Arrival and Orientation


Acceptance to SMC

You will receive an admission packet with:

  • Your acceptance letter
  • International student handbook
  • Sample English and math proficiency placement tests
  • I-20 for your F-1 student visa*
  • Other important information

Remember, your application and all admission requirements must be completed and submitted before an admission decision will be made.

*Transfer students who are not traveling outside the U.S. will receive their I-20 after they complete the required new student seminar. Transfer students who are traveling outside the U.S. will be required to upload proof of travel to their application to receive their I-20 mailed with their admissions packet.

Arrival and Check-In

In general, we encourage newly admitted students to arrive at Santa Monica College at least one month before the beginning of the semester or session they have been admitted to. For the students admitted to our Intensive English Program, we encourage students to arrive at least two weeks before to arrange housing needs.

Newly admitted students to the academic undergraduate program will need to participate in an orientation that consists of an English and math assessment test and important information that fosters student success at Santa Monica College. Students accepted to the Intensive English Program will participate in a special orientation seminar scheduled for the first day of classes of each semester or session.

Once you are in the U.S. you should complete the Mandatory Online Check-In.

It is recommended you plan ahead before your arrival at Santa Monica College. Securing housing can take time. Plan on securing temporary housing (hotel, motel, youth hostels, and others) and your transportation from the airport before you arrive at Santa Monica College. Remember, the International Education Center is closed on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday).

If you haven't secured permanent housing after arriving at Santa Monica College, visit the International Education Counseling Center to review a listing of available apartments, roommates wanted, and rooms for rent.

For more information, visit Housing.

Academic Information Seminar

SMC is committed to your success as an F-1 international student. Our innovative two-part orientation introduces students to the academic program and support services to help ensure success at SMC. All new academic F-1 international students complete this process before beginning their first session or semester at Santa Monica College.

The first part is an online orientation that you will complete prior to your arrival at SMC. This orientation takes approximately 1–1.5 hours to complete.

The second part of the orientation is called the “Information Seminar”. The Information Seminar takes place at SMC a few weeks prior to the start of the session or semester. You will need to sign up for a specific date for the information Seminar before you will receive your SMC I-20 and Admission Packet.

Follow the instructions below to complete the steps to the Information Seminar for International Students at SMC.

Students will receive instruction on how to sign-up for the Information Seminar through their on-line application portal.

  1. Online Orientation for International Students: You must complete the Online Orientation prior to your “Check-in Date” at SMC. Please be sure to use your SMC ID# (not your application ID#) to log in to the online orientation. Your SMC ID# will be available in your application portal once you are admitted. If you do not complete the on-line orientation using your SMC ID#, you cannot attend the Information Seminar and register for SMC classes.

  2. Check-In at SMC: Upon arrival at SMC, new students need to report to the International Education Center for Check-In. Students must bring their current I-20s and passports (with I-94 Admission Card and F-1 Student Visa Stamp). Students also must provide the International Education Center with current contact information and emergency contacts. You can complete the Check-In Form and bring it with you.

  3. Information Seminar at SMC: A confirmation of the date and time of your Information Seminar is included in your Admission Packet. Your report date on your SMC I-20 will be the same date as your Check-In date. We recommend that you arrive at least one week prior to the Check-In and Information Seminar date to secure housing.

    Before the Information Seminar, you may also take the SMC Assessment Test. At the seminar, you will receive more in-depth information about campus resources and the academic program. You will also meet the staff members who will assist you in becoming a successful student at SMC.

Read the Welcome Guidebook for International Studentss for valuable information about Santa Monica College and how to best prepare for your arrival.

Intensive English Program Orientation

Students admitted to the Intensive English Program must attend an Information Seminar. An IEP Levels Placement test will be administered by the English teachers. Students will be provided information on immigration issues, medical insurance, public safety and take a campus tour.

For more information, visit the Intensive English Program.