home.

Things to Leave at Home

Do not bring any books you have used in previous study from your home country. You will be required to purchase textbooks for your courses. The CSC library has supplemental reading materials for review and research. Carrying books from your home is too cumbersome and will add weight to your luggage, making it very expensive for you when you check your baggage at the airport.

We highly recommend you purchase any electrical appliances you may need in the United States. Appliances not manufactured in the US may not be compatible with the power supply or may not be allowed in residence halls.

Luggage

Most students choose to carry their personal baggage with them on the plane and check any remaining luggage at the airline counter, regardless of the cost for excess weight. This is because it is very expensive to ship items to the United States. You are encouraged to check with your airline for luggage size and weight limitations.

Money

If it is possible and convenient, consider exchanging some of your currency into U.S. dollars before you leave your country. However, it is not recommended that you travel with large amounts of cash. If you do plan to bring large sums of money to the United States, consult with your bank for options. You should have sufficient funds to cover your expenses until you arrive at the campus and for a brief period of time once you are on campus. You may want to consider purchasing traveler’s checks in U.S. dollars for the amount of money you need. You can purchase Traveler’s checks at banks or travel agencies. Traveler’s checks can be cashed by banks and by most businesses, including hotels, restaurants, and airports.

Settling Costs

To cover various settling costs such as potential hotel rooms, food, deposits, and other expenses that you may incur before your college room and board contracts begin, you should plan to have approximately $1,500 (single student).

Health Insurance

International students studying in the United States are required by the U.S. government to have adequate health insurance coverage. All international students enrolling in CSC classes and residing in the United States will be enrolled automatically into an approved CSC group health/insurance policy. Premium payments will be added to your total cost of attendance and charged to your account. The cost for insurance is approximately $400 per academic year.

Applying for Your Visa

To enter the United States, you must have a valid student visa. To begin this process, go to the State Travel site. Prior to going to your appointment for a personal interview be sure you are thoroughly familiar with the process and requirements. Many visa applications are denied because the applicant was not prepared or did not understand the process.

Be Prepared

  • You must be definite about your plan of study. You may have to explain what you study and why it is better to do that in the U.S.
  • You must be qualified for that field of study.
  • You must convince the Consulate officer that you want to study at CSC. Be prepared to discuss why you have chosen CSC.
  • You must be adequately funded and be able to prove it. Do not mention or plan on employment as a source of funding.
  • You must convince the Consulate officer that you plan to return home when you complete your studies. Documents are more convincing than what you say. A letter offering employment when you return home is a good example.
  • Be concise and honest. Do not try to negotiate.
  • Make sure your papers and documents are correct and your passport is valid.
  • Do emphasize family or other strong ties to your home country. Again, the Consulate officer is required to look for reasons you will return home, and not stay in the U.S.
  • Be prepared to show transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended, scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as TOEFL or IELTS, and financial documentation like tax statement, bank statement, or sponsor letters.
  • Be polite. If you are turned down for a visa, do not argue. Politely ask for an explanation in writing so you can be prepared better the next time.

The previous information was adapted from NAFSA: Association of International Educators. (2009, June 11) and other resources.

10 Things to Remember when Applying for a Non-immigrant Visa
For more information visit the NAFSA page.

  1. TIES TO HOME COUNTRY.Under U. S. law, all applicants for non-immigrant visas are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular that they are not. You must therefore be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. “Ties” to your home country are the things that bind you to your hometown, homeland, or current place of residence: job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc. If you are a prospective undergraduate, the interviewing officer may ask about your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-range plans, and career prospects in your home country. Each person’s situation is different, of course, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate, or letter, which can guarantee visa issuance.
  2. ENGLISH.Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview. If you are coming to the United States solely to study intensive English (not available at CSC), be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country.
  3. SPEAK FOR YOURSELF.Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf. If you are a minor applying for a high school program and need your parents there in case there are questions, for example, about funding, they should wait in the waiting room.
  4. KNOW THE PROGRAM AND HOW IT FITS YOUR CAREER PLANS. If you are not able to articulate the reasons why you will study in a particular program in the United States, you may not succeed in convincing the consular office that you are indeed planning to study, rather than to immigrate. You should also be able to explain how studying in the United States relates to your future professional career when you return home.
  5. BE CONCISE. Because of the volume of the applications received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make decisions, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute or two of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep your answers to officer’s questions short and to the point.
  6. SUPPLEMENTAL DOCUMENTATION. It should be clear at a glance to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. Remember that you will have 2-3 minutes of interview time, if you’re lucky.
  7. NOT ALL COUNTRIES ARE EQUAL. Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants will have more difficulty getting non-immigrant visas. Statistically, applicants from those countries are more likely to be intending immigrants. They are also more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after their study in the United States.
  8. EMPLOYMENT. Your main purpose of coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. While many students do work off-campus during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their U.S. education. You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program. If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the United States. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the United States. Volunteer work and attending school part-time are permitted activities.
  9. DEPENDENTS REMAINING AT HOME. If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves during your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gains the impression that your family members will need you to remit money from the United States in order to support them, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied. If your family does decide to join you at a later time, it is helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa.
  10. MAINTAIN POSITIVE ATTITUDE. Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.

Visa Processing

Visa processing times vary. Information is available at the State Government site.

Arriving in the United States

Warning!!

DO NOT plan to arrive more than 30 days prior to the program start date listed on your SEVIS I-20 form. If you arrive early, you may be refused entry into the U.S.

Documents

  • Always hand-carry the following documents with you throughout your air travels. Do not check them in baggage. If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will be unable to present your documents at their port of entry. As a result, you may not be able to enter the United States.
    • Admission Letter to Chadron State College
    • Current Passport
    • Current U.S. Visa
    • Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
    • SEVIS Fee Payment receipt
    • Proof of Funding (financial documentation as listed on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019)
  • It is strongly recommended that you also hand-carry the following documentation:
    • Evidence of financial resources
    • Evidence of student status, such as recent tuition receipts and transcripts
    • Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797
    • Name and contact information for "Designated School Official", including a 24-hour emergency contact number at the school.

Arrival Procedures

For comprehensive information on procedures for traveling and arriving in the United States, visit the State Education site.

  • If Arriving By Air: Flight attendants will distribute Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059) and Arrival Departure Record Forms (I-94). These must be completed prior to landing.
  • If Arriving By Land or Sea: The CBP Officer at the port of entry will provide the necessary Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059) and Arrival-Departure Record Forms (I-94) to be filled out upon your arrival.
  • When You Arrive at the Port of Entry
    Proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers. Have the following documents available for presentation.
    • Passport
    • SEVIS Form (I-20)
    • Arrival-Departure Record Form (I-94)
    • Customs Declaration Form (CF-6059)
    • The Form I-94 should reflect the address where the student will reside, not the address of the school or program.

All visitors entering the United States must state their reason for wishing to enter the country. Students also will be asked to provide information about their final destination. It is important to tell the CBP Officer that you will be a student and will be attending Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska. Also be prepared to tell the officer the name of the program you intend to study.

Once your inspection is successfully completed, the inspecting officer will:

  1. Stamp the SEVIS Form for duration of status ("D/S") for F-1 visa holders
  2. Stamp the Arrival-Departure Record Form (I-94) and staple it in the passport. Make sure this is stapled to the passport. It is one of the most important documents you have.

Secondary Inspection Requirements

If initially, the CBP officer at the port of entry cannot verify your information, or you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be directed to an interview area known as “secondary inspection.” Secondary inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in order to verify information without causing delays for other arriving passengers.

The inspector will first attempt to verify your status by using the Student and Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS). In the event that the CBP Officer needs to verify information with your school or program, we strongly recommend that you have the name and telephone number of the International Education Coordinator at Chadron State College available. In the event you arrive during non-business hours (evening, weekends, holidays), you should also have an emergency or non-business hour phone number available for this official.

Failure to comply with U.S. government entry-exit procedures may result in your being denied entry to the United States. Under certain circumstances, the CBP officer may issue a “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor” Form (I-515A), which authorizes temporary admission into the United States. Be sure to work with the International Education Coordinator at Chadron State College to submit the proper documentation without delay.

US-Visit Program

All nonimmigrant visitors holding visas -- regardless of race, national origin, or religion -- participate in the US-VISIT program, a comprehensive registration system tracking entries to and exits from the United States. For more information visit the Homeland Security page

National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS)

Some individuals may be asked to provide additional information under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS). A packet of information will be available at the port of entry explaining the registration procedure. For more information visit the Homeland Security page.

Arriving at Chadron State College

All admitted students should notify OIE of their intended arrival date at least 2 weeks prior to arrival in the United States. There is no public transportation in Chadron so we will pick you up at the airport.

Warning!! When to Arrive at CSC

Students must report to CSC within 30 days of the date that appears on their SEVIS I-20 form to register for courses or to validate their intended participation. Failure to do so may result in serious consequences.

How to Get to Chadron

Depending upon the port of entry in to the USA, students should fly into Denver, Colorado after arriving in the United States. You will then need to take a commuter flight from Denver to Chadron. Great Lakes Aviation provides these flights. You may visit the Great Lakes website.

IMPORTANT NOTE:Public transportation is not available in Chadron. Therefore, it is critical to inform the OIE of your arrival date and time at the Chadron airport so that we can make arrangements to pick you up and take you to campus. Please let us know at least 2 weeks before your arrival so we can schedule your pickup.

When to Arrive

If your first-time arrival is for fall semester, you should plan to arrive no later than the Wednesday of the week before classes begin. You will be allowed to stay in your campus housing without charge as early as the Monday before classes begin (one week early). However, campus food service does not start until the Saturday before classes begin.

If your first time arrival is for spring semester, you will be allowed to stay in your campus housing without charge as early as the Thursday prior to the start of classes (Monday of the following week). Campus food service will not be available until the first day of classes.

Orientation

All new students are required to attend New Student Orientation (NSO). Students starting in the fall semester should plan to arrive the Wednesday before the semester begins so you are ready for Orientation the next day. Orientation for spring semester does not require early arrival. Spring orientation will occur during the first week of classes.

Check-in Procedure

All new international students must physically check in at the Office International Education (OIE) before their SEVIS record can be officially registered. Please bring all of your immigration documents to OIE (Crites Hall, Room 216) within 24 hours of your arrival at CSC. This includes your form I-20 or DS 2019, passport, visa, and I-94. We will also need your local address.

Disability Notification

If you have a disability, you may request accommodations to ensure equal access to courses, programs and activities. Within the first three days of your arrival you should call 308-432-6280 or email aprestwich@csc.edu to discuss your disabilities.

Orientation

To ensure that you get started well at CSC, you are required to attend “New Student Orientation” during your first few days on campus. This will allow you to get answers to all your questions and learn about CSC and all our policies, procedures, expectations. There are also many fun activities to help you meet other students and become comfortable with your surroundings. Your participation in New Student Orientation is essential and mandatory.

Be sure to plan your travel itinerary to arrive just before orientation begins. Fall Semester New Student Orientation will take place Thursday - Sunday. Classes begin the following Monday. Throughout these four days, you will have the opportunity to meet both American and International students. Spring orientation does not require early arrival. Spring orientation will occur the first week of classes.

New Student Orientation provides you with the following information and much more:

  • How to register for courses
  • How to pay your bills
  • How to purchase books
  • How to maintain valid F-1 status
  • Tools for academic success
  • Information on safety and security

orientationDuring New Student Orientation, you will meet with academic advisors, staff and students and ask any questions you may have regarding academic and personal life in the United States and what it's like to be a student at Chadron State College.

For more information and scheduling about New Student Orientation visit the Orientation page.

Strengthening Your English

If English is not your first language, you may have difficulty when you first arrive. Do not worry! Many students face this issue and help each other improve their English. For most students, it takes time to strengthen their writing and speaking skills. The more you practice, the more you learn. The most important thing is don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You will improve your English the more you practice!

We have provided some tips below to help you gain English fluency. Good luck!

  • Watch your favorite television shows or movies in English. Put on English subtitles so you can get used to reading English as well.
  • Listen to songs in English and sing along.
  • Practice speaking English with a friend or classmate.
  • If you hang out with friends that speak your native language, help each other practice English. Consider English-Only gatherings where maybe you have dinner together and only speak English.
  • Find online language programs that will teach you how to be more fluent in English.
  • And most importantly…practice, practice, practice! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. This is how you will learn and you will also find most Americans patient and eager to help you improve your language.