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International Students

    Welcome New and Prospective International Students:

    We welcome your interest in Ringling College of Art and Design! Ringling College hosts international students representing over 46 countries throughout the world who are seeking a creative, educational course of study that will be recognized all over the world.  Ringling College enrolls more than 1300 students from diverse backgrounds. International students offer a cultural perspective that enriches the entire Ringling College campus community.

    At Ringling College of Art and Design, you can choose from 14 undergraduate degree programs.  The College provides personalized advising services to help you plan and pursue your academic goals, as well as excellent career mentoring and a wide variety of cocurricular activities.

    Students who need a visa to study in the United States are considered to be international students.  Visa requirements and immigration regulations are complex and do change occasionally.  For help with these matters, international students should also refer to the admissions information and information from the Office of Advising, Records and Registration Services.

    Many of the questions you may have about getting settled in Sarasota and in the U.S. are answered in the International Student Handbook. While some of this information may not be new to you because you may have visited or studied in the U.S., each year we welcome students who will be leaving their home country, family and friends for the first time.  Immersing yourself in a new culture can be challenging.  To alleviate apprehension and decrease possible stress, take the time to carefully plan your travel. Know what to expect at the U.S. Port of Entry.

    Information for Students Enrolling in August

    As you prepare for your departure to the United States and to Ringling College of Art and Design, you must have questions regarding the United States, our higher education system, and Ringling College. Please be sure to read thoroughly the information provided on the New Student website at and complete and return the necessary forms as noted.  Additionally, the Orientation Program at Ringling College will help answer most of your questions.  Here’s some important information for your arrival in August.

    Arrival Date and Time
    Please plan to be ready to check-in to your residence hall on Monday, August 12 in the Residence Life Office on the first floor of North Hall. We will have returning students available to assist you with moving into your room between 9:00 a.m. and noon that day.  If your flight schedule brings you into Sarasota on Sunday, August 11, you will be allowed to stay in your room that night, but you must notify the Office of Student Life in advance by sending an email to

    If you experience any arrival problems, call the Residence Life Office at 941.309.1963 during office hours (9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.). If you are unable to reach us in the office, call our Public Safety Office at 941.359.7500.

    If you must arrive earlier than August 12 and/or if family members are accompanying you to Orientation, there are a number of hotels/motels near campus.  

    If you do not plan to live in our residence halls, you should plan to check in Monday, August 12, and may even wish to arrive one to two weeks before Orientation to allow time to find suitable off-campus housing.  To get settled into an off-campus apartment, anticipate spending approximately $2000 for initial deposits, rent and initial utility costs. For assistance, you may come and talk to our Residence Life staff for off-campus rental information.

    Transportation to Sarasota
    If you cannot book a direct flight to the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, you may want to fly to  Orlando, or Miami and take a domestic flight to Sarasota. If you arrive in Tampa, there is limousine service to the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. A taxi ride from the Sarasota airport to the College will cost approximately $8.

    In addition to your tuition, room and board (meal) payments, you should bring at least $300 cash in small bills ($1, $5, $10 and $20) to help with incidental expenses for taxis, telephone calls, meals and temporary housing before Orientation. An ATM or credit card is convenient for purchasing books and art supplies, or for immediate needs such as toiletries and items for your room. The Campus Store accepts MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover cards.  You will have the opportunity to open a bak account when you arrive.  You will need to bring your passport along with American traveler's checks, a personal check, a bank check, or cash to one of the nearby banks or to complete an application with one of the bank representatives who will be on campus on Thursday, August 15.

    What to Bring
    With the limitations on the amount of luggage you can carry on international flights, plan carefully. Students who will be living in the residence halls will need to bring with them or purchase after arrival a pillow, blanket, bed linens (extra-long, twin bed size) and towels. You should expect to pay approximately $100 for a complete set of bedding and towels.  The link to the Linen Program on-line describes an economical and convenient way for you to have linens mailed directly to the College.  If you have a little extra space, bring a few items unique to your home and country. These things can make your room seem more home-like. 

    Clothing: Dress on the Ringling College campus is generally casual with blue jeans, t-shirts and sneakers or sandals worn by most students. You will want to bring some dressier clothes for special occasions. Short pants are acceptable for most of the year. The winter season in Florida is mild with only a few cold days. Summers are hot and humid. The average annual temperature is 73 °F or 23 °C. Rain is persistent from June to October. We recommend not spending a lot of money on new clothes before you come. Bring the lightweight clothes you feel comfortable in now, and a jacket and sweaters for winter.

    Books and Supplies: Posted on-line is a Supply List.  Supplies can be purchased at the Campus Store or at larger art supply stores in the area. A good dictionary in English and your language is also useful.

    All new students enrolling at Ringling College of Art and Design must participate in Orientation.  A special orientation session is planned for international students from Monday, August 12 through Tuesday, August 13.  The full Orientation program with all students begins on Wednesday, August 14 and runs through August 18.  Participation in this program is also required.  It is very important for you to attend these sessions as many legal and academic issues will be discussed. You will also meet other international students and have the opportunity to ask questions.  
    A Check-In program for parents and families is planned for Thursday, August, 15.  Orientation is designed to familiarize you with the campus and community. Topics include an overview of the First Year Experience Program, the 14 majors, and an introduction of the services provided on campus. There will be a campus tour, a thorough review of the academic expectations, and many other presentations and activities to help you adjust to your new campus experience.

    • Classes will begin Monday, August 19. 
    • The last day to change classes is Friday, August 23.

    Some campus residence halls will close during the Winter Break (December 8- January 12), and Spring Break (March 9-16), but temporary housing on campus will be arranged for those who need it.

    International Student Advisors
    Donna Anderson and Barbara LeBras are your International Student Advisors. Their office is on the second floor of the Ulla Searing Student Center. It is very important that you go to this office within a week of your arrival.  You will need to bring your passport, I-20 and visa with you. It is also important to meet with them regularly during the school year (at least once a semester), as they need to make sure you remain in good status.  NEVER leave the country without first meeting with your advisor. In addition to your status and any academic questions, Donna and Barbara can help you with such issues as employment, filing tax forms with the IRS, entering the visa lottery and much more.

    Immigration Forms/Documents:
    I-20AB: The I-20AB form indicates that you have been accepted (or are enrolled) as a full-time student (F-1) at Ringling College of Art and Design. The I-20AB is presented with your passport to the American Consulate abroad to obtain a visa. The I-20AB and evidence of financial support must be presented at your port of entry each time you enter the United States.

    Passport: The passport is issued by your government.  Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months longer than your entire planned stay in the United States.  Your passport and visa should be valid if you plan to leave and re-enter the United States. If you find it necessary to renew your passport while in the United States, the International Student Adviser can help.

    Visa: At the American Consulate abroad, you will be issued an F-1 (student) visa which will be stamped in your passport. This shows the number of entries you may have into the United States and an expiration date after which you cannot re-enter the United States.

    I-94: You will receive a white card (Arrival-Departure Record) upon entry to the United States. It records your admission number, length of stay in the United States and subsequent immigration decisions. It will be stapled into your passport.  The Form I-94 must be kept valid at all times, and if you wish to remain in the United States beyond the expiration date indicated on the form, you must apply to the Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) for an extension of stay.

    Temporary Departure from the United States:
    Each time you leave the United States (e.g., Canada, Mexico, return home for vacation), you must have your I-20 signed by the International Student Advisor to present at your port of entry when you return to the United States.

    Note: Students visiting Canada may need a special Canadian Visitors Visa to enter Canada. Canadian citizens may not need a passport to enter the United States and can receive their visa at the U.S. port of entry.  An I-20 is still required.

    Have a safe trip to Sarasota! We are pleased that you are coming to Ringling College in the fall and we look forward to meeting you!



    Tammy S. Walsh, Ed.D.

    Dean of Students