We're looking forward to welcoming you
We are looking forward to welcoming you to our campus this Fall. If you are unable to join us on campus, for some programs we are offering you the flexibility to begin your studies virtually from home.* Whether you're joining us on campus or online, you'll still benefit from the full JMU experience.
Beginning your studies with us
When you join us on campus you can look forward to a safe, fun and inclusive learning experience as you build cultural experiences and create networks for your future. You will be surrounded by a supportive community of international students and expert staff, ensuring you have the best possible start to your study experience.
In a demonstration of its commitment to safety and wellbeing, JMU will require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 when the 2021-22 academic year begins this August.
You can fulfill the vaccination requirement with any vaccine accepted by the World Health Organization. Click here for a list of WHO-accepted vaccines. You should provide your full immunization forms with evidence of vaccination no later than 21 July 2021.
If you are unable to receive the full vaccination in your home country prior to arrival, you will be asked to sign an Assumption of Risk waiver that states you understand the risk of attending university unvaccinated and you will be tested for COVID-19 once per week until you are able to become fully vaccinated.
All students are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for free in Virginia, and clinics are readily available at many locations. The JMU University Health Center will have vaccines available in August. For more details, visit the James Madison University website.
Your next steps
Once you’ve been offered and accepted your place to study with us, you can start preparing for university. We’re here to make this process as easy as possible for you. To start with, you’ll need to make sure you’ve done a few important things:
- Confirm your place. The first thing to do after you receive an offer is pay your deposit. You must do this in order to confirm your place. You can then begin the student visa process. To see what payment is required, and pay it online, visit our fees page.
- Apply for your visa. You can find out more about the visa application process on our arriving in Harrisonburg page.
- Review the JMU International Student Guidebook for important details about your JMU experience.
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:
- To help you get acquainted with university and JMU systems and regulations.
- To provide you with a brief introduction to online learning.
- 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.
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
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.
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.
Get prepared with Start Smart
When you enroll at JMU, you will benefit from Start Smart at no additional cost – so you are prepared to start your courses with the skills you need to succeed. You will benefit from Start Smart at no additional cost – so you are prepared to start your courses with the skills you need to succeed.
You’ll receive early exposure to your university education and experience – ensuring you begin James Madison University with confidence. With Start Smart, you will:
- Meet and interact with staff before you arrive
- Join an international community of fellow students from all over the world
- Study a blended course model, combining interactive sessions with the flexibility to learn on your own schedule
- Develop your skills through interactive one-to-one and group discussions
In this free course, you’ll be introduced to a wide range of subjects, including:
- Navigating a learning management system (LMS)
- US culture
- Reading, writing, listening and speaking
- Learning and success
At the end of Start Smart, you’ll receive a certificate to show you completed the modules before progressing on to your program.
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
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!
Join Us Virtually From Home
For some programs, we are offering you the flexibility to begin your program virtually from home.
What Should You Expect From An Online Class?
For your convenience, most of our virtual learning is delivered at different times of the day and is available to access on your own time. You’ll be responsible for scheduling your days to allow time to watch lectures and complete projects and assignments.
You’ll need to be present online in real time for activities which do occur live, like office hours and some assessments or exams.
Some examples of interactive sessions you may participate in during your course may include:
- 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
As opposed to on-campus delivery, most courses will have no set class hours, except for any pre-scheduled interactive sessions. Students will be expected to have self-discipline and be active participants in the virtual classroom. Students will be required to check the class materials and assignments regularly, and must be engaged in the program Monday through Friday and meet all assignment deadlines.
During your online orientation before your program begins, you will hear more about self-learning modules and exercises on Canvas.
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.
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.
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.
To cancel your place before commencement of your program or withdraw from your studies during the Trial Period, please visit this page.
*Subject to University policy and ongoing disruption caused by COVID-19