Greetings and welcome to Wilson College! We are excited that you have chosen to become a part of our community and we are confident that you will help us to continue our long-standing tradition of excellence. The next few weeks will certainly be exciting as you plan your voyage to the United States. Perhaps you are a seasoned traveler, or maybe this is your first time to journey so far from your home. Regardless of your level of travel experience, we’re sure that you’re a bit nervous, and hopefully very excited!
After you have submitted your $400 enrollment deposit, you will receive orientation information and housing forms which will help to determine your roommate.
An orientation program is held just before the beginning of each semester to acquaint you with Wilson College. During this program you will receive an introduction to your peers and to Wilson College life. You will learn what to expect from Wilson, and what Wilson will expect from you. Attendance is helpful and mandatory. You must plan to attend this week-long orientation session; exact dates will be provided to you.
Academic registration takes place the day before classes begin. This process will be further explained during orientation. You must have a valid F-1 visa in order to register for classes. (See “Visa Information and Forms”)
Entry into the United States
- Once you have your I-20, you should sign it. If you are under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian must also sign.
- On the airplane, the flight attendant will pass out an I-94. This is a small white card with spaces for your name, birthday, and country of citizenship. It is also called an Arrival/Departure Record. The I-94 indicates the date and when your permission to remain in the U.S. expires.
- When you arrive at a port of entry in the U.S., you are required to present the Form I-20 and I-94 to the Officer.
- The USCIS (Immigration) Officer will stamp your I-20 and return it to you. Keep it in a safe place; it is very important.
- Some international students may have an I-94 card stapled in your passport. This I-94, along with your I-20, show that you entered the country legally. Beginning 7/1/13, the I-94 was no longer issued to you to be stapled in your passport, but it is now electronic. You can obtain a copy of your I-94 at this web site: www.cbp.gov/I94
- We recommend carrying your financial support documents (bank statements, etc.) with you. The Officer might ask for these.
- You will be presented with a “Customs Declaration Form” aboard your plane before you arrive in the USA.
- List on this form all of the items in your possession which may require the payment of a duty. There is no duty on articles of modest value brought into the country as gifts or on travel items, which you will take with you when you depart the United States (You may want to double check with your travel agent to be certain which items to claim).
- At the port you will present this form to the Customs Officer who will inspect your baggage. After your baggage has been inspected and any necessary duties have been paid, it will be approved and released to you.
There is a program in place at many major U.S. airports called “US Visit.” You may need to go to a US Visit machine or it may be at the Officer’s desk. You will insert your visa and have fingerprints and a photo taken. At some airports, you will automatically have this done when you go through immigration. At other airports, you will need to do it yourself. Follow the signs in the airport for US Visit.
- If you travel by plane, most airlines will allow you to send two suitcases on the same flight as checked luggage, plus one extra bag as cabin luggage or “carry-on.” Weight limits vary from airline to airline.
- Check with your travel agent or the airline for specific policies. Some countries also have different regulations.
- You may consider packing a one-day supply of clothing and other necessary items in your “carry-on” bag in case your luggage is delayed or misplaced during your trip.
- Make certain you carry your valuables with you or in your carry on luggage. Never put money, jewelry or important papers (such as immigration documents) in luggage that you check. Always carry these items with you while traveling!
- Place tags on all luggage! Be sure to include your name and your address:
1015 Philadelphia Ave.
Chambersburg, PA 17201
This way your luggage can be identified more easily and traced if it misses a change in planes on your journey here.
- Place some type of identification inside each bag.
- Again, NEVER put money, important papers, or valuables in luggage that you check. Carry these items with you at all times when you are traveling!
Important Documents You Must Have Before You Leave Home
Passport: Before you leave your country contact your government’s passport office to clarify any questions you may have about your passport. It must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry into the United States.
Visa: You should apply for a non-immigrant Student Visa (F-1) as early as possible, but you can apply only 120 days before the “start date” on your I-20. You must first complete the Visa Application (this is called the DS-160) online and pay the fee before scheduling the appointment. http://travel.state.gov/visa/forms/forms_4230.html You can usually schedule the visa appointment online. Then, you can go to the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate, taking your passport, the receipt for your paid SEVIS fee, the Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20, issued by Wilson College) your completed visa application including a second visa size photo, and all other documentation needed. It is best to take too much documentation, to prove that you are going to study in the United State. But have all your documentation in an orderly fashion so that you can locate such quickly if the visa officer requests a particular document. http://www.usembassy.gov/ provides a list of embassies and consulates. Check the following site for additional information on obtaining your U.S. visa, including what documentation you must take with you upon your visa appointment: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html#2
The visa official will ask about your educational experiences and your college choices. Be prepared to answer questions about your field of study and how likely you are to remain at your college until graduation. Take with you school transcripts, national examination results, and SAT or TOEFL/IELTS scores along with anything else which demonstrates your academic achievement and commitment.
You should also be prepared to show that your sponsor (whoever is paying for your education) is able to finance your education. You should also take with you the verification of any personal funds that are listed as a contribution from you or your family. This includes signed letters or documents from a bank or other financial institution verifying that you have the personal funds indicated on the I-20 form. Those funds that are covered by Wilson College are adequately indicated on the I-20 form and you need no further documentation of these funds.
You will also need to prove that you do not intend to remain in the United States after graduation. It is important to convey to the official that you are coming to the United States as a student, and that you plan to return to your home country after your schooling is completed. Be prepared to demonstrate solid economic, family and social ties to your home country.
In the event that your request for a visa is denied, the visa official must give you the reason for denial in writing. You must get this paper from the visa official before leaving your appointment. Also, before leaving this official, make certain your full name on the visa matches the spelling on your passport.
New International Students Traveling to the U.S.
Shortly after your I-20 is issued, you will receive a postal mailed packet of information from Wilson College Office of Student Development. In the packet will be information on how to set up your Wilson College email account. Crystal Lantz of the International Scholar Services (ISS) office will use this account to contact you, so you must check this account regularly for emails from her. ISS office will not use personal email addresses.
Passport: International students in the U.S. must maintain a valid passport at all times. Your passport should be valid for at least six months into the future when entering the U.S. and when applying for a U.S. visa.
I-20: After you have been admitted to Wilson, and after you have certified your available finances, Wilson will issue an I-20. When you receive the I-20, please make certain your name is spelled correctly! Also review your birth date, country of birth, degree program, reporting date, and completion date. If there are any errors, please notify Linda Brittain in the Admissions Office immediately! (Phone in the USA: 001-717-262-2002, Fax. 001-717-262-2546, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
I-901 and SEVIS Fee: After you have received your I-20 and you assure that everything is correct, you will need to complete a SEVIS Fee Form I-901 and pay this fee. Go to this web site for instructions. http://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/
Then you must print the coupon or receipt. Don’t throw away this paid SEVIS receipt paper; this is your proof that you paid the fee! You will need to take this with you for your visa appointment. And keep it with your official paperwork when you travel to the United States.
Inform Wilson College of your flight immediately upon purchasing ticket. Please inform Crystal Lantz of ISSS of your travel plans as soon as they are finalized! She can be contacted at email@example.com You must advise ISSS office at least two weeks in advance in order for the College to send a representative to the airport to meet you and transport you to Wilson College. Remember, you will need to arrive at one of the following airports no later than 5:00 p.m., on Thursday, August 18, 2016, Eastern Daylight Savings Time, to be picked up by a Wilson College shuttle:
- Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), Washington, DC
- Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), Baltimore, MD
Wait in the baggage claims area of your Airlines for a college representative holding a Wilson College sign. Remember that you should arrive at one of the above airports on Thursday, August 18, by 5 p.m. A shuttle from Wilson College will pick you up and transport you to the college. If you arrive at IAD or BWI after 5 p.m. on August 18, you may need to find your own transportation to Wilson College, at a cost of hundreds of U.S. dollars. Further details about the shuttle will be given you after you supply ISSS with your flight arrangements.
Linda Brittain (firstname.lastname@example.org ) is the International contact in the Wilson College Admissions Office. If you find errors on your I-20, you should contact her immediately. Also, be certain to contact ISS with your travel plans as soon as they are made. Use your Wilson email account for this purpose.
Crystal Lantz (ISS) email@example.com is your contact once you arrive in the United States. After establishing your Wilson email account, the best method of reaching her anytime is via that email account.
When you arrive in the U.S., if you are having any type of difficulty, or if you are at another U.S. airport and may arrive late to BWI or IAD airports, you may reach Crystal Lantz by calling Wilson College Security at 717-372-2255. Use this number only after arriving in the U.S. Many U.S. airports have ‘Travelers Aid’ stations, where you may go to ask for assistance in contacting Wilson College.
What Should I Bring?
Weather: Chambersburg has seasonal variations in weather. Temperatures range from an average of -7 C (20 F) in winter to an average of 30 C (88 F) in the summer, although temperatures can be much hotter or colder. Please keep the weather in mind when you are preparing your clothing! The dress code is casual, but you may wish to bring a few dressy outfits for evening outings and for formal dances such as White Dinner and Spring Fling.
- Summer – June to mid-September. Temperatures range from 70–90 degrees F with high humidity.
- Fall – Mid-September to mid-December. Temperatures range from 32-60 degrees F with high humidity.
- Winter – Mid-December to Mid-March. Continuous cold weather. Temperatures usually range from 10-50 F and are often accompanied by rain, snowfall and strong winds.
- Spring – Mid-March to June. Temperatures range from 50 – 75 degrees F. Occasional rain with high humidity.
Check www.weather.com for more information on Chambersburg weather.
Toiletries: Some personal items such as shampoo, toothpaste and soap (we will visit a store early upon your arrival; however, you may choose to plan to bring a few days supply.)
Clothing: You may need a raincoat, waterproof shoes or boots for snow, an umbrella and heavy overcoat for winter. In the fall and winter women usually wear coats and dress clothes equivalent to the weight and warmth of wool. For casual occasions (such as attending class) jeans and sweaters are acceptable. In the spring and summer light-weight clothing such as cotton or linen is appropriate. At Wilson, informal wear such as blouses, t-shirts, jeans, and shorts are acceptable for women. Besides being comfortable, they are practical for year round weather changes! You may choose to wait until arrival here to purchase winter clothing and accessories.
Items from home: Many Wilson students choose to bring a native costume. The Muhibbah club organizes activities where you may display items from your country and teach others about your special traditions. Books, recipes, musical instruments, photographs, and music from your country are also welcomed, and they may also help you to feel more at home! You will find that some people will be interested in learning about your culture.
You may want to wait until you get to the United States to purchase these items instead of packing them:
- Pillow, sheets and blanket (we will supply your first set if you desire)
- Towels and washcloths (we will supply your first set if you desire)
- Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush etc.)
- Shower shoes
- A basket for carrying toiletries
- Clothing hangers
- Hair Dryer and/or curling iron
- Alarm clock
- Stationary, post cards and stamps
- Mugs, drinking glasses, plates and utensils (for snacks in your room)
- “Munchies” such as crackers, microwave popcorn etc…
During orientation week, you will have opportunity to go shopping so that you can purchase needed items.
Each residence hall has laundry facilities, computers for student use, a full sized refrigerator, full sized oven, microwave oven, & TV for student use. Students may also rent their own small refrigerator for use in their room. All campus has wi-fi access. You may choose to bring your personal laptop.
Electric Current: Electricity in the United States is: 120 volts, 60 cycle. If you bring an electric appliance (such as a curling iron) be sure that it will operate on American current. You will probably need to purchase an adapter plug for use with American electrical outlets.
What Do I Need to Know About Money?
Have you budgeted for:
- Health Insurance costs over one thousand dollars yearly. Wilson requires all international students to have health insurance. See this web site for information on U.S. health insurance:
- Vacation Periods – Students remaining on campus during J-term and summer vacation periods and breaks will be charged additional room and board. There are other options during vacation periods, such as travel or homestay programs (http://www.christmasih.org/)
Carrying money to the USA
Be cautious about carrying large sums of cash. You may choose to wire money from home, or use a major credit card and immediately pay off the balance to avoid accrual of interest. You may wire money from your home account to Wilson’s bank account in order to pay your deposit and your balance for tuition, and room and board. Wilson’s Bank Account information is:
F & M Trust
20 South Main Street
P.O. Box 6010
Chambersburg, PA 17201
Bank Routing # 1071890
Wilson’s Acct. # 031304306
* Please remember that there is a fee to wire money. Ask your bank what you can expect to pay for this service.
Money upon arrival:
Opening a Bank Account
During Orientation Week there will be opportunity to learn about local financial institutions where you may choose to open a bank account.