International Student Orientation and Registration Program

WMU students at orientationWelcome to Western Michigan University!

Thank you for choosing WMU for your academic studies in the United States. Among the nearly 24,000 students, WMU hosts more than 1,800 international students representing 100 countries and is committed to student success and preparing all of its graduates to be globally engaged citizens and leaders. At the International Student Orientation and Registration Program (orientation) you will meet faculty, staff, and current international students, who will assist you with beginning your studies at WMU and getting settled in Kalamazoo. Currently enrolled WMU student leaders provide guidance and assistance to all participants. We look forward to meeting you at orientation!

Spring 2017 Orientation

Thursday, Jan. 5, Friday, Jan 6
WMU's Bernhard Center East Ballroom

Attendance at orientation is mandatory for all new students; plan to attend all sessions. Students who miss orientation sessions, or who are granted any exemption, will still be considered responsible for the information provided during orientation. Please read all of the following information very carefully.

Register for Orientation

  • Registration fee—All newly enrolled international students will be assessed a mandatory $185 International Student Orientation/Activities fee. This amount will be included in your WMU tuition bill.
  • A free breakfast and lunch is provided Thursday and Friday.
  • Housing and other meals are not included.

Orientation check-in will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, January 5

Orientation is held in WMU's Bernhard Center—map in the East Ballroom on the second floor—floor plan map.

Important dates to remember

Residence halls open  Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 9 a.m.
New Student Orientation Thursday, Jan. 5 and Friday, Jan. 6
First Day of Classes Monday, Jan. 9
Spirit Day (No Classes) Friday, March 3
Spring Break Monday, March 6 to Friday, March 10
Classes Resume Monday, March 13
Last Day of Classes Friday, April 21
Summer ISORP Thursday, May 4 and Friday, May 5

Contact information for International Admissions and Services

  • Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Phone: (269) 387-5865
Fax: (269) 387-5899 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
After-hours emergencies only: (269) 203-5482
For police or medical emergencies in the U.S. call 911

Start preparing now

  • Obtain your passport and U.S. visa as soon as possible.
  • Make travel arrangements to Kalamazoo.
  • Make arrangements for funds to be sent in advance or to be brought with you.
  • Make arrangements for a place to stay during orientation (read the information about Comfort Inn that follows)
  • Advise your friends and family of your temporary mailing address.
  • Visit the International Admissions Campus Life webpage to learn more about campus life:

What to bring

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Personal electronics (mp3 player, cell phone, laptop, camera, etc.)
  • Prescription medications
  • Food: snacks to eat until dining halls open
  • Prepare for cold weather. A heavy coat, boots and gloves are highly recommended for arriving to WMU in January.

Documents to bring to orientation:

  • Passport, visa
  • I-20 or DS-2019 form
  • Admission letter from Western Michigan University

What is covered during orientation

Orientation registration will open at 8 a.m., Thursday, January 5, in the Bernhard Center East Ballroom; the opening session will begin promptly at 10 a.m. Incoming students will receive a complete schedule of orientation activities at check in.

Orientation sessions will include:

  • Academic advising
  • Course registration
  • Grading information
  • Advising on transfer credits
  • U.S. immigration information
  • Medical insurance and health care information
  • Campus tours
  • Shopping trips
  • Social activities with other students
  • Housing and meal plan

Travel to Kalamazoo

  • By air—We recommend that new students arrive 1-2 days prior to orientation to rest and adjust to the time change. Plan to fly directly to the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport (airport code: AZO). Even though Chicago and Detroit appear to be nearby, both are at least three hours away by car. Transportation from the Kalamazoo Airport will be provided free of charge for four days prior to the start date of orientation and for two days after the start date. Please look for the WMU sign near the transportation desk in the baggage claim area to request transportation.

  • By bus or train—If you arrive in Kalamazoo by bus or train you can arrange for transportation to WMU’s main campus by calling a taxi. Two recommendations:

Company Phone number Estimated fare
Bronco Express (269) 343-3000       $7*
Godspeed Transportation (269) 547-5477       $10*

*A tip of 10 percent of fare plus $1 per bag is customary in the United States.

Temporary housing

  • Students with a WMU apartment contract: Students need to visit the WMU Residence Life office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., to receive move-in procedures. Note: Students will not be able to move in earlier than the official move-in date for WMU apartments. Students planning on arriving before the move-in date will need to find a place to stay until the WMU-specified move-in date. Website:
  • Students with a residence hall contract: Students arriving early may move into their residence hall beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4 at an additional cost. If you are moving into the residence hall called "Western Heights" the fee will be $30.00 per day. If you are moving into any of the other residence halls early, the fee will be $25.00 per day. Students planning to check into the residence hall early must bring bedding (twin extra-long size) and bath towels. Students arriving prior to January 4 will have to make their own arrangements to stay in a hotel until January 4. WMU's Residence Life staff may be reached during regular business hours at (269) 387-4735 or via email at Website:
  • Note: Student dining meal plans will not start in WMU dining halls and cafeterias until Sunday, January 8 at 7:00 a.m. However, the Bernhard Center cafe will be open, but meals purchased must be paid for personally. Bernhard Center cafe hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Students who do not have a housing contract will need to stay in a hotel during orientation. WMU provides a daily shuttle service to campus for students from the Comfort Inn hotel during orientation, which picks up students at the hotel door between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

Steps for making an online reservation for a room at the Comfort Inn hotel:

  • Reservations can be made through phone calls, the Comfort Inn website or send an email to the hotel
  • Please remember to notify the Comfort Inn staff that you are a new Western Michigan University International student to receive a discount
  • Reservations can be made at the website:
  • Comfort Inn Address: 739 West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI, 49007, US
  • Phone Number: (269) 384-2800
  • Email Address:

Dining meal plans

  • Meal plans for spring semester begins in WMU dining halls and cafeterias Sunday, January 8

Your WMU temporary mailing address:

First name, family name, c/o orientation
International Admissions and Services
3110 Faunce
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49008–5246

Preparing for your stay at WMU

Living arrangements

WMU Residence Halls provide safe on-campus housing and opportunities to meet other WMU students. Be sure to indicate your preference on your WMU housing request forms. All questions about residence hall reservations and contracts should be directed to the WMU Residence Life office:

Residence Life
Western Michigan University
1903 W. Michigan Ave.Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5312
Phone: (269) 387-4735
Fax: (269) 387-4786

WMU Apartments (on campus) are open to incoming transfer/graduate/sophomore-level and above students. Website:

WMU Apartments
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI  49008-5312
Phone: (269) 387-2175
Fax: (269) 387-4786

WMU tobacco free logoWestern Michigan University Tobacco-Free Campus Policy  

As of September 1, 2014, the use of tobacco products is only permitted in enclosed personal vehicles. The use of tobacco products is not permitted indoors or outdoors on any University property. Tobacco products are defined to include the following: cigarettes, electronic-cigarettes, cigars, bidis, snuff, snus, water pipes, pipes, hookahs, chew and any other non-combustible tobacco products. Read more:


WMU's total cost of attendance per academic semester may be found here. Do not rely on working in the United States to meet your educational expenses. Like most U.S. schools, WMU has little financial aid to offer international students. If you have a government scholarship, bring enough money for two months to pay for rent, food, book, deposits, and to buy warm clothing (arriving in fall or winter). If privately sponsored, bring enough money to cover your first semester's tuition, fees, and living expenses. Payment of the full balance on your student account is due on the first day of classes each semester; bring international travelers checks or a bank draft payable to WMU to make payment. Tuition and fee rates are reviewed by the University in August each year and may change without notice.

Tuition is also able to be paid by wire transfer. To learn more about paying your tuition bill by wire transfer, please visit 

About your meals

During orientation you will be provided with a free breakfast and lunch from Thursday, January 5 and Friday, January 6.

Transfer credits

If you expect to receive advanced transfer credits, it is helpful to bring extra copies of your transcripts, diplomas or certifications. A syllabus or course description is also helpful and sometimes required.

English requirements

If your admission letter states that you are required to enroll in ENGL 3600 or 3610, your international admission counselor will register you for this class prior to the beginning of the semester. This course counts toward the bachelor's degree only and cannot be waived. You must receive a grade of "C" or higher to pass this course.

Math requirements

If you are in a STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) you will need to be placed into the proper math course. Math placement exams will be given in the afternoon of Monday, August 29, during ISORP.

If you have taken an ACT or SAT test in the past 3 years, you can use your math section score to place yourself into math classes. If you have taken a math class at another college or university, plan to provide a course description or syllabus for that class as well as proof of having completed the course with a C or better. This can also be used as a placement tool.

You can find more information at: https//

Health care and medical insurance

WMU requires all international students to have comprehensive medical insurance. Please visit the International Admissions and Services page to learn more:

Important notice to F-1 and J-1 students

An I-901 fee for F-1 students of $200 and J-1 students of $180 has been implemented by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The fee must be paid and fully processed prior to your visa interview. Please read all immigration documents carefully. By signing your copy of the form I-20 or DS-2019 and accepting your U.S. visa, you agree to all terms and conditions set forth by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Website

Note: International students may experience delays at U.S. ports of entry
As of May 2, 2013, due to heightened security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are verifying the status of F-1 and J-1 nonimmigrants in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System before admission at port of entry. As a result, it has been reported that many students and exchange visitors are referred to secondary inspection, where their SEVIS record will be reviewed. Due to these new entry procedures, F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors entering the United States should plan to spend potentially a couple of hours in the secondary inspection process and plan flight connections accordingly.

Life at WMU

For more information about studying at WMU, see the International Student Handbook:

WMU students at orientation with President Dunn