Frequently Asked Questions
How do I obtain a student visa?
Once accepted to Alma College, an I-20 (for an F1 Student Visa) or DS 2019 (for a J1 Student Visa) will be mailed directly to you along with your official acceptance letter. You will need to schedule an appointment in your home country’s U.S. Embassy/U.S. Consulate Office to obtain your student visa. Be sure to pay your I-901 SEVIS fee and carefully review the visa application processes within your home country prior to your meeting at the US Embassy. We also recommend that you pay your $300 commitment deposit fee early!
Per the Department of Homeland Security, the I-901 SEVIS fee for F and M international students has increased from $200 to $350; the full I-901 SEVIS fee for J exchange visitors - excluding those in the au pair, camp counselor, and summer work or travel program participant categories - has increased from $180 to $220. This increase has gone into effect as of 12 a.m. EDT June 24, 2019.
Is orientation required?
Yes. Orientation is a valuable time to prepare for the semester, schedule your classes, get to know the campus and local community, establish friendships, meet your faculty advisor, participate in activities, learn about clubs and organizations, learn about F1 or J1 immigration regulations, and gain important information about the many opportunities Alma College has for you throughout the life of your education. The college provides free initial airport pickups and we’ll help get you settled in your residence hall.
Where will I live?
Alma College is a residential campus, meaning the students live on campus all four years. There are a variety of residence facilities, but first-year students are normally assigned to a two person room in a residence hall. The common space, halls and bathrooms are cleaned by housekeeping staff, while the cleaning of individual rooms is always the responsibility of the students who live there.
Can I join a student organization or club?
Yes! In fact, we strongly recommend you join any and all clubs and organizations of interest. Alma College offers almost 100 student organizations and clubs and this is a great way to stay engaged with campus events, gain new friends, travel within and outside the state of Michigan, and enhance your campus quality of life exponentially.
What kind of weather does Alma, Michigan have?
Great news! Not only is Alma a very friendly small town but it is in a four-season state. Fall (August - October) is spectacular with an array of colors, spring is beautiful with a variety of flowers and trees, and summers are mild. Winters (November - February) can be very cold with lots of snow so take advantage of outdoor winter sports and the beauty of winter. You may want to try skiing, snowboarding, or even building a snowman! Shopping trips will be available to buy needed items, so you do not need to pack everything.
Is medical insurance required and medical care available?
Yes, as an F1 or J1 visa holder, you are required to have medical insurance at all times. To ensure this, the college automatically enrolls you in the Alma College student health insurance which is for your protection while studying and traveling in the U.S. The Wilcox Medical Center on campus provides a full range of services for non-emergency care. A Walk-In / Urgent Care Clinic is minutes from the hospital and should be used only when the Wilcox Medical Center is closed. A local hospital for emergency care is nearby the hospital, as well as specialized services sites.