Write to the universities that offered to admit you. Accept or decline the offers and return any official forms that you will not use.
If you are being sponsored by an organization, notify that organization of your plans. Maintain contact with the sponsoring organization, which can assist with pre-departure arrangements.
Learn how to reach the university from your point of entry into the United States.
Give your family a contact number, such as that of the international students advisor.
Obtain certified and translated copies of your post-secondary transcripts, along with detailed descriptions of your courses and the books used in those courses.
Other documents you might want to bring:
birth certificates of children
international driver’s license
Obtain English translations of these documents and have the translations certified by a U.S. educational advising center or a U.S. consulate or embassy. Retain photocopies of all original documents for your records.
Obtain a valid passport.
Reread the University’s Catalogue
Request information about obtaining insurance from your university. Get necessary inoculations, if any.
Obtain copies of important medical and dental records, X-rays, and prescriptions. Have prescriptions written in generic terms. If you are bringing any prescription medication with you, have a note from your physician explaining what the medication is and why you are taking it. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, obtain a prescription from your doctor.
Apply for a student visa at the American Embassy or Consulate where you live. Application packets are available at many U.S. educational advising centers.
Make travel arrangements as soon as possible. Plan to arrive on campus at least a few days before orientation and registration begins.
Advise the International Student Services office of your travel plans.
Buy traveler’s checks (at least $1000) to cover costs during your first month in the United States. Keep in mind that your first month here will be the most expensive one - it will not be as expensive once you settle in. Be sure you understand U.S. currency (bills and coins) and the exchange rate between your country and the U.S. Arrange to transfer money to a U.S. bank.
Label your luggage inside and out with your name and the address of the University. Know your airline’s luggage policy. Purchase a folding luggage trolley.
Reconfirm your flight reservation 72 hours before departure.
Prepare items to carry with you in a carry-on bag (not checked). Be sure to set aside your passport, I-20, U.S. money and any other necessary documents. Your carry-on bag should contain any items you will need in case your regular baggage is temporarily lost. Never leave any luggage unattended.
If you wish to ship some of your belongings in advance, check with the International Student Advisor for appropriate delivery address and procedure
About two weeks before your departure for the United States, start a list of the personal items you use on a daily basis (alarm clock, sunglasses, cosmetics, favorite hat, teddy bear etc.) The list will remind you of the items you want to take with you.
Familiarize yourself with the climate and bring appropriate clothing
(Source: Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange, NAFSA’s International Student Handbook)