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International Student Pre-Orientation

International Student Pre-Orientation (IPO)

Friday, August 28 (check in 2 PM) – Wednesday, September 2, 2015 

International student advisors in the Office of Student Academic Services (SAS) invite you to join your international classmates for an informative (and exhaustive!) four days of activities intended to offer an academic, cultural and regional introduction to studying and living in the United States. Americans/dual nationals living outside of the United States and all non-US citizens and are invited to participate in this program.

IPO Mentors (upper class students) act as guides in workshops and activities focused on a smooth academic and personal transition to living and studying at Skidmore College. Faculty and staff from Skidmore present material on topics including academic resources, the “American” classroom, and academic expectations. Resources for co-curricular and civic engagement opportunities at Skidmore are also presented, tailored to international student interest. All of this woven around excursions that introduce you to Saratoga and the region, as well as provide time to shop for basic amenities and even open a bank account.

The campus check-in date for International Student Pre-Orientation (IPO) will be Friday, August 28, 2015. Registration will begin at 2 PM in the Case College Center. Participating students will be able to move into their full-year residence hall room on this day (unless their room is not available and in that case a temporary room will be assigned-this is a very rare scenario). IPO will conclude on September 2nd when all participants of IPO are required to participate in an all-college pre-orientation offered by the Office of Campus Life.  More details about all-college pre-orientations will be emailed to ALL enrolled international students after the May 1 enrollment deadline. Registration for Campus Life pre-orientations begin on June 1 and fill-up fast.

Students traveling by themselves to the Albany International Airport (ALB) or an area bus/train station can be personally greeted by IPO Mentors ONLY on the check-in/arrival day. Students arriving with their families and wishing to make their own plans can arrive in Saratoga Springs on their own on any day they desire but will only be able to check-in for IPO (and move into their residence hall room) on check-in day.

If you need information about accommodations or Saratoga Springs and the surrounding area, please visit the website of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.

Advice to families traveling with students: Late August is the peak of the tourism season in Saratoga Springs, New York. You will certainly enjoy your visit to our beautiful area but you may find that hotels will sell out or be at a premium. Make reservations early and if you have a rental car then consider searching for hotels in the nearby but surrounding communities (i.e. Malta, Albany, Colonie, Glens Falls). There is a healthy mix of individual hotels as well as franchise (Marriott, Hilton, etc.) hotels in the greater Saratoga Springs/Albany/Glens Falls area.

Registration for IPO will be open to students after May 1, through email notification to your Skidmore College email account from Darren Drabek, International Student Coordinator (

IPO Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q:  If I cannot attend IPO, when should I arrive?
A:  September 3rd to attend another pre-orientation (highly, highly recommended) or September 6th to attend the compulsory New Student Orientation (required).  Please make sure you always confirm information and dates on the FYE Orientation website.

If you cannot arrive on August 28th, we HIGHLY suggest you participate in a Pre-Orientation or SCOOP.

Students arriving for Pre-Orientation/SCOOP may move into their campus residence hall on the morning of Thursday, September 3rd and participate in one of the MANY pre-orientation programs.  The pre-orientation programs are numerous with varied themes and are held to small numbers so students can get to know each other well prior to the New Student Orientation which is for the entire class.

Registration for the different pre-orientation programs will open on June 1, but some preliminary information is here.

All of the international students participating in the International Student Pre-Orientation will participate in a Campus Life pre-orientation or SCOOP.  So, you will certainly meet other int’l students at that time.

September 6th is the arrival for New Student Orientation and the absolute LAST day a member of the Class of 2019 should arrive at Skidmore.

Q: If I arrive one or two days into the IPO can I still attend?
A: No.  Campus arrival for IPO must be on August 28th. (See previous question for alternative arrival dates.)

Q: If I miss IPO, can I still get information from international student advisors?
A: Yes.  Not all international students are able to attend the International Student Pre-Orientation, therefore our staff will meet personally with any student during the first couple of days of classes and pass along the relevant and required information.

Q: I am traveling to IPO alone, can someone meet me at an airport or other station?
A: Yes.  On the designated arrival day (August 28, 2015), IPO mentors can meet students at one of the following locations only: Albany International Airport (ALB), Albany/Rensselaer Train Station; Albany Bus Station; Saratoga Bus/Train Station.

If you are attending IPO, you will be asked to provide arrival flight/bus/train information prior to arrival.

Q: Where should I fly into?
A: If you are traveling by air, and travelling alone, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND that your final destination is the Albany International Airport (ALB).  Our staff can meet you, or you can take a taxi (30 minutes, approx.. $75).

Perhaps after your first trip to Skidmore you will find that you prefer to travel to New York City or Boston to fly home or here.  But for your very first trip, we recommend arriving in Albany.  It might just make your life a little easier.

Q: I need hotel recommendations for the Saratoga area.
A: Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce lists many accommodations in the area.  If hotels/motels in Saratoga Springs proper are full or too expensive, look to the North or South of the city for alternatives.  Some hotels have free shuttles or are only a short drive (rental car or taxi) from campus.

Q: My family is coming with me, can they participate in IPO?
A: On Friday and Saturday only.  Family/friends can help you move into your room on Friday and there will be a short information session on Saturday morning for any accompanying individuals.

Students are expected to fully participate in IPO otherwise and should not plan to spend time with friends/family after drop-off.