New Int'l Student Handbook
I. Visa and Immigration
- Applying for a Student Visa
- Preparing for the Consulate Interview
- Verifying Your Finances
- Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
II. Arrival Information
- Arrival Dates
- Getting to Colorado Springs
- Entering the U.S. and Going Through Customs
III. Money Matters
- Cost of Attendance
- Accessing Your Money
- Paying Your Tuition and Fees
- Budgeting for Expenses at Colorado College
IV. Accomodations and Meals
- Living on Campus
- Dining Options
- Living with a Roommate
- What to Bring or Not Bring
V. Academic Life
- The Block Plan and Academic Expectations
- Strategies for Academic Success
- English as a Second Language Support
- The First-Year Experience
- Registering for Courses
- Faculty Advisors
VI. Life in the U.S.
- Cultural Adjustment
- Host Families
- Living in Colorado Springs
- Working in the U.S.
VII. Health Care
- Boettcher Health Center
- Health Insurance
- Medical Forms and Immunizations
VIII. Student Life
- Student Services
- Opportunities for Involvement
Visa and immigration
Applying for a Student Visa
Applying for a visa can be time consuming so it is a good idea to apply as soon as you are allowed. You may apply for a student visa no more than 90 days before you begin your studies at CC.
Once you confirm your intent to attend Colorado College, you will receive a Form I-20. This is the form required by the U.S. government to apply for F-1 student status. You will need to take this form to the U.S. consulate or embassy in your country to apply for an F-1 student visa. In addition, you should bring your passport, your letter of acceptance from Colorado College, and verification of finances with you in case the consular officer asks for proof of your intent and ability to study in the United States. If you have received a scholarship or other financial assistance from Colorado College, bring the letter of financial support sent to you by the College. You should also be prepared to provide proof of your English-language proficiency, if requested.
You will also need to complete two forms, the DS-156 and DS-158, and pay a visa fee. The forms, information about the fees, as well as tips on applying for a student visa, are located at the U.S. State Department website. In addition, you will be required to pay a fee to cover the costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (described later in this chapter). More information about the fee and how to pay it will be included with the immigration paperwork that is mailed to you. You may wish to visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website for additional information. If there are no complications, you should receive a visa stamp in your passport within a few hours or days. The stamp will note the dates for which it is valid, the number of entries to the United States that are allowed, and the name of Colorado College.
You are allowed to enter the United States as a student up to 30 days before the start of your academic program. The official starting date of your program is noted on your I-20; however, you most likely will be arriving a week or two earlier for orientation.
Preparing for the Consulate Interview
After you receive your I-20, you will need to schedule an interview with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.Appointments for interviews may fill up very quickly, so it's important not to wait until the last minute to schedule yours.
Preparing for the interview with the consular officer will help you overcome some of the nervousness you may be feeling about this process. In general, the consular officer wants to confirm three things: 1) you have a legitimate reason to study in the United States, 2) you have the financial ability to pay for your education and support yourself while in the U.S., and 3) you intend to return to your home country upon completion of your studies. Therefore, you should be prepared to answer the following types of questions:
- Why do you want to study in the U.S.?
- Why do you want to study at Colorado College?
- How did you learn about Colorado College?
- Where is Colorado College?
- How will your studies help you when you return to your home country?
- What are the job opportunities in your country for your field of study?
Pay close attention to these last two questions. For example, if you want to major in Art History, be prepared to answer questions about the potential job opportunities for students with Art History degrees in your home country. If there are not jobs in this field available, the consular officer may doubt your intent to return home.
Verifying Your Finances
Usually you will be asked to show proof of your ability to pay for your studies in the United States. Be prepared to show a copy of your Certification of Finances accompanied by bank statements and letters of support from family members. If your family has bank accounts in the United States, you should be prepared to demonstrate that you still have ties to your home country. Sometimes consular officers will view U.S.-based bank accounts as a demonstration that you do not intend to return home. Also, if you receive a scholarship from CC, don't forget to bring a copy of your scholarship letter with you.
Questions asked to determine your intent to return home after your studies:
Do you have family in your home country? What do they do? What do you intend to do once you complete your studies? What types of jobs will be available for you once you return home?
These questions should give you a general idea of what to expect when you go for your consulate interview. Have a friend ask you these questions so you can practice answering them in a more relaxed setting. Then, when it comes time for the interview, you won't feel as nervous. The main thing to remember is to answer the questions honestly. Trying to tell the consular officer what you think he or she wants to hear will not be successful. Finally, if you are denied a visa, ask for the reason for the denial in writing. Then, contact our office with this information. Sometimes it is a simple matter that can be remedied in a second visit. If you do not get the reason for denial in writing, it is very difficult for us to advise you on ways to remedy the situation.
Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
In an effort to seek more efficient ways of managing information on international students, the U.S. government has recently developed a program called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This is an internet-based system that allows schools to exchange information with the U.S. government about international students throughout their academic careers in the U.S.
As part of SEVIS requirements, Colorado College must collect the following information:
- Your name, date of birth, country of birth and citizenship, source and amount of financial resources and program start and end dates.
- Your arrival and enrollment at CC or failure to enroll.
- A change in your legal name or address.
- Graduation prior to the end date listed on your I-20.
- Academic or disciplinary actions taken due to criminal conviction.
- Registration of less than a full course of study (less than 3 blocks per semester) without prior authorization.
- Termination date and reason.
- Failure to complete the academic program.
Students are responsible for adhering to the following rules:
- Remain a full-time student. You must be enrolled for at least 3 blocks each semester.
- Notify our office if you plan to drop a class. If for some reason you are not able to take 3 or more blocks in a semester, you must get approval from our office to drop your classes BEFORE you drop them. If you don't, you will fall out of status.
- Update your address. If you move, even from one room to another, you must notify the Registrar and our office within 10 days.
- Inform our office if you will not graduate in time. Program extensions must be approved PRIOR to the end date listed on your I-20.
- Consult with our office BEFORE accepting employment if you are interested in working off campus.
- Alert us if you plan to transfer. We will need to complete an immigration transfer BEFORE the new school will be permitted to issue you a new I-20.
Consequences for non-immigrants who do not follow U.S. immigration rules may be severe. Therefore, it is very important that you enter the U.S. with the proper visa and documentation, and that you remain in legal status throughout your stay at Colorado College. When in doubt, ask!
Upon acceptance to Colorado College, you will be notified of the date you must arrive on campus. Students will normally need to arrive approximately two weeks before the first day of the semester. Before classes begin, you will participate in a four-day orientation for international students, followed by a week of orientation for all students new to Colorado College. Housing and meals will be provided on campus throughout both orientations.
Our office also organizes an airport or bus station pick-up service for new students. If you would like to be picked up, you will need to return a completed travel information form to our office.
Getting to Colorado Springs
If you will be flying to Colorado, we recommend that you fly directly into Colorado Springs. Students may take advantage of our airport pick-up service, or take a taxi from the airport to campus. Taxis are available just outside the airport. It costs about $30 one way to Colorado College.
If you will be arriving in Denver and cannot take a flight to Colorado Springs, you may take a bus (coach) for the approximately 110-kilometer ride from Denver to Colorado Springs. This can be difficult if you have a lot of luggage, so we strongly encourage you to fly into Colorado Springs.
If you decide to take the bus from downtown Denver to downtown Colorado Springs, you will need to take a taxi (about $40) or public bus (RTD) from the Denver International Airport to the downtown Denver Greyhound/TNM&O Bus Station (about a half hour ride). The bus ride from Denver to Colorado Springs takes approximately two hours and the cost is $14.00 one way. Visit Greyhound for departure times and more information.
Entering the United States and Going Through Customs
When you arrive in the U.S. you will first have to pass through Immigration and Customs at your port of entry. You should be prepared to present your passport with visa stamp, evidence of financial support and Form I-20 to the immigration officer. Make sure you have all this information in your carry-on luggage so that it is easily accessible. You will also present a Form I-94, a small white card that you will have been given on the plane. Once the immigration officer has inspected all these documents, you will be admitted to the United States in F-1 student status.
The I-94 card is another important immigration document. Essentially, the I-94 is your arrival and departure card and proof that you have entered the U.S. in student status. The number that is found in the upper left hand corner of your I-94 is your Admission Number. This number will be used on all future immigration paperwork and will be used by the U.S. government to record all of your entries into and departures from the United States. Every time you leave the United States for more than 30 days, you will be required to relinquish your I-94 at the border. Please keep your I-94 card in a safe place with your other immigration documents. If you lose this card, you must pay a fee to replace it.
If you are issued a Form I-515 by the immigration inspector at your point of entry to United States, please let us know immediately upon your arrival in Colorado Springs. This form indicates that you were missing some paperwork upon your entry and it gives you approximately 30 days to submit the missing paperwork to the U.S. immigration service.
Cost of Attendance
The following figures are meant to give you an estimate of how much one year of attendance at Colorado College will cost:
Room and Board: $8,052
Books & Supplies: $904
Personal Expenses: $2,000
Accessing your Money
Before you leave home, check with your local bank to learn more about your country's regulations regarding the transfer of funds overseas. Some countries do not allow for large sums of money to be wired abroad, whereas other countries have no limits. We suggest that you bring a small amount of "start up" money with you ($100-$150) to help make your trip easier. Do not travel with large amounts of cash - carry traveler's checks instead. If you have an automatic teller machine (ATM) card, find out before you leave home if you can use it in the U.S. With an international ATM bank card, your parents can deposit money into your account at home and you can withdraw the funds at ATM machines throughout Colorado and the United States. If you don't have a card that can be used overseas, check with your bank before you leave to see if it is possible to get a card that can be used in the U.S. The "Plus" and "Cirrus" networks are found widely throughout Colorado and the United States. In addition, ATM machines accept Visa and MasterCard.
You may want to consider opening a bank account once you arrive in Colorado Springs. There are many different types of accounts in the United States and it can be confusing to know which type of account to open. More information on banking will be covered in the International Student Orientation, but if you wish to look into opening an account before you arrive, these are a few banks located close to campus:
90 S. Cascade Ave
30 E. Pikes Peak
6 South Tejon St.
Paying Your Tuition and Fees
You should receive an invoice for the amount you owe (per semester) several weeks before your departure. These invoices often take time to reach students who live outside the U.S., so don't be alarmed if yours doesn't arrive until just before you leave.
There are two ways to pay for your tuition and fees:
Option #1: You can pay the full amount when you arrive.
Option #2: If you don't want to pay the full amount at once, you may pay in four installments. A 1% deferred payment charge will be assessed to your student account each month on the outstanding balance.
There are several payment methods:
Method #1: You can wire the monies to Colorado College. Please contact our office for the College's bank, routing and account numbers.
Method #2: You may pay by credit card online via the Student Accounts website. Credit Cards and ACH are accepted online only. All credit card transactions have a convenience fee.
Method #3: You may pay with personal check or with traveler's checks. You will have time during the orientation to open a bank account, if you choose.
Budgeting For Expenses at Colorado College
Many students find it difficult to manage their personal finances during college, and this can be especially challenging for international students unfamiliar with the cost of living in the United States. We've developed the following figures to help you estimate how much money you will need for one year at Colorado College.
Total Personal Expenses: $175-$275/month
Textbooks & Materials (per block)
- Textbooks only: $80 - $125
- Notebooks: $2.25
- Pen/pencil: $.50 - $3
- Computer disk: $.45
- Index cards: $.60
- Lab equipment: $10 - $30
- Art supplies: $35- $80
- Calculator: $8 - $90
Entertainment and Food
- Movies off campus: $5 -$9
- Movies on campus: free - $1
- Nice Restaurant: $10 - $30
- "Fast Food": $4 - $10
- Ski Area Lift Ticket: $50 - $80/day
- CC concerts: free - $30
- Ice skating: free - $5
- Bus Ride: $1 - $2
- Soap: $2.50
- Shampoo: $4.50
- Deodorant: $3.50
- Toothpaste: $3.50
- Shaving Cream: $3.50
- Kotex/Tampax: $4.50
Living on Campus
Colorado College is a "residential campus," which means that students are required to live on campus during their first three years. Approximately 80% of Colorado College students live on campus. The College offers a variety of housing options, including large residence halls, apartment buildings and small houses. These are an important part of campus life and are home to many extra-curricular activities and social events. Many students develop lasting friendships with people they meet in their residence hall.
Most of the housing options on campus consist of "double" rooms (meaning you share with one other person) that include a bed, desk, dresser and closet for each student. Students will also have access to shared kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities. Rooms are wired for telephone and internet access. Students may request to live by themselves, but will be charged a higher rate for a single room. You will receive information about choosing a residence hall several months before your arrival. You may also wish to visit the Office of Residential Life website for more information.
Please be aware that the residence halls will close to all students during winter and spring breaks. Although you will not need to remove your belongings from your room, you will not be able to stay in your room over the break. If finances allow, this is a good time to travel or visit friends who live outside Colorado Springs. If you wish to remain in town, you'll need to make arrangements for a place to live well in advance. You should consult our office if you're having difficulty finding a place to stay during this time.
Students who live on campus will purchase a "meal plan" each semester. This will allow you to have meals at any of the dining areas on campus without having to pay each time you eat. Restaurants on campus include a cafeteria-style dining hall, a small food court, a café that offers more nutritious and organic options, two coffee shops and a small convenience store. Keep in mind that food is different in the U.S., and although there are many international dishes and types of food available, it may take a short adjustment period to get used to eating here. Typical meals in the restaurants on campus include spaghetti or other pastas, hamburgers, salads, vegetable stir-fry, sandwiches, pizza, burritos and other Southwestern food. Vegetarian options are available at each meal.
Students may wish to review the meal plan options on the Campus Dining website. We will discuss each of these in detail during the international student orientation. You will be able to change your meal plan selection throughout the first two weeks of each semester.
Living with a Roommate
It is likely that you will share your room with a roommate. Living with a roommate can be a real challenge at times, especially if you're not used to sharing a room with someone. A good idea is to sit down and discuss your habits before any problems arise. Here are some questions to discuss:
- How do you feel about overnight guests?
- Do you mind music when you are studying in the room?
- When do you usually go to sleep? Are you an early riser in the morning? If one person goes to bed/gets up earlier than the other what courtesies should be followed not to disturb the sleeping person?
- If you do not smoke, how do you feel about friends smoking in the room?
- If you purchase items for the room (i.e. small refrigerator, carpet), how will you determine who keeps the item if one person moves out?
- How do you feel about sharing food in the room? Will snack-food in the room be shared or will each person have his/her own food?
- How do you feel about alcohol?
- Are there any particular habits the other person should be aware of?
If you are having difficulty getting along with your roommate, you are encouraged to come speak with us, or to talk to someone in Residential Life. In some situations, it may be possible to change your room.
What to Bring or Not Bring?
Two of the biggest concerns for any college student are what to bring and what to leave out. When packing, please consider the following recommendations of past students:
For your room:
Bring anything that will make your new room your home for the next year... music from home, posters, and pictures of family and friends. The college provides a free linen service for international students that includes sheets, blankets and towels. You are allowed to use this service until you can buy your own linens, or for the entire year if you desire.
Cultural items from your country:
Having some items from home can help to "break the ice" by providing you with something to share and talk about with your host family, your roommate, and your new friends. Posters, colorful calendars, books, slides, videos, clothes, country flag, pictures and maps are all things to think about bringing. There will also be opportunities for you to share information about your culture and country with the CC community and with other schools and organizations in Colorado Springs.
As on most campuses in the United States, anything goes when it comes to clothing! Students at CC are very casual and wear everything from old, torn jeans to nice slacks and skirts. The clothes of choice for most students are jeans and a T-shirt. Popular shoes include sandals, boots, running shoes, and hiking shoes.
Be aware that Colorado weather varies greatly from summer to winter. You should pack shorts for nice weather, and heavy sweaters for the colder months. You will need lighter clothing for the first couple of months, and a warm coat, hat, scarf, and gloves for winter. If you do not have clothes for winter, there are several places in Colorado Springs where you can buy them for reasonable prices. If you like outdoor or sporting events, don't forget to bring clothing appropriate for these activities. We also recommend bringing a sleeping bag, if you have one. There is a pool on campus, so you'll want to bring a swimwear, too.
Preparing for Colorado weather:
At 6,400 feet above sea level, the Colorado sunshine is very strong. Although Colorado receives over 300 days of sunshine every year, the weather is constantly changing and you should be prepared for whatever the day will bring. One way that Coloradans have learned to deal with the ever changing temperatures is to wear different layers of clothing. Layering your clothing will keep you warmer in the winter by trapping air against your body, while allowing you to regulate your temperature by either adding or removing a layer of clothing if you get too hot or cold.
If you want to cook traditional dishes from home, you may want to bring some supplies from with you (e.g., spices, etc.). Although there are some ethnic grocery stores in Colorado Springs, it can be difficult to obtain some traditional items. You will quickly learn that most Colorado College students love to try food from various countries. So... we suggest and hope that you'll bring recipes!
We recommend that you do not bring:
Appliances in the U.S. operate on 110-112 volts, 60 cycles and the plug size is probably different from that in your country. Even with an adapter and electrical current converter, your appliances will not operate well. Plan to buy electrical devices when you arrive.
Colorado College provides the use of this equipment free of charge. Computers are available all over campus including Tutt Library, Barnes Science Center, the Worner Center, and in large residence halls. If you already own a laptop, you may want to consider bringing it with you - but make sure it is insured against damage and theft! If you wish to purchase a computer you may want to wait until you arrive on campus. Please consult the Information Technology Services specifications before buying a new computer. This will help to ensure that the computer you purchase is compatible with the systems available on campus.
The Block Plan and Academic Expectations
The Block Plan was adopted by Colorado College in 1970 and has remained a distinguishing feature of the college ever since. Only one other college in the U.S. has a similar academic system. The Block Plan divides the academic year into eight 3 1/2 week segments or "blocks." Students take one block at a time. In between each block, students have four days off to relax and prepare for their next class.
Typically, classes are held every day of the week, Monday through Friday. Most classes begin at 9:00 a.m. and end around 12:00 p.m. Students enrolled in science courses will often return in the afternoon for laboratory work. Occasionally classes will meet at night or on a weekend in order for students to attend a lecture, view a movie, prepare a presentation, etc.
Because so much material is covered during each class session, it is very important to attend your class every day. On the first day of class, most professors will give students a syllabus. This will include a list of required reading, the date of the final exam, and deadlines for papers or other requirements. You should follow this syllabus carefully. Most classes are a combination of lecture and class discussion. Discussion will generally be based on the reading you did the night before, so it is also important that you do all of the reading asked of you and come prepared to talk about it with your classmates.
Some other things to know about academic life at CC:
Class participation in encouraged. Most classes at the college are limited to 25 students. One reason classes are small is to allow for class discussion. At CC, there is a belief that students learn a great deal from their peers and from having to communicate their ideas in class. Professors encourage students to ask questions, express their own opinions, and to use critical reasoning to defend their points of view. Silence may be seen as a lack of preparation or a lack of interest, and class participation may even be a part of your grade. Speaking up in class may be difficult at first, but with time and practice you'll grow more comfortable with it!
The classroom culture may be more informal than you're used to. Many professors may seem very relaxed in their behaviors with students. Professors may eat or drink in the classroom, dress casually, and ask to be called by their first names. Some professors may even invite their students into their homes. Although you may have a more informal relationship with your professor, you are still expected to be respectful of the student-professor relationship - submitting course work on time, coming prepared for class, adhering to deadlines, etc.
Ask if you don't understand. If you have any questions about an assignment or an idea discussed in class, you should speak with your professor. Most professors hold office hours in the afternoon and students are encouraged to meet with them at this time. Don't be shy about doing this - professors expect to discuss issues of an academic nature with their students outside of class, and there is no shame associated with not understanding something, even if it has already been presented in a lecture.
- Do as much of the required course reading as you can, but don't panic if you can't get through it all, especially at first. Over time, you will become skilled at identifying what's most important to read carefully and what you can skim or skip.
- Follow up right away if you don't understand something. If you fall behind on the block plan, it can be especially difficult to catch up.
- Use the Writing Center. The Center provides free, individual tutoring sessions to assist students at any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming ideas and organizing your thoughts, to reviewing a final draft. Even the most gifted writers can benefit from their services.
English as a Second Language Support
The Writing Center offers a variety of resources to students who speak English as a second language. Two adjunct courses, GS201 and GS202, provide practice with written and spoken skills. Students may also arrange to meet individually with the ESL instructor. Descriptions of the adjunct courses are included below:
Advanced Written Practice in English as a Second Language (GS 201)
Language practice and support for any student whose native language is not English. Review of and practice in American academic writing conventions, mechanics, and English grammar. 1/2 unit; taught during the fall and spring semesters. Instructor: Carol Emmer.
Advanced Oral Practice in English as a Second Language (GS 202)
Strengthening of oral fluency skills through pronunciation practice, vocabulary development, and review of idiomatic expressions and two-word verbs. Students will also participate in classroom discussions and oral presentations. 1/2 unit; taught during the fall and spring semesters. Instructor: Carol Emmer.
The First Year Experience
If you are a first-year, degree-seeking student, you will have the opportunity to participate in a program called the 'First Year Experience," or FYE. This program is designed to help orient all new students to life in college and to quickly prepare you for the intense pace of the block plan. The FYE promotes critical examination and active discussion in class, and will help you develop the skills needed to succeed at CC. All first-year students will select an FYE course, lasting two blocks, before arriving in August. Click here for more information about the FYE program, including a list of past course descriptions.
Registering for Courses
First year, degree-seeking students will enroll in a special "First Course." This will consist of either a single, two-block course or two linked, one-block courses in Blocks I and II. You will receive more information about selecting this course over the summer. You will not need to register for your remaining courses until after your arrival at Colorado College.
Exchange students will register for classes through our office. You may view the most recent list of courses in the Catalog of Courses. You may also fill out a Course Registration Form for more information on selecting classes.
All students will be assigned a faculty advisor. Your advisor is meant to serve as a general resource and an educational mentor to you. You will meet with your advisor when you first arrive, and should continue to see your advisor at least three times a semester. Your advisor is there to provide academic support and advice, to assist you with selecting classes, and to help if you are having academic difficulties. Please keep in mind that your advisor is usually very busy and will most likely not come to you to ask how you are doing. It is important for you to take the initiative to visit your advisor and to help him or her get to know you better.
As an international student living in the U.S., you will inevitably experience periods of ups and downs as part of the adjustment process. It is important to understand that this is both real and normal. Trying to make sense of a new language, academic system, customs and unfamiliar daily tasks can be physically and mentally exhausting, and you may become very tired and frustrated during your first several weeks in the U.S. Although culture shock is felt differently by different people, many international students experience it in the following stages:
- Euphoria - The first few hours, days or weeks abroad are often characterized by feelings of excitement and elation. Everything seems new and interesting. You can't believe you're finally here!
- Irritability and Hostility - Once the initial "honeymoon" phase subsides, differences between your own culture and the U.S. begin to seem more pronounced, and a sense of alienation can set in. Everything seems so different and there are so many challenges to cope with. This stage is often characterized by feelings of frustration, insecurity, withdrawal and depression.
- Gradual Adjustment - With time, you'll begin to orient yourself to a different set of cultural practices and feel increasingly comfortable and confident in your new surroundings. Your sense of humor, which may have been lying dormant for a while, will reemerge.
- Reentry or Reverse Culture Shock - Upon returning home, you will be faced with integrating your life in the U.S. with your life at home. You may feel disoriented, out of place or changed by your experience in a way that makes relating to family and friends difficult.
Although there isn't much you can do to prevent these feelings, there are strategies you can use to ease the adjustment process. Here are a few suggestions:
- Settle into your living space as much as possible. Put up pictures of your family, listen to music you enjoy, and try to get settled as quickly as possible.
- Get involved. Join a student organization, play a sport, perform community service, or anything else you enjoy doing. These activities will help you make friends and take your mind off your homesickness.
- Establish a routine. Try to keep regular eating and sleeping habits, and to do at least one activity you look forward to on a regular basis at the same time each week.
- Be physically active. This can improve your mental and physical health. Many CC students find that participation in outdoor activities - hiking, biking, jogging, mountain climbing - can be an especially good way to get exercise, relieve stress and enjoy the beauty of Colorado.
- Talk to other international students. While international students who've been here some time may seem very happy and well-adjusted, it probably wasn't easy for them in the beginning, either. Ask them what they did that helped the most.
(Sources: Glimpse Abroad Guide to Culture Shock; Yale University Office of International Students and Scholars)
Our office sponsors a host family program for international students who are interested in getting to know a local family. The program officially lasts for your first year at CC, but many students remain close to their families throughout their four years at the college. We hope that you and your host family will form a friendship that will last long after you leave CC.
Although you will be living on campus, your host family will invite you to do things with them throughout the year. Your family may invite you to stay with them during holiday vacations, though they are not required to provide housing for you during vacation periods. You and your host family may go on outings together, they may take you shopping, or you may make a traditional meal for them from your country. You and your hosts will decide what kind of relationship is comfortable. However, if you find that you and your host family are not compatible, you should not feel obligated to continue the relationship. If this is the case, we would be happy to find another family who better meets your interests and needs.
A note on smoking: One thing to think about before you arrive in Colorado Springs is that many Americans do not appreciate smoking in their homes. If you are a smoker, ask your host family if smoking is allowed in their home, and go outside to smoke if it is not. Also, many public places such as restaurants are "smoke-free" in the United States. Be aware of this and be prepared to smoke in designated areas or outside if necessary.
Living in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs (pop. 400,000) is a metropolitan area located at the base of Pikes Peak, the Rampart Range Mountains, and the red sandstone rock formations known as the Garden of the Gods. Its economy is based on tourism, agriculture, military installations and technology businesses. During the orientation, we will discuss places to visit throughout Colorado Springs and Colorado.
Weather and Altitude
Colorado offers ideal weather conditions. The mountains provide protection from severe cold in the winter and the altitude (about 6,400 feet above sea level) provides protection from the intense summer heat. The weather is often sunny, but can change unpredictably...sometimes there are several types of weather in one day! Living in such an arid climate at a high altitude does take some time to get used to. You may find that you become short of breath doing everyday activities like climbing stairs. During the first week or two, you may feel slightly dizzy at times or complain of headaches. These symptoms may be a sign of altitude sickness and should pass. However, if these symptoms become severe, it is important that you go to the Boettcher Health Center on campus.
It is very easy to become dehydrated in Colorado's arid climate. Therefore, it is important that you drink a lot of water - even if you do not feel thirsty. Drinking water can help to offset some of the symptoms of altitude sickness. Other effects of the arid climate are dry lips and skin and difficulty wearing contact lenses. All of these symptoms can be remedied through the use of lip balm, moisturizing body lotion, and eye drops for contact lenses. Some students even complain of nosebleeds during the dry winter months. If you find that you are particularly bothered by the dry climate, having a humidifier in your dorm room can help to alleviate some of the problems. Boettcher Health Center can also give you advice on ways to stay hydrated if you’re having recurring problems.
Unfortunately, public transportation in Colorado Springs is not as convenient as most students would like. There is a city bus that stops in front of the Worner Center and although transfers can be time consuming, with a bus schedule and a little planning, you should be able to get just about anywhere in the city. If you're someone who prefers a faster, more spontaneous approach to travel, biking, walking, or catching rides with a friend may be a more acceptable alternative. Fortunately, Colorado College is located within walking distance of the downtown area. Taxis are also available, but can be expensive if you are traveling alone.
Driving in the United States
As an international student, you must have either an international driver's license or a U.S. driver's license to drive in the State of Colorado. A license from your home country is not acceptable. If you would like to get a Colorado driver's license, you will need to pass both a written test and a driving test before being issued a license.
To get a Colorado driver's license you must go to the Department of Motor Vehicles. You will need your passport, I-20, I-94 and a Social Security Card. You will also need to furnish your own car (or that of a trusting friend) for the driving test. Before taking your driver's license test, you should study the free booklet about driving laws in Colorado and in the United States. The booklet contains all of the information needed to pass the written part of the test. It is available from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
There are several stores within biking/walking distance from Colorado College where you can purchase most of your supplies.
Bon Shopping Center
2210 N. Wahsatch
King Soopers (Groceries)
1750 W. Uintah
1810 W. Uintah
Toons Music & Video (Music sales and video)
802 N. Nevada Ave.
Also within easy walking distance from the campus is the downtown shopping area. There are several specialty shops in this area such as music stores, bookstores, and clothing stores. The stores are fun to browse through and great for gifts, but some are quite expensive and most don't stock the "basics" that you'll need upon arriving at CC.
If you are able to find a ride, the following stores are great for buying almost anything that you will need at reasonable prices while settling into your room.
335 N. Academy Blvd. or 1630 East Cheyenne Mountain Blvd.
3201 E. Platte Ave. or 8th Street
Colorado Springs also has two shopping malls where you can find large department stores and smaller clothing and shoe stores. We will take at least one trip to Wal-Mart during the international student orientation.
Working in the United States
All employment must be authorized by the Director of the Office of Study Abroad/International Students. If you have any questions about the type of work you are allowed to perform as an international student, please ask before accepting any job. The U.S. government has different regulations governing work depending on the type of visa you are issued.
Here's a quick overview of the regulations governing the work of international students:
Students in F-1 student status are allowed to work on campus with the permission of the Director of the Office of Study Abroad/International Students. Priority in hiring is given to students who receive financial assistance from the college. If you are interested in working on campus, you should contact the Financial Aid Office once you arrive on campus. The Financial Aid Office keeps a list of jobs that are available on campus. In general, new international students may not apply for work until after the first block of classes. Students may work a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session, and a maximum of 40 hours per week during the winter and spring breaks, and during the summer vacation.
Only in certain circumstances are students in F-1 status allowed to work off campus. These circumstances include work that qualifies as Curricular Practical Training (internships that are an integral part of your studies at CC), or Optional Practical Training (work that is directly related to your academic field). In either case, students may only work off campus after being in the United States in F-1 status for at least nine months. Detailed information on working off campus is available at our office.
Social Security Cards
If you intend to work while you are in the United States, you will need to apply for a Social Security Card. When you apply for a Social Security Card, you will be assigned a Social Security number which is used for tax purposes. As an international student, your Social Security Card will probably be stamped with the words, "Not Valid for Employment." Don't worry - this only means that you must provide additional documentation to your employer to prove that you are authorized to work.
You can get an application for a Social Security Card from our office, but you must apply in person for a Social Security Card. You will need to have secured a job offer before applying for your card. When you apply for your Social Security Card, you will need your passport, I-20, your I-94, and a letter from our verifying your need for a card along with your completed application. It takes around 2 to 8 weeks for you to receive your card in the mail.
Boettcher Health Center
Boettcher Health Center, located on campus, provides a walk-in clinic and overnight infirmary with full-time nursing staff and a part-time physician. There is also a Counseling Center that has counselors who provide short-term therapy and consultation in study skills, cultural issues, stress management, eating disorders, substance abuse, relationships, as well as other medical or emotional concerns students may have.
Health insurance is mandatory for all students! You may use your own insurance from home, providing proof of such insurance when you arrive on campus, OR you may purchase the Colorado College insurance policy. The insurance for one year will cost about $1,600.
Should you decide to use your insurance from home, you need to be prepared to present proof of your coverage at registration. Please have your policy translated into English if it is written in another language. If your insurance policy does not meet the minimum standards for coverage set by the College, you will be required to purchase the College’s insurance policy.
Medical Forms and Immunizations
It is important that you complete the health forms that are sent to you prior to your arrival at Colorado College, including the Measles Certificate, Medical History, and Physical Form. You will not be allowed to complete the registration process during orientation week unless your health history form has been completed and returned to Boettcher Health Center, or handed in during registration. If necessary, you may get a complete physical exam by a doctor in Colorado Springs, but this will probably be more expensive than doing it at home before you come to the U.S. If you have not had a second dose of the measles vaccine, you will be required to receive the vaccination at registration.
There are many people at Colorado College dedicated to providing services to students. The following list will provide you with an overview of just a few of the offices that strive to meet students' needs.
The Campus Bookstore (located in the basement of Worner Center) sells all materials for Colorado College courses, including books, lab materials, and art supplies. The bookstore also stocks a selection of greeting cards and personal items.
Colorado College has its own security officers. These individuals are not police officers, but are responsible for patrolling the campus, responding to emergencies, and helping to ensure the safety of the campus community as a whole. Their office is located on campus and can be reached at any time during the day or the night.
The Career Center (located on the second floor of Worner Center) assists students in career planning throughout their four years at Colorado College. Services include regular workshops on subjects such as choosing a major, interviewing, writing a resume, and conducting a job search. The Career Center can be of great service to international students looking for internships.
Colket Student Learning Center
The Learning Center (located in Tutt Library) offers academic support to all students. It includes a Writing Center, where students can work through the writing process and improve the expression of their ideas. There is also a Quantitative Reasoning Center, which helps students strengthen quantitative reasoning skills they need to succeed in entry-level classes in math and science.
Student computer labs can be found in Worner Center, Tutt Library, Barnes Science Center, Palmer Hall, as well as Loomis, Mathias, and Slocum dorms. Students may use these computers for almost any of their needs, including word processing, data management, and internet connections. More specialized computer facilities can be found in some academic buildings, such as the humanities and languages computer lab in Armstrong Hall.
El Pomar Sports Center
Exercise and sports programs are centered in the El Pomar Sports Center. This building has facilities for all indoor sports, as well as a weight room, and laboratories for exercise physiology and biomechanics. Other sports facilities on campus include the Washburn, Autrey, and Stewart playing fields, Schlessman Pool, and Honnen Ice Rink.
Sodexho Food Service
At the time of registration, all on-campus students select their preference in meal plans. The options will be carefully explained during orientation.
Office of Minority Student Life
The Office of Minority Student Life (located on the second floor of Worner Center) provides support and services for ethnic and minority students as well as the various minority student groups on campus.
Shove Chapel Council
The Shove Chapel Council provides opportunities for students of all religious beliefs (or no religious beliefs) to come together for discussion and programs on moral, ethical and religious issues. In addition, the College Chaplain seeks to support students in their own religious traditions.
Tutt Library is available to all students, faculty, and staff. A special library tour and information session will be provided for international students during the International Student Orientation.
Opportunities for Involvement
Sports are considered an integral part of the liberal arts education at Colorado College, but participation is optional. There are two different options for formalized participation in athletics at Colorado College:
Intercollegiate Sports: Men compete in football, ice hockey, basketball, baseball, track and field, soccer, lacrosse, golf, tennis, swimming, skiing and cross-country. Women compete in basketball, cross-country, soccer, softball, skiing, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Club sports for men include rugby, ice hockey, squash, ultimate Frisbee and cycling. Women's club sports are ice hockey, field hockey, squash, cycling, ultimate Frisbee and lacrosse.
Intramural Sports: Flag football, hockey, volleyball, basketball, slow-pitch softball, broom-ball, tennis and soccer. Wings or groups of friends usually form their own teams.
Community Service (Volunteer Work)
The Center for Service and Learning (located on the second floor of Worner Center) assists all members of the College community in finding meaningful volunteer work in Colorado Springs. Some social issues that are addressed include hunger and homelessness, literacy, care of the elderly, child companionship, the environment and human rights. The Center organizes volunteer work trips in the U.S. and Mexico for spring break and the four-day Priddy Experience program during New Student Orientation.
Students are encouraged to get involved in one or more of the numerous policy-making committees that play important roles in governing the college. Students may serve on the committees or simply take part in the numerous activities planned by the following groups: the Arts & Crafts Center, the Dance Workshop, Livesounds committee, the Outdoor Recreation Center, and the Theatre Workshop.
The best way to keep busy and satisfied outside of class is to join one or more student groups. Once you get involved in the CC community, your schedule will be filled with activities and lots of new friends.
Here are just a few of the many student organizations to give you an idea of the wide range of opportunities that exist on campus:
Asian-American Student Union (AASU)
Black Student Union (BSU)
Chaverim (Jewish Student Association)
College Citizens Active for Peace
Colorado College Campus Association (CCCA)
Cutler Publications (including a newspaper, yearbook, and literary magazine)
ENACT (Students for Environmental Action)
EQUAL (Empowered Queers United for Absolute Liberation)
Fraternities & Sororities
I Mua Lokahi (Hawaiian Student Association)
KASA (Korean American Student Association)
Mosaic: International Student Organization
Native American Student Union (NASU)
QSA (Queer Straight Alliance)
SOMOS (Latino/a Student Association)
South-Asian Student Alliance (SASA)
VIVA (Vanquish Ignorance, Vanquish Apathy)