International Student & Scholar Services provides an orientation program for new international students prior to start of their academic program at Drew. This program is designed to provide students with helpful information to facilitate a positive transition to life in the U.S and to the University.

Orientation for students in the College of Liberal Arts occurs prior to Freshmen Orientation so that students have time to get moved in and adjusted to life on campus before the majority of students arrive on “move-in day.”

Graduate students in the Theological School participate in Orientation prior to the three-week intensive Language and Learning program in August. With the assistance of the staff and faculty at Drew, new students will learn important information about:

  • Campus and community resources
  • Introduction to immigration rules and regulations
  • Opening a bank account
  • Academic advising and support
  • Student health services and health insurance requirements
  • Introduction to computer and library facilities
  • Opportunities to meet other new international students

Checklist for Newly Admitted Students

Be sure to review the following information before your arrival on campus.

  1. Make sure your travel documents are in order. Do not finalize your arrangements until you have your passport, Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) or DS-2019, SEVIS I-901 fee receipt and visa stamp. You may enter the United States only if your Certificate of Eligibility is endorsed to the university in which you intend to enroll.
  2. Take care of your financial obligations and arrange for proper monetary transfer to pay tuition and fees. Carefully review requirements for obtaining foreign exchange. Make sure you have adequate funds.
  3. Plan to arrive on campus on the date designated on your Form I-20 or DS-2019. If you are living on campus, you must apply for housing with the Res Life Office before you arrive on campus.
  4. Undergraduates should closely monitor the Admissions website to be sure that all required forms are received before arrival in the U.S. Graduate and Theological students should discuss specific program requirements and required university forms with the Admissions Office for Caspersen or the Theo School.

Please Note:  If you arrive on campus after working hours (after 5 p.m.) or on a Saturday or Sunday and need assistance, please call visit the Office of Public Safety in the Pepin Center or call at 1-973-408-3379.


Orientation Schedule: College of Liberal Arts

Move-In Day for new international students is Sunday, August 20th.  The mandatory International Orientation will begin on Monday, August 21st. Classes at Drew begin on Monday, August 28th.

Students are expected to arrive in the U.S. on Move-In day (Sunday, August 20th).  If you arrive prior to the reporting date, please make arrangements to stay at a local hotel.

Students will receive official Fall 2017 Orientation Schedule with session locations on Move-In Day.


Welcome Schedule: Theological School

The 2017 International Student Orientation will be take place during the first week of the Language & Culture Program in Seminary Hall.  If you are not participating in the Language & Culture Program in August and plan to arrive the week of August 20th please schedule a New Student Interview with International Student & Scholar Services (email:

What to Bring

Climate and Clothing

Northern New Jersey has a varying climate with four distinct seasons:

Season Months Temperature
Summer June–September 24–34°
Fall October–November 10–24°
Winter December–March -1–16°
Spring April–May 16–24°

Temperatures vary considerably from year to year. During spring, summer and fall, moderate periods of rainfall occur; snow falls periodically during the winter months.

Three basic types of clothing are essential:

  • In winter, heavy jackets or overcoats, hats, scarves, gloves and boots are needed.
  • During chilly autumn and spring days, raincoats or medium-weight coats or jackets are worn outdoors; sweaters indoors.
  • A light-weight jacket is sometimes necessary for cool nights during spring and fall.

Personal Items

Most students like to bring examples of arts, crafts, traditional dress, photographs, tapes or CDs, maps or other items descriptive of their country and culture to show interested Americans and to provide a touch of home to their new homes. You may want to bring items you use regularly that may not be readily available or may be more expensive in the United States, such as eyeglasses, cameras, watches, traditional pre-packaged foods or portable music players. You may also have the opportunity to visit a duty-free port where such items may be purchased at a reduced cost.

Basic furniture is provided in the campus residence halls, but the below items are not; you will need these during your stay. If you do not bring these items with you, we organize a trip to a store during orientation so that you can purchase them within the first few days of your arrival. However, please bring a pillow, towel and sheets for at least the first few nights. We do not provide linens in the dorm room for students.

Essential Items & Approximate Cost (USD)

  • High-speed Internet cable for your computer $10
  • Desk lamp $15
  • Pillow(s) $10
  • Bed sheets (twin size) $20
  • Blanket(s) $30 – 50
  • Bath towel $7 – 15
  • International power converter $20

Also consult the list of items recommended for dormitory living, provided by the Office of Residence Life. These are items you may wish to purchase after arriving on campus.

On-campus apartments for Graduate and Theological students are very sparsely furnished. The Residence Director for Grad/Theo can provide access to a limited supply of used household goods (pots, pans, utensils, furniture, appliances, decorations, etc.) that have been donated by past residents and community members. To browse the available items, contact the Grad/Theo Residence Director at x3055.

Things to Leave at Home

You can obtain a booklet on customs regulations at the consulate or embassy where you acquire your visa. Prohibited items include some foodstuffs, narcotics and items for resale. For more information, visit these Web sites of the US Customs Service: TSA Prohibited Items, and TSA quantity limitations for liquids, aerosols, and gels (toiletries).

Arrival Info

Getting from the Airport to Drew

Due to new immigration policies you will not be allowed into the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. You should have your financial certification documents to show the Port of Entry officer when you enter the U.S. If you have problems entering the country and the officer wants to speak with a representative from  Drew University, you can call during office hours (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) at (973) 408-3111.

From Newark Airport

Taking a taxi is the easiest way to get from the airport to Drew University. On the baggage claim level there is a station for taxis. My Limo offers taxi service to Drew University from Newark (about $65 plus tip and tolls). Please make prior arrangements with My Limo if you want a taxi service to meet you outside the Customs area at the airport. If you can’t make prior arrangements there are usually plenty of other taxis at the airport, but the fare may be higher. Make sure you agree with the taxi driver on the fare, plus tolls, before you leave the airport.

If you don’t have much baggage, you can also take the AirTrain Newark Train from the Newark Liberty Airport to Secaucus Station and then change trains to New Jersey Transit Dover line which goes to Madison, NJ (where Drew University is). For walking directions from the Madison train station, please see the maps and directions portion of the Drew website.

From J.F.K. Airport

It is also possible to get to Drew from JFK airport by taxi. “Airport Express Taxi offers services to Drew for $105 plus $15.75 tip and $1.00 per bag. Please make prior arrangements. From US – 1-888-566-6665. Outside US – 1-973-701-7884. There is also an area for taxis in case you could not make prior arrangements. These fares could be as high as $160.00 plus a 15% tip and tolls ($16). Make sure to arrange the price before you leave in the taxi. Most taxi drivers only take US dollars, not credit cards or traveler checks.  You can also get to Drew by public transit. Take the AirTrain to the Howard Beach/JFK Subway stop for the A Train. Take the A train to Penn Station. For directions from Penn Station to the Madison train station, please see the maps and directions portion of Drew’s website.

Taking a taxi is the easiest way to get to Drew University. The taxis can be found on the baggage claim level. “Airport Express Taxi” offers a taxi service to Drew University from La Guardia for about $95 plus a $14.25 tip and about $16 in tolls. Please make prior arrangements with the company (from US 1-888-566-6665 or outside US – 1-973-701-7884). If you didn’t make arrangements beforehand you can usually still get a taxi, but the fare could be as high as $150.00 plus a 15% tip. Make sure to arrange the price before you get in the taxi.

Accommodations in the Area

If you are planning to stay in a hotel before you move into the residence hall, or if you would like a friend or family member to visit you, Drew University provides a list of nearby hotels on our website.

Port of Entry Procedures

Once you have obtained your U.S. student visa, you are ready to finalize your travel plans. Be sure to have your Form I-20 (for F-1 visas) Or DS-2019 (J-1 visas) and your proof of the SEVIS fee payment with your passport when you go through your immigration inspection at the U.S. port of entry.  Do not pack your immigration documents in your suitcase!

DO NOT enter on anther school’s Certificate of Eligibility, as that is considered to be a fraudulent entry by the U.S. Immigration authorities.

DO NOT attempt to enter the United States with large sums of money unless you declare it with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is a US federal law that anyone carrying more than $10,000 in a monetary instrument of any form must declare that money or risk having it seized by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials.

DO NOT attempt to enter the United States on a visitor/tourist visa (B-2) unless it is designated “Prospective Student” by a consular officer or unless you will be doing short “incidental study” only. The U.S. Immigration Service rarely authorizes a change of status from B-2 to F-1.You will be prevented from enrolling in school until your change of status application is approved, which could take several months.

DO NOT attempt to enter the United States under the visa waiver program (unless you intend to do incidental study in ESL), available to citizens from nearly 30 countries throughout the world. The waiver program is designed for tourists only, and attending school (apart from “incidental study”) under the waiver program is a clear violation of U.S. immigration law.

Expect to go through both immigration and customs inspection at the U.S. port of entry. You may also be required to go through a pre-inspection procedure at certain airports abroad.

At the immigration booth, present your passport, your I-20, your proof of the SEVIS I-901 fee payment and your completed I-94 arrival/departure card (if the card was distributed on the airplane). Expect to have your fingers scanned for fingerprint purposes and a digital photograph taken, as required by U.S. federal regulations.

In the vast majority of cases, there will be no difficulty. In certain cases, if there is some problem with your documents, you may be issued a 30-day entry on your I-94 card and issued a form I-515, usually with instructions to see your international student advisor.

Examine your I-94 card and I-20 carefully as you leave the immigration booth. F-1 students should have their I-94s marked “D/S” which means Duration of Status, along with a stamp indicating the date you entered the United States. The same stamp and “D/S” notation should also be on the I-20. If an expiration date is written on the I-94 instead of “D/S,” and you are in F or J status, come to the Office of International Student Services as soon as possible.

Anyone who is denied admission at a U.S. port of entry should be very cautious about arguing with the immigration official. You may risk being issued “expedited removal,” which now entails a five-year bar on admission to the United States. If you are denied admission, first try to contact the Office of International Student Services for assistance, but also make it known to the immigration official that you are willing to withdraw your application for admission to the country rather than be subject to expedited removal.


Housing Application, Assignment, and Move-in Procedures

Undergraduate students entering the College of Liberal Arts are required to live on campus and each student must complete a housing application with Residence Life.  Graduate and Theological School students who plan to live on campus must also apply for on-campus housing in graduate apartments through the office of Residence Life. All students are advised as to housing options during the admissions process. The following staff members can provide detailed information about on-campus housing.

College of Liberal Arts & Graduate and Theological Schools
Bob Meade
Undergraduate Housing Coordinator
(973) 408-3681

Living on Campus During Breaks and Holidays

Undergraduate residence halls close during several breaks and holidays throughout the academic year and during summer months (Thanksgiving Break in the third week of November; Winter Break beginning mid-December; January Term beginning the first week of January; Spring Break beginning the second week of March). Residents are required to vacate the residence halls during these times.

Undergraduate international students wishing to stay in residence halls during such periods pay an additional fee per night (approximately $48 nightly), and temporarily relocate so that all students living on campus during break periods reside in one residence hall. Contact Undergraduate Housing at x3681 if you would like to remain in campus housing during any of these periods.

Graduate and Theological housing does not close at any time during the year, and Grad and Theo students are not required to relocate or pay additional fees during breaks and holidays.

Living in NJ and the US

Information about Madison & the Surrounding Area

Driver’s Licenses & Vehicle Registration

How to Apply for a Social Security Number

In order to apply to the Social Security Administration for a number, you must have the following documents:

  1. Employment Letter (This letter should include the employer’s name, address, phone, email, supervisor’s name, Employer Identification Number and employment start date.)
  2. Form SS-5 (available online). You can fill the form out online and then print it out to take with you to the Social Security Administration. The SS-5 form is also available at the Social Security Office.
  3. Passport, I-94 card, and I-20 (You must have all of these documents with you when you apply).
  4. Letter from ISSS to provide further support for your application.

International Student & Scholar Services will need a copy of the Employment Letter in order to write the letter of support. You can make an appointment to request a letter or send an email with your request.

The Social Security Administration is located at 2200 State Route 10, 2nd Floor, Parsippany, NJ. The hours are Monday-Friday 9am-4pm. Please let me know when you have the letter of employment.