International Student Orientation
Northwestern's Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISS) provides resources, support, and programs to assist you as you transition to life at Northwestern and the United States.
International Student Orientation (ISO) Overview
The Wildcat Welcome experience begins with a track designed for incoming international students: International Student Orientation (ISO). Presented by Northwestern's Office of International Student and Scholar Services, ISO will provide international students with essential information and advice on such matters as immigration, medical insurance, and acclimating to US academic culture and life in Evanston.
- Due June 30: Register for ISO via the Wildcat Welcome Registration Form located in your Purple Prep Checklist
- August 31-September 7: Virtual information available within the ISO Homebase course (course available in May)
- September 7: Move-in day for students participating in ISO
- September 8-11: ISO in-person programming
- September 11-18 and 23: Wildcat Welcome
Who Participates in ISO?
ISO is required for those with F-1/J-1 visas.
Undergraduate students who identify as US citizens living abroad and those with dual US citizenship or other visa types are welcome to participate in ISO if you believe it would be useful to your transition. If interested, please register through the Wildcat Welcome Registration Form, due June 30, located in your Purple Prep Checklist.
Move-in Day for ISO students
Undergraduate students participating in ISO move into their campus residence on September 7. The Wildcat Welcome Registration Form includes a section to denote your airport arrival on September 7 and if you wish to use University-provided transportation to campus (known as "airport pickup") on that day. While domestic students moving to campus on September 11 are asked to select a move-in appointment, you do not need to select a move-in appointment for September 7.
ISO ProgrammingStudents will first receive important information about arrival, travel, and immigration status when they receive the ISO Homebase course invitation in May via email. Students then move to campus on September 7 to participate in the in-person portion of ISO before joining the full incoming class for Wildcat Welcome. ISO programming will cover many essential topics such as
- Essential immigration information
- Health insurance, healthcare, and immunizations
- Setting up a US bank account
- Transportation in the United States
- Cell phones
- Getting to know campus
- And much more
International Peer Adviser (IPA)
International peer advisers are current students who will assist you in navigating the transition to life at Northwestern and in the United States; you will have an IPA in addition to your peer adviser (PA) for Wildcat Welcome. You will begin receiving OISS's Summer Engagement Series information in the spring, and your IPA will reach out to you in July to answer any questions you may have as you prepare to come to the United States; you will also hear from your PA in late July or early August as part of the orientation process for all new students.
Request your I-20/DS-2019 no later than August 1
Visit the OISS website to review the steps and requirements for new international students, including how to prepare to request your immigration documents prior to obtaining your student visa at a US consulate. Request your immigration document (Form I-20 for F-1 international students or DS-2019 for J-1 international students) in the OISS Portal after you have received your OISS Portal invitation email.
After you receive your OISS Portal invitation email, please submit your immigration document request as soon as possible to allow yourself the most time to obtain your visa and arrange travel plans.
Over the Summer
Over the summer, please check the OISS Orientation website for the latest updates and information on OISS airport pickups. Additionally, be sure to set up a “Homebase” account to access two online courses designed to aid new degree seeking international students in their transition and arrival to Northwestern University. If you have not already done so, follow these steps to create your account and access the courses:
- Create an account with Homebase
- In the “select your institution” box, select Northwestern University on the dropdown menu.
- In the access code box, enter: 3425
- Fill in the rest of the information and set a password to create your account and access the courses. Note, the “Newly Admitted Student Guide” is available now. The “Pre-Arrival Guide” will be available in July.
- Be sure to make note of your password so that you can return to log in to this platform and access the courses. There will be additional pre-arrival and post-arrival guides that will be available to you in the future. You will need to login to this same platform to access those guides as well.
Questions for OISS prior to arrival?
Join virtual office hours for new students to connect with OISS staff and ask questions
- These virtual sessions will be offered weekly every Friday until August 25, 2023, from 9:00 - 10:00 AM (CT).
- Use this Time Zone Converter tool to convert Illinois time to your current time zone.
- Join the New Student Q & A sessions via Zoom at the schedules time.
- Connect with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services on Social Media