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Looking for orientation for international graduate and professional students? See the Orientation for Graduate and Professional Students page.

What is Prepare?

Prepare is the Office of Global Learning's preorientation program for degree-seeking international first-year and transfer undergraduates. It gives you an early start on your Cornell experience by introducing you to important resources for international students and helping you make friends from around the world—all before Cornell's new student orientation. We're happy to talk with you about any questions or concerns before or during Prepare.

Announcing Prepare 2024! 

Prepare 2024 will consist of both online and in-person components. You will participate in a virtual synchronous session on July 30 from 9 – 10:30 am ET. In-person sessions take place on Cornell’s Ithaca campus from Friday, August 16 through Sunday, August 18, allowing you to move in and get settled before the start of new student orientation.

View the full Prepare 2024 schedule

Join us to make lasting friendships and settle into Cornell! These are some of our program offerings to look forward to: 

  • Cornell campus tour / scavenger hunt 
  • Casino, Karaoke, and Game Night (no real money but very real prizes) 
  • Small group sessions with your upper-level international student mentors
  • Meals and social activities with other new international students 
  • Cornell essentials: immigration, health and wellness, career services and more  


Registration for Prepare is open now through August 5. Take note of fees and the cancellation policy under logistics, below. 

Registration for Prepare is hosted on Cornell’s Campus Groups platform. To access this platform, you simply need to log in with your Cornell credentials (NetID and password). If you cannot access Campus Groups with your NetID and password, please email Be sure to include your name and NetID in your message.

Register for Prepare

Jump to Prepare 2024 Logistics

Questions? Email us.

Three students pose for photo during Prepare 2023

Why Attend Prepare?

Past participants have called Prepare a foundational part of their experience as new Cornell students. It helped them to transition to life in the U.S. and at Cornell, and it gave them a base of friendship that continued through their Cornell career. This year, we expect to welcome over 200 students!

Time to Adjust

Cornell New Student Orientation takes place just before classes begin. Prepare gives you a chance to move-in early and learn more about life as a college student in the U.S. before plunging into other orientation activities and academic tasks. You’ll learn about the U.S. academic system, Cornell's student life and campus opportunities for the international community. Prepare gives you a chance to ask questions and discuss issues with staff from across the university.

Meet Upper-Level International Students

Prepare mentors will serve as your guides to life as an international student at Cornell. You will meet with your mentor virtually in a small group of fellow international students before arriving to campus and daily during Prepare 2024.  

Prepare Participant Testimonials

"Prepare was an amazing opportunity that helped me adjust and adapt to college life in the United States. Being surrounded by other international students, who were feeling the same emotions I was, made me feel confident about college. The Prepare organizers and mentors did a great job to ensure our transition to Cornell was as smooth as possible. It was a great start to college; I am glad I was a part of Prepare."

"I appreciated Prepare a lot because it gave me the chance to get to know the school earlier and have more time to plan for classes before the rush of orientation week and classes started. Prepare also allowed me to get to know people from other countries apart from my own, so I wouldn't just be a loner all the time."

Students on Cornell slope for Prepare 2023
Prepare student mentors pose with Cornell Bear

Prepare 2024 Logistics

Prepare Check-in and Move-in

Prepare participants living on campus for Fall 2024 should plan to check-in for Prepare and move into their assigned room for the year between 1-5 p.m. Friday, August 16. Prepare participants (living on or off campus) will not be allowed to move into their residence hall before 1 pm on August 16. There are no exceptions. Students who arrive before check-in may wait inside the Robert Purcell Community Center. 

Students living off campus for Fall 2024 will also check-in to Prepare between 1 pm – 5 pm Friday, August 16. 

Dorm Bedding

When new students move in to their on-campus living, rooms will not have bedding or towels. Prepare will take participants shopping for dorm essentials on Saturday, August 17 at a local mall. For participants who wish to have bedding for the first night, a "Dorm Bundle" can be pre-purchased when registering for Prepare. This bundle includes:

  • XL twin comforter
  • XL twin fitted sheet
  • XL twin flat sheet
  • sham
  • pillow case
  • pillow
  • bath towel

The cost of the bundle is $50 and will be charged to the participant's bursar account. Dorm Bundles can be picked up at Prepare check-in between 1-5 p.m. on Friday, August 16. If you no longer wish to receive a Dorm Bundle, you must indicate that on the registration form by July 25 to avoid being charged. If you do not cancel the Dorm Bundle by July 25 you will be charged.


The Prepare registration fee covers all meals, beginning with dinner August 16 and ending with lunch on August 18.  


You are expected to arrange your own transportation to Cornell’s Ithaca campus in time for move-in and check-in. The International Student Union (ISU) Survival Guide has tips on how to get to campus from nearby airports (including JFK). All Prepare programming is within walking distance of student dorms.

Fees and Cancellation

Prepare participants will be billed a $200 registration fee which will appear on their July bursar bill with payment due August 7. If you receive Cornell financial aid, the cost of the Prepare registration fee will be added to your aid package. For questions on financial aid, please reach out to the Financial Aid Office

Cancellation Policy:

  • Cancellation up to or on July 25: full registration fee refund
  • Cancellation between July 26 - August 5: $100 cancellation fee
  • Cancellation after August 5: no refunds.

How to Cancel:

When you register for Prepare via Campus Groups, you are automatically registered for the Virtual Pre-Orientation Session AND Prepare 2024. To cancel your registration for Prepare, you must change your RSVP to 'no' for both the virtual and in-person sessions. 

Early move-in housing: 

Prepare participants living on campus will be charged $52 per night for their early housing during Prepare (note that the early move-in fee is in addition to the registration fee). Room fees will be charged to your Cornell Bursar account regardless of when you arrive for Prepare. Cancellations prior to August 6 will not incur a housing charge. If you receive Cornell financial aid, the cost of early-move in housing fees will be added to your aid package.

Accessibility Accommodations

Cornell is committed to providing universal access to all events. Please let us know on the registration form of any accommodations you require in order to participate fully in Prepare. For additional information about student accommodations, reach out to Student Disability Services


If family is accompanying you to Ithaca, please be sure that they make their own lodging arrangements at a hotel, as the Prepare program is unable to accommodate non-participants. Hotels fill up quickly in August, so it is best to book your lodging as soon as possible.

Prepare Schedule

Students in gorge trail on Cornell campus
Prepare students playing cards together

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Prepare and Cornell New Student Orientation?

Prepare is a pre-orientation program for incoming international undergraduate students. Prepare gives you a chance to meet other international students and get your bearings before you begin New Student Orientation activities and academic tasks.

Can I attend Prepare if I’m a graduate student?

Prepare is for undergraduates only. If you are an international graduate or professional student, you can attend International Graduate and Professional Student Orientation. In addition, be sure to check with the Graduate School and your field of study to see what other programs you can attend.

Can I attend Prepare if I'm an international exchange student?

Prepare is for undergraduates degree seeking students only. If you are an international exchange student you can attend the International Exchange Student Orientation. This will be organized by your Cornell exchange coordinator.

Can I attend Prepare if I’m an international transfer student?

Yes! Prepare is open to all new international first-year and transfer students.

Can I attend Prepare if I’m an American who has been living abroad?

American students who have been living abroad and would like extra time to adjust to life in the United States are welcome to attend Prepare.

Where will I stay during Prepare?

If you are living on campus for fall 2024, you will receive your room assignment from Cornell Housing before the start of Prepare and will be able to check-in and move in to your room any time between 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm ET on Friday, August 16. 

More questions? Email us.