When You First Arrive

IPGE provides international students services such as orientation, immigration advising, community relations, and assistance in curricular or co-curricular activities. When you first arrive, you may visit the IPGE to obtain registration, housing, immigration, health, and orientation information including campus maps, or to speak with an advisor regarding any other problems or questions you might have.


All new international students enrolling at Sacramento State must bring their passport, SEVIS I-20 and other immigration documents to the IPGE for review and processing. In addition, IPGE staff will have to "register" all new students in the Immigration SEVIS System by the end of the second week of their first semester.


During the course of your studies at Sacramento State, you may be required to take two of the following three English tests:

  1. English Placement Test (EPT) - Freshmen. Most freshmen and transfer students who have not completed English 1A or the equivalent with a grade of "C" or better must take the English Placement Test. Students subject to this test must take it prior to their first registration at Sacramento State. Register for the test online at www.csus.edu/testing. To obtain additional information, please contact the Testing Center (Lassen Hall 2302). Please contact your advisor at the IPGE if you are unable to take this test prior to your registration due to a late campus arrival date. Students will be required to register in their first semester for any remedial English classes in which they are assigned.
  2. Entry-Level Mathematics Test (ELM)
  3. Writing Placement for Juniors (WPJ). Students may be required to take a writing examination called the Writing Placement for Juniors (WPJ) depending on their choice of Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).

Juniors: All Juniors must take the WPJ during their first semester in junior standing (60+ units) unless enrolling in English 109M.

Depending on the WPJ placement score, students will be advised what English courses, if any, they will need to complete in order to meet the graduation writing proficiency requirement. For more information on the WPJ exam, please contact the Learning Skills Center (Lassen Hall 2200), or the IPGE.

NOTE: Non- native English speaking international students who have taken the EDT should register as Multi-lingual students for the WPJ. Register online during the posted signup period at www.csus.edu/testing.


Undergraduate students are required to take the Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) examination prior to their first registration at Sacramento State (unless exempted). Your performance on this examination will enable staff of the Math Department to determine your skill level in the areas arithmetic, elementary algebra, and geometry. If you are unable to demonstrate a sufficient level of proficiency, you will be required to complete appropriate remedial work during your first semester at Sacramento State. For detailed information concerning this examination, please consult the section of your Class Schedule (entitled "General Education ELM Test Scores").


  1. Calculus I (Math 30). Students wishing to enroll in Calculus I should visit the Mathematics Department (Brighton Hall 141) to make arrangements to take the Calculus diagnostic exam. Students may also wish to consult the Department of Mathematics and Statistics Diagnostic Tests website at https://www.csus.edu/math/courses/diagnostic.htm for more detailed information (including in-person and on-line registration procedures).
  2. Chemistry IA. Students wishing to enroll in Chemistry IA should enroll in the class and visit the Chemistry Department (Sequoia Hall 506) to register for the placement exam given prior to each semester. A passing score is required for continued enrollment.


Before registering at Sacramento State for the first time, it is strongly recommended that you meet with a campus academic advisor. Undergraduate students should plan on seeking advice for both general education and major (or minor) requirements. The following offices will provide you assistance in planning your academic program:

  1. IPGE: During your first semester at Sacramento State, the Coordinator of International Admissions will prepare an evaluation of your transfer units as they apply toward meeting your General Education requirements. The Coordinator will also assist you with undergraduate general education course selection.
  2. Academic Advising Center. This advising center will help you with undergraduate general education requirements, graduation requirements, petitioning procedures, and selection of a major.
  3. Faculty Advisors. Located in all campus departments, these advisors will help you select your major and/or minor classes. Since procedures for the assignment of a faculty advisor vary by department, please visit your department office first for assistance and/or referral.


All students are required to get a student One Card (student photo identification) in order to use campus services such as the Student Health Center, Library, athletic events, elections, student activities, and free off-campus bus and light rail service. Each academic term a new semester "sleeve" for your One Card will be issued to you enabling you to use the Hornet Express Shuttle Service and Sacramento city buses and light rail free of charge. The card is available from the One Card office located near Brighton Hall. In order to obtain the One Card, you need a valid photo ID (i.e. passport), your student I.D. number, and a document fee.


A full-service bank is a one-stop financial institution. It will provide you with such financial services as checking and savings accounts, safety deposit boxes, foreign currency conversion, overseas transfers of funds, credit cards, money orders, loans and traveler's checks.

Checking Accounts
A variety of checking account options are available. To open an account, go to the bank of your choice and inform the new accounts clerk of your interest. This person will review the different account choices, have you fill out an application form and will process your first deposit. If your deposit is in the form of an overseas check, the bank will usually not allow you to draw upon this deposit until the check has been cleared and the money actually received by the bank. This may take 1-2 weeks.

Savings Accounts
Most banks also offer a variety of savings account options. When shopping for a financial institution to place your funds, it is recommended that you compare banks. Do not use interest rates as your only criteria for selection; services and early withdrawal penalties might be equally important to you. To open a savings account, contact the institution which you have selected and express your interest in opening an account. Upon completion of your application, you will be given an official record of deposits.

Credit Cards
It is sometimes possible for International Students to obtain one or more credit cards through financial institutions. Attempt to pay off any balance on your credit card each month. Be aware of the card company's policies and of the interest rate (usually high) that will be charged if you are not able to pay all or part of the outstanding balance.

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Regional Transit
For someone without a car, one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get around town is by bus and light rail. These options are free to Sacramento State students with a valid Student One Card and semester enrollment sleeve. Sacramento Regional Transit operates the bus and light rail system and serves virtually all parts of the Sacramento area. Light Rail and Bus Schedules are widely available and contain all the information you need to ride the bus. For bus schedules and more information regarding Sacramento Regional Transit, visit their website www.sacrt.com.

Due to rising energy costs and expanding biking facilities, bicycles are gaining more and more popularity in Sacramento. Many of Sacramento's streets now include bike lanes on the far right side of each direction of traffic. Sacramento State is easily accessible via the American River Bikeway which runs over thirty miles along the American River and has frequent entry/exit access. For further information regarding bike trails and reputable bike shops, contact Peak Adventures on campus (www.peakadventures.org).

Private Bus Services
Bus lines provide reasonably priced and convenient out-of-town transportation for Sacramento residents. Cities as close as Davis and as far away as New York are within bus line service routes. It is easy to use the bus; usually, through one telephone call or checking their company website online, you can acquire all the information you need to know such as bus fares (one way and round trip) and specific departure/arrival times for your particular bus. Bus telephone numbers are listed in the telephone book yellow pages; see "Bus Lines".

"AMTRAK" Train Service
Although Amtrak's routes are not as diverse as those of the bus companies, it provides yet another method of transportation for Sacramento residents. The AMTRAK passenger depot is located at 4th and "I" Streets. Direct service is available on the "California Zephyr" east from the Bay area and west from Chicago, and on the "Coast Starlight" (at Davis) south from Seattle and north from Los Angeles. For more information view their website at www.amtrak.com.

Air Service
Sacramento International Airport connects the Sacramento area with most of the major cities across the US. Although direct international flights are limited, there are numerous daily departures to other major international airports (i.e. San Francisco, Los Angeles). Many major airlines serve the Sacramento International Airport. For further information regarding individual airlines, fares, time schedules, etc., call the airline, contact a local travel agent or search online.

Owning an automobile will provide you with the most convenient, but also most expensive, a method of transportation available. Thus, before you attempt to purchase a car, carefully weigh all the alternatives and consider cost factors such as insurance, registration fees, maintenance, parking fees, gas, and monthly payments.

Driver's License
A valid driver's license is required to operate a motor vehicle in California. Under certain circumstances, drivers may use an international driver's license from their home country to drive in the US. In order to obtain a California State driver's license, drivers must pass a written test on the California Vehicle Code, a driving test, and a vision test. When you apply, you will be required to present your immigration documents (passport, I-94, SEVIS I-20 or DS 2019) and your Social Security card (if you do not have a Social Security Number, please speak to your advisor in the IPGE before visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles). The DMV requires a clearance from the USCIS before issuing your driver's license.

Tests are given at offices of the DMV. Every driver must learn the California Vehicle Code. This covers traffic and safety rules, laws, rules of the road, allowable speed limits, and road signs and symbols. Drivers who are arrested by the police for infractions of the Vehicle Code are subject to fines, suspension of driver's license, or imprisonment depending on the severity of the infraction. (Copies of the California Vehicle Code are available at any DMV.) For more information, please contact the DMV www.ca.dmv.gov.

Automobile Insurance
It is illegal to operate an automobile within the state of California without adequate insurance. We urge you to contact an insurance agent, prior to purchasing an automobile, in order to get a quote on an auto insurance package which will meet your minimum needs as well as those imposed by the state of California. There are many reputable insurance companies listed in the yellow pages of your telephone directory. The cost of insurance depends on:

  1. The types (liability, property damage, comprehensive, medical, uninsured motorist) and amounts of coverage included.
  2. The driver's age, sex, driving record, smoking habits, place of residence, etc.
  3. The type of vehicle you plan to purchase.



Arden Fair Shopping Center 1700 Arden Way

Folsom Premium Outlets 13000 Folsom Blvd

Country Club Plaza El Camino Avenue and Watt Avenue

Downtown Plaza 596 Downtown Plaza

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