Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. Where can I stay if I arrive before the start of PREPARE?

    Unfortunately, the Housing Office cannot allow any participants to check-in to their residence halls before the Monday check-in day. If you will be arriving before that day, please arrange a hotel room. Click here for a website which provides a comprehensive list of the various hotels in Ithaca and its surrounding area.

  • 2. Can graduate students attend PREPARE?

    PREPARE is designed for undergraduates only; however, the International Students and Scholars Office will hold a separate, International Graduate and Professional Student Orientation on Saturday, August 19, 2017. In addition be sure to check with the Graduate School and your field of study to see what other programs you may be required to attend. The Graduate School will post the Graduate Student Orientation schedule in July.

  • 3. How do I pay my registration fee?

    The total cost for PREPARE participants living on-campus during the academic year is $380. This total includes the registration fee of $220 which covers all activities and meals, and the remaining amount of $160 which covers the housing fee for the four days of PREPARE. The $220 charge will appear on your July bursar bill and the $160 charge will appear on your September bursar bill. For those participants living off-campus during the academic year, the $160 housing fee is eliminated, and the cost is $220. The charge for PREPARE registration will appear on your Cornell bursar account in July.

  • 4. What is the cancellation or refund policy for PREPARE if I am unable to attend?

    Please let us know as soon as possible if for some reason, you are unable to attend the PREPARE pre-orientation program, by sending an email to Adriana Rovers. The deadline to cancel your participation in PREPARE is July 1 for a full refund of your registration fee. If you cancel between July 2 and July 14, students will be charged a $50 administrative fee. After July 14, no refunds will be given for cancellations or no-shows. 

  • 5. How do I get to Cornell?

    There are daily flights from Philadelphia, Boston and Charlotte to Ithaca. Alternatively, students can fly to Syracuse and then take a shuttle (about 1.5 hours) to Ithaca. Many students fly into Newark, JFK or LaGuardia and then take a bus from the airport to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. From Port Authority, Shortline/Coach USA operates a service to Cornell’s campus, and Greyhound operates a service to the Ithaca Bus Terminal on State Street. The Cornell Campus map will be helpful once you arrive on campus.

  • 6. When is the best time to arrive on Monday, August 14?

    The official check-in hours at the Townhouse Community Center are on Monday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm and this is the best time to arrive. For those individuals needing a ride to Cornell from the Ithaca airport or bus station, we would recommend arriving in Ithaca between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm. During this time, PREPARE will have the optimal number of volunteers to assist and transport you. If a PREPARE participant arrives after 7:00 pm we will not be able to provide transportation, and the student should call a taxi at (607) 277-7777 or (607) 277-8294. For those students who will be arriving in New York City or Syracuse late on the evening of the August 13, or in the early morning hours of August 14, you may want to stay the night and reserve a hotel, as it will be easier and safer than traveling to Ithaca in the middle of the night. This will also allow you to be well rested for the activities scheduled for the days ahead.

  • 7. How do I get from the airport or bus station to Cornell?

    As soon as you have arranged your travel plans, please complete the Qualtrics online Travel Survey. The PREPARE coordinator will send you the link in June. If you are landing at the Ithaca Tompkins County Airport between the hours of 8:00 am and 7:00 pm, we will arrange to pick you up from the airport and take you to the Cornell campus. We will not be able to provide transportation from airport to Cornell after 7:00 pm. Students arriving after 7:00 pm, should call a Taxi at (607) 277-7777 or (607) 277-8294. If you are arriving at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport, we can reserve a limousine service to pick you up and take you to Cornell University (Please note: You will be responsible for paying the $80 (subject to change) for this taxi service at the time of pick-up. If you are landing at other airports, such as Newark, JFK or LaGuardia, we recommend taking the Shortline or Greyhound bus service to get to Cornell University. We will pick you up at the Ithaca bus station between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm. After 7:00 pm students should call a Taxi at (607) 277-7777 or (607) 277-8294.

  • 8. Where do I check-in if I’m driving to Cornell?

    The PREPARE check-in will take place at the Townhouse Community Center, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on Monday, August 14. You may stop at a Visitor Information booth as you enter campus for a free Cornell map and directions. The Townhouse Community Center is located in grid E-1. There are parking spaces available around the community center.

  • 9. What is the procedure for check-in on Monday, August 14? How do I get into my residence hall, if my flight is delayed and I arrive late at night on the 14th?

    Transportation to Cornell Campus: See details in FAQ above.

    The following information is subject to change. Final updates will be available as we get closer to start of PREPARE.

    1) If you are arriving BETWEEN 8:00 am and 5:00 pm

    If you arrive on Cornell Campus between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, first proceed to the Townhouse Community Center on George Jessup Rd, where you will meet the PREPARE coordinators and volunteers, and receive your PREPARE folder, booklet with schedule, t-shirt and pertinent information about immigration check-in. PREPARE volunteers will be there to answer questions, assist with StarRes housing check-in, and moving your luggage into your dorms. Van drivers will be available to transport you to dorms, Co-op houses and off campus apartments.

    Next Housing/StarRes Check-in:

    a) If you will be living on North Campus, or in Sheldon Court, Cascadilla, Schuyler or 112 Edgemoor proceed to the Robert Purcell Community Center (RPCC) service desk, where you will do the StarRes housing check-in and receive the key to your dorm room and your Cornell ID card which also gives you access to your dorm building.

    b) If you will be living on West Campus (Cook, Bethe, Becker, Keeton, Rose, 122 McGraw, and 625 University Ave*), go directly to your house office to do the housing check-in and pick up room key and Cornell ID card. *Note that students living in 625 University Ave must do their housing check-in at Cook House. House offices are open from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm. Afterhours arrivals will contact the Graduate Residence Fellow (GRF) on call (phone number posted on door of building) and be checked in and issued keys upon arrival.

    c) If you will be living at a Co-op , you will go directly to your Co-op building to do the housing check-in and pick up room key. You will need to contact the Co-op in advance of your arrival in Ithaca, concerning times/procedures for picking up the key.

    d) If you will be living in an off-campus apartment, arrangements should be made in advance with the landlord.

    2) If you are arriving BETWEEN 5:00 pm and 9:30 pm

    If you arrive on campus between 5:00 pm and 9:30 pm, proceed to the second floor of the Robert Purcell Community Center (RPCC) to Wendy Purcell Lounge, room 203 where you will meet the PREPARE volunteers, receive your PREPARE folder, t-shirt and pertinent info about online immigration check-in. Dinner will be available at North Star Dining Hall in Appel Commons between 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm. Casino Night starts at 8:30 pm. (For anyone arriving after 7:30 pm, we will have light refreshments and beverages available for you.)

    Housing/StarRes Check-in:

    If you live on North Campus, Sheldon Court, Cascadilla, Schuyler or 122 Edgemoor, proceed to the Robert Purcell Community Center (RPCC) service desk, where you will do the StarRes housing check-in and receive the key to your dorm room and your Cornell ID card which also gives you access to your dorm building.

    If you will be living on West Campus (Cook, Bethe, Becker, Keeton and Rose, 122 McGraw, and 625 University Ave), go directly to your house office to do the housing check-in and pick up room key. (The office is open from 9:00 am-4:00 pm). Afterhours arrivals should contact the Graduate Residence Fellow (GRF) on call by using the phone number posted on building's front door. You will be checked in and issued keys upon arrival.

    5) If you are arriving AFTER 9:30 pm

    Students living on North Campus, Sheldon Court, Cascadilla, Schuyler or 122 Edgemoor, if you arrive in Ithaca after 9:30 pm, go to your dorm building. Outside will be posted the phone number for the on call residence advisor (RA) who can give you access to the dorm and your room. For students without the ability to dial U.S. cell phone numbers you can use the ramteck phone located outside the dorm building. Dial 5-1111 which will connect you to the Cornell Police. The Cornell Police will forward your call to the on-call Residence Advisor (RA) for you. The RA will let you into your room but you will not at this time be given your room key. (Note that if you leave your room, you will need to contact the on call RA again to get back into your room. Please be considerate of the RA’s time). You will be able to process your StarRez housing check-in and pick up your room key on Tuesday morning between 8:00 am and 9:30 am at the RPCC Service Center. Please meet your PREPARE Volunteers right outside your dorm building on Tuesday morning at 8:00 am, and they will guide you to Robert Purcell Community Center (RPCC) for StarRez housing check-in, and then to the breakfast at North Star Dining Hall in Appel Commons, and the Dean's Welcome at Willard Straight Hall.

    Students living on West Campus (Cook, Bethe, Becker, Keeton Rose, 122 McGraw, and 625 University Ave), if you arrive in Ithaca after 9:30 pm, ask the taxi to drop you off at your dorm building. Afterhours arrivals should contact the Graduate Residence Fellow (GRF) on call by using the phone number posted on building's front door. For students without the ability to dial US cell phone numbers you can use the ramteck phone located outside the dorm building. Dial 5-1111 which will connect you to the Cornell Police. The Cornell Police will forward your call to the on-call person for you. Please meet your PREPARE Volunteers right outside your dorm building on Tuesday morning, and they will guide you to the breakfast at North Star Dining Hall in Appel Commons, and the Dean's Welcome at Willard Straight Hall.

    Students living off-campus, if you arrive in Ithaca after 9:30 pm on Monday night, proceed to your off campus residence. Breakfast on Tuesday morning is at North Star Dining Hall in Appel Commons between 8:00 and 9:15 am. You will meet the PREPARE team at breakfast and officially join the PREPARE program. Click here for Cornell Campus map.

    Immigration Check-in:, all new students will be required to complete their ISSO immigration check-in online after entering the USA and within 30 days of the start of their program. Click here to complete ISSO immigration check.

  • 10. Where can I get basic items like bed sheets, pillows, micro-fridge, stationery, etc.? What size bed sheets should I purchase?

    There are several stores in Ithaca where you will be able to purchase those items, such as Target, K-Mart, Walmart, and Ithaca Mall. During PREPARE, we will take the participants on a trip to Ithaca Mall to purchase some of these items. Alternatively, students can sign up for linen service at Cornell.

    Concerning the size of bed sheets to purchase, all dormitory beds at Cornell are "twin extra long* single beds. The beds are 8 inches (21cm) thick, 36 inches (92cm) wide and 80 inches (204 cm) long.

  • 11. Is linen service available at Cornell?

    Linen service is no longer available at Cornell but students can order items online and then utilize Big Red Shipping and Storage’s pre-arrival shipping service.

    Click here for details on how to get linens delivered to your dorm room by Big Red Shipping and Storage (BRSS).

    BRSS would need the order to be delivered to them by August 12th in order for them to get the package in the student’s room by August 14th.

  • 12. Where can I buy my winter clothes?

    Ithaca is known for its cold and long winters—a wonderful opportunity to try some winter sports, like skiing, skating, and sledding! To get through the winter season, where it can get as cold as –20 degrees Celsius, you will need a warm hat, scarf, gloves, a heavy jacket, sweaters, wool socks, boots, thermal underwear. If you do not own these items already, we recommend that you buy new or used winter clothing after arriving in Ithaca, rather than buying them at home and filling valuable luggage space! Usually, it does not get very cold until October, so you will have some time to look around for winter clothing after you arrive here in Ithaca. During PREPARE we will provide information on several places that sell new and used winter clothing.

  • 13. Can my parents stay in my room during PREPARE?

    Parents may not stay in the residence halls during PREPARE, but instead should reserve their own accommodations at a local hotel. Click here for a website which provides a comprehensive list of the various hotels in Ithaca and its surrounding area. Please note that accommodations fill up quickly, so it is best to book your lodging as soon as possible.

  • 14. Will I have time to set up a bank account, get a cell phone, buy my textbooks, etc.?

    Yes, we will allocate time slots during PREPARE to allow you to rest, unpack, and take care of important business, such as setting up bank accounts, purchasing a cell phone or calling card, and buying your textbooks.

  • 15. Can I ship my belongings to the US and have them delivered to my dorm in advance of my arrival on campus?

    Yes, there is a new student pre-arrival delivery service that Big Red Shipping & Storage offers to all new students including incoming freshman and transfers.

  • 16. What if I have additional questions that are not on this list?

    Email any questions regarding PREPARE to apr6@cornell.edu.