Information for New J-1 Exchange Students

An "exchange student" is a non-degree, undergraduate-level, student who is at NDSU on a J-1 visa from one of NDSU's partner schools or organizations or those who are sponsored by the U.S. government. This includes any exchange, affiliate or sponsored students. If you are one of these students, please see below for some resources to help you before and after your arrival at NDSU!

Registering for Classes

This section about registration is very long. Please read carefully and scroll up to the top of the page, to navigate back to the menu if you need a reminder of the topics located on this page.

Step 1: Follow instructions in your admission letter

Be sure that you have followed all instructions in your admission letter BEFORE attempting registration.  **If you have not received your admission letter yet and need these instructions, please email us at

This is a repeat of the information in your admission letter. As noted in your admission letter, you should do the following:

  • Find your Student ID number listed in your admission letter (this may also be referred to as the "EMPLID."
  • Now, please go to the following website to claim your “System ID” at 
    • You will need your Student ID number and your birthdate to complete this process. This System ID is needed for applying for housing and completing course registration in the future.
    • Any questions about this claim process should be directed to the North Dakota University System Help Desk at
Step 2: Sign your "Financial Obligation Agreement"

Everyone will have a financial obligation hold to sign in CampusConnection. Do this first before attempting registration.

If you have difficulties signing this, please see these instructions here:

Step 3: Prepare to register

While you are waiting for information on how to register, please do the following and start building a list of classes and alternate classes that you are interested in taking during your stay at NDSU.

  1. How early can I register?
    • Find out how to view your Appointment Time in CampusConnection.
    • This date will always correspond with the label of "UGRD Open Enrollment." (For example: This date for Spring 2024 is November 20th, 2023).
  2. Search the NDSU Course Catalogand read NDSU Course Descriptions
    • Make a list of the classes you would like to take.
    • Note the days/times these courses are offered, to avoid time conflicts when building your class schedule.
  3. Please consider more courses than you intend to take as some courses may not be available for some of the following reasons. For example:
    • The class may not be offered during your requested placement period
    • The class may be full (filled to room capacity)
    • You may not meet the pre-requisites to enroll
    • The course/program is selective and/or not available to exchange/affiliate students: Graduate level courses; and undergraduate courses in areas such as Accounting, Finance, Interior Design, Nursing, Pharmacy, Radiologic Sciences, Veterinary Technology, Architecture and Landscape Architecture (Environmental Design), Construction Management, Construction Engineering, Mathematics, Social Work, and Teacher Education.
  4. Read about how to add classes
    • Please note - not every course is offered every semester. So it is important to only be looking at the correct semester when searching. 
Special Vocabulary:

Course prerequisites (Prereq): Prerequisites indicate the academic background, academic level, or other requirements considered necessary for enrollment in the course. Most prerequisites are specific courses, however, equivalent preparation is usually acceptable.

Course co-requisites (Coreq): Co-requisites indicate courses to be taken concurrently with the course described. Instructor or department permission may override a prerequisite or co-requisite.

Step 4: Wait for More Information on Registration

About a month after admission (usually in late May for Fall admits - and in early December for Spring admits), you'll receive an email from your international student advisor at NDSU with instructions on how to register. Please wait for this email before attempting any registration.

If you received the email from the international student advising team - please begin to register.

  • Add all desired classes to shopping cart, and attempt registration:
  • Encounter an error with pre-requisites or co-requisites? Please email with a screenshot of your shopping cart and explain you are a non-degree exchange student who needs help with registration. Be prepared to send a copy of your most recent transcript and course descriptions.

Help with CampusConnection or your NDUS System ID

Other Tips
Math Placement Test

Most exchange students do not need to take the math placement test. This is optional, but any exchange student can take it.

If you are going to register for a course that requires a special math background/equivalent in the course description (or if the professor needs to know the extent of your math background), we recommend you take the math placement test.

Can I drop a class?

Yes, you can drop a class before the semester begins. However, you cannot drop to zero.  So if you have a class you wish to drop, be sure to add other classes to your schedule first - and then you can drop the class. See this link to find out more: Drop Classes

Your Arrival in Fargo


Your Arrival - Where to Stay
Applying for Housing

Hopefully you have already reserved your room. Your admission letter contained the link to the Residence Life website, encouraging you to apply for housing as soon as possible after admission:

Housing Check-In

If you need to check into a Residence Hall, Housing Check-In will be held in the Memorial Union, starting the day before orientation. Times are posted here:

Tips for Arrival by Date

If you must book a hotel, some information is found on our orientation website - click here. You can come to campus either by hotel shuttle, or by taxi, Uber, or Lyft, for example.

Your Arrival DateNotes
August 15th (or before)
Stay overnight in a hotel until you can check into your housing at the Housing Check-In on Wednesday.
August 16th

Before 3pm: Housing Check-In process begins today, in the Memorial Union.

AFTER 3pm: Stay overnight in a hotel. Come to campus the next day (Thursday) for orientation (around 8am). You can store luggage in the ballroom where we hold orientation, attend orientation, and then do your Housing Check-In later that afternoon.

Break Housing (Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring Breaks):

If you will be living on-campus during these breaks, you must request break housing because the residence hall license contract does not include housing costs during breaks.

To qualify for break housing at NDSU, students must apply through the website of Residence Life. The application and the deadline for requesting break housing will be posted on their website when applications become available:

ISEP students please see the "Resources for ISEP Exchange Students" section below for more information on Break Housing.

Students staying only for the Fall semester

For all  students, your housing assignment will be for the entire academic year (through the end of the Spring semester). If you are staying only for the Fall semester, you will be required to cancel your hall assignment before December 1. If you do not cancel by that date, you will be charged a $100 fee. To obtain a cancellation form - you should contact your RA (Resident Assistant) or HD (Hall Director) to ask for the form.

When is my last day in housing?

Typically the last day to stay in your housing is the last day of the semester according to the academic calendar. The last day of the semester is always a Friday - and is the last official day of finals week. You can possibly stay a few days late for a fee (approximately $20/night) - this fee will be paid by you directly. If you have more questions, consult with your RA or HD when you arrive, to find out the procedures for requesting these extra nights.

Resources for ISEP Exchange Students Only

Required Orientation

Our orientation consists of pre-orientation modules AND an in-person orientation after arrival.

For more important information about your arrival, please view this page which includes updates about Orientation in addition to required immunizations and your arrival in Fargo:

Paying your Tuition and Other Charges

You should wait until after arrival to pay your charges on your account.

For any student receiving a tuition discount (such as exchange, ISEP, or affiliate students with a partial waiver), it sometimes takes a week or two (after arrival) for all of the charges to be adjusted on your accounts. Please be patient as we work through each of your cases.

Travel during your J-1 Program & Travel Signatures

General Information on Travel Signatures and Processing Time in the ISSAS Office

Special note for ISEP Exchange students: Be sure to drop off your original DS-2019 at the ISSAS office upon your arrival - your incoming ISEP coordinator must mail the DS-2019 to ISEP in Arlington, VA for a travel signature in the event you will need to return home during your stay.

Travelling to Canada during your J-1 Program

Depending on your home country, and method of travel to Canada - you may not need a tourist visa to enter Canada. Please see this page for more information:

  • Students who don't need a visa to go to Canada still may need a special electronic travel authorization to enter Canada by air or even transit through a Canadian airport. Find out more about the "eTA" here:

Departure Information for Exchange Students Leaving at End of Semester

Click here to visit our page for departing exchange students. 

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