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Prearrival Information

International Academic Orientation Program

All undergraduate International students must attend all required sessions of the MANDATORY International Academic Orientation Program (IAOP). Orientation is a weeklong program that takes place before the fall semester. Shorter and less extensive orientations are offered at the start of spring and summer terms. Orientation for international students includes required government check-in, academic advising, class enrollment, and other important information sessions you must attend. International students have found the orientation program to be valuable for making new friends as well as understanding the academic requirements and support services available at MSU. Students will also receive important immigration information that will help them maintain legal status while they are in the United States.

Many current MSU students serve as orientation staff and assist with introductions to the campus and community. The orientation program provides an opportunity to meet some of the students and staff with whom you will interact with during your stay here.

Please log into the Admissions Portal Application Status website (/ for information on a variety of pre-arrival steps that should answer most of your questions regarding housing, orientation, immunizations, English language requirements, visa issues, etc. Be sure to check this portal again throughout the summer, especially after July 1, for updated steps.

Reporting to OISS

After you arrive in East Lansing, you must check in with OISS. This process takes place during orientation. In case of an emergency that prohibits your attendance at orientation, make sure you check in at the OISS within 15 days of your arrival. Bring the following original documents with you:

  • Passport
  • I-20 (for F-1 visa-holders)
  • DS-2019 (for J-1 visa-holders)

MSU is required to check these documents to confirm your status in the United States. Failure to check-in upon arrival will result in loss of your legal status in the United States.

Provisionally admitted students

Students with acceptable academic credentials may be admitted on a provisional basis if English language test scores are below the minimum required by MSU. If you are a provisionally admitted student, you will need to take an English language proficiency exam upon arrival on campus to determine if you are eligible to enroll in academic courses and meet with an academic advisor.

The MSU English Language Test (MSUELT) is administered every term just before the International Academic Orientation Program (IAOP). The test is required for students provisionally admitted to an academic program. Students should follow the instructions on the Admissions Portal regarding signing up for a test date. For more information about English language testing, email"> (/, call 517-353-0800 or visit: (
The results of the English Language Proficiency exam will determine if you are able to enroll in:

  • Full-time academic courses, or
  • A combination of academic courses and English language courses, or
  • Full-time English language courses through the English Language Center (ELC)

Students in full-time English language courses are not eligible to meet with an academic advisor until English language skills necessary to succeed in academic courses are developed. Students remain at provisional status until a minimum competency is attained. You can view MSU's minimum English requirements by visiting International Requirements.

Academic Advising and Registration

Advising on course selection, graduation requirements, and registration is done by academic advisors. International undergraduate students who have met the English proficiency requirements will meet with academic advisors during the mandatory International Academic Orientation Program that also occurs just prior to the start of the semester. Students who attempt to enroll in classes without attending International Academic Orientation Program will have all of their classes dropped. International graduate students should plan to confer with their academic advisor several days before the start of classes.

Transferring credits

Transfer students should use the transfer MSU searchable credit equivalency system at ( to identify course credits that may transfer to MSU. Transfer students should arrange to send final, official, graded transcripts from their transferring institution to the Office of Admissions as early as possible.

Official transcripts may be mailed to:

Office of Admissions
Michigan State University
50 Hannah Administration Bldg.
East Lansing, MI 48824-0590

Math Placement

All students entering MSU as freshmen need to take the online Math Placement exam at ( before attending the Academic Orientation Program so advisers can select mathematics courses that best match student skill levels. For more information on the Math Placement Exam, please visit: (

Freshman Composition Class Placement

MSU's freshman composition course will prepare you for a lifetime of effective written communication—the first step in a series of courses during college that will require substantial amounts of writing. Students are placed into a Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRA) course based on their ACT/SAT test scores. For more information, visit: ( Students wishing to "write out" of their Preparation for College Writing course (WRA 1004/0102) will have the opportunity to write an essay during International Student Orientation. See the Admissions Portal checklist for more information.

Music Students

Students planning to major in music must complete a College of Music application and schedule an audition. Visit ( for more information, including audition suggestions.

Changing your major

Students wishing to change their academic major should contact the Office of Admissions at: 517-355-8332 or"> (/ to request a change to be made in their file. Students are encouraged to not wait to request changes to ensure the appropriate academic adviser is assigned for International Academic Orientation Program.

Academic Calendar

For a complete academic calendar, please visit: (

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