International Student Orientation (ISO)

International Student Orientation (ISO)

Thank you for choosing Penn State Abington! We are looking forward to meeting you!

You may be wondering, “What is Orientation?”

New Student Orientation (NSO) is the process that ALL students must go through in order to begin their studies at Penn State Abington. Orientation provides students the tools and resources for academic, social, and personal success during their transition to the university. International students will participate in International New Student Orientation (ISO), which is a special session that covers all of the information in New Student Orientation, as well as important extra information just for international students about student status, visa, cultural integration, and much more! Please remember that you must follow all of the emailed guidelines prior to arrival: both NSO and ISO. International transfer students, please note that you must also attend ISO.

Activating Access Account

If you have not already created an active Access Account, please take a moment to do so. It is required to activate your account in order to receive all of the instructions for your New Student Orientation and International Student Orientation steps. Instructions to set up your account were sent to from "” to the personal email you provided on your Penn State application. A Friends of Penn State (FPS) account will not work. For more help to set up your Penn State Access Account, call the ITS Helpdesk at (814) 865-4357. Remember – Penn State will always communicate important information to your Penn State email address only!

Before attending Penn State and Orientation, ALL students must complete the following steps.

  1. Take Your ALEKS Math Assessment
  2. Make Your Reservation to Attend
  3. Complete Your Educational Planning Survey
  4. Upload Immunization Records
  5. Do Your Pre-NSO Homework
  6. Attend Your New Student Orientation

International students must also complete additional steps

  1. Start working on your Mandatory Document Check in in iStart: even if you can’t complete it yet, you can do the most of it before you arrive to Penn State. You can find more information here
  2. Health insurance is mandatory for all international students. You must purchase the health insurance policy by the first week of classes. Open this link for more information. Failure to purchase health insurance may affect your ability to register for courses in the future.

International Student Orientation Dates and Schedule

Orientation programming officially begins on Sunday, August 12, 2018 and runs until Wednesday, August 15, 2018. International students are required to attend each one of these days. You can expect important workshops such as “Academic Success,” “Paying your Bills,” “Student Life at Penn State,” and much more. Each day of Orientation will run from the morning to the evening, and will be full of useful information to help you succeed as a student at Penn State Abington.

You should plan to arrive in Philadelphia on August 9th, 10th, or 11th. Be sure to email Emily Maher,, with your flight and arrival information at Philadelphia Airport. We may be able to provide transportation to your residence hall or apartment building upon request.

Housing options

Housing is not provided during Orientation, but your residence hall or apartment building will be available starting on August 9th. If you arrive earlier than August 9th, or if you have not signed a lease or housing agreement before arrival, you will need to make accommodations at a local hotel. Please note that parents will not be permitted to stay in the Lions Gate Residence Hall and will need to make their own accommodations.

You will need to make arrangements well in advance for where you would like to live during your time at Penn State Abington. Below is information for both on campus, and off campus housing.

Lions Gate

Off campus housing

Life at Penn State

We have created a website module with helpful information about what you can expect when you arrive at Penn State. This website module will provide you with an introduction to key vocabulary, names, and ideas, preparing you for a successful International Student Orientation (ISO). Please take time to go through the website’s pages, reading and re-reading the information carefully. At the end, take the quiz to make sure you understand the provided information.

Additional Resources

  • Questions about your dorm room or living assignment should be directed to Housing.
  • To see what courses are recommended, please visit your college’s or department’s website.
  • Questions about insurance and immunizations should be directed to University Health Services.
  • Questions about tuition should be directed to the Bursar.
  • Questions about academic records should be directed to the
  • The directory of active student organizations can be accessed here: Directory.
  • Questions about life at Penn State: Global Programs Site

Contact Information

  • Questions about International Student Orientation:

Emily Maher, International Student Advisor for Global Engagement -

  • Before arrival immigration/visa questions:

  • After arrival immigration/visa questions: 

Dagmara Karnowski, International Student Advisor -

Thank you! We look forward to having you on campus!