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Important Information for Undergraduate Students

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 Undergraduate students are required to live on campus. Please visit or for detailed information on opening dates for housing and the academic calendar. For those on meal plans – the cafeterias will not be open until registration begins – however – there is a cash cafeteria in the Cheel Campus Center.

I-20/DS-2019 Endorsement
Upon arrival to Clarkson University, page 3 of your I-20 or page 1 of the DS-2019 will need to be endorsed by the International Advisor. You may stop by the International Student & Scholars Office (229 Price Hall - Thomas Entrance) for a signature. Note: You must report to the ISSO within 30 days of your arrival on campus.

Things You Should Know Before Coming to the United States:

Tuition and Fees – Upon arriving at Clarkson you are expected to pay all required tuition and fees before registering. You are not considered a student until all your financial obligations have been met and you sign an address card. Failure to comply with the above may result in you returning to your home country. 

On Campus Employment – While international students are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week on campus, jobs are very hard to find. Many of the work-study jobs are paid for with U.S. government funds and American citizens will be given first priority. Do not rely on obtaining a job to help pay your expenses. You showed ample funds to secure your I-20, it is expected that you will be able to support yourself. The American culture does not look favorably upon international students arriving from abroad, going to various departments looking for a job and saying they don’t have any money to support their self.

Money– Potsdam is a small town with one international bank (HSBC). It is a good idea for you to change some money before you leave your country we recommend travelers’ checks as the best way to carry money. Do not carry large amounts of cash. Upon arrival, you will probably want to open a bank account, as most students do. You will then be able to transfer money internationally if you need to but remember those transactions may take some time, up to three weeks possibly, and it can cost approximately $15.00 for each draft. 

Opening a Bank Account Two Forms of ID are required to open a bank account. The passport is one the other can be:  Foreign National Identity Card (with photo), certified birth certificate (with raised seal), a foreign driver’s license (with photo).  If you don’t have any other form of ID except your passport and I-20, you can use your Clarkson acceptance letter along with your Clarkson ID (this will have your picture).

Expenses– Be prepared to have some additional money on hand, especially if you are renting an apartment (approximately $500).  You will have to pay a deposit, if renting an apartment usually equal to one month’s rent but varies. Obtaining phone service or having to pay for power, another deposit is required.   

Clothing– The most important thing to remember is that Potsdam is located in the northern part of the U.S., and it gets very cold here in the winter. Since we can have large quantities of snow, you will need a good thick coat and snow boots. Most students have down or polyester padding filled jackets or coats, and of course, good gloves, scarves and woolen hats. Well clothed, you can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Many of our students like to ski and pursue other outdoor activities. While clothing costs are not high in the U.S., they may seem so in comparison with the costs in your country; so you may want to come with a good supply of your favorite casual clothing. Student dress is generally casual. (The Lending Cupboard has many good, used clothing)

Adapter -Any electronic devices you bring from your home country be sure to bring an adapter to plug into US outlets.

Lending Cupboard – Dedicated to help international students, spouses, and families with more than 10,000 items for distribution ranging from warm coats, hats, gloves, to small appliances, dishes, cooking utensils and major pieces of furniture to help furnish apartments. If items are needed, contact names and phone numbers will be made available.

Health Report – You must receive a physical examination before registering for classes. It would be best if you could get that done before you come to the U.S. It can be done here, but can be quite expensive. You cannot register until the Health Report has been completed and sent to the Health Center.

Driving a Car in the U.S.A. – If you want to drive a car using your home country license while in the U.S., you will need to obtain an international driver’s license in your home country before coming to the U.S. You must have both the international driver’s license or permit (good for 1 year only) and your home country license (with English translation) to drive in the U.S.A. Under some circumstances, you could obtain a New York State driver’s license once you arrive in Potsdam.

English Placement Test – The week of Orientation, most students will be required to take an English as a Second Language (ESL) writing placement test, if English is not your first language. This test will determine whether you need to take any further writing or speaking courses. These courses are at not cost to you and do not count toward your academic degree requirements.

Apartment/House – Before signing a lease on an apartment or house read the whole contract before you sign anything. A signed lease is an enforceable legal document. If you sign a lease for one year, you are bound by the signed lease to live there for the whole year. You can’t sign a lease for a year, and then decide you want to move or go home in a month and expect to leave with no liability for the rent for the remainder of the term. Again read before you sign! You will need to pay a deposit on most apartments, usually one month’s rent.

ClarksonUniversityDorms – Dorm rooms can be rather bare. It is a good idea for you to bring some personal possessions that you would enjoy seeing around you every day and particularly to bring photographs of your family and perhaps of your home. Other students will be most interested in your country, so if you have slides or photographs, please bring them.