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6 Important To-Dos Before You Arrive On Campus as an International Student

Published July 1, 2019

It’s that time of year!  The Spring semester has ended and it’s officially summer in the northern hemisphere.  Students are anxiously awaiting the beginning of Fall classes.  As an incoming international student you’re eager to prepare to make the most of your legal education in the United States.  Did you know there are important items you can tackle now, before you arrive on campus?

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  Listen to Ben.  You’ve already done the hard work to get into Law School, but by following this easy checklist, you’ll be ready from Day One in your new program:

1. Obtain Your Student Visa

Once you receive your I-20 from your new institution, you will schedule a visa appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

  • Plan well in advance for your Visa Appointment.  Wait times can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s website.
  • Have questions about the process?  Use resources that are available to you for free through EducationUSA (part of the United States’ Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs).  They provide useful tips on their website and education advisors are available in-country to answer questions. 

2. Secure Housing

Your institution will likely offer on-campus housing options.  You might also have the option to live off-campus.  There are pros and cons to each situation, so weighing your options is important.  In general keep in mind the following:

  • On-campus housing fills up quickly.  Be mindful of application deadlines to apply for university housing.  For example, incoming International Students at the University at Buffalo must apply for Fall housing no later than June 1st.
  • While on-campus housing includes any extra costs, living off-campus likely will not.  If you are living off-campus plan for extra expenses, such as electricity, heating, internet, and transportation costs to and from campus.

3. Avoid Registration Holds

The acceptance packets and e-mails sent by your new program will contain action-items for you to complete.  These items are mandatory in order to finalize your admission, and holds may be placed on your student account if you don’t follow the directions.  Holds can prevent you from registering for classes, so it is imperative that these action-items are handled properly.

  • To-do items for incoming students at UB School of Law can be found on our Accepted Students page.
  • All students that are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents must also complete an online check-in for new International Students.  This is facilitated by the university’s Office of International Student Services (ISS).  The instructions for completing this step are e-mailed to UBmail accounts.  Have questions about this check-in?  Contact ISS directly.

4. Attend Orientation

Each institution offers formal orientation scheduling to aid new students in beginning their new programs.  These programs are often mandatory and failure to report to orientation could result in rescinded admission.  Ensure that you arrange your travel to campus well in advance of the start of orientation.

New international students at UB School of Law participate in several orientation programs, including:

  • Jump Start:  An immersive, extended orientation program designed to introduce students to fundamentals of the U.S. legal system.
  • School of Law Orientation, which includes additional sessions for International Students.  

5. Get to Know Other Students

Throughout the application process you have interacted with recruiters and other admission professionals.  While they have provided useful information and have been a valuable resource, consider getting to know fellow students prior to arriving on campus.  Your new institution might offer opportunities for you to network remotely with your new classmates, or provide the contact information of current students.

  • Follow Social Media accounts to learn all the ins and outs of campus life.  UB School of Law maintains Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
  • Don’t forget to join the Facebook group for your graduating class.  For example, incoming Fall 2019 Three-Year JD students would search for ‘Class of 2022 – University at Buffalo School of Law.’
  • The profiles of UB School of Law Student Ambassadors are available on our Student Ambassadors page.  Profiles include legal interests, law school activities, and advice for new students.  Our student ambassadors are more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

6. Consider Summer Reading Lists

Eager to start learning before classes start?  Consider planning your summer reading to include recommended reading from your new program.

  • UB School of Law provides a recommended summer reading list compiled by law faculty.  Some may be of particular interest to newly accepted students, international students, and others.  While this is not mandatory reading, it will help quench your thirst for knowledge prior to the start of classes.

Are you an admitted international student? Want to know more about the transition to campus? Contact our admissions staff with questions!

Photo of Laurel Root.

Guest blogger Laurel Root is the Manager of Recruitment & International Enrollment Services at UB School of Law.


Office of Admissions
University at Buffalo School of Law
309 O'Brian Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260