Arrival and Orientation Information--Fall Semester

New student orientation

Print orientation information

Welcome to Western Michigan University! 
This webpage provides arrival and orientation information that should be reviewed before departing for the United States. We recommend you print a copy of this page and carry it with you while traveling. 

New student orientation      Monday, August 25 through Friday, August 29
First day of classes              Tuesday, September 2
Last day of classes               Friday, December 5

At the new student orientation, CELCIS students will register, take placement tests, and learn about the Kalamazoo community.  Orientation helps students adjust to life at WMU and studying in the CELCIS program.   Faculty, staff, and current international students will be there to help you during orientation. We look forward to meeting you! 

Important attendance policy information

Attendance at orientation and on the first day of class is mandatory for all new students; plan to attend all sessions.  See the academic calendar here

All students are expected to be in class on the first day of the semester.  New students are expected to attend the required orientation before the start of the semester.  If you have an emergency and will not arrive in Kalamazoo on time, please contact or call (269) 387-4800.  Students who arrive late may not be able to study. 

All students (new and returning) who are unable to arrive on time should understand the following:

A. They must notify the CELCIS director and receive permission to arrive late.
B. Late arrival for any reason may have a negative effect on the student’s progress during that semester.  
C. All students who begin classes after the start of the semester, for any reason, will be counted absent for the classes they have missed.  
D. All students who arrive after the third (3rd) day of class will not be allowed to attend classes that semester.  As a result, they will be in violation of status and MAY have to return home.

Orientation schedule


Orientation check-in will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 25 in the East Ballroom on the 2nd floor of the Bernhard Center

Bernhard Center (map)

Getting to the Bernhard Center (map)


Orientation will include:

  • Testing and placement information
  • Course registration information
  • Grading information
  • Information about U.S. immigration rules and regulations
  • Medical insurance and health care information
  • Campus tours
  • Shopping trips
  • Recreational activities

Bring the following documents to orientation:

Arrival and transportation

CELCIS suggests that students arrive 1-2 days before orientation to rest and adjust to the time change.

By airline

Plan to fly directly to the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport (AZO)—Chicago and Detroit are about 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:

Bronco Express                    (269) 343-3000          Estimated fare: $7
Godspeed Transportation    (269) 547-5477          Estimated fare: $10

Permanent housing

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 Residence Life office. Go here to apply

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

Residence Life
Western Michigan University
1903 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5312

Phone: (269) 387-4735
Fax: (269) 387-4786
WMU Apartments
Western Michigan Univeristy
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI  49008-5312
Phone: (269) 387-2175
Fax: (269) 387-4786

Temporary housing during orientation

Students with a WMU apartment contract: Please check in with the WMU apartment office between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday—Friday, or call (269) 387-2175 during business hours. WMU apartments online information

Students with a residence hall contract:  Housing contracts begin August 29, 2014.  Students arriving early may move into their residence hall beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday, August 24 at an additional cost of $21.97 per day, which will be charged through August 28 when the regular contract begins. Students planning to check into the residence hall early must bring bedding (twin-size) and bath towels. Students arriving BEFORE August 24 will have to make their own arrangements to stay in a hotel. WMU's Residence Life staff may be reached during regular business hours at (269) 387-4735 or rl-info@wmich.eduWMU residence hall online information 

Students without housing: You will need to stay in a hotel.  It is recommended that you make a hotel reservation before you travel to Kalamazoo. During orientation, WMU provides shuttle service for students from the Holiday Inn West hotel. The shuttle picks up students at the hotel door between 8 to 8:30 a.m. Holiday Inn West (reserve online) or call (269) 375-6000. The hotel is located at 2747 S 11th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. 

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

  • Visit the hotel website: Holiday Inn Reservation
  • Enter 100375964 in the Corporate ID field.
  • Enter appropriate information in all required fields (check-in dates, room preferences, etc.)
  • Enter Western Michigan University in the destination field.
  • Click on Find a Hotel.
  • Select Holiday Inn: Kalamazoo-W(W Michigan University) to receive a discounted rate and free transportation to orientation.
  • Click on the Availability button to view all room options and select the room type.
  • Click on the Book this Room button to complete the reservation.

Other hotel options:
Staybridge Suites (269) 372-8000
Comfort Inn (269) 384-2800
Red Roof Inn (269) 375-7400
Best Western Plus (269) 350-5522

Your WMU temporary mailing address:

First name, family name, c/o orientation 
International Admissions and Services 
4255 Ellsworth Hall 
Western Michigan University 
Kalamazoo, MI 49008–5246 U.S.A.


Free breakfast will be provided Monday through Thursday and a free lunch will be provided Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Housing and other meals are not included. 

 Student meal plans do not begin until August 29.  Students may pay cash to eat meals in the dining halls between August 25 and August 28.  WMU dining halls schedules vary, so students are advised to check the schedule of the dining halls before going.  Students may also eat at local restaurants.  

Western Michigan University Tobacco-Free Campus Policy

Effective 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 here

Fall 2014 costs

Complete payment is expected from all students the first week of class.  If you need to withdraw from CELCIS classes, your tuition may be refunded according to the deadlines.

Tuition and fees—see fall semester table on this page

Tuition refund dates—see fall refund schedule on this page

Residence hall and dining plan—see room and board rates on this page

Medical insurance

WMU requires all international students to have medical insurance. Insurance will be purchased for you and charged to your university account. Your WMU tuition bill will show the insurance fee.

If you have private health insurance that meets WMU’s minimum requirements, you may apply for a waiver. You must provide a copy of your policy to Cindy Clegg (, WMU Insurance Manager by the posted deadline. For more information, visit the Sindecuse Health Center web page.

Students with disabilities

Students with documented disabilities may be eligible for academic adjustments or accommodations. New students should send documentation and request accommodations before they arrive. Visit Disability Services for Students for more information.

Start preparing now

  • Obtain passport and U.S. visa as soon as possible
  • Make travel arrangements to Kalamazoo
  • Arrange for funds to be sent in advance or to be brought with you
  • Arrange for a place to stay during orientation
  • Advise friends and family of your short-term mailing address

Things to bring

  • Some cash (around $250) and/or credit card to get you through your first few days in Kalamazoo.  WMU advises students to avoid carrying large amounts of cash when traveling.
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Toiletries: shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
  • Personal electronics (mp3 player, cell phone, laptop, camera, etc.)
  • Prescription medication
  • Food: snacks to hold you over until dining halls open

Items you can buy in Kalamazoo

  • Bedding (pillow, blanket, sheets, etc.)
  • Towels
  • Laundry basket, detergent
  • Fan
  • Extension cords
  • Outlet adapter
  • Iron and ironing board, clothes hangers
  • School supplies: pens, paper, folders, etc.

Please contact us if you have an emergency while traveling to Kalamazoo:

CELCIS office— Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  (269) 387-4800
WMU Police—Available 24 hours a day.  (269) 387-5555
After-hours emergencies only: (269) 203-5482
Police or medical emergencies in the U.S. call 911