International Students : Current AU International Students

We expect that you will have the same needs and questions as most AU students, with a few concerns that are unique to you as an international student.

There are many questions related to being an international student at AU. If you do not find the information you are looking for in the resources below, please contact our office.

Maintaining legal status in the U.S.

One of the most important services our office provides is assistance and advice related to maintaining your visa status.

Disclaimer: U.S. immigration laws are very complex and constantly evolving. The information provided applies only to students at Alfred University, and it is subject to change. OIP advising and resources are not intended to create an attorney/client relationship, nor can either be construed as legal advice. Please meet with the International Program Coordinator before making applications or seeking benefits.

As an AU international student, you have been admitted to the United States on an F-1 or J-1 student visa. In order to maintain your F-1 or J-1 status, you must follow the guidelines below:

  • Maintain a full load of courses while here (12 credits for undergraduates; 9 credits for graduate students). Should unforeseen circumstances arise which force you to decrease your course load, or drop a class, you first should discuss the change with the Office of International Programs to learn of the impact the change in class load would have on your legal status as a foreign student.

  • Keep us informed about where you live. If you move and/or change your mailing address, you must notify us at the Office of International Programs within ten days of filing the Change of Address form.

  • Maintain a good academic and disciplinary record. Lack of attendance, academic failure or other types of violations of the university's policies may jeopardize your standing as a student and result in expulsion. Expulsion from the school which has issued you the most current Form I-20 would cause you to lose the status of Foreign Student and the right to legally remain in the United States. Under such circumstances, the student is expected to depart the United States immediately.

  • Keep your passport valid at all times. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future on the day you return to the United States from a trip abroad.

  • Make sure to get authorization from the Office of International Programs before accepting any sort of employment.



Employment as an F-1 or J-1 student has important rules and regulations. Each situation varies, so before seeking employment - paid or unpaid - you must contact the Office of International Programs.



Travel outside of the United States may require authorization by AU or your sponsoring organization. If you are planning to travel, please check with the International Program Coordinator as early as possible to avoid any adverse visa or legal consequences.


Extending your stay


Other Legal Considerations


Tutoring & Academic Support

Should you find yourself struggling academically, it is important to seek help early. The Office of International Programs can direct you to resources or assistance with writing, English-language support or instruction, or general tutoring. We can also help you navigate challenges in the classroom, and assist with cross-cultural issues. Please contact us if you need help.

Academic assistance is available for most classes at Alfred.  Group tutoring is available for many of the more common or larger classes (such as language and mathematics classes).  In addition, you can contact the services below for additional help.

  • Tutoring: Individual peer tutoring is available for many classes. Students interested in individual peer tutoring should contact the Tutoring Coordinator located in the office of Center for Academic Success. The Tutoring Coordinator will discuss students' concerns with them, review various campus resources, and attempt to arrange one-on-one tutoring, if appropriate.
  • The Writing Center: If you are looking for help with writing essays, the Writing Center can help.  The Writing Center provides free writing assistance to all Alfred University students (undergraduate and graduate), faculty, and support personnel. Our student tutors represent a wide range of disciplines, offering help with planning, drafting, and revising. 
  • Center for Academic Success: Center for Academic Success provides support services, consultation, and advocacy for students with learning, physical, and/or psychological disabilities. Services for persons with disabilities complement and support, but do not duplicate, the University's existing services and programs.

Engligh language assistance: AU offers a course in speaking and listening (ESL 401) during the fall semester to help non-native speakers of English gain practice and confidence in speaking English.  In addition, there is an informal, non-credit bearing conversation class offered in Herrick Library twice a week.  Help with writing in English is available at the Writing Center.


Succeeding at AU

You may find that Alfred University is quite different from your home institution.  Below you will find some information on what classes are like and what you may experience while here.

  • Course Structure: You classes at Alfred University may be very different from what you are used to back home.  The system emphasizes continual evaluation in the form of tests, projects, homework, essays, quizzes, and participation in class discussions throughout the semester, not only on an exam at the end of the semester.
  • Exams: While you may have taken lots of exams before, you may find that exams at Alfred are structured differently.  Depending on the professor, they can include essays, short-answer, multiple choice, true/false, matching, or a combination!  Memorization of material can be important, but in the United States professors are happier when students can actually use facts to solve problems in new, creative, or unique ways. In short, it is not necessary to memorize your books, but rather it is necessary to understand the concepts and be prepared to apply and communicate the concepts to real-life situations.  Your syllabus will tell you when your tests are and what subjects will be included in the examination.
  • Attendance: In the United States professors not only take attendance, but they are allowed to grade you according to it.  If you miss too many classes professors have the right to mark your grade down (even to failing), no matter what your scores on tests or written exams are. It is very important to come to class on time. The professor’s syllabus will typically provide detail on this, outlining how many unexcused absences are allowed before grades start dropping and how much of an impact absences have.  Some professors count late arrivals and factor that into the final grade as well. Of course, if you are sick or have an emergency, your absence may be excused. You should be prepared to give some written evidence for this, such as a note from your doctor, and talk to your professor ahead of time, if possible.
  • Participation: In the United States, students are encouraged to ask questions and to voice their own opinions, even if they differ from the opinions of the professor.  In fact, most professors give participation points which factor into a student’s final grade.  In the mind of an American professor, student comments and questions mean that the student is keeping up with the reading, paying attention to the class discussion, and thinking about the course material. However, keep in mind that it is important to disagree politely and to respect the knowledge and opinions of the professor and the other students in the class. Do not hesitate to raise your hand and ask a question about something you do not understand fully.
  • Homework: Professors may have you complete smaller assignments on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.  These are expected to be completed before the class period in which they are due and often count for a small percentage of your final grade.  Topics for these assignments typically focus on what you just discussed in class or what you will be discussing next class to give you an idea of whether or not you are fully grasping the concepts.
  • Presentations and Papers: In some classes, you may be asked to prepare a short lecture or presentation to deliver to your class. Many such assignments are graded and some may count in place of a final exam, depending on the professor and course.  If you do have to do a presentation, you should practice it out loud to an audience of one or more, like your roommate or friends, for feedback. Besides presentations you may be required to write term papers and other essays while you are at Alfred.  These too may be in place of a final exam, depending on the professor and course. It is better – and often a requirement – to submit a typewritten paper, rather than a handwritten one. It is wise to complete papers well before their due date so there is time to ask another person or your professor for suggestions for improvement. Do not be afraid to ask your professor for clarification of his/her expectations for your term paper. Make an appointment with your professor during his or her office hours to discuss the topic if you do not understand. Be sure to carefully proofread and spell-check your paper before giving it to your professor.   If you are having difficulty writing papers and are looking for help, the Writing Center offers help for all stages of paper writing from developing a thesis statement to editing and proofreading.
  • Plagiarism: Originality and individual achievement are highly valued in America. This is reflected in the focus on original thinking in class discussions, research projects and papers. It is also reflected in the rules of academic honesty. The most important rule of academic honesty is that a student must be evaluated only on the basis of his or her own work. If students violate this rule by submitting the work of other people as their own, they are committing a serious offense called plagiarism.  Plagiarism may result in a student's dismissal from the University. Some cultures view issues such as plagiarism differently. It is very important for you to understand exactly what comprises plagiarism at an American university. If you are ever in doubt about whether you may be committing plagiarism by using someone else's words or ideas and claiming them as your own, ask your professor to clarify the matter immediately.


International Opportunities at AU

International House

International House, also known as Global Alfred, is a housing choice that provides an opportunity for American students and international students to interact in a comfortable setting. It offers a unique cross-cultural living situation that allows you to meet and get to know students from around the world. Students experience a wider diversity within their social network and learn about themselves in a larger cultural context. Participants in this living community must be 21 years or older. But even if you don't live in the International House, you are welcome to participate in activities there that are open to the broader student community, such as Sunday night suppers featuring food from a particular country, international Thanksgiving, or international parties.

The International Student and Scholar Organization (ISSO)

ISSO is a student club for both international and American students. It meets every week for conversation, activities, and events. Past activities and events have included dance parties, celebrations of traditions from around the world (including Japanese tea ceremonies, Turkish coffee nights, Chinese New Year and the Autumn Festival, Halloween, Valentine's Day). Karaoke nights, quiz nights, film nights, potluck dinners, trips to local attractions, tables for international education week, etc. add to the rich experiences this group provides. The biggest event of the year has traditionally been a show called A2A (Alfred to Asia) which includes a variety of acts from Asia and from other cultures as well. The club is a great way to meet friends from around the world and to gain leadership experience.

Community Friends

Community Friends is a program that matches Alfred community members with international students for the purpose of sharing friendship and culture. The community members who volunteer to participate invite an international student to their home or get together with her or him for a meal or coffee or some other activity at least once or twice during the semester. Many lasting friendships have been formed among the participants of this program. It's a great way to learn more about American culture and language. More information is available at the Office of International Programs.


The Alfred Community

AU's websites provide a wealth of information on living in Alfred, community services, community events, and things to do in the area.