- Activate your OSU account
- Accept the offer of admission via your OSU application account
- Obtain US Visa
- Arrange for temporary and long-term housing
- Arrange for pick-up at Port Columbus
- Prepare medical information
- Arrange finances
- Maintain contact with MSE
- Schedule an orientation session with Mark Cooper
Please contact Mark Cooper, Graduate Studies Coordinator, should you have questions about the MSE or WE graduate programs.
The process of preparing to come to the US to study is no small task! This page is a summary of key items you will need to address prior to your arrival on campus. Please also refer to the the Office of International Affairs (OIA) Welcome Handbook included with your I-20.
Basic information from OIA on securing a visa. Includes links to embassies and consulates, general information regarding the student visa process, pre-departure information, and more.
Be sure to review the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement information on "How to Navigate the US Immigration System". This information from US ICE details what to expect at the border, which documents you should keep on your person when traveling, and other important items.
Please note the Reporting Date on your I-20. You must arrive in the US by this date. If you wish, you may arrive as early as 30 days prior to the Reporting Date, but no earlier.
The Reporting Date is about two weeks prior to the start of classes and thus will give you sufficient time to attend the OIA orientation programs and become acclimated to Ohio State. Completion of the OIA orientation is mandatory; you will not be permitted to register for courses until you have attended an orientation session.
OIA will send a series of emails leading up to your term of admission. These emails will help prepare you for arrival at Ohio State. See also OIA's "Check-in/Orientation" information.
Before you arrive
A few key items should be addressed prior to arriving on campus, 1) accept admission, 2) OSU account activation, 3) securing temporary and long-term housing, and 4) plan for transportation from the Columbus airport.
By way of your OSU application account, please follow the "Accept/Decline" link to formally accept admission.
Activate your OSU internet account
Before arriving, you may activate your OSU internet account. An e-mail/internet account is provided to all OSU students. The user name and password you establish for this account will permit on-line access to such things as course scheduling, grades, course web sites, and other important web-based resources provided by the university.
To activate your account, please go to the following web site:
- Click "Activate Now!" and follow the activation process. Associated with your application account should be an OSU user name in the form of "lastname.###" (such as "cooper.73")
- Be sure to note your OSU username and the password you established. These items will allow you to register for classes, check grades, etc.
If you are unable to activate your account from off campus, that is not a problem. Upon your arrival on campus you may use one of the public computing sites to activate your account.
It is strongly recommended that you secure housing, both temporary and long term, prior to your arrival on campus. For further information about the options available, please see the Housing page of this site.
The Office of International Affairs (OIA) provides housing information including temporary and permanent options, important housing terms, and information on utilities.
Transportation from the airport
Please arrange for transportation from Port Columbus to your temporary housing well before your arrival date. Taxis may be hired at the airport (roughly $30-$50, plus tip, from Port Columbus to the OSU campus area). You may wish to contact an OSU nationality club or make arrangements with the International Friendships student organization to meet you.
Registering for Courses
International students can not register for any courses until they have completed the Office of International Affairs Orientation. Once you have completed this orientation, please use your BuckeyeLink Student Services Center account to register for courses.
Before registering for graded classes, you must first discuss with your advisor which graded courses you should take. Graduate level courses are rarely closed, so you will not be shut out of a class due to late arrival.
After establishing which courses you will take, students use the OSU Registrar's on-line registration system (BuckeyeLink) to enroll in classes--see "Course enrollment" page for further information.
All international students are automatically enrolled in the OSU Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) upon course enrollment. Further information about this health coverage is found on the "Health & Medical" page of this site.
International student health screening
All international students entering Ohio State with an F-1 or J-1 visa are to undergo a brief health screening through Student Health Services at the Wilce Health Center (building 294, lower center of map). The screening will include questions about any medical conditions you have, what medications you are currently taking, and what allergies to medications you have, if any. Depending on risk factors, students may be required to get a TB test and if necessary, a chest x-ray. You will be scheduled for your health screening during check-in.
You will be given a time for your screening during check-in at the Office of International Affairs. Failure to complete this screening will cause a registration hold to be placed on your account. The screening is free to students who are enrolled in the Ohio State Student Health Insurance plan and who attend during their required screening day and time.
Some helpful points when preparing to come to Ohio State:
- Bring any medical information and any information about
long-term health problems with you with an English translation
(for example prescription information, previous chest x-rays,
vaccines). There are no immunization requirements for most
students entering The Ohio State University. However, depending
on the program you enter, there may be requirements for that
program. For example, most of the health professional schools,
like medicine and nursing, have extensive requirements. If this
is a medicine that you need to take regularly, make sure that
your doctor sends you with an adequate supply until you can be
seen at the Student Health Center or another clinic.
- If you take medications, talk with your physician to
translate the drug into English or at least know the class of
drug in English.
- If you have had a Tuberculosis (TB) skin test, Ohio State
requires an intradermal test (Mantoux), read by a nurse or
doctor, with an actual measurement in millimeters documented (not
just "Positive" or "Negative"). Any negative test must be within
the last twelve months to be accepted. ANY documented previous
positive test is important and students who have tested positive
should bring card and/or x-ray to the screening and the health
center staff will give further instructions. Students with a
previous positive test will not need to repeat the skin test, but
will still need to complete the health screening, so that x-ray
information can be reviewed, or a new chest x-ray obtained. Ohio
State will accept previous chest x-rays for those who have tested
positive in the past or who test positive at our testing. The
x-ray report must be in English, identified with the patient’s
name, and dated within the last twelve months. An x-ray alone
does not replace the TB skin test.
- If you have an immunization record, Ohio State appreciates
your bringing it with you; but we do not have a special form that
needs to be completed before arrival.
- While there are no requirements other than the above, there
are a few recommended immunizations to consider, if you have
access to them. You should discuss with your doctor whether you
need a Meningococcal Meningitis vaccine, and/or the Hepatitis B
vaccine series. Student Health also recommends influenza
vaccinations for most students, especially those with lung
diseases in the past. Those with Student Health Insurance
coverage can get an influenza vaccination for free during the
programs in the autumn term. If you want the other vaccines, but
are unable to complete them before your departure for Ohio State,
they can certainly discuss them with you here at Student Health
Services on campus. You will receive more information about the
health screening during check-in.
- IMPORTANT: TB testing can be blocked by live vaccines, such as MMR (Measles/Mumps/Rubella) and Yellow Fever. These vaccines should be administered at least four weeks before your arrival at Ohio State. If it is not possible for you to get these vaccines that early and you do need them, please discuss these vaccines with the Health Center during your health screening.
Graduate School orientation
The Graduate School and the Council of Graduate Students will host a university-wide orientation for all new graduate students (i.e., Spring, Summer, and Autumn arrivals). This orientation will be held on the Monday before the start of Autumn term classes, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This orientation is a very valuable introduction to the services provided by the Graduate School, the Graduate Student Council, and various offices across campus. Please register for this event.
As regards finances, please note that if you were offered a Graduate Research Associate (GRA) position, you can not be paid until after the start of your term of admission. Therefore, you will be responsible to supply your own funds from the date you arrive until you receive your first paycheck from the university (approximately FIVE WEEKS AFTER the start of your term of admission due to check processing time). Some additional expenses you may wish to keep in mind:
- deposits and rent for housing (often 1-2 months' worth of rent in advance),
- misc. student fees for which you are responsible (approx. $160),
- entertainment, etc.
Note: If you arrive in the US or on campus long before the start of your term of admission, international students may face a difficult financial situation in terms of paying for lodging, meals, and recreation. While you may typically enter the US before the date listed on section 5 of your I-20, expenses in the US can be significant. Many of the OSU student nationality clubs (use link to search for nationality clubs) offer advice on how much money you will need to carry you through this period.
The Office of International Affairs provides short-term loans of up to $1000 to help students through this time period.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement International Student site. Provides links to important student visitor information regarding documents, what to expect, FAQ's, and more.
The Office of International Affairs--OIA is the office at Ohio State dedicated to assisting our international students with cultural, immigration, and academic issues as they pertain to life at OSU.
Life at Ohio State The Office of International Affairs provides a great deal of helpful information about life as a student at Ohio State and what to expect. Addresses such issues as packing, weather, housing, safety, groceries, health care, and much more.
International Friendships is a registered Ohio State University student organization and Christian community group seeking to promote friendship and hospitality for international students. This group offers airport pickup and temporary housing as well as welcome activities and English conversation partners.
International Student Welcome Committee The ISWC are volunteers from numerous OSU student organizations who are willing to provide comprehensive and free information about airport pick-up and temporary housing for newly arriving international students.