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Pre-Arrival Information for International Students

It is important that you prepare well in advance for your trip to the U.S. and for your studies at Widener University. The following information will help you in this process. Please read all sections thoroughly so that you do not miss important paperwork or deadlines.

Pre-Arrival Guides

Please review the appropriate Pre-Arrival and Orientation Guide for F-1 students or J-1 exchange visitors. International Student Services created these guides to assist in your preparation for arrival to Widener University and to ease your transition to a new culture.

Math Placement

ALL first year undergraduate students except engineering* students must take the math placement test to receive their schedules for the semester. If you do not take the math placement, you will be placed in the lowest level math class, and your schedule will be built around this course. The math placement test must be completed approximately 1 to 2 months before you arrive on campus. You will receive an email with instructions on how to complete the test.

*Engineering students provided math test scores to obtain admission to Widener and will be placed based on those scores.


In addition to the estimated cost of tuition, fees, books/supplies, medical insurance, and living expenses noted on your I-20 or DS-2019, you will want to bring money for the following expenses that you may incur upon your arrival:

  • Bedding, bath supplies, kitchen supplies, personal items, etc. for your residence hall or apartment, if you do not choose to order these supplies in advance.
  • First and last month's rent and security deposit are typically required for students renting an apartment. The cost for this can vary but plan on $1,200 USD minimum.
  • Emergency cash for unexpected expenses, minimum $300 USD.

If you are planning to pay your tuition by wire transfer, we recommend you do so in advance as your registration will be placed on hold if your payment has not been completed at the time of registration. The amount for the wire transfer should be approximately half the amount listed on the I-20 or DS-2019. For students living off campus: do not include the amount for living expenses. Note that the amount on your I-20 is for the whole year (DS-2019s include the amount for the entire program), and includes living expenses and other fees which may not be due directly to the university.

The Office of the Bursar can assist with wire transfers.

Health and Safety

As a Widener University student at the Main Chester Campus or the Delaware Law School, you are required to purchase the university health insurance policy. Your university account will be invoiced for the insurance fee schedule. Because you will be automatically enrolled in the university plan, it is not necessary to purchase health insurance prior to arriving in the United States. For more information on how medical insurance in the US works, watch this video on the US Healthcare System.

You must complete the Health History Form and the Pre-Matriculation Certification of Immunizations Form from Student Health Services before you begin your studies at Widener University. Please complete the forms thoroughly, including the tuberculosis (PPD) test administration and reading and all dates of immunizations. If you choose blood tests (titers) to document your immunization status, include a copy of each of the laboratory results.

The university prefers that immunizations be administered prior to your arrival in the United States. However, if you are unable to do that, Widener University requires immunizations be administered at the Student Health Services office within the first month of school. Note that Health Services charges a flat fee for any immunization.

All completed documents should be emailed to or faxed to 610-499-1181.

Moving to a new country and starting school in a foreign language can be stressful. In addition to your physical health, it is very important to take care of your mental health. Widener has a number of resources to help you, including a Counseling Center on campus. For more information on taking care of your mental health, watch this video on Mental Health Awareness.

In addition to your physical and mental health, it is important to consider your safety. Widener University is a very safe campus and provides many services including Campus Safety Officers, safe rides, and a well-lit campus. For more information on safety, visit the Campus Safety website and watch this video on understanding and preventing Sexual Assault.


Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students are required to live on campus, provided that enough housing is available. You must complete an online housing application, which can be found on CampusCruiser.

  • Go to Webadviser, then click on "Student Services."
  • Scroll down to locate the "New Students" section on the left side panel. 
  • Click on the "Housing Application" under "New Students."
  • Complete the application as soon as you are sure of your intention to come to Widener
  • If you have technical difficulties or do not know your CampusCruiser login, please contact ITS.

Graduate Students, Chester Campus

Graduate students at the Chester campus will need to find housing in the local area. International Student Services (ISS) can put you in contact with local landlords to help you secure a place to live. Contact ISS at with the subject line "Off-Campus Housing."

Delaware School of Law

Students at the Delaware Law School may live on or off campus, and information regarding housing will be provided to you in your admissions packet. Please contact the Delaware Law School for more information.

Residence Hall Supplies

ISS has partnered with DormCo to provide you with a way to purchase in advance your bedding, towels, lamps, and any other supplies you may need for you room. Your items can be shipped directly to International Student Services and will be waiting for you when you arrive on campus! This service can be used by students at both campuses, including those who live off campus. Best of all shipping is only $2.95 for your entire order. In order to ensure timely delivery, please purchase your items by July 31st. Use the address below as the ship to address:
International Student Services
Widener University
1 University Place
University Center, Upper Level
Chester, PA 19013


CampusSIMs provides reliable, no-contract cell phone service specifically designed for international students. The CampusSIMs mobile plans start at $25/month and work on any unlocked GSM cell phone. Sign-up is quick and easy, and plans include many features that are ideal for international students such as free unlimited international texting, multilingual customer support, and the ability to freeze your account (and stop payment) while you are traveling out of the country. Visit CampusSIMs to learn more and pre-order your SIM card.

Entering the U.S.

Do not book your plane ticket until you have received your visa. Keep in mind that you can legally arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date on your I-20/DS-2019; however, we do not recommend that you arrive early unless you have made prior arrangements. Widener cannot provide housing or airport pick-ups prior to orientation.

Carry your passport, visa, I-20/DS-2019, and I-901 receipt with you when you board the plane. Do no place these items in checked baggage. You will not be allowed to board the plane if you do not have all required immigration documentation with you.

At the port of entry, you will speak with a Customs and Border Protection Officer who will examine your documents and stamp your passport. If you have any problems at the port of entry, please contact ISS during regular business hours at 610-499-4498 or 610-499-4499 or Campus Safety after hours and on weekends at 610-499-4200. If the immigration officer has questions, provide the officer with these numbers to call. Keep all your immigration documents available, because you will need to present them to ISS at orientation.