Congratulations to all accepted students. We hope this information can provide you with some tips to prepare for your life at Wheaton. We look forward to seeing you all here.
Once you are accepted, you will need to start the process of applying for an F-1 Student Visa. We hope to provide all the information necessary for obtaining your visa, preparing you to enter the country, and maintaining your visa status. Learn more about the F-1 Student Visa.
For more information, please find your country's Advising Center in the EducationUSA service.
Wheaton College’s academic calendar is based on the semester system. This means each academic year has two periods of 18 weeks (a semester). Fall semester begins at the end of August and spring semester begins in January. Summer school begins immediately after spring semester, usually in mid-May. International students mostly choose to begin their programs in the fall semester.
While you are here, we want to make sure you can get help if any problems arise, both academically and in adjusting to life in the States in general. When you enroll at Wheaton College, you will be assigned an academic advisor who will assist you in determining which classes you should take. Also, the Director of Graduate Student Care will provide resources for you as you adjust to student life here.
Weather in the State of Illinois
The U.S. is a large country, so the climate varies widely across different states. Illinois state is in America’s midwest, and experiences a range of climate changes through the year. Summers are often hot and humid; fall is damp and cool; winters are snowy and quite cold; spring weather is wet and mild.
It is important that you have warm clothing for the cold weather, and there are ministries here in Wheaton who will help you with that. The Corinthian Co-Op, for example, is a campus ministry that helps to provide winter clothing and other material necessities for international students at no cost.
Students have the option of living on campus or off campus. Priority is given to international students and Colson Scholar families for on-campus housing. For more information, visit Graduate Housing.
On-campus housing comes furnished with beds, dressers, desks, sofas, a dining table, stove, and refrigerator. However, bed linens, blankets, pillows, towels, and kitchen and diningware are not provided. The Corinthian Co-Op works with Graduate Student Care office to help meet the needs. If you have a favorite dish or item from home, bring it with you! These special things from home can help to make you feel more at home here.
Off-campus housing may be furnished or not, depending on the place; make sure to check with the landlord about this. When you are accepted, you will be given access to view an off-campus housing list.
Wheaton College’s cafeteria is consistently ranked among the best in the nation, thanks to the excellent food service, Bon Appétit. Find out more information on dining options and campus meal plans. Graduate students are not required to sign up for meal plans.
Once you have been accepted, you will work with the Graduate Financial Aid Counselor and Student Accounts for assistance to transfer money to your student account at Wheaton College. When you send in checks or wire transfers, please include your student identification number assigned by the college. Make sure you pay your bills on time to avoid late fees.
Every international student will have help opening a bank account in Wheaton after they arrive. If you need a letter from Wheaton stating that you have been accepted to study here, contact the Director of Graduate Student Care.
Arranging for Mail
Please do not send packages to any College office. Once you arrive on campus, you will receive more information about mailing. The College Post Office box (CPO) is only available for students living on campus. If you live off campus, please contact your landlord for mailing information.
Support for academic success
Wheaton College always encourages communication between professors and students to help students thrive. If students encounter difficulties academically, we strongly encourage them to connect with their academic advisors. Our faculties are more than willing to help students improve, grow, and succeed. The Writing Center is a great resource to support students with their academic writing. For more information, please visit our Writing Center website.
Things to Bring
Climate and Clothing
The State of Illinois has a varying climate with four distinct seasons. 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 wool coats or jackets are worn outdoors, sweaters indoors. A light-weight jacket is sometimes necessary for cool nights during spring, summer, and fall.
If you have traditional attire from your country, we encourage you to bring it! Many of your new friends and acquaintances here are interested in other cultures, and you will likely have opportunities to share about your home country.
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, both to show interested Americans and to provide a touch of home decoration in 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--for example, eyeglasses, cameras, watches, or portable radios. You may also have the opportunity to visit a duty-free port where such items may be purchased at a reduced cost.
U.S. electrical current is 110-120 volts, 60 cycle AC, while many other countries run on 220-240 volts. If you bring small electrical appliances from your own country (like an iron or hair dryer) and want to use them immediately, make sure to bring an adaptor with you. Otherwise, it may be easier to buy the appliances here; you can also buy adaptors here.
While it is not advisable to travel with large amounts of cash because of the danger of loss or theft, it would be a good idea to bring at least $200 of cash per person in U.S. dollars when you arrive. You should bring at least fifty dollars in paper currency, and two or three dollars in coins or "change" -- for telephones, baggage lockers, bus fares, and tips. Money that has been deposited to your account at Wheaton will not be available to you until after you have registered for classes, about two weeks after you arrive. Additionally, it usually takes about two weeks for out-of-town checks to be cashed in a bank here.
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 U.S. Customs Service.
Since students are expected to buy required textbooks for all courses, and supplemental reading materials for review and research are available in libraries, you need not bring any books used in previous study.
It is best to purchase electrical appliances after you arrive: appliances manufactured outside the U.S. may not be compatible with the power supply or may not be allowed inside the residence halls.