3 steps international students should take in autumn 2021 | Best universities

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Newly admitted international students in the Bachelor’s degree may experience a mixture of excitement and ongoing uncertainty due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on entering campus in the fall. With many US University campus currently closed and employees work remotely, incoming students can in the meantime take advantage of the schools’ increased virtual presence.

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“It can be difficult to deal with uncertainty. Knowing this, colleges and universities try to maintain clear and consistent communication with the new students through a variety of channels, ”says Kate Child, Deputy Dean of Academic Services at services Bennington College in Vermont that focuses on helping freshmen and international students.

Admitted international students can postpone enrollment for a semester or year if they are unsure of what fall will be like in the US or are concerned that many American embassies and consulates around the world are not yet completing their regular visa processing have resumed. However, for international students who have been accepted and want to start in the fall, there are three steps they can take:

  • Monitor email and school websites.
  • Take part in virtual information events.
  • Stay in contact with the International Student Administration Office.

Monitor email and school websites

Incoming international students should keep an eye on emails and information posted on their school’s websites and social media that contain regular announcements and updates, experts say.

“Email is probably still the most important means of communication on your campus, so now create good habits by checking your email on a daily basis,” says Child. “Interact with your college’s incoming students Facebook group, Instagram, Discord, and / or admissions apps like ZeeMee.”

She says a school’s website could be a good place to find FAQs, an archive of past campus-wide notices, policies, and procedures.

Keep in mind that many schools have a separate admission website for newly admitted international students or the International Student Office pages that provide information and links to a variety of resources. For example, University of Arizona has an admissions page that lists Next Steps like applying for a student visa and the Rochester University in New York has an international service bureau page that offers similar deals Step-by-step procedure for incoming students.

“Campus management will continue to update campus and students on campus plans for the fall. Students should continue to check campus email messages and check campus COVID-19 pages which have FAQs and videos.” says Anna Wimberly, director of the International Center at the University of California – Irvine.

Christian Stuart, Managing Director of the Center for On-Campus International Student Services at Andrews University in Michigan, says colleges “will communicate regularly through school websites and social media about COVID-19 test requirements, vaccine updates, online learning options, customized schedules, fall arrival options and procedures, and updates to the student and exchange visitor program “. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) manages the U.S. government’s student visa monitoring system.

Take part in virtual information events

With many U.S. colleges still running virtually, students will likely also be able to contact the school’s international admissions and service staff online and attend briefings and meet-and-greets through Zoom or other video conferencing tools.

Child says Bennington College will provide “opportunities for international students to meet each other, meet current students, and connect with the staff and faculty” that will be part of their campus resources during the spring and summer.

The University of California – Irvine offers a variety of campus programs hosted online for all admitted students. Celebrate UCI, for example, has a “Get to Know Campus” feature that offers live presentations and on-demand videos on topics such as next steps in the admissions process, grants, study opportunities and student life. The website also has a “Meet Your Fellow Anteaters” feature that includes panels featuring current UCI students, as well as virtual games and on-demand content from student-creators.

“It’s the best way to get to know future fellow students and make contacts. It’s an easy way to get a feel for the campus and get tips from current students on what to look forward to or what to know about the campus, ”said Bryan Jue, senior director of public relations and marketing for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the UCI.

The school also has a page with information on the Orientation Program for Students and Parents, the UCI’s Summer Orientation Program. Jue says that the autumn orientation takes place during the summer months and is offered online.

Stuart says that Andrews University staff held zoom orientation sessions “related to COVID-19 and preparing international studies for our international students and shared videos of these sessions for international students who missed these sessions on our site special COVID-19 website. “

Stay in touch with the International Student Office

Incoming students should keep in touch with their school’s International Student Service, which can keep students informed of visas that may need to be obtained at short notice; Coronavirus vaccinations; and other changing information and requirements, such as the option of online courses, say experts.

“All of the International Student Union staff at my university have their own calendly accounts, which are listed on the office website, and students simply have to click on an available time to schedule a Zoom appointment,” says Stuart.

He says a school’s international student services office can provide updates such as: school officer-designate, or DSO, which helps them keep their legal status to study in the US

International students can also monitor SEVP updates directly by following U.S. immigration and customs authorities Instructions on the COVID-19 page, via the two tabs for nonimmigrant students, he says.

Due to the ongoing uncertainty, online courses may be required and international students should be prepared to take part of their fall semester or quarterly courses online due to pandemic-related circumstances.

At the University of California at Irvine, “campus still dictates what classes will be like this fall,” says Jue. “We will do our best to communicate as early as possible and on as many channels as possible to inform students about what to expect.”

Allen Koh, CEO of Cardinal Education, a California-based education consulting company, urges international students to prepare for unexpected circumstances and delays.

“We draw your attention to the possibility of a possible multiple quarantine, especially for students from countries that do not have direct flights to the US, such as India. Students may have to go to another country, under quarantine and then to the US as” after transport company policy, “says Koh, who works with international students from India, Ghana, China, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Koh says that it is best to plan travel by consulting local government agencies and embassies about travel protocols. He also suggests that international students get vaccinated and keep any evidence that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in case it is necessary while traveling.

As the fall semester approaches, Child repeats the advice that incoming students keep in close contact with the staff of the International Student Service.

“The ISS advisors will stay in touch throughout the spring and summer to share information and help international students prepare for their visa interview, travel to the US, arrival and moving in, and more,” says Child.

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