International Students : Pre-Arrival

International Students at Alfred UniversityWelcome to Alfred University! As you start the process of applying for visas, booking plane tickets, and packing, you are bound to have a lot of questions.  We hope this page will help to answer your questions, but if not, feel free to contact our office.

Getting Here

You have two choices, detailed below, for getting to Alfred. Please let us know your travel arrangements in advance so we can make sure to meet you.

  1. Fly into Rochester, NY (ROC): Airport pickup from Rochester, New York (the closest airport to Alfred)  is available the Saturday and Sunday before the Monday when International Student Orientation starts.  Please arrange to arrive on one of those days if you would like to be picked up at the Rochester airport.  Airport pickup is $20.00 and must be arranged ahead of time. Your welcome letter from the Office of International Programs will include a reservation form for you to return to us.
  2. Fly into New York City:  From New York City, take the Short Line bus from the Port Authority bus station to Alfred.  It is approximately a 7 hour ride but, it will bring you directly to Alfred.  Go to the Short Line website for more information about schedules and tickets. To ensure that you get a seat on the bus, you should reserve ahead of time.   Let us know when you will be arriving by bus and we will meet you at the bus stop.  


When to Arrive

You should plan to arrive to Alfred the weekend before the scheduled International Orientation starts. We offer airport pickup from the Greater Rochester International Airport or we will plan to meet your bus that weekend.  For more information about the pickup and dates please read your acceptance letter from the Office of International Programs.  You should not plan to arrive earlier than recommended.  If you do, it is likely that you will have to stay in a hotel until the residence areas are ready to receive new students. 


Early Arrivals 

If you decide to arrive in the area earlier than recommended, you will have to find your own accommodations and transportation. The Saxon Inn is located on Alfred University’s campus and offers continental breakfast, free wi-fi, access to the University’s fitness center, and other accommodations. To inquire about rates and reservations contact 607.871.2600 or 866.487.3078. Other options include the Economy Inn in Alfred Station, approximately 1 mile from campus; Comfort Inn in Hornell, about a 20 minute drive from campus; Econo Lodge in Hornell; and Days Inn in Hornell.   If you are staying in Hornell the HAT bus travels to Alfred on a regular schedule.  We do not recommend renting a car, but if you do, please visit the travel section of our Area Services page for more information.


What to Bring

Clothing: Alfred has four distinct seasons: fall/autumn (September-November), winter (November-March), spring (March-June), and summer (June-September). Even if you are here for just one semester, you will need winter clothes. The spring and fall (autumn) weather in Alfred can be unpredictable, with it snowing one day and in the 50s (10 C) the next.  Students usually wear jeans and a hooded sweatshirt during these months with a jacket as needed.  With all the variety in the weather it is important to plan accordingly when packing for your trip.  However, if the weather catches you by surprise, there are local places where you can purchase new or used clothing.

Bedroom: Linens for on-campus housing are not provided at Alfred University.  AU beds are extra-long twin-sized (80 inches or 203 cm). Bedding can take up a lot of room in a suitcase so we suggest buying it once you arrive.  During International Orientation we will provide you with time to take the HAT bus to Walmart to buy any bedding or additional supplies you may need and the AU bookstore carries some room supplies as well. Halogen lamps are a fire hazard and are not permitted in the residence halls.  Students are not allowed to paint the residence halls, but can personalize their rooms with posters, pictures, and artwork.

Electricity: The United States' electrical system uses 115-117 volts, 60 cycles (hertz). If you are bringing appliances from home, they may have been designed for a different voltage electrical system. You will need to purchase a converter and plug adapter that can handle the wattage of the particular appliance that you bring with you. You may also be able to purchase adaptors and converter online or at a store near Alfred.

Cell Phones: Many students wish to have a cell phone once they arrive to Alfred.  The major provider in the area is Verizon Wireless, though others (AT&T, T-Mobile) can be used with varying success. To get a phone, there are two main options: 1) a two-year contract or 2) a pay-as-you-go plan. Contract plans are the most common plans in the United States. Contract plans require a two-year commitment as well as a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) for identity and credit check purposes. Please note that in order to obtain a SSN, you must be employed. If you are not employed, and therefore do not have an SSN, the provider will ask for a large deposit ($150 -$500). Further, students who are in Alfred for less than two years will not want to start a contract plan as breaking the contract will result in heavy penalty fees.

The second popular option is the pay-as-you-go plan. While these plans may have slightly higher rates on outgoing calls, messaging, etc., they are usually more convenient for international students; prepaid plans offer the same services and network capabilities as contract plans, but do not require a SSN, a hefty deposit, or a two-year commitment.  To use these phones you buy “minutes” at stores or online to add to your account.  These “minutes,” along with the phone packages, can be found at many stores near Alfred.

International students can also talk to their home providers about international SIM cards to be placed on their existing phones.  These can often be costly, especially if you use data (web browsing, email, etc.) so it is best to check with your provider about what is included before signing up.