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Welcome to the Spring 2021 intake

You've been admitted – what comes next?

Congratulations on your place at JMU – you’re almost ready to start your academic adventure. There are some things you can do to get ready to begin your studies with us for our Spring 2021 intake. Read on to find out how to get your academic journey off the best start.

Set up your accounts

Your first step should be to set up your accounts to access all we have to offer. Shortly before orientation, you will receive information by email to help you set up your JMU student account (MyMadison) with the help of ISC staff and JMU Information Technology members. Once you are logged into MyMadison, you will be able to enter our virtual learning platform to participate in orientation and access course material.

The account setup process will also include activating your JMU email account, which will be used for all communication from the university and your professors – so it’s important to have access.


Orientation is a great way to get to know JMU before starting your studies. Orientation is required and you will not be able to begin your classes until you have completed it. Your online orientation will take place at the same time as in-person orientation at JMU. The three principal goals for Orientation are:

  1. To help you get acquainted with university and JMU systems and regulations.
  2. To provide you with a brief introduction to online learning.
  3. To help you get prepared for classes by getting familiar with Canvas (our learning management system), MyMadison, and meeting professors and staff.

There will be opportunities to have virtual interaction with students who are part of in-person orientation as well as with LINKers – international student mentors who will help you adjust to college life.

Course registration

During orientation, and once your final placement is confirmed, you will be able to register for your classes. You will be given a class schedule that is either set or includes limited options, and you will register for your courses within MyMadison. Your class schedule will be based on classes that are currently available, as well as your major

Placement testing

As part of orientation, you will take three assessments that will help us to make sure that you are placed in the correct classes. It is important to remember that you cannot fail these tests; they only help us to make sure you’re in the right classes for you. If we determine that your language skills are higher or lower than your original study plan, we will shift your program to fit your needs so you can get the most out of your studies.

Versant English placement test

This test helps us confirm your English level. The test uses artificial intelligence to monitor the testing process, so please follow all instructions and be sure you have a working camera.

Oral interview

You will have a brief informal interview with one of our professors to get a sense of your speaking skills.

Math placement test

This math test assesses your current knowledge so that we can place you in the appropriate math class. There is no need to worry, as you cannot fail this test. We simply use the results to find out if you need to take Statistics or Calculus, or if you need some additional background before taking a higher level math course.

How to access your courses

We will support your studies through virtual learning platforms such as Canvas, as well as additional platforms such as Webex and Zoom. Canvas is the learning management system used by James Madison University, and it is home to your course outlines, materials, discussion forums, recorded sessions, collaboration tools, and more. You will not need a VPN to access these features.

The online platform will include course materials and recorded sessions that will help you review your course materials. You will submit all assignments for JMU through the Canvas platform, which will be provided online for easy access at your convenience.

Joining us online

What should you expect from an online class?

You’ll still get a great JMU experience if you’re joining us online. Some of your courses will be live sessions, while some can be completed on your own time. Some instructors also post recorded video and voice sessions for you to study when is best for you.

Your courses will consist of high-quality interactive sessions. Some examples of interactive sessions you may participate in during your course may include:

  • Participating in a live discussion online.
  • Watching an online presentation and adding your own video comments or questions.
  • Commenting on a discussion board on your own time.
  • Viewing a lecture and participating in a Zoom meeting with your professor to answer questions.

The course material can be accessed at your convenience. There will be live interactive class sessions and recorded sessions that will be available for you to access. You will be informed of any required live interactive sessions well in advance, so that you can plan ahead. Recorded sessions can be accessed at any time based on your own schedule.

Required interactive sessions may be scheduled in different time zones to allow students to interact with instructors and other students. When working on group presentations, you will have the flexibility to find a time which is convenient for everyone in the group.

While some class sessions may be scheduled at a specific day and time, most will not. As opposed to on-campus delivery, most courses will have no set class hours, except for any pre-scheduled interactive sessions. You will be expected to have self-discipline and be an active participant in the virtual classroom. You will need to check the class materials and assignments regularly, whether or not the class meets at a scheduled time each week. You must be engaged in the program Monday through Friday and meet all assignment deadlines in order to get the most out of your studies.

During your online orientation before your program begins, you will hear more about self-learning modules and exercises on Canvas.

Requirements & resources

You will need the following resources to support your virtual learning:

  • Laptop or desktop computer
  • Internet with good Internet connectivity
  • Webcam or laptop camera for interactive discussions
  • Time – each course will require a significant time commitment (for participation in sessions and online groups, or completing assignments)

Purchasing your textbooks

Each of your classes will likely require textbooks that can be purchased either as physical books or as virtual texts. You will be able to find and purchases these textbooks online – your professors in each class will guide you on the required texts and the best way to secure them.

Community & support

The JMU experience is available wherever you are in the world. By using platforms such as Zoom, Instagram, and Facebook, you can join the community through activities such as:

  • Live lunches with your classmates
  • Quarantine and Chill movie days
  • Sharing pictures of where you’re attending classes
  • Spirit Days: Show your JMU Spirit
  • Share your favorite songs for studying or relaxing
  • Games and TikTok competitions
  • Cooking demonstrations and karaoke

Online resources

Like all JMU students, ISC students have access to the following resources:

  • The Learning Centers (Math, Writing, and Communications) — Online support for your academic needs.
  • English Language Learner Services (ELLS) — specific online support for students who are not native English speakers.
  • JMU Libraries — Online resources available including ebooks, reference materials, and databases.
  • The Counseling Center — Online assistance and resource guidance for students who are struggling with personal issues.
  • Global X Program — The international student mentor program will operate online as well to help you get to know other JMU students.
  • Clubs and Organizations — Several of JMU’s clubs and organizations are considering online interaction for students unable to be present on campus (participation varies by club).

Speak to your advisor

Your personal Student Success Manager will work with you on a one-to-one basis to be sure your time at the ISC is successful. They will do this monitoring your academic progress and helping you access campus resources should you need help.

We will discuss the specifics of your advising meetings at orientation. During the first week of class, you will receive an email asking for your availability for a synchronous Zoom advising meeting. Just reply to the email with a convenient time and your appointment is scheduled!

Refund policy

For students who decide to withdraw after beginning their online courses, ISC and direct admission students may receive a 100% refund on their tuition and deposit from the start of the course (January 19) to February 9, 2021, should they decide not to continue with virtual learning for the Spring 2021 Semester.

In the case of students who complete the course online and are not able to come to the USA because of visa issues, the following refund policy applies: For students who complete the semester online and 1) have achieved the required GPA to progress/matriculate and 2) have provided evidence of two (2) visa rejections, those students will receive a 50% tuition refund.

To cancel your place before commencement of your program or withdraw from your studies during the Trial Period, please visit this page.

We’ll get you to where you want to be – Read our latest guidance for current students, or find out more about online learning.