Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-Arrival

General Information

What is the Weather Like?

Fort Collins boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine per year! The area also features low humidity, moderate winters and an overall mild year-round climate. You can expect about 15 inches (40 cm) of precipitation each year with about one-third of it in the form of snow.

July is the warmest month, with an average high of 32°C (90°F) and an average low of 14°C (57°F). You will learn to bring a light jacket with you, even in the summer, because hot days can cool down quickly once the sun goes down. January is the coldest month, with an average high of 6°C (42°F) and an average low of -10°C (14°F), with high wind speeds, rain, and snow. Sometimes there are “cold snaps” when the temperature will never rise above -10°C (14°F) for three or four days! We highly recommend purchasing hats, gloves, warm boots, and a winter coat for these times.

What Should I Pack?

Please bring Original Copies of the following documents with you to the airport. You will be required to show them at the US Port of Entry. We also recommend making copies of each, and bringing them in a different location than the originals:

  • Passport valid at least 6 months from the date you plan to enter the US
  • Valid visa for the school you will attend
  • I-20 or DS2019 with a report date of your planned enrollment
  • SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
  • Colorado State University Offer Letter and Admission Letter
  • Copy of financial documents (bank statements, account statements, or tax documents that show you have enough funds to support your study in the US)
  • Click here for a Printable Travel Card.
  • A printed copy of the Electronic I-20 Explanation Letter

You should also pack:

  • Enough accessible money–in cash or debit and credit cards–for initial living expenses, such as housing and food. We recommend bringing about $400.
    • There are limits to the amount of cash you are allowed to bring with you when entering the US. Please check with CBP to make sure you are within the allowable limit.
  • A copy of all prescriptions for medicines, eyeglasses and contact lenses. All prescriptions should be written in English.
  • Bring prescriptions that you are currently taking. Bring an extra pair of glasses if you wear them.
  • Winter coat and boots/shoes (unless you wish to purchase here).
  • Printed addresses and phone numbers of friends and family. Do not rely on electronic copies stored on your phone; you never know when your phone will lose power, or you will lose reception.
  • Cultural items to share with others and remind you of home: music, crafts, videos, photo albums, recipes, and traditional clothing are just a few suggestions!
  • Check with housing and dining to find out whether you will need to provide your own bedding for your dorm or university housing. Most on-campus living spaces require students to provide their own bedding.

Do I need a Power Adapter?

If you’re bringing a phone, laptop, digital camera with a charger, or other electronics from home, you may need to purchase a plug adapter. While US electrical outlets are 110-volts AC, many electronics are made with a voltage adapter so you only have to convert the shape of the plug (not the voltage). You can purchase these after arriving.

Remember that if you’re living in a Residence Hall, you’re not allowed to use appliances like hot-water pots and rice-cookers except for in the communal kitchen. Most small appliances are readily available in the US.

How Do I Get to Fort Collins from the Denver International Airport (DIA)?

Please be sure to arrange your transportation before your flight arrives in Denver. There is a shuttle service from the airport to Fort Collins. You can learn more about your transportation options here.

Student Information

How Do I Sign Up For A Cultural Mentor?

The Cultural Mentor Team is a group of U.S. American and international student volunteers who have been trained to assist new international students with their adjustment to the U.S., on everything from finding housing to tips about Fort Collins to cultural adjustment.

New international students will be assigned a Cultural Mentor and will receive an email letting them know who their Mentor. New students should expect an introductory email from their Mentor within a week of receiving the email letting them know who their Mentor is.

Where Can I Learn More About Pre-Arrival Information?

Click here to download a copy of our Pre-arrival Guide, which contains more detailed information you may want to know before arriving.

Arrival

General Information

Where Can I Live Before Moving Into My Housing?

Whether you’ve secured permanent housing on campus or off campus, it’s not uncommon for international students to arrive in Fort Collins before their place to live is available.

You can review some temporary housing options here.

Home-Stay Program

PLEASE NOTE: Our Home-Stay Program is currently unavailable per COVID guidance. We will update this page if that changes in the future.

  • If you would like to make your first days in Fort Collins a cultural experience, we recommend singing up for the Home-Stay Program offered by the Fort Collins International Center. They will place you in a local person’s home to live for up to 5 days with a host-family in the community, at no cost.
    • You must have plans for permanent housing after the 5 days, because this is only a short-term program offered the week of Ram Orientation.

When Should I Check In With The International Office?

  • F-1 and J-1 students should check in online as soon as possible after arriving in the US.
  • J-1 scholars should check in online here as soon as possible after arriving.
  • H-1B/TN/O-1/E-3 employees are not required to check in the International Office, but please email ISSS@colostate with any questions you may have.

How Do I Print my I-94?

  • You can save a PDF copy of your I-94 by entering your passport information here by clicking the “Get Most Recent I-94” tab at the top of the webpage.

How Do I Apply for a Social Security Number?

  • Scholar information can be found here.
  • Student information can be found here.

Any Tips For Buying a Car?

Yes, we have tons! Check out our Driving in the U.S. page for more information.

If you still have questions, please contact International Student and Scholar Services for more information and resources!

Scholar Information

When Should I Arrive?

  • J-1 exchange visitors are allowed to enter the US no earlier than 30 days before the program start date listed on your DS-2019.
  • H-1B/TN/O-1/E-3 employees are allowed to enter the US no earlier than 10 days before the employment start date.

Student Information

When Should I Arrive?

In order to attend the mandatory Ram Orientation for International Students for each semester, please arrive on the weekend before Orientation begins. Make your travel and housing arrangements early, including plane tickets, shuttle reservation, and arrangements for temporary and permanent housing. You may consider buying travel insurance.

F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors are allowed to enter the US no earlier than 30 days before the program start date listed on your I-20.

When Can I Move Into My CSU Apartment or Residence Hall?

Apartments

Residence Halls

Students living on campus can request to be put on the “early move-in list” for their residence hall. You will be charged a daily fee for moving in early; this charge includes your room and 3 meals each day in one of the CSU dining centers. As soon as you know your arrival date, notify your residence hall to make sure you will be allowed to move in early!

Residence Halls typically officially open the weekend before classes start each semester
(early arrivals for RLCs, band, athletics, and student leadership positions will be arranged through your programs)

Check in consists of completing important paperwork not already done and signing for and receiving keys.

  • Expect the check in process to take about 1 hour (depending on crowds).

If you arrive after the front desk has closed, you will need to call the on-duty phone number. We encourage you to find out what that phone number is before you arrive, even if you do not expect to arrive late.

More information can be found on the Housing and Dining Services website here!

Students

What Tips Do You Have for New International Students?

  • Try to be on time, even for informal events. Locals are generally punctual.
  • Come to class prepared (and come to class!)
  • Never be afraid to ask questions. CSU exists to serve our students, and in general Americans ask many questions.
  • Join social events, student organizations, and sports teams–at the end of your time at CSU, you don’t want to leave wondering about all the things you missed. Your time here is to gain a degree, yes, but even employers value student involvement more than you think!
  • Keep your accommodation clean and tidy. Make your home a place you feel at peace.
  • Overcome problems by sharing them with your friends, teachers and CSU resources like the counseling office.
  • Put effort into making friends outside your own culture group. It is not as easy, but it’s worth it!
  • Please let us know if you have any questions–we’re here to help!

How Do I Register for Classes?

All new students are assigned advising codes. This 6-digit number is required before registering and is given to you when you are advised.

Undergraduate students will learn how to be advised by completing the online International Student Pre-Orientation Module.

Graduate students will learn how to be advised by reaching out to your graduate department coordinator, who can put you in contact with your advisor.

Once you have your advising code, you may register for classes!

Our office provides instructions for online course registration here. You can review further instructions from the Registrar, or watch these videos to learn more!

Enrollment Requirements

Please make sure you review your enrollment requirements to make sure you are registered for a full time course load per your immigration status.

What Might be Different in the American Classroom?

Just as American culture is different from your own, so classroom culture at CSU may be different from what you are used to. Check out the presentation on Succeeding in the American Classroom, and learn more about possible differences:

  • Expect more interaction with your professor–often on a more personal level
  • It may be considered disrespectful if you show up late: attend every class, and always show up on time.
  • Your professor may ask to be called by their first name
  • Your professor likely expects you to show up to office hours outside of class
  • Participating in class (sharing your ideas, asking questions, etc) is extremely important–do this every day
  • Expect a lot more homework, a lot more group projects, and a lot more discussion
  • Your grades will be based on participation (including showing up on time), homework, and tests–not just the final exam.
  • Exams ask more open-ended questions–emphasizing how you worked out your answer
  • General expectation of politeness and respect–say “please” and “thank you” to everyone, regardless of status

How and When Do I Pay My Tuition?

Tuition and fees are billed directly to your student account. Full payment is due by September 10th for Fall semester and February 10th for Spring semester. You can view your account on your RamWeb. Office of Financial Aid has more information on this process.

What is the University’s SEVIS Fee Charge?

This charge should not be confused with the I-901 fee that visa applicants pay to the United States Department of State.

Colorado State University collects an administrative charge to cover administrative costs associated with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The USA Patriot Act (2001) requires universities to utilize the SEVIS system and maintain extensive electronic records.

The SEVIS charge is $125 each semester an international student is enrolled and is applied to the student accounts of all F-1 and J-1 students.