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Beginning School in January as an International Student

As the year quickly draws to a close, international students find themselves packing their bags, printing their boarding passes, and enjoying the last few weeks of vacation before officially beginning the spring semester in January. Instead of being admitted for the fall semester, some universities may grant incoming freshmen spring semester admission, which allows the students time to pursue other interests before they begin study. With this in mind, SpanTran recommends the following tips for students beginning studies next month!

  • Pack heavy clothes. Despite the unseasonably mild weather affecting many regions of the United States (specifically the Northeast), the last two Januarys have been quite cold with blizzards and icy conditions. Packing parkas, hats and gloves is highly recommended, especially for students coming from countries in tropical environments.
  • Notify universities of travel plans. Universities’ international advisors will direct students to the closest airport and can oftentimes arrange for complimentary pickup once the students arrive. Be sure to communicate with your advisor regarding your travel plans.
  • Ensure transcripts have been submitted. Your institution will request transcripts of all official coursework taken from the last high school or university you attended. Ensure that these transcripts have been translated into English, if applicable, and evaluated, if applicable. SpanTran provides both these services; visit our website for additional information!
  • Review your course syllabi. Consult with your advisors if you have any questions about the syllabus, which is the document that provides a general (but sometimes a specific) outline of how the course will proceed.
  • Remember the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Universities give students the day off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (a Monday), a brief respite from the busy activity of the first month. This is a good opportunity to plan fun activities with your friends.
  • Plan your academic future. Students who begin university studies in January may not graduate on time with their fellow freshmen who began in the fall semester. However, students may elect to take summer courses to remediate this, allowing them to catch up with their classmates so they can graduate in the spring. Some universities even allow online summer courses, which can be taken from the comfort of the student’s home.