While waiting for the I-20 . . .
  1. Organize your To-Do List

    While waiting for the I-20 to be processed make the time worthwhile and go through the checklist for new students on the school’s portal.
    Frankly, I can’t talk about other schools, but USC provides an online checklist for newly admitted international students. The portal is invaluable as it not only provides simple bullet points but much more explains each and every one.
    You will go through that one more than a single time, trust me. 

  2. Familiarize with the points you need to take care of pre-departure/pre-school start

    At first, I thought I would go through the material and make short notes, noting crucial deadlines. Soon I felt the need of printing out the vast amount of information. The moment I started printing, I realised the bundle of paper in a tangible form won’t do the trick. Consequently, I decided to copy and paste the relevant information into a word document. That way I am able to note what is completed or what still needs to be done. It is a longer process – for sure – but in the end it will be worth it! 
    So, familiarise with the content provided by your school and reflect on the necessity of a mere print out of all the information. Don’t get me wrong, the comprised information is structured and easy to read. In the end this won’t be handy and you’ll likely read also the unimportant or not applicable to your situation multiple times, flogging a dead horse. 

  3. Making the most of your waiting time…
  • Book your flight!
    Don’t forget, that if you enter the US early you can do so no more than 30 days before the Visa starting date! If you travel before don’t forget to buy a travel insurance as well.

  • Calendaring
    Add all important fall/summer semester dates to your calendars and keep them updated – you don’t want to miss important deadlines! 

  • There might be some International student health requirements, like a submission of proof of certain vaccines or  screenings. USC additionally requires international students to do a tuberculosis blood test before the semester starts. You don’t need an appointment. 

  • You might want to do some research on some more matters, for instance with which bank you will open an account, the payment schedule for tuition and other fees, cell plans, how to obtain a driver’s license and purchase a car.

  • Print out important documentation in order to have enough copies for whatever purposes.
  • Have a passport photo and the photo for the Visa (it must not be older than 6 months) taken. You might need the passport picture for various reasons, one of them could be your university profile/for the school ID.