Office of International Programs

New Student Checklist for F-1 and J-1 Students

Use the checklist below as a guide to help you prepare for your arrival to the USA and your first weeks at The University of Akron.  This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all of the things you should do, but simply a help to you so that you can be prepared.

Receive an I-20/DS-2019 from the Office of International Programs (F-1/J-1 students only)

Make sure that your I-20/DS-2019 includes your correct name as listed on you passport, correct date of birth, and correct major and academic level.  If you received an I-20/DS-2019 for dependents, make sure their personal information is listed correctly.  Sign page one of your I-20/DS-2019. (Are you transferring from another institution?  See the transfer information at the bottom of the page.)

Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and print your receipt (F-1/J-1 students only)

You will need this in order to apply for your visa.  Information on the SEVIS fee can be found at

Apply for your F-1 or J-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy (F-1/J-1 students only)

Be sure to follow the Embassy's instructions for non-immigrant visa applicants and provide all of the required documentation. More information and tips on applying for your visa can be found at

Register for your Check-In Session

All new international students must check-in with the Office of International Programs prior to orientation.  Check-In is done by appointment only.  You are required to attend your scheduled "Check-In Session."  F-1 and J-1 students should only register for check-in after the visa is received.  Click HERE to register for your Check-In Session.

Join the “Summer/Fall 2012 New International Student Orientation” Facebook group

if you would like the chance to connect with fellow students admitted for the Spring 2012 semester.  Click HERE to visit the Facebook group.  You will need to create a Facebook account, if you do not already have one, in order to join the group.

Book your flight to the USA

F-1/J-1 students are permitted to enter the USA up to 30 days before the starting date listed on the I-20, which means that you can enter the USA as early as December 10, 2011.  You should plan to arrive in time to attend your scheduled Check-In Session and Mandatory New International Student Orientation.

Request temporary housing for your first few days in Akron, if needed

If you have not yet made arrangements for your housing, there are some community groups that can match you with a host family for your first few days in Akron, while you look for housing.

  • Quaker Square Inn at The University of Akron is a hotel and residence hall located on-campus at 135 South Broadway, Akron, OH 44308.  A block of rooms has been reserved for new international students from August 5- September 10 at the discounted rate of $69 (+taxes) per night. Students need to use the code: "interntl" to secure this special rate. This rate includes a hot breakfast buffet each morning as well as a 24-hour business center with computer access and free wireless internet throughout Quaker Square Inn. Click HERE to access the special site created for the discounted room reservations. You can also receive the special rate by calling the Quaker Square Inn at 330-253-2574.
  • FREE LIMITED Temporary Housing- Chapel Internationals is offering free temporary housing for international students during the first few days after their arrival.  Temporary housing is available on a first-come, first-served basis and is limited. A two week advance notice is required.  Go to (click on “housing” on the homepage). Please note that registering for temporary housing does not automatically register you for an airport pickup.
  • The Akron International Friendship First Weekers Program-  Akron International Friendship matches new international students with an American host family for their first few days in Akron for a fee of $75. Space is limited and a minimum of at least a two week advance notice is required.  Contact Michelle Wilson 330-612-4693 or Shannon Anicas 234-205-9967 for more information.

Request a ride from the airport or make a reservation with a taxi service, if needed

  • FREE airport pickups- Chapel Internationals is offering free airport pickups from CAK or CLE airports to downtown Akron. To request a ride go to (click on “airport rides” on homepage).  A two weeks advance notice is required. Please note that registering for an airport pickup does not automatically register you for temporary housing.
  • Greyhound Bus- If you are looking for more affordable transportation to Akron and do not mind making several stops along the way and using public transportation, Greyhound bus service may be an option for you.  Visit and purchase a one way fare from Cleveland, OH to Akron, OH.  When booking your fare, be sure to leave several hours between your arriving flight and the bus departure.  Also, be sure to read their baggage policy. Depending on the date of your travel, the fare should cost around $20. When you arrive at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and have collected your luggage, you should go to the RTA station located on the lower level of the Main terminal. You should pay the fare of $2.25 (more information HERE).  The train will take you to Tower City.  Once you arrive at Tower City, you will need to take a taxi to the Greyhound Bus Station. Although the Greyhound station is only about one mile away from Tower City, for your safety, it is advisable to take a taxi, especially since you will be carrying luggage with you. The fare from Tower City to the Greyhound station will be under $10.  Taxis can be found outside of the Renaissance Hotel which is located across the street from Tower City.  If no taxis are available, you can call ACB Taxi at 216-623-1550 or ABC Taxi at 216-651-7777 and a taxi will be sent for you. Once you arrive at the Greyhound station, you will follow their boarding instructions. Once you arrive at the Akron Metro Transit Center, you can take the Roo Express to Quaker Square (if you will be staying there), or any other location on campus.  The total cost for your transportation to Akron will be about $33.
  • Megabus-  The office of Off-Campus Student Services has prepared directions on how to use the affordable Megabus service to travel from Cleveland to Akron. You can download these directions HERE. Please be advised that using Megabus requires you to travel by taxi and public transportation in order to reach the Megabus bus stop. This may be difficult to accomplish if you have a lot of luggage with you.  Megabus only allows one checked bag.

Gather any documents needed by the UA Graduate School, UA International Undergraduate Admissions, and/or your academic department

Be sure to check with your academic department to see if they have any other requirements for you.

Prepare your finances

Anticipate how much money you will need to cover your immediate expenses upon arrival in the USA and plan accordingly. Refer to page three for more information.  Graduate students with assistantships may not be paid until after the semester has started.

Pack your bags

Many current international students recommend bringing items from home that might be difficult to find or expensive in the USA, such as medicines, non-perishable food items, and clothing. You should bring some warm clothing and a winter coat so that you have them once you step off of the plane. Be sure to pack all of your immigration documents in your carry-on bag so that you have them with you at the port of entry.

Enjoy your flight

You have embarked on an exciting journey to fulfill many of your personal, academic, and professional goals.  Take a moment to reflect on all of the hard work that has gotten you to this point in your life. For information on what to expect at the port of entry, please read the information here.

Attend your scheduled Check-In Session at the Office of International Programs

The OIP is located in the Polsky Building, room 483 (Campus Map)  The OIP is open Monday- Friday 8:00am- 5:00 pm should you need assistance outside of your scheduled Check-In Session.

Purchase Health Insurance

All international students are required to purchase UA’s Student Health Insurance.  Click here to read about the UA Student Health Plan and enroll in coverage.

Find permanent housing

Undergraduate students under the age of 21 are strongly encouraged to apply for on-campus housing.  Contact Residence Life and Housing at or +1 330 972 7800, to reserve your space as soon as possible. Residence Halls fill up very quickly.  Most international students choose to live off-campus in the surrounding neighborhoods. The office of Off-Campus Student Services offers assistance to students who choose to live off campus.  If you choose to live off-campus, we strongly encourage you to thoroughly inspect your apartment/house and make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the leasebefore you sign the lease. The UA Police Department offers a free apartment safety inspection for UA students. More information will be given at orientation.

Attend Mandatory New International Student Orientation

Orientation will be held at the Martin University Center on January 4-5 for all students, with additional activities on January 6 for Undergraduate and Reciprocity students.  You will be given an orientation schedule during your Check-In Session. Breakfast and lunch will be provided at orientation with many vegetarian options available. Students with a conditional admission who will attend the English Language Institute (ELI) before starting their academic program should not attend orientation and should instead contact ELI for orientation information.

Register for classes

Graduate students should meet with their academic adviser in their academic department to establish a class plan.  Undergraduate students will be given an appointment with their academic adviser at orientation to register for classes.

All new undergraduate students are required to take the Math Placement Exam during orientation

To find sample questions visit: and

  • Students who attended an American high school and did not take the TOEFL, SAT, or ACT, will be required to take the Compass Reading & Writing Placement Tests.  To find sample questions visit:
  • Students who wish to take a foreign language class and have already studied that language in high school or college will be expected to take a foreign language placement exam.

Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) if you have an on-campus job

International students in F-1/J-1 visa status who have been offered on-campus employment, graduate assistantships, or who are authorized for off-campus employment, as permitted under immigration regulations, must apply to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for the Social Security Card to obtain a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN).

Follow the instructions available here.

Have a great semester!  Participate in campus activities and join student organizations to make friends and feel more at home.

The University of Akron

Akron, OH 44325
Phone: 330-972-7111
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