NEW STUDENT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
We look forward to welcoming you to campus! Please review the information below to help prepare for your time at Rutgers.
How do I prepare to come to Rutgers?
We have Pre and Post Arrival Steps to help you prepare for the most immediate things to do before and after getting to New Jersey. This includes information on applying for a visa, paying the SEVIS fee, getting to New Brunswick, and more. We encourage you to please take some time to review this webpage.
For New Brunswick Students: The Student Success webpage provides answers to frequently asked questions about virtual learning, student life, as well as other resources to help ensure your success this coming semester.
For help understanding Rutgers vocabulary and acronyms, please see their "Definitions of Terms and Rutgers Lingo" page.
ARRIVING AT RUTGERS AND GETTING TO CAMPUS
How can I get to campus?
Review our very thorough Transportation Options presentation, prepared by student Orientation Leaders, to help you plan for your arrival. Students are encouraged to use mobile map applications to help navigate campus, such as Apple or Google Maps. Rutgers also has its own application called "Rutgers University" in the App Store.
Do I need to alert Rutgers when I arrive on campus?
YES! This is a MANDATORY step for all international students on an F-1 visa. You must check-in with our office as soon as possible via your RGlobal portal. If you do not check-in, you may lose your legal right to study in the United States! Detailed check-in instructions can be found on this link.
What does campus look like?
You can explore the Rutgers campuses through our websites here.
What happens during the mandatory International Student Orientation (ISO)?
The mandatory ISO provides you with important and valuable information about legally studying in the U.S. and resources at Rutgers. It is also really fun! Students are invited to meet peers at social events, movie nights, shopping trips, and more.
ACADEMIC ADVISING, VIRTUAL LEARNING, AND RESOURCES
NetID and DUO two-step authentication
We recommend that you register MULTIPLE devices for DUO. This way if you change your phone number, you can still access your netID by verifying your DUO on another device (computer, tablet, iPad). You will be prompted to sign up for DUO at some point.
You can register multiple phone numbers on DUO - we encourage keeping your international and US phone numbers active.
How do I choose my classes for the fall semester?
If you are an undergraduate student, your academic advisors will help you pick your classes, either virtually or in-person. Each specific school at Rutgers has a different process for picking classes, so please contact your specific school (SAS, SEBS, RBS, SOE, Pharmacy, etc.) for more information. They can also help you choose a major to work towards.
For questions about classes, academic advising, your schedule, or course registration, contact your academic school.
For graduate students, please contact your academic program directly for course registration for your first semester.
How do I register for the courses online?
You can view available courses here - https://sis.rutgers.edu/soc/
Students register for courses here - https://webreg.rutgers.edu/
Select courses according to school/program/department and sign in via your netID to view schedule. Undergraduate students will receive assistance from their individual schools in registering for classes in their first semester at Rutgers.
Academic advising is always provided by your academic deans. Please reach out to your school of enrollment to learn how to set up appointments with these academic experts.
How do I get access to online classes?
Refer to your emails from professors for specific instructions. Typically, WebEx, Zoom, or the conference app on Canvas or Sakai is utilized for lectures. Learn about the various learning management systems at Rutgers here.
How/where can I get the free software provided by Rutgers (MS Office, MATLAB, etc.)?
Go to the software portal at https://it.rutgers.edu/software-portal/ and log in with your netID and password.
There is also a "tech guide" offered that includes information about free software provided to students, virtual computer labs, how to get access to Linkedin learning for free, how to get access to Adobe creative cloud, how to print documents on campus and much more.
How to join the Wifi on campus?
Go to https://ruwireless.rutgers.edu/ and click on “How do I connect?”
You can access Rutgers libraries if you are not connected to RUWireless if you sign in with your NetID and password.
Can I print on campus?
Yes. All enrolled students get $30 of printing money on their RUID card each semester.
HOUSING, PARKING, AND RESIDENCE LIFE
The Residence Life office has a FAQ for international students that includes information on move-in dates, what is provided in dormitory rooms, choosing a roommate, how to send packages, and more. You can read about this here.
Most undergraduates living in university residence halls are required to have a meal plan for the university dining facilities, if their housing does not have a kitchen.
Note that most undergraduate residence halls are closed during Thanksgiving, winter, and spring breaks (you will be able to leave your belongings in the residence hall), meaning you cannot stay there at that time. However, there are now several halls that remain open during school breaks. If you will need housing during breaks, you should indicate this in the designated area on the housing application.
Be aware of the deadlines to apply for housing, where dorms are located, and housing policies.
Rutgers does not directly manage the off-campus residential locations. However, the Office of Off-Campus Living and Community Partnerships offer many resources and connections to students who are looking to live outside of campus residence halls.
Researching your future living space is important. Click here to learn about safety when living off-campus, and here for information about important "things to consider" before renting.
Housing for RBHS- Newark students
RBHS students located in Newark can find additional information regarding on-campus housing here.
Can I park my car on campus?
Yes, but you need a Rutgers parking permit. Also, only certain parking lots may be available to you. It depends if you live on-campus or off-campus, and how long you need to park for. Please visit the Department of Transportation Services (DOTS) for parking permit information. Visitor permits are also required for non-RU people. Parking without a permit can lead to you getting a parking citation/parking ticket, which you will need to pay.
For a list of student parking lots, click here.
What should I pack to come to Rutgers?
Students living on-campus will be emailed extra information from the Housing office on what to bring. Off-campus living students can use Off-Campus Office resources.
In carry-on baggage:
-Unexpired passport (including valid F-1 visa)
-Proof of payment of I-901 SEVIS fee
-Proof of admission or enrollment/registration
-Medical insurance cards and medical records
-Airline tickets, credit cards, important phone numbers and addresses. The Rutgers ISSS contact information can be found here
-Your destination address written in English
-Electronics such as laptop, travel adaptor plug, headphones, iPad, USB cord for charger, etc. – these can also be purchased in the US
-At least 1 month supply of personal prescriptions/medications
-Items of personal value to stay connected with home and share your culture and identity with your new friends
-Snacks, tissues, personal sanitary items for the plane ride (i.e. hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, feminine products, painkillers)
-Change of clothes (if you have long travel times - this can be refreshing)
-It can be helpful to have a small amount of US dollars (between $50-$100 USD) with you to make immediate purchases, such as food at the airport or train tickets. We do not recommend carrying large amounts of cash on you
-1 set of XL twin sheets, light blanket, small pillow
What should I NOT bring to Rutgers?
-Check specific airline restrictions for what you are allowed to pack
-Notebooks, textbooks, toiletries etc.- these can easily be obtained in the US
-Very expensive items that cannot be replaced if lost (jewelry etc.)
Do not worry - you will be able to purchase many common items inside of the US! Knowing this can help you save room in your suitcase for more essential items. During orientation, Rutgers offers shopping trips to local department stores like Target to give you time to buy dorm items. ISSS also offers regular trips to the grocery store.
What is the temperature like in New Jersey?
New Jersey has a variable climate: cold winters with periodic snow falls, hot summers, and some very pleasant periods in between. The temperature frequently drops to between 15°C and -12°C in the winter (November to March) and rises to between 32°C and 37°C in the summer (April to October). Therefore, you will need a full range of clothing while living in New Jersey.
Jackets, scarves, gloves, and boots are essential for the winter months, and waterproof jackets and umbrellas are essential in rainy weather.
What are electric plugs like in the USA?
Electricity is set at 110 volts and 60 cycles in the US. Your country may have different voltage than the US. If you bring electrical appliances with you, you may need an adapter to fit the electrical outlets, because the shape of the plugs on your device will not match the holes in the walls. Sometimes, it is best to purchase appliances after arrival.
Where can I store my things during school breaks?
Most residence halls allow students to keep belongings in their rooms during Thanksgiving, spring, and winter breaks; however this may vary. Rutgers does not have its own storage unit for students to store their belongings during school breaks. If you need storage space during winter or summer breaks while you are outside of the U.S., we recommend that you store your belongings at a local storage unit. Some storage units in the area include:
-Public Storage (Edison, New Jersey)
-Access Self Storage (North Brunswick, New Jersey)
-Life Storage (Piscataway, New Jersey)
If you have friends or family who live in the local area, consider asking them to store your belongings at their house.
TERM BILLS AND BANKING
How do I pay my term bill? Do I need to pay for the entire year at once?
Term bills are paid online through the Student Accounting, Billing, and Cashiering website. You only need to pay for 1 semester at a time. The due date of your specific payment is shown on the term bill itself. Please use your netID to login to your term bill and view the amount you owe and the date when it is due. Payment options (wire transfer, credit card, e-check) can be found above.
F and J international students are also charged a fee, explained here.
How do I open a bank account?
We will provide information about opening a U.S. bank account as part of the ISO. Opening a bank account will need to be done in person, and there are many different companies in the area to choose from. To open an account, you will most likely need to provide:
- funding for a minimum deposit in US dollars (between $100 - $1,500 USD)
- proof of identification (i.e. passport)
- proof of address
- Off-campus students may consider using a lease to apartment, or a utility bill
- On-campus students may request instant enrollment verification
WORKING AND CAREER SERVICES
Can I work on-campus? Where can I work?
Yes! ISSS offers a workshop that helps you understand on-campus employment related procedures and paperwork. You can read about this here.
To learn about on-campus job opportunities, visit the website of the Rutgers Handshake (not open to RBHS students), or check within your academic department and other administrative units on-campus. Please note that international students are not eligible for Federally funded work study positions.
Some graduate students may have a GA or TA opportunity. Please work directly with your department regarding onboarding. Our office will help you obtain the necessary forms to be added as an on-campus employee, including instructions on how to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN).
How can I learn more about internship and job opportunities?
The Office of Career Exploration and Success assists students in choosing a major based on their interests, developing professional skills, exploring career paths, and matching with internship and work opportunities. Their website can be explored here. Please note F-1 and J-1 students need additional employment authorization in order to work off-campus so be sure to check in with our office before taking on any off-campus work.
Do I need permission to work in the United States?
As an international student in F-1 or J-1 status, you will need authorization to work both on and off campus. Our office offers many workshops and learning opportunities on how to legally pursue these opportunities. Please always ask our office first if you have questions about employment.
INSURANCE, HEALTH, AND IMMUNIZATIONS
Do I need health insurance?
At Rutgers, it is required for all students to have at least a minimum level of health insurance coverage. All students are automatically billed health insurance fee on their term bill every semester.
Can I use my own insurance?
Yes, you may elect to have alternate insurance coverage other than the Student Health Insurance Plan. If this is the case, you must request to waive the health insurance fee. For details on waiving the fee, please visit our website. This becomes available in early August.
What happens if I get sick?
Rutgers students can access medical and pharmacy services at any of the three Health Centers located throughout the New Brunswick campus. Each of the health centers have experienced doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. Clinical services include preventative, routine, injury, and illness care as well as prescription services. To make an appointment, please select this link.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, dial 911 or call RUPD at 848-932-7211.
If you need a medical service that is not available through Rutgers Health Centers, there are two large hospitals within ten minutes of the campus: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital New Brunswick and St. Peter’s University Hospital. Before you go, be sure to check with your insurance provider for physicians in your insurance network to minimize medical cost.
Is there someone I can talk to if I feel sad, lonely, homesick, or stressed?
Rutgers also has counseling services for students. If you are feeling sad, lonely, homesick, stressed, or simply need someone to talk to, please make an appointment at our counseling center (CAPS).
During regular business hours (Mon-Fri, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm), call CAPS at 848-932-7884 and ask to speak to the on-call counselor. After hours or on weekends, contact Acute Psychiatric Services (APS) 855-515-5700. (New Brunswick/Piscataway area only; available 365/24/7.) OR call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). (This service can be reached from anywhere in the country; available 365/24/7.) Additional crisis resources are available below:
- Acute Psychiatric Services (APS): 855-515-5700 (Middlesex County, includes New Brunswick/Piscataway and surrounding areas; available 24/7), or contact your local NJ designated screening center, which can be found here: https://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/dmhas/home/hotlines/MH_Screening_Centers.pdf
- NJ Hopeline: 855-654-6735 (New Jersey only; available 24/7) and by text or chat via njhopeline.com
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24/7 anywhere in the US
- 988 Lifeline chat (online) also available at https://988lifeline.org/chat/
- Trans LifeLine (Transgender Suicide Hotline): 877-565-8860 (available 24/7)
- National Crisis Text Line: Text “KNIGHTS” to 741741 (available 24/7)
- Trevor Project (for LGBTQIA support): 1-866-488-7386 (available 24/7)
- NJ Peer Recovery (for alcohol or other drug support): 833-422-2765 (NJ residents only; available 7 days a week, 8am-8pm)
- NAMI HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), Monday-Friday, 10am-10pm, www.nami.org/help
All immunization and vaccination information can be found on your Student Health Portal, located here. If there is a Rutgers vaccination that is not available in your home country, you can take it when you arrive on campus by making an appointment at one of our health centers. Please direct all vaccine questions to email@example.com, or visit an on-campus facility after arriving for assistance. You can read more about immunizations here.
Students can also schedule other tests and vaccines at Rutgers health facilities, such as routine bloodwork and flu shots.
What if I need accommodation for my disability?
Rutgers Access and Disability Resources helps provide reasonable accommodations and services for students with disabilities. Common examples of assistance includes exam accommodations, note taking.
You may also request short-term, non-disability accommodations from the Dean of Students.
What if I have a food allergy, or a religious dietary restriction?
Rutgers Dining Services will work with students to get pre-made meals that meet their dietary needs. These concerns are further explained on their webpage here, along with next steps.
Is the Rutgers campus safe? What if I have an emergency? What if I experience a scam/fraud?
University Public Safety is committed to ensuring a safe environment for everyone at Rutgers. The Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) operates multiple fully staffed police headquarters—24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Please call or text 911 if you are having an emergency. The non-emergency number for RUPD is (732) 932-7211. More emergency contact information is here.
Download the RAVE Guardian App: Download the free mobile safety app. Rave Guardian is designed to help faculty, staff, students and guests stay connected and access important campus safety resources. The app is available for use by all Rutgers University students, faculty, staff, and guests who are subscribed to the university’s Emergency Notification System (ENS)
Students are encouraged to sign up for RU-Alerts, which is an emergency notification system (ENS) that sends texts and emails to you during urgent situations on/around campus.
Please also view our page on common scams to be aware of how to protect yourself against fraud.
What can I do for fun as a Rutgers student?
Rutgers has over 600 student organizations you can get involved in. Getting involved on campus through clubs and organizations and participating in Rutgers programs are great ways to keep your academic life balanced, develop leadership and professional skills, and make new friends.
The local area is also full of fun activities to explore. Check them out here!
Can I get discounts for being a student?
Yes! Many stores offer discounts to students that show their valid ID card, including restaurants. Online, you can get discounts for having an active valid student email account. You also can be eligible for discounts on products like software, technology, train tickets.
How can I meet other Rutgers students? International students?
Getting involved on campus is a good way to meet other Rutgers students whom you may share interests with. During the International Student Orientation, you will get to meet all other new international students from all over the world. Whether it’s at orientation, student clubs, or someone you meet in class, don’t be shy - strike a conversation and stay in touch with your new friends! The International Women's Group also helps those with spouses and families.
What is the role of the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office?
The Rutgers Global–ISSS office coordinates the international student orientation program and supports the journey of our international students from arrival to completion and beyond. Our core services include providing advice and counsel on US immigration regulations and compliance, immigration application processing, advocacy, and outreach.
We have two locations, one in New Brunswick on the College Avenue Campus, and the other in Newark on the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Campus. Learn more about our office locations and services: https://global.rutgers.edu/advising
Helpful Links +
For a list of Rutgers-specific Campus Resources, please see here - https://global.rutgers.edu/international-scholars-students/intl-student-info-hub
- COVID-19 updates: https://coronavirus.rutgers.edu/
- Canvas: https://canvas.rutgers.edu/
- Sakai: https://sakai.rutgers.edu/portal
- Net ID login: https://netid.rutgers.edu/loginView.htm
- MyRutgers Portal: https://my.rutgers.edu/portal/render.userLayoutRootNode.uP
- Health Insurance plans: https://global.rutgers.edu/international-scholars-students/health-insurance
- Rutgers Accounting office (Student ABC): https://studentabc.rutgers.edu/
- Rutgers Vaccination and Immunization requirements: http://health.rutgers.edu/medical-counseling-services/medical/immunization-requirements-allergy-shots/
- WIFI: https://ruwireless.rutgers.edu/
- Free softwares: https://software.rutgers.edu/info/login/
- Counseling services (CAPS): http://health.rutgers.edu/medical-counseling-services/counseling/
- Library: https://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/
- Dining Hall: http://food.rutgers.edu/
- Information facilities: https://oss.rutgers.edu/mobile/
- Handshake App (not available to RBHS): https://app.joinhandshake.com/
- Recreation (i.e. gyms ad sports): http://recreation.rutgers.edu/
- Tutoring: https://rlc.rutgers.edu/online_services
- Learning Centers: https://rlc.rutgers.edu/
- Grades/Unofficial transcripts: https://sis.rutgers.edu/tags/
- Students activities: http://involvement.rutgers.edu/
- Online Course registration: https://sis.rutgers.edu/oldsoc/
- Zoom Account creation: https://it.rutgers.edu/zoom/knowledgebase/how-to-create-your-rutgers-zoom-account/
- Device Support: https://oit-nb.rutgers.edu/
- Rutgers Police (RUPD) - https://www.rutgers.edu/about/campus-safety
- Department of Transportation for parking and permits - https://ipo.rutgers.edu/dots