Welcome to Hartwick College!
Congratulations on your decision to enroll at Hartwick College. The following links provide helpful information for you to consider as you plan for your transition to residential life here in Oneonta, NY. Read on to learn more about the following:
Advisors at Hartwick
When to Arrive
Medical Forms and Insurance
What to Bring
Getting to Oneonta and Hartwick's Campus
Communications at Hartwick
Residence Halls and Housing
Academic Schedule and Breaks
Banking and Finance
Payment of Tuition and Fees
English Language and Computer Skills
Weather and Climate
Carolyn assists international students in their transition to Hartwick from pre-arrival and immigration information through their academic and social adjustment to college life.
Godlove can assist you with any immigration and adjustment-related questions you may have while you are a student at Hartwick College.
Academic Advisor: After your arrival, you should schedule a meeting with your academic advisor in order to establish a relationship and discuss your academic future. Academic advisors want to get to know you and help you as much as possible. Learn more about Academic Advising....
You should plan to arrive at Hartwick College in time for both New Student and International Student Orientation. You will need to check schedules and mailings you receive from Hartwick in order to get exact dates for these orientation programs. Hartwick generally admits new students at the beginning of Fall Term in late August, and at the start of Spring Term in early February.
Specific information regarding your health and immunization records is provided here; it is important that you send required health forms and records of your immunizations to the Perella Health Center at Hartwick College by July 15. Please scan and email the forms. If scanning is not an option, please mail or fax the forms to the Perella Health Center at 607-431-4124.
The document is a bundle of several important medical forms you must fill out with a physician while you are in your home country. In the document you will find:
- The Certification of Medical Examination Form and The Medical Treatment Permission Form (Page 1)
- The Family and Student Medical History Form (Page 2)
- The Physical Examination Form (Page 3)
- The TB Screening Target Test Form (Page 4) (this can be done at Hartwick)
- The Immunization Records Form (Page 5)
- Health Information Use and Disclosure Form (Page 6)
- Pages 7 & 8 are for Intercollegiate Athletes only (History Form on Page 7 and Physical Examination Form on Page 8)
In order to register for classes you will need to provide your medical/health information. If you cannot provide your immunization record, you will be required to get several different series of immunizations so the college is assured of your health and safety. These immunizations should be covered by your college health insurance.
Hartwick requires that all students have medical insurance that covers them while at college. Hartwick health insurance is mandatory for international students. The cost of your insurance is included in the tuition and fees listed on your I-20. You will be covered for medical emergencies or any illnesses you may experience while you are here. More information about the Hartwick College insurance plan is available online at this link. When you arrive you will be issued a health insurance card by Hartwick's Student Accounts Office. Please keep this card with you at all times.
You should place identification tags with your name and Hartwick address on all of your luggage items. This way your luggage can be traced if it is lost in transit and it will come to you at Hartwick rather than being sent back home. Also, place some form of identification (other than your passport) inside each piece of luggage (A copy of an ID or a piece of paper with your contact information and address would be sufficient.) Please note, you should carry your passport with you at all times in a safe pocket where it will not be easily lost or stolen.
Many airlines now charge a fee per bag. Airlines also have luggage weight limits, so be sure to inquire with your specific airline about how much you can take. Fees for overweight suitcases are quite high. Additionally, there are restrictions on carry-on luggage in the U.S. for number and size of bags as well as what you can bring. For example, liquids, matches, and lighters cannot be carried onto the aircraft. Please see the Transportation Security Administration for comprehensive information about what you can bring on board airplanes.
Clothing can be expensive in the U.S. but there are many sales and discounts, too. However, there aren't very many places to shop in Oneonta, due to its small size. Bring your favorite clothes and plan to get some clothes here, especially since you are limited as to how much luggage you can bring. You can buy clothing online or when the International Club makes shopping trips to Albany on weekends. In general, students dress in casual attire. Most students wear sneakers, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and blue jeans or shorts most of the time. For the cold, you will need winter boots or heavy shoes, a hat and pair of gloves, some sort of waterproof coat or raincoat, and a heavy outer coat or jacket. If you are from a warm climate, plan to get winter clothes once you are here. You should bring some more formal clothing, suitable for giving presentations or for special occasions. If you would like, you could also bring some traditional clothing for festive and cultural occasions.
Shopping in Oneonta is limited. There is a Wal-mart, where everyday items, school supplies, inexpensive clothing, and food can be purchased, as well as a small shopping mall, the Southside Mall, with a variety of clothing stores, a movie theatre, and various other stores. These stores are not within easy walking distance of the Hartwick campus, however, so it will be necessary to get a ride from a friend, take a taxi, or take the city bus to get out to them.
A much more extensive shopping selection can be found in Albany and Binghamton, though it is more difficult to get to these places if you do not have a friend with a car. Bus service is available, as noted above. The International Club also typically plans a shopping trip at least once a semester to go shopping in Albany.
If you have any special medical needs, you may want to bring your medication with you since specialized medicines in the U.S. are only issued if one has a prescription for them written by a doctor. Other items you may want to consider bringing with you include: a journal, a camera, a portable music player, a few of your favorite CDs or cassettes, and textbooks if you know they will be useful in your coursework (textbooks can be purchased on campus after arrival). Additionally, you may find it helpful to bring traditional items such as examples of arts, crafts, traditional dress, and photographs of family and home. You may want to bring items you use regularly that may not be readily available, or may be more expensive, in the United States -- for example, eyeglasses, cameras, watches, or portable radios. You may also have the opportunity to visit a duty-free port where such items may be purchased at a reduced cost.
There will be opportunities throughout the year for you to share information about your culture with other students and/or faculty, staff, and members of the community. Remember Americans will be interested in seeing pictures of your daily life as well as those of museums and important landmarks.
Copy of Documents
Please make a photocopy of all important documents (I-20, passport, visa, credit cards, health insurance card, and plane ticket) in case you lose them. You should keep one set of copies with you in your carry-on luggage and leave the other set of copies with a family member at home.
What Not to Bring
You can obtain a booklet on customs regulations at the consulate or embassy where you acquire your visa. Prohibited items include some foodstuffs, narcotics, and items for resale. For more information, visit the web site of U.S. Customs & Border Protection. Since students are expected to buy required textbooks for all courses, and supplemental reading materials for review and research are available in libraries, you need not bring any books used in previous study.
When considering to bring electronic applicances, please refer to Hartwick's residence hall policies. It is best to purchase electrical appliances after you arrive: appliances manufactured outside the U.S. may not be compatible with the power supply or may not be allowed inside the residence halls. You also may want to order power adapters for things like MP3 players or other electronic devices that you want to bring but that have different voltages and socket adapters. For items that you do wish to bring with you please make sure they are compatible with U.S. voltage (below).
Electricity in the U.S. is 110 volts, 60 cycles. Outlets accommodate plugs with two flat blades and/or plugs with two flat blades and an adapter pin. If you bring an electric appliance (such as an electric razor or hair dryer) be sure that it will operate on U.S. current (110 volts). You may need to purchase an adapter plug.
Shipping Excess Baggage
Coordinating the arrival of shipped trunks and other baggage is very complicated. It is also expensive and should be avoided if at all possible. If you must ship baggage to the U.S., and if you travel by plane, there are several methods for doing so. Regardless of which method you choose, it is recommended that you insure your baggage.
The preferred method for shipping excess clothing is to mail packages to yourself by international parcel post instead of shipping them by boat. Check with your local post office for details.
Such packages should be addressed to:
ATTN: Physical Plant Drive
Oneonta, NY 13820
Mark your actual package/box: "Used Clothing for International Student." This will help you avoid paying duty on your own items.
Another possibility is to contact a shipping and forwarding agency and arrange to send your heavy or "excess" baggage by boat to the Port of Entry (POE). These arrangements should be made well in advance so that the baggage will be at the customs office when you arrive.
One more option to consider is airfreight. Most airlines will allow you to send a trunk or extra suitcases to the U.S. but the cost can be high. Use this option only if you are traveling by plane to the U.S. and can arrange to have your shipped items arrive at the same airport, either a day or two before or the same day you arrive.
If you are flying into Binghamton or Albany airports, Hartwick staff can pick you up and give you a ride to campus. If you would like transport, please fill out the Arrival Information and Ride Request Form and return it by July 15.
The closest airports to Oneonta, NY are located in Binghamton, NY (airport code BGM) and Albany, NY (airport code ALB). However, major Ports of Entry (arrival locations for most international incoming flights) on the East Coast are New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.
Please note, if you are flying into Binghamton or Albany, Hartwick staff from the PSGE Center can pick you up at the airport and provide transportation to Hartwick College. However, you MUST FILL OUT the Arrival Information Form and send it back to the PSGE Center by July 15. If you are flying into another airport, you will need to arrange for transportation to either Albany or Binghamton airports for pick-up, or you will need to arrange transportation to Hartwick College on your own.
Planes from your arrival Port of Entry to Albany, NY or Binghamton, NY also are available. You could then request pick-up from Hartwick at Albany or Binghamton, or you could choose to take a bus or taxi to Oneonta, NY on your own. Please note, if you decline Hartwick transportation from Binghamton or Albany, you are responsible for transportation costs.
From most Ports of Entry (including New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC), you can travel to Oneonta by bus. Greyhound and Adirondack Trailways are two major bus companies that service the Northeast. Information, schedules, and tickets can be obtained at a Greyhound Bus Terminal by accessing https://www.greyhound.com or at an Adirondack Trailways Bus Terminal by accessing http://www.trailwaysny.com. This is the least expensive way to travel.
Taxis are available only from Binghamton and Albany airports, but should be arranged in advance. The phone number is 607-432-0100 and the cost is about $125 from either Binghamton or Albany. A 10-20% tip is also generally given to the driver of the taxi in addition to the service fare. Taxi services that run in Oneonta are:
ACE Taxi: 607-432-8294
A & D Taxi: 607-433-1726
Hill City Taxi: 607-433-2227
M&M Taxi: 607-435-4102
Getting to Hartwick College
If you take a bus to Oneonta from your Port of Entry, you still will need to get to Hartwick's campus. The easiest way to do this would be to telephone the Global Education and Service Learning Advisor, and arrange a pick-up, or to take a taxi.
Taxi service should cost around $10 to get to campus. Call to arrange a pick-up. Please be aware that regardless of the method of transportation you choose, being on time is critical. There are limited numbers of flights to Upstate NY and buses to Oneonta each day from these areas. There are hotels near all the airports if you are unable to make travel arrangements to Oneonta on the day you arrive.
Please do not hitchhike (accept rides from strangers) anywhere in the United States. Not only is it dangerous, it also is illegal on many highways and in some states.
If you have an international cell phone (mobile), you can use it while you are traveling to the U.S. but once you are here, it will be less expensive for you to obtain local service. Cell phone usage might be different in the U.S. than in your home country. In many places, the person who calls pays the charge and the person who receives the call does not pay anything. In the U.S. both the caller and the receiver are charged by the number of minutes they use their phone. International calls incur cost additional charges.
Therefore, it's important that you look at different options and compare them carefully. The most common cell phone carriers in this area are AT&T and Verizon. AT&T gives an 18% discount to all Hartwick students. Both have plans through which you can get telephones with a significant discount, but they usually require the customer to sign a two-year contract with the company. They also have discounted international calling for a monthly fee. You should investigate how much it will cost to call home with each company before you choose one.
The Office of Global Education recommends getting a plan (at least at first) that has no contract. At&T, Verizon and Virgin Mobile all have no-contract plans that are reasonably priced. In Oneonta, we have several places you can buy any of these phones and plans, including Radio Shack, an AT&T Store, and a Verizon store.
Skype is also a very competitive way to call internationally and it is possible to use Skype for free (computer to computer) or to Skype-Out (computer to phone). For more information on this option check out www.skype.com.
Here are the cell phone company websites where you can learn more:
While living in the residence halls, you will be automatically assigned a Hartwick telephone number, though it will be your own responsibility to provide the phone. From this number you will be able to make free local calls, use a calling card for long-distance calls, or make long-distance calls through Hartwick's long-distance provider. If you have questions about this service, please contact Hartwick's Telecommunications Office by phone at 607-431-4985 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While many students take advantage of the telephone service provided by the College, most of Hartwick's students also choose to purchase a mobile cellular phone and service plan from one of the many private companies that serve Oneonta. These companies include Verizon Wireless, Sprint, AT&T, and U.S. Cellular. Check the company Web sites above for more information on their specific plans and coverage around Oneonta. This is by no means necessary, though you will find that most students use their cell phones all the time.
You will most likely be housed in a double or triple room on campus, which you will share with one or two roommates. If you encounter serious difficulties with a roommate, room re-assignment is possible, but only after every effort is made to settle differences without making room changes.
All rooms have beds, closets, desks, and clothes drawer space. You will need to provide a lamp, alarm clock, bed linens (sheets and blankets), and a pillow as well as your own bath towels. The linen for your beds should be for 80-inch long beds (extra-long sheets). If you cannot find this size of sheets at home, you can purchase them here. There will be time to go shopping in the first few days of your arrival. It may very well be easier to purchase the items listed above once you arrive rather than transporting them from home. You will be expected to keep your room clean. A vacuum can be borrowed from the maintenance department when needed. More information about Residence Life is available online.
Every year there will be a number of academic breaks and vacations of varying lengths. During the winter holiday break from mid-December to early January, all Hartwick residence halls and food services close and students are required to leave campus.
Students also are expected to leave campus after their last exam each spring semester unless summer housing arrangements have been made. Most students travel or go home during this time. During other breaks, the College remains open with minimal food service available.
If you must stay in Oneonta during the winter holiday break, we may be able to find faculty, staff, and community members who would enjoy having you stay with them. If you need such accommodations, you should notify the PSGE Center as soon as possible.
During the week-long academic breaks at the end of January Term and during the March "Spring Break," international students are encouraged to travel and see other parts of the country. Bus travel is the best option, though car rental also is an option to those who have a driver's license. Places like New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, DC all are within reasonable driving distance and provide nearly endless opportunities for tourism. If you wish to visit warmer climates during these breaks, flights to the southern United States also are easily accessed in Albany and Binghamton.
Hartwick will provide some space for international students to store their belongings over the summer break between academic years. Please contact the International Student Advisor for more information about storing items over the summer.
While planning for your time in the United States, be sure to have sufficient funds to cover incidentals such as food, toiletries, vacation travel, or for unexpected expenses that may arise. Be advised, it may be difficult to have money sent to you here from your country or to have it transferred quickly. Accordingly, you may want to bring as much money as you think you will need with you. The safest and most convenient way of carrying funds is by traveler's checks in U.S. dollars. Traveler's checks, obtained at banks or travel offices, can be cashed by banks and most businesses, including hotels, restaurants, and airports.
It would be wise to bring at least $500 with you for the first few weeks. It also is a good idea to have an international credit card such as MasterCard or Visa. When you arrive in the U.S., you should have at least $100 U.S. currency. Some part of this should be in small bills and change in the event that you need to make a telephone call. Phone cards can be purchased at airports or most hotels. Once you arrive on campus, you will be able to make local banking arrangements in town. The lower denominations of U.S. paper money are: $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills; coins are one cent, (penny, $.01), five cents (nickel, $.05), 10 cents (dime, $.10), 25 cents (quarter, $.25), 50 cents (half-dollar, $.50) and 1 dollar ($1).
Here are some average prices of common items obtained by college students in the U.S.:
|Travel Accommodations||Hotel room = $50-250 (per night)
Motel room = $40-100 (per night)
|Academic Expenses||Textbooks = $20-300 per textbook (science & math textbooks are especially expensive)
Notebooks = $1-8
Pens = $1-5
|Clothing Expenses||T-shirts = $5-30
Jeans = $20-80
Sneakers = $20-150
Winter coat = $30- 250
Winter boots = $20-100
Gloves = $5-30
|Daily Expenses||Cup of Coffee = $1-5
Bottle of Soda = $1.50
Daily Newspaper = $1.25
|Dorm Expenses||Blankets = $30-80
Sheets = $15-60 for a twin size
Pillow = $5-25 for a twin size
Estimated laundry costs = $3.50 per week
Alarm Clock = $10-40
Desk Lamp = $10-20
Bath Towels =$3-10
|Hygiene Expenses||Toothbrush = $0.70-2.60
Toothpaste = $2-5
Soap = $0.75-2.60
Shampoo = $2-6
Haircut for a woman = $16-60
Haircut for a man = $10-25
|Miscellaneous Expenses||Music CD = $10-20
Movie Admission Ticket = $5.50-10
Meal at a fast food restaurant = $5-10 per person
Meal at a good restaurant = $15-30 per person
Banking in Oneonta
It is recommended that you purchase traveler's checks in U.S. currency prior to arriving in the United States. These checks can be used for any expenses in the U.S., are replaceable if lost or stolen, and can be deposited into a bank account if you choose to open one. Also, if you have a debit card, you should inquire to see if it will work in Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) in the U.S. (It is quite likely your debit card will work, which will allow you to have quick access to money in the U.S.)
If you want to open a bank account in Oneonta, there are two banks located near campus that can process international transactions: Community Bank and Key Bank. International bank transactions can take 2-3 days to process, so plan ahead. Please note, you must have a local account in order to wire transfer funds internationally.
Key Bank (.6 miles from campus)
202 Main Street
Oneonta, NY 13820
1-800-539-2968 or (607)-432-2500 (local)
Community Bank (.6 miles from campus)
245 Main Street
Oneonta, NY 13820
1-800-374-7980 or (607) 432-1700 (local)
NBT Bank (.5 miles from campus)
1 Wall Street
Oneonta, NY 13820
1-800-628-2265 or (607) 432-5800 (local)
Citizens Bank (3 miles from campus)
1000 Main Street
(607) 433-0713 (local)
You should contact these banks if you wish to arrange an international wire transfer.
Payment of tuition, fees, and other charges is due prior to registration (when you enroll for classes). Hartwick College recommends that international students use peerTransfer to make payments. Click here to learn more about peerTransfer. Hartwick believes it is the most economical and safe way for international students to make international payments.If you cannot make full payment at the time payment is due, you must make special payment arrangements with the Student Accounts Office. If you fail to do so, you will be charged a late fee.
Until you receive a Hartwick College mailbox assignment, all of your mail should be addressed to:
Oneonta, NY 13820
You will receive a mailbox assignment sometime this summer. Upon receiving this information, you should have people address mail to you in the manner that follows:
Box *(insert your box number here)
Oneonta, NY 13820 USA
Practice your English (through conversation, correspondence, and reading) as much as possible before you leave home. All lectures and coursework will be in English except for upper level foreign language classes. There is no special English as a Second Language class at Hartwick College. If you experience difficulty understanding the course material, you should discuss any hardships you are encountering with the instructor/professor, visit the Center for Student Success to arrange for tutoring or un-timed testing, and/or contact the Writing Center for language and grammar assistance. Also, much of the work you will be required to complete for classes will be done on a computer. It will be helpful if you are familiar with computers and are able to type before you arrive.
Oneonta experiences great seasonal variations in weather.
Autumn: (Mid-September through November) Daily temperatures vary, ranging from 20 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to 13 degrees Celsius). Days may be warm or cool and crisp. Rainfall may be more frequent, and snow is possible in November. A sweatshirt and heavier jacket may be required for these cold days.
Winter: (November through February) Temperatures are cold, ranging from -20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 to 5 degrees Celsius). Snow storms can bring anywhere from less than an inch to four feet of snow. Winter clothes are necessary during these months: heavy jacket, stocking hat, gloves, and snow boots.
Spring: (March through Early June) Temperatures typically range from 32-70 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 21 degrees Celsius). There usually are many moderate-temperature days during this time of year. Weather conditions vary greatly, and may be rainy, cloudy, sunny, or unseasonably warm. It would be useful to have an umbrella or raincoat for these months, as well as sweatshirts and a lighter jacket.
Summer: Early June through mid-September) Temperatures range from 55 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 33 degrees Celsius). The air may be dry or humid depending on the day. There may be some hot days when you first arrive. The nights in September will most likely be cool, calling for a sweatshirt and/or light jacket. Rainfall is less frequent during this time of the year, though it still may rain heavily at times.