Frequently Asked Questions
This is a list of questions international students regularly ask. To find the question and answer you are looking for more quickly, use the find feature on your computer. (Press 'ctrl' + 'F' Then type the key word in your question.) If you don't find what you need, please contact us or use the following links to narrow your search.
1. Why do I need to provide a bank statement indicating $20,040? Will it cost me that much to attend your school?
Answer - This is an estimate of how much it will cost for an academic year including tuition, fees, health insurance, books, living expenses, travel and misc. If you are frugal, it may not cost you the full amount, but this is a fair estimate of what most students will need.
2. I am from an English speaking country, do I still need to take the TOEFL or IELTS exam?
Answer - No, students from English speaking countries are not required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores, but you may benefit from studying for the TOEFL or IELTS because you will be required to take college placement tests in English after you arrive on campus. These tests examine your ability to use standard American English.
3. When does school start, and when should I arrive on campus?
Answer - Please check the academic calendar . Students should report to International Student Services as soon as possible, but no later than 15 days before classes begin to complete assessment tests, register for classes, settle into living accommodations, purchase books, attend mandatory SEVIS orientation.
Class Registration Questions
4. How many classes must I take?
Answer - A minimum of 12 billable/credit hours per semester each spring and fall; winter and summer classes are optional. Twelve credit hours is usually 3-4 classes.
5. Can I take online classes?
Answer - Yes, international students may take up to one course or up to 3 credits online each semester. Please keep in mind that online classes usually require you to have excellent reading and writing abilities in English. To find out if an online class is for you, go to distance education and take the online quiz.
6. Can I take classes from another institution with the same I-20?
Answer - Yes, international students can enroll at CCBC and another institution during the same semester. This is called “concurrent enrollment”. Students are requested to enroll for at least half of their full-time course load at CCBC. To discuss this option, please meet with an international counselor before enrolling at another institution.
7. I know all the material in the class I'm required to take, is there any way I can get credit without taking the class?
Answer: Yes, the CLEP test is a nationally accepted test that gives you credit for subjects you already know.
8. Do I need to enroll full-time during my last semester if I have less than 12 credits required for my degree?
Answer - No, if you need less than 12 credits to complete your degree requirements, you will be allowed to enroll part-time in your last semester. You will need to apply and pay for graduation, obtain a graduation review and meet with an international counselor to authorize the reduced course load.
9. I'm struggling in a class. Can I withdraw or take an incomplete?
Answer - As soon as you feel that you are having difficulty in a course, we recommend that you talk to the instructor and ask for advice. Some instructors may allow you to earn extra credit, revise previous work or take an incomplete. An incomplete allows you more time to complete work not done and is usually only granted due to special and unexpected circumstances. We also recommend that you go to the Student Success Center to request a free tutor and information on the Supplemental Instruction Program. This is important because international students cannot withdraw if it would cause them to be registered for less than 12 credits. Occasionally, an international student can take advantage of late start classes and adjust his or her schedule by adding a late start class and dropping a class which is going poorly, but we urge international students not to rely on late start classes because only a few of them are offered and those offered may be canceled. To discuss these options, please visit International Student Services.
10. I'm sick and I can't take classes, what can I do?
Answer - If you are ill or have a medical condition that prevents you from attending classes, you must speak with an international counselor as soon as possible to discuss your situation. If you need to reduce your course load or take a semester off, you will need to provide documentation from a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy or a licensed clinical psychologist. Remember your health insurance will help cover the cost of seeing a doctor when you are ill. If you are too sick to come in, please contact us so we can help.
11. Why do I need health insurance?
Answer - Private health care in the US is very expensive so, CCBC requires all international students to have health insurance. You can purchase health insurance on your own. After you purchase your own health insurance, you must provide documentation that includes dates and type of coverage. (Please note, this is not automobile/driving insurance.)
In addition, we recommend that you have eye, dental and general physical examinations done before leaving your home country, since they will probably cost you much less than in the US. Also, bring any prescription medication and eyeglasses along with medical documentation with you. These are very expensive in the US.
12. Does The Community College of Baltimore County provide housing on any of the campuses?
Answer - No, CCBC does not provide on-campus housing. However, attractive and affordable housing is available in the communities surrounding each of the CCBC campuses. For more information go here. You may also want to review the International Student Handbook for guidelines and suggestions for finding housing.
13. Do most rental units come with appliances and furniture?
Answer - Rental units usually come with appliances (stove, refrigerator, etc.), as well as heating and air conditioning. Most rental units do not come with furniture.
14. Do I need a car?
Answer - Probably not. Life in the USA is much easier with a car, but if you plan to attend all of your classes at one campus, you should be able to do quite well without a car. If you are thinking about buying a car, please keep in mind that automobile insurance is required in the State of Maryland, and it can be quite expensive, up to $250 a month.
15. What type of public transportation is available?
Answer - When you are considering transportation, it is important to know that public transportation in the USA is not as well developed as it is in many other countries. However, all of the campuses are served by buses operated by MTA, and, of course, there are taxis. Click here to learn more about using transportaion to get to CCBC.
16. How can I get to campus from the airport and how much does it cost?
Answer - The two most convenient options are taxis and the shuttle. Both sites include estimated costs, but expect to pay $25-50 USD depending on traffic.
17. How do I get a driver's license?
Answer - To obtain a Maryland State Driver's License, you will need to visit an MVA office. Before you go, please check the MVA website to see what you are required to have. If you are required to provide a Social Security Number and you do not qualify for a Social Security number, please visit International Student Services to request a letter explaining that you are a full-time international student with a student visa and therefore exempt from this requirement.
Work and Social Security Numbers
18. Can international students work?
Answer - Yes, after the second semester, international students can work part-time (less than 20 hours a week) on campus. However, the number of on-campus positions is limited and very competitive. Most positions require native-like English speaking ability. International students cannot work off campus without permission from the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
19. People keep asking for my Social Security Number. How can I get one?
Answer - Most international students do not qualify for a Social Security Number. Social Security Numbers are used for acquiring a job. However, banks, phone companies, and landlords are in the practice of using Social Security Numbers to identify people and organize customer data. For more information on Social Security Numbers, click here.
20. Why is there a hold on my CCBC account?
Answer - A “hold” is on your account to assist you in maintaining your F-1 status throughout your enrollment at CCBC. The “hold” informs the international counselor when you add or drop a class and when you change your address or program of study. The hold is removed at the beginning of the spring and fall enrollment periods to allow students to enroll online.
21. When and how do I file taxes?
Answer - All F-1 and F-2 visa holders are required to complete and file tax forms with the U.S. federal government, whether or not they earned income in the U.S. Students who are considered non-residents for tax purposes must complete Form 8843 in addition to attaching supporting documentation (notarized copies of I-20(s), passport identity page, visa, and I-94). Students who are considered residents for tax purposes do not need to complete Form 8843, but must complete other domestic tax forms, if needed. To find out if you are considered a resident or non-resident for tax purposes, refer to the IRS Substantial Presence Test.
Most tax forms must be filed between January 1st and April 15th. Students and their dependents who file only Form 8843 must file before June 15. Most international student employees will be able to use a 1040-NR EZ or 1040 NR for the federal taxes. You may also be required to file Maryland state tax forms. For more information on filing federal and Maryland State Tax Forms, attend one of the tax workshops presented by ISS or review the IRS information for Foreign Students and Scholars and the Maryland Comptroller's website.
22. Where can I get a transcript?
Answer - Once you open your WebCT account, you can get an unofficial copy of your transcript from any computer for free. To request an official transcript, complete a transcript application form in the Records and Registration Office. The cost for an official transcript is $10.00.
23. What documents do I need to travel?
Answer - Please read Preparing for Travel Within the US and Abroad.
24. What do I do if my passport will expire?
Answer - You should have a valid passport at all times, unless you are exempt form passport requirements. You should begin to renew your passport 6 months before it expires. Check with your embassy in Washington, D.C. for processing information at: http://www.embassy.org/embassies/index.html
25. What do I do if my visa will expire?
Answer - Don't worry. As long as you remain in the U.S., there is no problem. If you plan to travel, you will need to go to the U.S. Embassy and renew your visa. Please come to International Student Services for more information.
26. In case of emergency, can I travel during the semester?
Answer - Yes, international students can travel during the semester for emergency situations. You will need to discuss your need for travel with your instructors and meet with an international counselor as soon as possible before traveling to ensure you take the necessary travel documents with you. Click here for information on travel documents.
27. Can my family come to visit me here?
Answer - The decision to allow your family members to visit you in the U.S. is made when they meet with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate staff member in their home country. Contact the embassy or consulate to learn about requirements, time frames for visa interviews, how to pay fees and other issues. If you need a letter from CCBC, complete a written request and submit it to ISS.
28. I'm interested in transferring to another college or university. How do I find out which classes I should take at CCBC so that all of my credits transfer?
Answer - First, read the information on this web page for Transfer Advising. We recommend that you make an appointment to see an adviser in person, so you can talk about your specific goals and create a plan. We also recommend that you review the information on ARTSYS, an electronic tool for transfer students planning to attend a college or university in Maryland.
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