Dear New International Student,

We wish to extend a special welcome to our new international students and students currently living abroad!

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 www.ringling.edu 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 11 in the Residence Life Office on the first floor of Goldstein 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 prior to that date, you MUST notify the Residence Life Office in advance by sending an email to reslife@ringling.edu.

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 the school. Many Sarasota hotels are listed on our main website under “visit Ringling.”

To get settled into an off-campus apartment, anticipate spending approximately $2000 for initial deposits, rent and 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 bank 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 16.

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 few jackets 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 August 12.  The full Orientation program with all students begins on Wednesday, August 14 and runs through August 17.  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 program for parents and families is planned for August 14-15.  Orientation is designed to familiarize you with the campus and community. Topics include an overview of the 1st Year 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 18. 

• The last day to change classes is Friday, August 22.


Some campus residence halls will close during the Winter break (December 9, 2012 to January 5, 2013), but temporary housing on campus will be arranged for those who need it.

Please visit the International Student Services office on the first floor of the Keating Center.  It is very important that you register with the International Student Advisor within the first few weeks of your arrival. You will need to bring your passport, I-20 and visa with you and know your campus address.  It is also important to meet your International Student Advisor regularly during the school year (at least once a semester), as she needs to make sure you remain in good status.  NEVER leave the country without first meeting with your Advisor.  Your International Student Advisor can help you with such issues as employment, filing tax forms with the IRS, maintaining status 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 without renewing your visa.


Temporary Departure from the United States:

Each time you leave the United States (e.g., Canada, Mexico, return home for vacation), you must confirm that you have a valid signature (within the past 12 months) on your I-20 to present at your port of entry when you return to the United States. Please plan ahead; if you need your I-20 signed, please request a signature in advance using the relevant form available in the office of International Student Services.

Note: Students visiting Canada may need a special Canadian Visitors Visa to enter Canada. Canadian citizens do not need a visa to enter the United States and will receive their I-94 Arrival/Departure Card at the U.S. port of entry.  An I-20 is still required.


Special Note to Canadian Students:

Canadian citizens do not require an entry visa to enter the U.S. from Canada, but DO require an I-20.

All Canadian citizens entering the U.S. by air will be required to show a passport to enter the United States.


Additionally, your passport may be required for other purposes in the U.S. such as completing a form for employment on campus, or applying for a Social Security number. If you enter the U.S. from a country other than Canada, you are required to present a passport at the port of entry.


To enter the U.S. in F-1 status, Canadians DO require an I-20 and proof of payment of the SEVIS fee. To pay the SEVIS fee, go to http://www.fmjfee.com  and follow the instructions. Be sure to make a copy of the receipt for your own records. 


At the point of entry, Canadian students must present the Form I-20 and supporting financial documentation to the immigration inspector to be admitted into the U.S. in F-1 status.

It is especially important for Canadian students to be vigilant about entering the United States in proper student status, as immigration inspectors are accustomed to admitting Canadian citizens as visitors. Because Canadian citizens do not require application to a U.S. consulate for an entry visa some Canadians think that other regulations that apply to international students may also not apply to them. Canadians are subject to the same regulations regarding employment in the United States, requirement for full-time study, and other provisions for maintaining status.

Other than applying for a visa, it important that you read about and abide by all other provisions relating to F-1 status.


If you have any questions regarding your student status at Ringling College, please email Amy Pettengill at apetteng@ringling.edu; 941-893-2051

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



Tammy S. Walsh, Ed.D.

Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students