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Undergraduate Student Life

International Student Orientation Program FAQs

What is ISOP?

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Frequently Asked Questions

International Student Orientation Program (ISOP)

What is ISOP?

The International Student Orientation Program (ISOP) 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. 

What are the dates for ISOP 2017?

ISOP 2017 will start on Wednesday, August 23, 2016, and will end on Saturday, August 26, 2017.

What are the application dates and deadlines for ISOP?

ISOP Application will open in April or May 2017. If you have a question about ISOP before that, please email

What are the application questions?

Below are the open eneded questions found on the ISOP application. It is recommended that you review the questions and develop your answers before accessing the application.

  1. What excites you most about living in New York City and the United States?
  2. What concerns do you have about moving to a new country/new school?
  3. Describe your experiences living/traveling in the United States.
Who can participate in ISOP?

Any Columbia College or Columbia Engineering first-year student who is not a United States citizen or who, regardless of citizenship, self-identifies as an international student can take part in ISOP. Visitng and Exchange students are not not eligible to participate in ISOP.  

How much does it cost to participate in ISOP 2017?

ISOP participants will pay $300 USD for the program. 

Reduced pre-orientation program participation fees may be available for participants with the highest financial need. You will be asked during the program application process if you are a Columbia grant financial aid recipient and would like to be considered for a reduced program participation fee.

If I decided to participate in ISOP, when will I move to campus?

ISOP participants will move in to campus on Wednesday, Augsut 23, 2017.

Is ISOP mandatory?

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

Are meals included in ISOP?

Yes. All meals are included during ISOP. ISOP will communicate with registered participants for their dietary needs.

If I choose to participate in COÖP or CUE, will I miss receiving important information for international students?

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. In addition, there are on-going programs and one-on-one support for international students throughout international students' time at Columbia. 

Can my parents attend ISOP?

ISOP is for students only; however, there will be some concurrent sessions and events for families run by Family Engagement. 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 when ISOP starts. If you need hotel accommodations, please visit the local hotels list provided by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Is it possible to participate in some of the sessions in ISOP? I would like to spend some time with my parents in New York City.

No, full participation is REQUIRED for all ISOP participants. If you would like to enjoy New York City with your parents, please plan to arrive New York City before ISOP starts. Keep in mind that ISOP is not responsible for expenses incurred prior to the start of ISOP.

Are shuttle services offered from the NYC airports to campus?

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 transportation. Please visit and use the "trip planner" tool to get a route to campus. Enter "Columbia University Main Campus" as your destination address.



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