International Center Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

INTERNATIONAL CENTER

International Center Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General FAQ

Q. I’m interested in applying to Rowan University. What are your admissions requirements?

A. If you are a prospective undergraduate student, please click here. If you are a prospective graduate student, please click here. Transfer student information can be found here. All undergraduate admissions questions should be directed to internationalapplicants@rowan.edu or by calling Kesiane Costa-String at +1-856-256-5190. All graduate admissions questions should be directed to plumer@rowan.edu or by calling Jeff Plumer at +1-856-256-4051.

Q. I’m interested in Study Abroad. Who should I talk to?

A. All Study Abroad questions should be directed to Laura Kahler or Jill Kinkler at studyabroad@rowan.edu or by calling +1-856-256-4105. Note: The Education Abroad office is now located in Savitz Hall on the 3rd Floor. Please visit this link for additional information about Study Abroad.

Q. I’m interested in attending Rowan University, but I will need to improve my English first. Do you have an English as a Second Language (ESL) program?

A. For information about our English Language Programs, please click here. You can also email rowanELP@rowan.edu or call +1-856-361-2914 for more information. Our ELP Office is located on Rowan University’s Camden campus at 129 N. Broadway, in Camden, NJ 08102.

Q. I am a green card holder. Do I need to apply as an international student? Can I use the International Center’s services?

A. No. Only students who plan to apply for J-1 and F-1 visas can apply as international students and use the International Center’s services.

Q. I am a DACA student. Do I need to apply as an international student? Can I use the International Center’s services?

A. No. DACA students are not considered international students. Only students who plan to apply for J-1 and F-1 visas can apply as international students and use the International Center’s services.

F-1 Student FAQ

Q. How many credits do I need to take to be considered full-time? Can I study part-time?

A. Undergraduate students must have at least 12 credits to be considered full-time. Graduate students must have at least 9 credits to be considered full-time. International students cannot study part-time except under certain circumstances. These circumstances are listed on the reduced course load form.

Q. I need to drop a course. What do I need to do?

A. International students must be enrolled as full-time students to be compliant. The only exceptions to this rule are if you are an undergraduate or graduate student in your first or last semester, a graduate student completing thesis work, or if you have a documented medical condition that prevents you from taking a full course load. Reduced course loads are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and there is no guarantee that your request will be granted. The reduced course load form can be found here and must be submitted prior to dropping the course(s) for that given semester. Please read ALL information that is listed on the form extremely carefully. Reduced course load forms only apply to one semester at a time and must be re-submitted if there is a compelling reason to continue a reduced course load into more than one semester. Reduced course load forms due to a medical condition can only be re-submitted for a maximum of 12 months.

Q. What is the difference between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

A. For CPT: CPT is employment that is an integral part of your major curriculum and allows you to participate in an internship, practicum or cooperative education program. CPT must be required or, if not required, you must receive course credit. CPT is employer-specific and must be done before you graduate.

For OPT: OPT is optional for any student who meets the eligibility requirements and you do not need to earn credit. OPT is not employer-specific and may be done before or after you graduate. Please refer to our table regarding the differences.

Q. I am applying for CPT. What should the letter of CPT employment look like?

A. Please click here for a sample letter.

Q. I am applying for post-completion OPT. When should I start applying for jobs?

A. For post-completion OPT, you may apply up to 90 days before the program end date (on your I-20) OR up to 60 days after the program end date. The OPT application must be received and accepted for processing by USCIS no later than 60 days after your program completion date. It is your responsibility to plan accordingly, to allow enough time for the International Center to review and submit your application to USCIS. If you leave the U.S. during the 60 day grace period after completing your degree program and did not apply for OPT, your OPT eligibility will end. For more information please click here.

Q. What is the difference between Pre-Completion and Post-Completion OPT

A. For Pre-completion OPT: You may participate in pre-completion OPT during your studies after you have been enrolled at Rowan University for one full academic year. You must work part-time when school is in session. You may work part-time or full-time during vacation periods for students. Part-time pre-completion OPT accrues at a rate of 50%. For example, 6 months of part-time pre-completion OPT counts as 3 months of the total of 12 months of OPT you are allowed. Note: All periods of pre-completion OPT are deducted from the available post-completion OPT.

For Post-completion OPT: You may participate in post-completion OPT upon completion of your degree. You may work part-time or full-time after completion of course work requirements, excluding the thesis or dissertation. You must work at least 20 hours per week after completion of ALL requirements for your major program of study. If you decide to work all of your available 12 months of OPT time on post-completion OPT, you must request all of it at once. You cannot use it in separate periods of time.

Q. I heard there was a new STEM OPT rule. Where can I find more information about this?

A. Information about the OPT STEM extension can be found here. Please also visit Study in the States’ website for STEM FAQs.

Q. How do I find out which on-campus jobs are available and how do I apply?

A. Go to https://www.rowan.edu/home/financial-aid/undergraduate-aid/work-study and click On-campus FWS and IWS Jobs. This will bring you the list of available on-campus jobs. Note: International students are only eligible for Institutional Works Study (IWS) jobs, NOT Federal Work Study (FWS) jobs. If you see a job you are interested in, click on it and you will be re-directed to the Profs Jobs page, where you will prompted to sign in and apply for the job.

You can also go to Rowan University Career Management Center which provides career and Job search services to students and alumni. http://www.rowan.edu/studentaffairs/cmc/

Q. I’ve been hired for a position on-campus. What do I need to do now?

A. Please click here for the steps you need to follow after being hired for an on-campus job.

Q. Am I eligible to have a Social Security Number (SSN) as an International Student?

A. You will be eligible for a SSN ONLY after you secure on-campus employment. Graduate and undergraduate students who have scholarships and/or teaching and research fellowships are also eligible to apply. Note: Graduates who work on campus because they have a fellowship that only covers their tuition without a stipend are also eligible to apply.

Q. I would like to apply for a driver’s license. What do I need to do?

A. Please click here for information about obtaining a driver’s license.

Q. I am traveling to my home country/another country over break. What do I need to do before I leave?

A. You will need to visit the International Center at least two weeks in advance of leaving the country to have page 2 of your I-20 signed. This signature is valid for one year. If you already have a signature and you are traveling within one year of the signature date, then you do not need another signature. If you need a travel signature, you will need to bring both your original I-20 and the completed Signature for Travel form to the International Center.

Q. My relatives are coming to visit me in the U.S. Can the International Center issue a letter for them to present to the embassy?

A. The International Center will only issue letters for visiting relatives if they are attending your commencement. The IC will not issue letters for any other reason. For relatives attending commencement, the IC will need copies of their passport(s) and an email stating their relationship to you in order to issue the letter(s). Please email this information to RowanIC@rowan.edu.

Q. Where can I find information about change of status?

A. Change of status information can be found on our forms page.

J-1 Visiting Student and Scholar FAQ

Q.  Am I able to live on-campus?

A. If you are a student on a J-1 visa, you are eligible to live on-campus. If you are a J-visa holder (scholar) but you are not taking any classes, you will not be able to live on-campus.  For off-campus housing options, we recommend that you visit Residential Learning and University Housing's Off-Campus Housing webpage to start your search.

Q. I am moving next week. Should I notify my program advisor?

A. Yes. As soon as you know that you are moving and you have your new address, you are required to notify the International Center no later than 10 days after moving.

Q. Do my J-2 dependents (spouse and/or children) need health insurance as well?

A. Yes. As a State regulation, everyone needs valid health insurance to cover them for the length of the visit. Note: Health insurance needs to meet or exceed the minimum required level of coverage. This is a requirement of the U.S. Department of State.

Q. Can I extend my DS-2019? 

A. It will depend on many factors.  We recommend making an appointment to visit the International Center as soon as you are planning on an extension.

Q. I applied for and received my J-Visa, but I’m waiting for documents from my home university. Can I arrive after my start date?

A. You should notify both your hosting professor and the International Center immediately.  As long as your hosting professor agrees to the new date and you communicate with the International Center within 20 days of the start date on your DS-2019, we will be able to change your dates.

Q. I would like to apply to study for a semester or two on a J-Visa at Rowan University. When is the application deadline? Can I apply after the deadline?

A. The application deadline for the Fall semester is April 15th. The Spring semester deadline is October 30th. We recommend students to apply prior to the deadline. Students who apply after the deadline may not receive admission (based on space availability).

Q. I am an International Student on a J-Visa.  Can I study part time?

A. No. As per U.S. Immigration Law, international students cannot study part time. They need to maintain full-time enrollment. To be considered full time, undergraduate J students must be registered for at least 12 credits.

Q. Can a Research Scholar be compensated?

A. Yes. If a Rowan Department, Lab, Center or Foundation wishes to pay a Research Scholar, they may do so with no benefits.

Q. I am an uncompensated International Exchange Visitor on a J-Visa. Can I apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)?

A. We only recommend our compensated International Exchange Visitors to apply for a Social Security number. Note: You can apply for a driver’s license and open a bank account without a SSN.

Q. Can I change my visit to another location with moderately different responsibilities for a few weeks?

A. No. The International Exchange Visitor shall participate in the program by following the description of responsibilities at the location(s) listed on his or her Form DS-2019.

Q. As a Short Term Scholar, can I extend my stay for more than 6 months?

A. No. Extensions are not allowed beyond 6 months.

Q. I am a scholar on a J-Visa at Rowan University. I need to travel outside of the U.S. What do I need to do before traveling?

A.  Please make sure to acquire your travel signature on your DS-2019 before leaving the U.S. for you and your dependents. We recommend that all our scholars ask for approval from their hosting professor/department before arranging the trip. Scholars are not allowed to be absent for more than 30 days from their program.

Q. My English is not that good, but I think I can still be a successful exchange visitor at your university.

A. Specifically, the Department of State wants to ensure that exchange visitors have “sufficient English proficiency to perform their jobs, navigate daily life in the United States, read and comprehend program materials, understand fully their responsibilities, rights, and protections, and know how to obtain assistance.” All exchange visitors at Rowan are required to have their hosting professor complete an English Proficiency Verification form on their behalf to ensure that this level of English proficiency is met.