International Student Orientation Program FAQs

ISOP Participants gather on the steps with Alma Mater

What is ISOP?
The International Student Orientation Program (ISOP), which takes place Wednesday, August 20 - Sunday, August 24, 2014, is designed to help international first-year students comfortably transition into the Columbia University community before the New Student Orientation Program (NSOP). Programs during ISOP range from helping new students set up a phone or bank account to understanding the Columbia academic culture and getting to know New York City. ISOP participation is determined by application.

What are the application dates and deadlines for ISOP?

  • May 1, 2014: Application opens to incoming students
  • June 4, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. ET: Application closes
  • June 6, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. ET: Deadline to apply for financial aid to attend ISOP

Who can participate in ISOP?
Any CC/SEAS first-year student who is not a United States citizen or who, regardless of citizenship, graduated from a secondary school outside the United States is encouraged to take part in ISOP.

When do I find out if I have been accepted into ISOP?
ISOP wants to accept as many students as possible; however, space is limited. Students will find out in mid-June if they have been accepted into the program.

If I am accepted, when will I move to campus?
ISOP participants  move in  on August 20, 2014 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

When should I make travel plans?
ISOP understands the desire to book your airline tickets sooner rather than later. If you choose to book your tickets before hearing about your acceptance and do not get accepted, you will need to provide your own housing until Sunday, August 25, 2014

Is ISOP mandatory?
No, ISOP is not mandatory. However, we expect students who choose to participate in the program to attend all programs scheduled during pre-orientation. Students who choose not to attend mandatory programs will be responsible for their housing fees and may be removed from the program.

What if I want to participate in COÖP or CUE?
We encourage students to apply to all pre-orientation programs that interest them. Information shared during the pre-orientation program will be made available to international students who do not participate in ISOP. There is also programming during the NSOP week that all international students should attend, especially those who do not participate in the pre-orientation program.

Can my parents attend ISOP?
ISOP is for students only; however, there will be some concurrent sessions and events for families run by Parent and Family Programs. Student participants will be extremely busy over the course of the program, and parents are encouraged to allow students this time on their own to make connections and become comfortable in their new home.

Please keep in mind that parents and family members who travel with their students will be responsible for their own accommodations.

Can I move into my room prior to the start of ISOP?
No, students may only move in on Wednesday, August 20, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. If you need hotel accommodations, please visit the local hotels list provided by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Are shuttle services offered from the NYC airports to campus? Can I get to campus by taking public transportation?
There are no shuttle services from campus, but cabs are readily available. Let your driver know you need to go to "Columbia University at 116th and Amsterdam."  If you are traveling from the Newark, JFK, or LaGuardia airports, it is possible to use a variety of buses and trains to get to the University. Be mindful that this route will take some time and may involve multiple modes of trasnportation. Please visit http://www.hopstop.com or http://mta.info and use the "trip planner" tool to get a route to campus. Enter "Columbia University Main Campus" as your destination address.