New Student Orientation 2019-20

Congratulations on your admission to Curtis! Every member of our campus community—the faculty, staff, and a team of student peers—looks forward to welcoming you to the Curtis family. The Office of Student Life helps students make this transition with a week-long Orientation program that introduces students to both academic and non-curricular life at Curtis.

Beginning in late August, new students have a chance to meet returning students and make new friends before the semester begins. Free time allows for settling into new living spaces, learning the neighborhood, and practicing. Feel free to contact Meredith Tarditi, associate dean of student life and international student affairs, with any questions that you might have. 

Important Dates

  • Friday, August 23, 9 a.m. to p.m. Imnternational student residents move in to Lenfest Hall
  • Saturday, August 24, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Program for international students and parents
  • Sunday, August 25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. U.S. students move in to Lenfest Hall
  • Sunday, August 25, Noon to 4 p.m. Welcome Program for parents
  • Sunday, August 25, 5 p.m. to Friday, August 30, 5 p.m. Orientation Program for all incoming students

Students will be provided meals throughout Orientation.

Over the Summer

Complete all forms and submit either online to Meredith Tarditi, associate dean of student life and international student affairs by June 1, 2019.

Complete your medical preparation prior to arrival at Curtis.             

  • Know your medical history. Obtain your medical records to bring with you and keep on hand.
  • If you are allergic to a drug, know the name and how the allergy manifests.
  • If you take medication, bring an extra prescription or have one filled to last you until you have established a relationship with a local physician and pharmacy.
  • Write down your vision prescription so you’ll have it if/when you purchase new eyewear.
  • Bring a thermometer and learn how to know if you have a fever.
  • Choose your health insurance -- either covered by your parents' or enrolled in the Curtis student health plan.
  • Be up to date on your vaccines. Two doses of the meningitis vaccine are routinely administered in high school, but anyone who did not should definitely get it before starting college. All students enrolled at Curtis are required to have the meningitis vaccine. The tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster, given to adolescents and adults, protects against whooping cough, another relatively common infection among college students. Flu vaccines are administered at no cost to students in the fall semester on Wellness Day.

Getting to Know Philadelphia

Philadelphia is recognized as a city of global distinction and is proud to join a prestigious network of 300 World Heritage Cities around the world. This 28-minute documentary gives a wonderful introduction to the city you will soon call home! Philadelphia: America's First World Heritage City is written and narrated by University of Pennsylvania Professor of History of Art, David B. Brownlee, Ph.D., FSAH, and produced and directed by filmmaker Sam Katz.



Read more about Philadelphia's arts and cultural offerings for Curtis students here.

Admitted Student FAQs

Yes. All incoming students need to attend and complete Orientation in order to register for classes. Schedules are announced at the end of Orientation week. All meals are provided by Parkhurst Dining Services throughout Orientation week. Meal plans begin Friday, August 30 with breakfast.

Guidelines for your ID photo are below.

  • In color
  • In JPG format, with good resolution
  • Recent to reflect your current appearance
  • Eyes open
  • Full face visible
  • No sunglasses or dark glasses that obscure the eyes
  • Eyeglasses are OK as long as there is no glare or shadow that obscures the eyes
  • Remember to smile!

Email your photo as a JPG file attached to an email by June 1, 2019 to Nan Alderson.

All new students are scheduled for a pre-set advising appointment on Wednesday, August 28 to discuss curriculum, classes, and schedule.

Whether or not you have taken any college courses for credit or AP courses, SATs, TOEFLs etc., all records, test scores, official transcripts should be sent to:

Office of the Registrar
Curtis Institute of Music
1726 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

All incoming students take the Musical Studies placement exam, which will take place on Monday, August 26. The results of these exams determine which level of Harmony, Counterpoint, and Solfège best suits your needs and abilities.

The Musical Studies placement exam determines your knowledge of music theory and includes the identification of intervals, scales, chords, and keys, as well as progressively more difficult harmony and counterpoint exercises. There will also be a placement “interview” with members of the Musical Studies faculty to determine your proficiency in solfège, sight-signing, clef reading, interval recognition, and piano skills. If you have studied piano, please be prepared to play an excerpt from a piece you’ve recently learned.

If you are entering the Bachelor of Music degree program, you may need to take the English Literature placement exam. The results of the exam determine your level of preparedness for Liberal Arts courses. If you need to take this exam, it will be on Monday, August 26.

The orientation for parents is Sunday, August 25 from noon to 3:00 p.m. Parents accompanying their student to Philadelphia are encouraged to attend.

New incoming students living at Lenfest Hall are encouraged to find local accommodations. Some hotels in the vicinity of Curtis provide special discount rates should you need accommodations during your visit. Please mention the Curtis Institute of Music when making your reservations. If you mention “college campus visit rate” when making your reservation, you may receive a discounted rate.

Club Quarters Philadelphia, 1628 Chestnut Street, (215) 282-5100 

Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square, 1701 Locust Street, (800) 333-3333 (toll-free) 

Incoming students who were born on or after September 1, 1997 and will hold a high school diploma by September 1, 2019 are required to live in Lenfest Hall during their first two years of study at Curtis. For those student who are not required to live in Lenfest Hall for 2019-20, it is important to consider living options for next year.

The Academic Calendar for 2019-20 provides information including fall and spring semester through graduation. Requests to be released in advance of break, OR after start of classes because of pre-purchased airline tickets will be denied.

Parkhurst Dining Services provides exceptional culinary experiences and dining services at Curtis. Parkhurst is known in the educational dining industry for serving a variety of fresh, healthy, and great tasting food. Menu items are rotated weekly, freshly composed salads are featured on the salad bar, and premium late night options are always offered. Students also enjoy special event catering. From Local Food Dinners to highly acclaimed Guest Chefs series, Parkhurst chefs provide a culinary "education" as they describe the fresh ingredients and local agriculture used to prepare the selections, and will also make recommendations if guests ask for complimentary flavors.

Meal plan programs give students the flexibility to eat when they want to, all while promoting dining services as a destination to live and learn. Meal plans for 2019-20 are available for Lenfest Hall residents and students living off campus as well. Read more about meal plan options.

Visit the Curtis Store to browse everything from t-shirts to totes and more. For a shortcut, scroll down to the website footer and click on "Shop".

Carefully read over the F1 visa document listed above in the Over the Summer section.. Send all necessary documents to Dean Grady by June 1, 2019. Visit the Study in the States website for additional information and resources students studying in the U.S. with F1 status. You can choose from among many languages to access the website.

Many Curtis students have the opportunity to perform in chamber groups, opera performances, orchestra and chamber group tours, as well as solo performances both within the United States and internationally.

U.S. Citizens

If you have a valid U.S. passport, you should bring it with you to Curtis. Please make photocopies of the pages with your photo, signature, and passport number and send the photocopies to Curtis in the enclosed envelope so that we have them for our files. Make sure the photocopies are clear and that your photo is recognizable. Apply for or renew your U.S. passport here.

Permanent Residents

Please make photocopies of the passport of your country of citizenship (pages with your photo, signature, passport number, and date of current expiration). Also make copies of your Permanent Resident card (front and back). Send the photocopies to Curtis in the enclosed envelope so that we have them for our files. Make sure the photocopies are clear and that your photo is recognizable.

International Students

Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your date of travel to the United States. Please make photocopies (pages with your photo, signature, passport number, and date of current expiration). Make sure the photocopies are clear and that your photo is recognizable. Send the photocopies to Curtis in the enclosed envelope so that we have them for our files.

Important: International students must furnish financial documentation and photocopies of passport of your country of citizenship by June 1, 2019 so we can issue you your Form I-20. Financial documentation and photocopies should be sent to Laurel Grady, associate dean of student life and international student affairs. When you arrive at Curtis, we will photocopy your F1 visa and other entry documents for our files. If you are currently attending another U.S. school in F-1 status, please notify Laurel Grady to receive the transfer form required to transfer your immigration status to Curtis. For more details regarding financial documentation please refer to specific letter to international students contained in this acceptance packet.

Transferring from your current U.S. school to Curtis​

The transfer process is the way to electronically move your SEVIS record and retain the same SEVIS identification (ID) number for the student. The SEVIS transfer process does both of the following:

1.     Sets a date on which responsibility for the student record transfers

2.     Helps ensure that the transfer-in school updates and activates the student’s record

Once the DSO at your transfer-out school releases your record to Curtis, the Curtis international advisor can enter information into the Draft Form I-20, or “transfer pending” and send it to you.  To set your record into “active status” at Curtis your international advisor must register you within 30 days of your program start date. Registration usually takes place during orientation week or shortly thereafter. If you are advancing at competition or are delayed it is your responsibility to check in with the international advisor upon your return to ensure that you are registered each semester.

To transfer your SEVIS record to Curtis use this form. Print out. Complete it with the international advisor at your transfer-out school and send it to your international advisor at Curtis, your transfer-in school.  ​