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International Students

Pre-Arrival Checklist

Questions?

For answers to frequently asked questions, visit International Student FAQ, or email Andrew Meade, Director of International Services.

May

In mid-May, the Office of Admission emailed a matriculation packet to you, including instructions for activating your Vassar account. You will need your login credentials to complete many of the tasks listed below.

    • Set up your Vassar email. Your Vassar username and activation code, as well as instructions on activating your Vassar account, are available in your status portal. (NOTE: Students who deferred their entry from last year will not have access to the status portal. Your Vassar username, activation code, and instructions for activating your account are being emailed to you.) Your Vassar email account can be accessed at mail.google.com or from any Google login prompt; log in with your full email address and password. Your email address will be your username followed by @vassar.edu (i.e. jodoe@vassar.edu). For more information, please visit the Computing, IDs & Phones FAQ. If you have questions or require assistance, you may contact the CIS Service Desk at servicedesk@vassar.edu or call (845) 437-7224 during normal business hours.
    • First-year non-citizen international students: Submit at your earliest convenience your I-20 Request Form to the Office of International Services. If you are a matriculating student and have not received access to our online I-20 Request portal, please contact Andrew Meade ASAP at anmeade@vassar.edu. (Exchange students and language fellows: You will not be submitting an I-20 Request Form.)
      Deadline: May 31.
    • If you are requesting disability accommodations, you must return the Student Accessibility Form to the Office for Accessibility and Educational Opportunity—this self-disclosure form officially registers you with the Office for Accessibility and Educational Opportunity. More information on how to register.
      Deadline: June 15.
    • Obtain necessary visa and immigration documents, and as necessary make an appointment with the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Refer to the International Student FAQs for more details on immigration issues. We recommend scheduling your visa appointment on or after June 15 to allow time for the necessary documentation to reach you from Vassar.
    • Complete the New Student Biography Form as soon as possible. This form will require information from your parents/guardians.
      Deadline: July 1.
    • Schedule an appointment with your physician and complete and return the Medical Form to the Office of Health Services as soon as possible. Be sure to include ALL required signatures (student, parent/guardian, and physician).
      Deadline: July 1.

    June

    The Office of the Dean of First-Year Students will provide information about the pre-registration process, pre-major advisors, etc. Information about tuition payments and student finances will also be communicated in June.

    • Submit a photo for your Vassar ID Card. The photo must be an accurate representation of what you currently look like. A full-color, shoulders-and-above photo is required, and hats, sunglasses, or anything obscuring your face is prohibited.
      Deadline: June 30.
    • Fill out your Housing Application. Complete the housing form thoughtfully and honestly so that the staff in the Residential Life Office can select the most appropriate housing arrangement and roommate for you.
      Deadline: June 30.
    • Complete the Statement of Academic Interests worksheet. Your thoughtful answers to these questions will help the dean place you with a pre-major academic advisor with expertise in your areas of interest.
      Deadline: July 1.
    • Final High School Transcripts should be sent to the Office of Admission. Transcripts can be submitted via the Common App website, email (admissions@vassar.edu), or by mailing in the Final Academic Transcript form. You must confirm with your high school that the guidance office has forwarded your final transcript to us. You will need it on file at Vassar to finalize registration for first-semester courses.
      Deadline: July 15.

    July

    • Plan to bring enough cash in your currency to exchange at the airport for $100-200 in U.S. dollars.
    • Make travel arrangements to arrive in the United States on Thursday, August 20. (Assuming we are starting the fall term on schedule.)
    • Plan on bringing bedding materials with you upon arrival, or shipping them ahead of time, or purchasing them through this vendor. You will receive more information about this option over the summer from the Office of Residential Life. You will likely not have the opportunity to purchase these items at Vassar on the day you arrive, so you will need to make arrangements ahead of time to be sure you have appropriate linens for your bed.
    • Submit the Travel Information Form to the Office of International Services (form will be emailed to you).
      Deadline: July 15.
    • Submit the International Host Program Form to the Office of International Services (form will be emailed to you).
    • Pre-register for classes (available in early July). You will receive more information soon regarding this process.
    • Consider shipping your belongings to Vassar once you receive your Vassar College post office box number. Refer to the International Student FAQs for more information on shipping.
    • Complete the Sexual Assault Prevention for Undergraduates and AlcoholEdu for College online courses that you will receive by email. These courses will provide critical information and resources about alcohol/substance use or misuse and sexual assault/interpersonal violence. Deadline: July 31.
    • Fill out the Religious Interest Form (available in June). Whether or not you consider yourself to be religious, please fill out the form as it helps the college better serve the needs of our students.
      Available in June. Deadline: July 31.
    • Deposit funds to your VCash Account.

    August

    • Download and print out this departure checklist so that you do not forget anything.
    • Post your response, along with comments on two other student responses on the First-Year Common Reading Assignment (details provided in June).
    • Arrive at Vassar for International Student Orientation on Thursday, August 20. (Assuming that we are starting the fall term on schedule.)

Arrival Information

Arrival Date

Assuming that we are starting the fall term on schedule, all international students should plan to arrive at Vassar on Thursday, August 20, 2020. Our three-day International Student Orientation will begin on Friday, August 21 and general New Student Orientation starts up on Monday, August 24.

Shuttle Service from JFK

The Office of International Services will operate three free shuttle vans from JFK Airport for international students traveling alone. Anticipated pickup times will be 12:00pm (1200), 4:00pm (1600) and 8:00pm (2000.) Be prepared to spend up to two hours from your flight arrival time in New York waiting to be cleared through U.S. Immigration and Customs.

Directions to Vassar from Other Major Airports

Students who elect to use public transportation should follow the directions below from their arrival airport to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, where they will board a train to Poughkeepsie. Be prepared to spend up to two hours from your flight arrival time in New York waiting to be cleared through U.S. Immigration and Customs.

JFK Airport to Grand Central Train Terminal

Go Airlink provides shuttles from JFK to Grand Central. You can find customer assistance at the Ground Transportation Desk in every terminal and ask about the shuttle and schedules. You can also check the schedules or book tickets online at New York Airport Shuttle. The fare is roughly $25 one-way for a shared shuttle.

If you have a round-trip ticket on a New York Airport Service shuttle from Grand Central, you will still have to go to the Ground Transportation Desk and you will be automatically upgraded to the shared shuttle.

You can also take a taxi to Grand Central. You can find a taxi 24 hours a day at the taxi stands in front of the terminals by following the signs to “Ground/Land Transportation.” The fare should be approximately $50–$55, and the ride should take 40–60 minutes.

Newark Liberty Airport to Grand Central Terminal

At Newark Airport, follow the Ground Transportation signs to “Olympia Airport Express” Buses. Take the Manhattan shuttle to Grand Central Terminal. They depart every 20–30 minutes between 4:00am and 11:00pm and the fare is $17. The bus into Grand Central takes about 50 minutes depending on the time of day (longer during peak hours).

If you arrive any earlier or later than this, you will need to take a taxi to Grand Central. You can find the taxi stand by following the signs to “Ground Transportation.” The fare should be approximately $45, and the ride should take about 40–60 minutes.

LaGuardia Airport to Grand Central Terminal

Go Airlink provides shuttles from LGA to Grand Central. You can find customer assistance at the Ground Transportation Desk in every terminal and ask about the shuttle and schedules. You can also check the schedules or book tickets online at New York Airport Shuttle. The fare is roughly $17 one-way for a shared shuttle. The bus into Grand Central takes about 40 minutes depending on the time of day (longer during peak hours). If you have a round-trip ticket on a New York Airport Service shuttle from Grand Central, you will still have to go to the Ground Transportation Desk and you will be automatically upgraded to the shared shuttle.

You can also take a taxi to Grand Central. You can find the taxi stand by following the signs to “Ground Transportation.” The fare should be approximately $25–$35, and the ride should take 20–30 minutes.

At Grand Central Terminal

Transportation from Grand Central Terminal to Poughkeepsie is via Metro-North Railroad. In the main lobby of Grand Central, purchase a Metro-North train ticket to Poughkeepsie. (Be sure to purchase a ticket in the terminal, because they are more expensive when purchased on the train.) One-way fare is $19.75 or $25.75, depending on the time of day. The trains to Poughkeepsie leave about every hour from approximately 6:30am to 11:43pm (usually on the :45 of the hour). Check the schedules carefully; not all trains are Metro-North trains, and not all northbound trains go to Poughkeepsie. Find the correct Metro-North train schedule by filling in the following information: “From Station” is Grand Central and “To Station” is Poughkeepsie. Poughkeepsie is the last stop on the train, so relax and enjoy the trip!

Transportation from Poughkeepsie Train Station to Vassar

At Poughkeepsie, head into the station and out the front doors. (If you have a lot of luggage, there are elevators from the platform.) Outside of the station building, you will find a row of taxi vans. Tell the driver you are going to Vassar College (there is a hospital called Vassar as well), and they will drive you to your residence hall (have the name of your dorm/residence hall with you at all times). The fare will cost about $7 per person and the ride to Vassar should be no longer than 10 minutes. If you cannot locate a taxi, you can call Allen’s Taxi at 1 (845) 485-2411 or AAA Taxi at 1 (845) 473-7600. Expect to tip (a dollar or two). Uber and Lyft are also now available in Poughkeepsie.

Pre-Matriculation Credit

Vassar may award a maximum of 6 units of pre-matriculation credit of any type.

Students may not apply for these credits until after they matriculate and are active students at Vassar.

Credit for Pre-Vassar College Work

To apply for credit for a course or courses you completed at another institution, you must present an official transcript sent from the registrar of the institution to the Dean of Studies, Vassar College.

Not all courses are eligible for transfer credit. See the 2020/21 First-Year Handbook section on Pre-Matriculation Credit for eligibility requirements.

Advanced Exam Credit (e.g., AP and IB Credit)

Students who earn scores of 5, 6, or 7 on higher-level International Baccalaureate exams are awarded 1.0 unit of transfer credit, subject to the maximum of 2.0 units of exam-based, pre-matriculation credit. In the same manner, Vassar grants credit for high scores on certain foreign advanced programs of study. Common examples include: GCE/Cambridge A-level exams with a grade of A or B; French Baccalaureate exams with minimum coefficient of 4 and minimum score of 11; German Abitur exams with minimum score of 10; CAPE exams with a grade of I or II. Other college-level, pre-matriculation examination results will be evaluated as they are submitted—provided they are accompanied by appropriate documentation authenticating and supporting their academic integrity and level of proficiency. In some cases, transcription and translation must also be provided. Vassar also accepts AP credits for scores of 4 or 5 on the AP exams. A maximum of 2.0 units of exam-based, pre-matriculation credit may be awarded.

If you wish to request a transcript, please write to:

Advanced Placement Services
Box 6671
Princeton, NJ 08541-6671
(609) 771-7300 or (888) 225-5427

CEEB code: 2956
IB Americas Global Centre
7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 200 West
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 202-3000

For more information on pre-matriculation credits, see the 2020/21 First-Year Handbook section on Pre-Matriculation Credit.

Registration and Advising

Before arriving at Vassar, you will begin to plan your course of study by exploring the Vassar College Catalogue, reading the Academic Information section of the 2020/21 First-Year Handbook, pre-registering for the fall semester, and filling out and returning your Statement of Academic Interests (available June 24).

Statement of Academic Interests

Once you declare your major (usually at the end of sophomore year), you will choose an advisor from the program or department in which you are majoring. Until that time, you will be assigned a pre-major advisor by the dean of first-year students. The only tool the dean has to match you with an appropriate advisor is your Statement of Academic Interests (available June 24). This form will be available in early July. During New Student Orientation, you will meet with your pre-major advisor to finalize your fall schedule.

Pre-registration

Pre-registration will begin in August. You will receive more information soon about this process.