Dear Wheaton Parents,

Congratulations on the admission of your student to Wheaton College!

Please take some time to review the FAQ’s we have provided below. There are links to the visa application process, student financial services and a map of campus; in addition to much more.  There is also an International Student Handbook, which has information about cultural adjustment, hotels, shopping, banking, cell phones and more that we can provide for you.

We understand that you are excited for them to attend college in the United States. We know that while you are here, you want to spend as much time with them as possible including taking them out to dinner, shopping for necessary items and saying your goodbyes. However, we must kindly remind you that the International Student Early Arrival Program is REQUIRED and your student must attend every session unless permission to be absent is requested. The information that we share is designed specifically for them and important for their transition into college.

We kindly ask that you please refrain from taking them from these activities until AFTER the day’s events are over; or, have your student speak with us to make a request to miss a session.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Desnee Stevens at

Thank you!

We greatly appreciate it and look forward to seeing you in the Fall!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How do I pay my student’s tuition?

Your student will have to give you access but once they do, please click on the Student Account Center page to make payments.

Will my student be able to get supplies upon arrival?

Your student has two options. Option A: they can purchase items online and they can have them shipped to the college in early August. Option B: The Center for Global Education provides a shopping trip during International Early Arrival Program and they will be able to purchase supplies at that point. However, we do encourage students to come with some basic necessities. See our College Packing List for more information.

In order to save on extra luggage fees at the airport, students have also sent personal materials to the campus in advance.

My student is traveling alone. Will someone be picking my student up at the airport? 

Yes, if your student arrives during the arranged pick up times. The Center for Global Education provides airport pickup during International Early Arrival Program. Your student will be sent a link during the summer to sign up for airport pickup.  It is important to plan flights according to the shuttle schedule. Please be aware that airport pick-up is only for students traveling alone. If they arrive outside of the shuttle schedule, they will need to make their own arrangements to get to campus. We can still provide information so please reach out.

When do classes begin?

Classes begin the week after the International Early Arrival Program. Please see the academic calendar for precise dates.

Why does my student have to come early?

Your student has to come early because the Center for Global Education provides a specially designed International Early Arrival Program. The program is designed to help your student ease into their new academic environment, get to know the campus, make friends and adjust to the Wheaton community. It is very important that they attend and moreover, the value with stay with them throughout their academic career.

Will my student get the opportunity to meet other people?

Definitely! Your student will have multiple opportunities to meet other students. There are six other Early Arrival Programs prior to the start of classes, where your student will be able to connect with many students. They will meet students in their own program as well as in the other programs. Then, a whole new group of students will arrive for Fall Orientation and they will be able to meet hundreds of other students. Additionally, during the first few weeks of classes, the college will have many events that will give students the chance to meet each other.

How does my student get their ID and room key?

There is a universal check-in process for students so it is important to arrive on the day that they are requested to arrive. Upon arrival, your student will be provided with a packet of information from the Early Arrival Program and they will be able to get their ID and key in the same location. They will only be able to get their ID if they have submitted their photo during the summer. If they fail to do so, the check-in process will be delayed for them.

Is there a parent program during the Early Arrival Program?

The hope to have a program will always occur but with the current health crisis, it may be remote. You will be prompted to sign up for  this program during the summer. If we are able to have an in-person program, it will allow parents the opportunity to become better acquainted with the Wheaton campus and the community. A tour is provided, conversations with various Dean’s and Directors, an opportunity to talk to campus representatives and a parent reception.

Where can I stay near campus?

Many parents have had success with a few Airbnb locations, very close to campus. There are also hotels located within 15-20 minutes of campus, including a new one just off the highway. It is important to book early.

How can I rent a car? 

We recommend reserving a car at the airport. Wheaton is in a rural area and Uber/Lyft may be limited.

Can students stay in their room during breaks?

Yes, but registration is required. During the school year, there are no additional fees, but if a student chooses to stay during the Winter break, there is a fee. Students are allowed to stay on campus during the summer, but they must meet certain requirements. Please read more about it on the summer housing page.

Can students store their belongings over the summer? 

Yes, students can store some of their belongings on campus but they cannot store it all on campus due to limited space. There are several storage unit facilities within the area. It is recommended for students to connect with each other to rent a space together for the summer to share the cost.

When do I get notified of my student’s grades?

You will not be notified of your student’s grades because of FERPA. FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. If you want access to your students’ record, you will need to ask you student. We understand that this may be very different than what you are used to where you live but this is a federal law in the United States.

How does my student choose what classes to take?

During the summer, an academic advisor will reach out to your student to begin the selection of classes. Prior to this encounter, your student will have the opportunity to peruse the academic course catalogue. It is important that your student register during the summer so that they get the classes they desire.

What health services are available on campus?

Wheaton College has a Counseling Center and uses the Norton Medical Center for its medical needs.

Is insurance mandatory? How does insurance work for my student? 

Yes. Insurance is mandatory for all international students. All students are automatically enrolled in the Wheaton Health Insurance Plan. To read more about health insurance, please go here (Health Insurance). Please be aware that health care in the United States is very expensive and health insurance will help to defray the cost.

If my student is attending the International Early Arrival Program, do they need to attend the Fall Orientation program?

Yes. Each program is different and each program is designed to meet each audience.

What is the difference between the Early Arrival Program and the Fall Orientation?

EAP is designed for students that identify with a specific identity group. Fall Orientation is for all new students regardless of how they might identify. For example, International EAP is for international students and dual citizens who have primarily lived and studied outside of the United States.

How does my student pick their housing? 

Your student will receive information to their Wheaton email that will include how to sign up for housing. In the housing application, they will be asked lifestyle questions, personality questions and personal preferences in regards to living situations. Students use the housing portal as part of their application process to meet potential roommates. Student have also been known to meet via the Wheaton College Facebook page or Instagram. If your student fails to submit a housing application, they will be assigned housing. For more information about housing, please click here (Housing).

Does my student need to register for International EAP? 

Yes. A link will be sent to all international students during the summer.

My student has never been in school in the United States, so what will their first academic semester be like?

Depending on how your student deals with change, they will need some time to adjust to the new educational environment and expectations. They may experience the following:

  • Writing a lot of papers
  • Reading a lot for homework assignments
  • Higher volume of homework
  • Increased class participation
  • Increased assignments in class or exams/quizzes
  • Difficulty staying current with all classes
  • Amount of increased critical thinking required and expected in the classroom

My student received an I-20/DS-2019 in their packet. What is this and what do they have to do next? 

The I-20 or DS-2019 is used to apply for the F-1 or J-1 visa they will use to come to the US. Instructions have been provided on next steps for visa application.

What is the SEVIS fee? 

The SEVIS fee is used to process the I-20. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) charges a $350 SEVIS fee to new F-1 students and a $220 SEVIS Fee to J-1 students. Please do not delay in paying this as it is the first step in the visa process.

What is the visa process like?

The process is different for different people. It is not like having a tourist visa. Students must present the immigration documents, proof of admission as well as proof of financial support. They must also provide evidence that they have strong ties to their home country and do not plan to emigrate. Failure to do so could result in visa denial. It is also important to apply for the visa as soon as the I-20 or DS-2019 are received because visa appointment slots get filled up very quickly.


If there is something you think should be here, please email us to let us know at