International Student Advising
Laurel Grady, associate dean of student services and international student affairs, is your international student advisor and provides international students advice and counsel on matters related to non-immigrant study in the U.S., English language acquisition, and American customs and culture.
F1 students regularly receive comprehensive information on travel advisories, curricular practical training (CPT), optional practical training (OPT), employment eligibility, regulations, and more. Laurel Grady meets with all international students regularly and is always available to assist students so that they remain compliant with all non-immigrant requirements mandated by the U.S. Department of State.
Additional information that can help students remain in compliance with U.S. Department of Homeland Security rules and regulations throughout the international student process is available through Study in the States. Language translations are available on the site.
Get to know the city of Philadelphia with the Philadelphia International Guide. View this helpful resource in Chinese, Korean, Russian, and other languages as well.
To locate or contact U.S. embassies and consulates in your country, visit U.S. Department of State.
For information on what to expect upon arrival to the U.S. visit U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.
Recommendations for international students studying in the U.S. (translations included) can be found at Adjusting to American Culture
English Language Practice Online
Employment, Travel, and the Form I-20
Employment of international students is strictly regulated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Paid performances (“gigs”) are considered employment by DHS, whether they are paid in cash or referred by Curtis staff or faculty. All outside employment of international students must be authorized by the international student advisor prior to being contracted. To seek this authorization, complete a release request, obtain all necessary signatures including that of the dean of faculty and students, and present it to the international student advisor. International students who engage in unauthorized employment are out of status and subject to apprehension and deportation by the enforcement division of DHS.
If you wish to leave the United States temporarily before completing your course of study, you must take a valid I-20 form and several other documents with you in order to be readmitted to the United States. If you change address or change status, you must notify the international student advisor. Please be careful: Failure to comply with DHS regulations can result in extreme penalties.
Social Security Card and your Social Security Number (SSN)
The Social Security system was established in 1935 and provides public assistance to the disabled, unemployed, and retired. Social Security benefits are supported by taxes collected from people currently employed. Although international students are usually exempt from paying Social Security taxes, you must apply for a Social Security number (SSN) if you are employed in the United States. In order to work in the United States, every eligible international student needs a Social Security number (SSN). If you do not know if you are eligible to work, please speak with the international student advisor.
International students having authorization to work in the United States may apply for an SSN. In addition, any F1 student who wishes to apply for a driver's license in Pennsylvania should read Steps to Getting a Driver's License.
Academic Excellence and Academic Integrity
A requirement of F-1 status is that the student must be making normal progress in the course of study. Critical to such progress is adhering to the Academic Honesty Policy. All students are expected to complete their work with the highest degree of academic integrity. If you are new to the U.S. it is important that you understand the course policies and expectations, grading system, and course calendar. Equally, you must have a cultural understanding of the American classroom, interaction with instructors, and the meaning of academic integrity. For help and better understanding of plagiarism international students are encouraged to speak with Laurel Grady, associate dean of student services and international student affairs.
International students can access a variety of excellent resources and learn more about preventing plagiarism at Understanding and Preventing Plagiarism and on the Curtis Library web page on Citation and Copyright.