Frequently Asked Questions

What is the SEVIS Fee?

Colorado State University collects an administrative charge to cover administrative costs associated with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The USA Patriot Act (2001) requires universities to utilize the SEVIS system and maintain extensive electronic records.

The SEVIS charge is $125 each semester and is applied to the student accounts of all F-1 and J-1 students.

This charge should not be confused with the SEVIS fee that visa applicants pay to the United States Department of State.

When should I arrive?

In order to attend the mandatory Ram Orientation for International Students for the Fall 2019 semester, please arrive on the weekend before Orientation–so Saturday or Sunday, January 11 or 12, 2020. Make your travel and housing arrangements early, including plane tickets, shuttle reservation, and arrangements for temporary and permanent housing. You may consider buying travel insurance.

F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors are allowed to enter the US no earlier than 30 days before the program start date listed on your I-20.

Can I move in early to my CSU apartment or dorm?

Yes. Students living on campus can request to be put on the “early move-in list” for their residence hall. Tell the person you’ve been in contact with from Residence Life that you must arrive early to attend International Orientation.

You will be charged $60 per day for moving in early; this charge includes your room and 3 meals each day in one of the CSU dining centers. As soon as you know your arrival date, notify your residence hall to make sure you will be allowed to move in early!

  • Residence Halls officially open Thursday, August 22nd 2019 at 8:00 a.m. 
    (early arrivals for RLCs, band, athletics, and student leadership positions will be arranged through your programs)
  • Check in consists of completing important paperwork not already done and signing for and receiving keys.
  • Expect the check in process to take about 1 hour (depending on crowds).

More information on the Housing and Dining Services website here!

Where can I live before moving in to my housing?

Whether you’ve secured permanent housing on campus or off campus, it’s not uncommon for international students to arrive in Fort Collins before their place to live is available. If you would like to make your first days in Fort Collins a cultural experience, we recommend signing up for the Home-stay Program offered by the Fort Collins International Center. They will place you in a local person’s home to live for up to 5 days with a host-family in the community, at no cost. You must have plans for permanent housing after the 5 days, because this is only a short-term program offered the week of Ram Orientation. Other temporary housing options are available at the Housing webpage.

What is the weather like?

Fort Collins boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine per year! The area also features low humidity, moderate winters and an overall mild year-round climate. You can expect about 15 inches (40 cm) of precipitation each year with about one-third of it in the form of snow.

July is the warmest month, with an average high of 32°C (90°F) and an average low of 14°C (57°F). You will learn to bring a light jacket with you, even in the summer, because hot days can cool down quickly once the sun goes down. January is the coldest month, with an average high of 6°C (42°F) and an average low of -10°C (14°F), with high wind speeds, rain, and snow. Sometimes there are “cold snaps” when the temperature will never rise above -10°C (14°F) for three or four days! We highly recommend purchasing hats, gloves, warm boots, and a winter coat for these times.

What should I pack?

Please bring Original Copies of the following documents with you to the airport. You will be required to show them at the US Port of Entry. We also recommend making copies of each, and bringing them in a different location than the originals:

  • Passport valid at least 6 months from the date you plan to enter the US
  • Valid visa for the school you will attend
  • I-20 or DS2019 with a report date of your planned enrollment
  • SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
  • Colorado State University Offer Letter and Admission Letter
  • Copy of financial documents (bank statements, account statements, or tax documents that show you have enough funds to support your study in the US)
  • Click here for a Printable Travel Card.

You should also pack:

  • Enough accessible money–in cash, debit cards, or travelers checks–for initial living expenses, such as housing and food. Traveler’s checks, while a safe way to bring money, usually need to be cashed in a bank. We recommend bringing about $400.
  • A copy of all prescriptions for medicines, eye glasses and contact lenses. All prescriptions should be written in English.
  • Bring prescriptions that you are currently taking. Bring an extra pair of glasses if you wear them.
  • Winter coat and boots/shoes (unless you wish to purchase here).
  • Addresses and phone numbers of friends and family.
  • Cultural items to share with others and remind you of home: music, crafts, videos, photo albums, recipes, and traditional clothing are just a few suggestions!

How do I register for Classes?

All new students are assigned advising codes. This 6-digit number is required before registering and is given to you when you are advised. Undergraduate students, you will learn how to be advised by completing the online International Student Pre-Orientation Module. Graduate students, you will learn how to be advised by reaching out to your graduate department coordinator, who can put you in contact with your advisor.

Once you have your advising code, you may register for classes!

  1. Log onto RAMweb .
  2. To explore course options, click “Course Catalog” on your RAMweb homepage. Select the term; then select the college or subject matter you would like to explore. Read through all your course options, then make a note of the Course Reference Numbers (CRNs).
  3. Once you are ready to register, go back to your RAMweb homepage, click “Registration”.
  4. On the next page, select the correct Registration Term, and then click “Submit”.
  5. To locate classes, click on the Class Search at the bottom of the Add/Drop Classes page. Once you have selected your class(es), click the checkbox beside the sections you want to register for, or type the five-digit Course Reference Numbers (CRNs) for the courses you have selected into the CRN boxes at the bottom.
  6. Click “Submit Changes”.
  7. All successfully added courses will appear under Current Schedule with a status of Registered or Registered on Web with the date.
  8. Any courses for which registration was not successful will appear just above the Add Classes Worksheet and will be identified with a red octagon and the heading of Registration Add Errors.

See further instructions from the Registrar.



What might be different in the American Classroom?


Just as American culture is different from your own, so classroom culture at CSU may be different from what you are used to. Check out the presentation on Succeeding in the American Classroom, and learn more about possible differences:

  • Expect more interaction with your professor–often on a more personal level
  • It may be considered disrespectful if you show up late: attend every class, and always show up on time.
  • Your professor may ask to be called by their first name
  • Your professor likely expects you to show up to office hours outside of class
  • Participating in class (sharing your ideas, asking questions, etc) is extremely important–do this every day
  • Expect a lot more homework, a lot more group projects, and a lot more discussion
  • Your grades will be based on participation (including showing up on time), homework, and tests–not just the final exam.
  • Exams ask more open-ended questions–emphasizing how you worked out your answer
  • General expectation of politeness and respect–say “please” and “thank you” to everyone, regardless of status

Learn more about keys to academic success and American classroom culture.

How do I sign up for a Cultural Mentor?

Connect with a Cultural Mentor!

The Cultural Mentor Team is a group of U.S. American and international student volunteers who have been trained to assist new international students with their adjustment to the U.S., on everything from finding housing to tips about Fort Collins to cultural adjustment.

Sign up here to be paired with a Cultural Mentor!

Do I need a power adapter?

If you’re bringing a phone, laptop, digital camera with a charger, or other electronics from home, you may need to purchase a plug adapter. While US electrical outlets are 110-volts AC, many electronics are made with a voltage adapter so you only have to convert the shape of the plug (not the voltage). You can purchase these after arriving. Remember that if you’re living in a Residence Hall, you’re not allowed to use appliances like hot-water pots and rice-cookers except for in the communal kitchen.

What should I know about cell phones?

When choosing a cell phone plan, you should consider the following:

  • When will you be using your cell phone? Nights and weekends (off-peak hours) or during the business day (peak hours-the most expensive times)?
  • How much do extra minutes cost when you go over the allotted amount?
  • How much does it cost per minute for roaming charges outside of the service area; what is roaming?
  • What standard features does the plan provide? (Call waiting, voicemail, picture messaging, Internet, etc.)
  • Are there any extra fees for using special services? (text messaging, picture messaging, internet,)
  • What guarantees does the provider have for the life of the cell phone?
  • What are international calling options and fees associated with those options?

For more advice on how to go about comparing cell phone plans:

*Most companies said that using pre-paid international phone cards with a cell phone would be the best option for a prepaid phone It is important to consider how many minutes and text messages you would like to use while in the states. Below is a list of the addresses and contact information for various providers.

Verizon Wireless (970) 377-20544300

3300 S College Ave #190, Fort Collins, CO 80525

Sprint (970) 282-8444250

Harmony Rd, Fort Collins, CO 8052

AT&T Wireless/ GoPhone (970) 226-86104515

John F Kennedy Pkwy #4A
Fort Collins, CO 80525

T-Mobile (970) 225-6818238

E Harmony RdFort Collins, CO 80525

Cricket (970) 472-51022505

S. College AveFort Collins, CO

What tips do you have for new international students?

  • Try to be on time, even for informal events. Locals are generally punctual.
  • Come to class prepared (and come to class!)
  • Never be afraid to ask questions. CSU exists to serve our students, and in general Americans ask many questions.
  • Join social events, student organizations, and sports teams–at the end of your time at CSU, you don’t want to leave wondering about all the things you missed. Your time here is to gain a degree, yes, but even employers value student involvement more than you think!
  • Keep your accommodation clean and tidy. Make your home a place you feel at peace.
  • Overcome problems by sharing them with your friends, teachers and CSU resources like the counseling office.
  • Put effort into making friends outside your own culture group. It is not as easy, but it’s worth it!
  • Visit the OIP with any of your questions–we’re here to help!

How and when do I pay tuition?

Tuition and fees are billed directly to your student account. Full payment is due by September 10th for Fall semester and February 10th for Spring semester. You can view your account on your RamWeb. Office of Financial Aid has more information on this process.

Where can I practice English?

Practice your English and make new friends at these free drop-in classes!

The Fort Collins International Center invites you to join them every Monday at Aggie Village from 9:30-11 a.m., and every Thursday at University Village from 9:30-11 a.m.  These classes offer language help for all levels, and offer insight into American customs and build community with others.

International Students Inc. is a Christian organization that offers free conversational English classes for women (intermediate level) every Wednesday at University Village Center, 11:30am to 1pm.

They also offer English language tutoring for men and women of all levels every Monday, 7 to 8:30pm at Faith Evangelical Free Church, and every Tuesday, 6:30 to 8:15pm at LifePointe Church.

There are also a few fee-required options to learn with more formal instruction.

INTO CSU provides intensive English language study throughout the year.

Center for Adult Learning at Front Range Community College offers classes for adults 17 and over. Morning and evening classes available for all levels. $60.00 annual tuition fee.

Any tips for buying a car?


Most motor vehicle purchasing problems occur because of two things: 1) poor communication between customers and dealers, and 2) major misunderstandings by customers of what their obligations are. Few complaints involve fraud.

It is important that you think through your purchase decision and understand what your obligations and rights are. Do your homework and be an educated consumer!

  1. Determine the type of vehicle you want, need, and can afford. How will the vehicle be used? What optional equipment do you need?
  2. Shop around! In addition to the price of the vehicle, consider the cost of insurance, maintenance expenses, financing, etc. Get all the facts you need to make a good decision.
  3. Consider how you are going to pay for the vehicle. Cash, loan, amount of down payment? Shop for the financing just as you shop for the car. Compare all the terms of financing, not just the monthly payments. Pay attention to the interest rate, number of months, down payment, amount of finance charge and total price.
  4. There is NO AUTOMATIC RIGHT TO CANCEL a vehicle purchase within three days.
  5. Most used vehicles are sold “as is,” without any guarantee or warranty. It is important that you or a qualified mechanic thoroughly inspect the vehicle before buying.
  6. Dealers must post a Buyer’s Guide on all used vehicles. This window sticker will tell you if the vehicle is being sold “as is” or with a warranty, and the terms of that warranty. It will also indicate if a service contract is available for the vehicle.
  7. Federal law requires that new cars, station wagons and vans display a label showing the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). This label gives you an idea of where to begin negotiating on price and provides a benchmark for comparing prices between makes and models. Dealers may also add a supplemental label for dealer-added equipment, handling charges, extra profit, and similar fees.
  8. There are various publications which quote relative values for used vehicles. These so-called “book” prices can be used as guidelines for pricing. However, many factors, including mileage, condition, equipment and age affect the specific price for a vehicle.
  9. GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING! To avoid misunderstanding, get all promises in writing on the contract that you sign. If repairs or accessories are promised, specify a date of completion and have it written in the contract.
  10. Read and understand all the terms of the contract before signing. Do not sign anything that has not been filled out completely. Get a copy of everything that you sign when you sign it.
  11. Read each section of the “Disclosures As Part of a Motor Vehicle Sales Contract” form before signing.
  12. The bottom line price after trading is the important figure. Negotiate your deal with and without your trade-in. Consider selling your old car yourself.
  13. Colorado law requires a dealer to sell vehicles in a safe condition (tires, brakes, lights, horn, muffler, wipers, etc.)
  14. New vehicles are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Make sure you receive a copy. You are responsible for the maintenance to keep the coverage in effect.
  15. Extended service contracts are usually available for purchase. Study the policy or contract carefully and ask the following questions:
    • Who does the work?
    • Is any authorization necessary?
    • What if you’re from out of town?
    • Is there a deductible amount or service fee?
    • How is payment made?
    • What maintenance are you responsible for?
    • Can you cancel and get a refund?
    • Is the service contract transferable if you sell the car?
    • How reputable is the company providing the coverage?
    • Do they have a local representative?
    • How long have they been in business?
  16. If you make a deposit on a vehicle and want it to be refundable, make sure that this is written into the sales contract or purchase option that you sign.
  17. Lease or buy? Leasing is comparable to renting. You are paying for the use of the vehicle, but you do not build any equity (ownership). Again, do your homework to determine which is best for you.
  18. A “high pressure” sale, by itself, is not illegal. Don’t be reluctant to bargain and don’t be hesitant to say “NO” or walk out. After all, it’s your money.