Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

International Student Orientation Program

The International Student Orientation Program (ISOP) is an optional pre-orientation program designed to help international first-year Columbia College and Columbia Engineering students, who have limited experience in the U.S., transition comfortably into the Columbia University community before the required New Student Orientation Program (NSOP). ISOP 2020 takes place Thursday, August 27–Sunday, August 30

ISOP will help incoming international students:

  • Set up a new life in the U.S.
    • Orientation leaders will offer support for you to get a U.S. cell phone, bank account and shop for college essentials
  • Understand U.S. norms
    • You will learn U.S. norms to help you successfully navigate everyday life in New York City as well as Columbia-specific academic norms and resources
  • Foster new friendships and community
    • You will have an opportunity to meet other new international students in a supportive environment before you integrate into the larger Columbia community during NSOP

If you have a question about ISOP that does not appear in the frequently asked question (FAQ) section below, please email ISOP@columbia.edu

Eligibility

Any Columbia College or Columbia Engineering first-year undergraduate student who is not a U.S. citizen or who, regardless of citizenship, self-identifies as an international student may take part in ISOP.

Visiting and exchange students are not eligible to participate due to the specific nature of their program. Visiting and exchange students should refer to the orientation information provided by their sponsoring program. 

Not sure if ISOP is something you need? Use this flowchart to determine if ISOP is right for you!

Program Fees

The cost for ISOP 2020 is $300.00.

A limited number of fee waivers are available to students who demonstrate high levels of financial need, as verified through Financial Aid and Educational Financing. Priority will be given to students with the highest levels of financial need. Students eligible for fee waivers must submit their online application no later than Sunday, May 17 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

Note: Students accepted into ISOP are required to attend all ISOP sessions and participate in all ISOP orientation leader small group activities on each day of the program. Students who do not fully participate in ISOP programs will be responsible for their housing/dining fees and may be removed from the program. Please plan accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

International Student Orientation Program

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 2020?

ISOP 2020 will take place Thursday, August 27–Sunday, August 30.

What are the application dates and deadlines for ISOP?

Applications for ISOP 2020 will be accepted on a rolling basis until Saturday, August 1.

Students who are eligible for a fee waiver, as verified through Financial Aid and Educational Financingmust submit their online application no later than Sunday, May 17 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

Please email us at ISOP@columbia.edu if you have questions about the application process.

How do I know whether ISOP will help my transition as a first-year international student?

The primary goal of ISOP is to help prepare international students who have limited experience in the U.S. to transition into the U.S. culture both inside and outside of the classroom. If you are exploring the optional pre-orientation programs, use our ISOP flowchart to figure out if ISOP is the right choice for you!

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. Visiting and exchange students are not eligible to participate in ISOP.  

How much does it cost to participate in ISOP?

The program fee for ISOP 2020 is $300 USD.

A limited number of fee waivers are available to students who demonstrate high levels of financial need, as verified through Financial Aid and Educational Financing. Priority will be given to students with the highest levels of financial need. Students eligible for fee waivers must submit their online application no later than Sunday, May 17 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

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

ISOP 2020 participants will be able to move into their assigned housing on Thursday, August 27, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Is ISOP mandatory for international students?

No, ISOP is not mandatory. However, we expect students who choose to participate in ISOP to attend all programs scheduled during pre-orientation. Students are assigned to their orientation leader over the summer and will interact with other members in their group throughout orientation. Participation is important, as we discuss social, academic and cultural topics as a large group and in smaller groups later in the day. Students who do not fully participate in ISOP programs will be responsible for their housing/dining fees and may be removed from the program. Please plan accordingly.

 

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 their 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 Student and Family Support. 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 only some of the sessions in ISOP? I would like to spend some time with my parents in New York City.

Full participation is required for all ISOP participants. If you would like to enjoy New York City with your parents, please plan to arrive 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 mta.info and use the "trip planner" tool to get a route to campus. Enter "Columbia University Main Campus" as your destination address.

Orientation

Visit

515 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-3612

Fax: (212) 854-6972

Office Hours
Monday–Friday
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.