ISSS-BU News 03 March 2014 ISSS-BU News
An electronic news service for international students and scholars, owned by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at Binghamton University, State University of New York
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1. ISSS No Longer Issues Letters of Certification (LOCs) or Letters of Invitation (LOIs)
2. Sleep for Success!
3. Pursuit of Academic Success Group Meeting
4. The Public Speaking Skills Lab (PSSL) is Now Accepting Applications for Consultants
5. Next International Coffee Hour Friday, March 7
6. Plan Now for Mid-Terms!
7. Registrar's Office Reminds Students of Important Deadlines
8. Health Insurance Adjustment Deadline is April 1
9. Income Tax Reminders
10. The Clock is Ticking on Some Practical Training Applications
The ISSS is no longer issuing Letters of Certification (LOCs) or Letters of Invitation (LOIs). This includes Letters of Invitations for graduation. Please be aware that these letters are not required by the US Embassy or Consulate to obtain a visa. However, if you would still like to provide documentation to an embassy for yourself or others, please take note of the following:
Letters of Certification: If you need proof that you have maintained your enrollment at Binghamton University, you can make that request online through the Office of Student Records (formerly The Registrar's Office).
Please follow the instructions on their website: http://www2.binghamton.edu/registrar/services/degree-enrollment-verification.html
Letters of Invitation: If you would like to invite your family/friends to visit you, you can write the invitation letter yourself! Invitation letters are not required by the US Embassy or Consulate to apply for a tourist visa. However, if you wish to provide a letter, it should include the following:
• Your name, the reason for your living in the U.S., and your current immigration status (likely F-1 or J-1)
• The names of your family members who wish to visit, and an explanation of the purpose of their visit and how long they expect to stay.
• You can also provide a copy of your I-20/DS-2019, if you feel comfortable doing so
For more information on applying for a tourist visa, please visit the following site: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1304.html.
The Health Education office will host speaker Rebecca Robbins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 4. Robbins, a PhD candidate at Cornell University, conducts research on the relationship between sleep and performance, and published Sleep for Success! with James B. Maas in 2011. Complimentary ear plugs and sleep masks will be distributed to all participants. Please see the flyer below for more information.
The Pursuit of Academic Success group assists international students in maximizing their academic achievement. Each week a different challenge or barrier to academic success is discussed. This group is a drop-in meeting and weekly attendance is not required. All international students are invited!
Week 5: Why do we procrastinate and how do we overcome it? (Procrastination, Part 2)
Last week we discussed: 1) possible reasons as to why we procrastinate and 2) how to overcome procrastination.
This week we will continue to discuss and learn about how we can overcome procrastination. Special attention will be also be devoted to concentration problems and solutions.
Facilitator: Dr. Sangmoon Kim
When: Wednesday March 5, 2014 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Location: ISSS Conference Room (Hinman Commons Building, Room 120-B)
Questions? Contact Dr. Sangmoon Kim at 777-2772 or email@example.com
The PSSL is now accepting applications for Fall 2014 consultants. Students may access the internship description and the B-Engaged application directly from the PSSL Webpage. The application deadline is March 5th.
Good company! Complementary refreshments! Relax by coming to this month's International Coffee Hour on Friday, March 7 from 3:30-5pm in University Union Old Union Hall. This month's sponsor is the Office of the Vice President for Research. March Coffee Hour participants will have the option to participate in group ice breakers and play table games.
The Coffee Hour strives to be a space where the entire Binghamton University community, including international students, U.S. students, faculty/staff, and community members are welcome. The coffee hours are informal and provide an opportunity to meet and learn more about each other in a relaxed atmosphere. They are held on the first Friday of every month during the academic year from 3:30pm-5pm. Each coffee hour has complementary refreshments and snacks, sponsored by a different department on campus.
Most midterm exams are held mid-march at Binghamton University. Midterm exams can be a major component of your grade. There are many ways you can prepare for midterms.
A. Meet with Your Professors or Teaching Assistants:
If you are concerned about any of your course material or are unsure of your understanding, ask your professor or teaching assistant for an appointment time. You can then meet with them, ask your questions and come to a better understanding of what is confusing you. Your professors and teaching assistants want you to meet with them if you are struggling with the course material.
B. Work with a Tutor:
Tutors are students who have been trained to assist you with your coursework. You can arrange to work with a tutor to improve your understanding of course material by signing up for a tutor's assistance. There are Walk-In Tutoring Sessions available for Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Economics, Writing, Math and Foreign Language classes. Click here for the Spring 2014 tutoring schedule. Sign up for a tutor here.
C. Plan Your Time:
Waiting until last minute to prepare for an exam is never a good idea. Planning how you will use your time will help you to be better prepared and be less stressed. Plan for both study and break time. Remember, sleep is an essential part of preparing for a mid-term exam!
You can use the calendar function in Google to create a study schedule. Open your Bmail account; look at the top of the page to find the calendar function.
D. Visit the Discovery Centers:
Binghamton University has many resources for academic support! You can learn about study groups, tutoring services and other resources by visiting a Discovery Center.
Students who wish to withdraw from a course, change their grade option, or apply for Spring 2014 graduation are reminded to do so by Friday, March 28.
Withdrawals: You may drop a class, but since the add/drop deadline has already passed, a "w" will appear on your transcript for the course grade when you withdraw. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 28. Click here for more information.
Grade Option Changes: A grade change option will change your grade either from a letter grade to pass/fail grade or vice versa. The deadline is 5p.m. Friday, March 28. Click here for more information.
Application for Undergraduate Degree for Spring 2014: Undergraduate candidates planning to graduate this semester must submit this online form available on BU Brain by Friday, March 28. Undergraduate students cannot graduate without submitting an Application for Degree (AFD).
If you are an RA, GA, or TA and are receiving health insurance as an employee benefit then the deadline to request an adjustment is April 1, 2014. Please check your student bill to ensure that you have received a credit for your international health insurance for the Spring 2014 semester. Please note that the credit is not the full amount, as we must still bill you for medical evacuation and repatriation coverage. Please click here to request an adjustment.
Questions? Contact the International Health Insurance Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember that the deadline for filing tax forms this year is April 15, 2014.
The ISSS provides free income tax compliance software, known as Glacier Tax Prep, to all international students, international faculty and scholars, and international alumni who are eligible to be considered as non-residents for tax purposes. Glacier Tax Prep provides an easy to use web interface for entering information regarding your federal income tax liability (whether you worked or not), and then enters the information onto the required forms so that you can print them, make copies for your records, and then mail the originals to the IRS. Glacier Tax Prep is password-protected, so that only you have access to the information. Do not attempt to complete your income tax forms using the e-filing options recommended by the Internal Revenue Service. It is not possible to e-file tax returns if you are a non-resident for tax purposes. Information about how to access and use Glacier Tax Prep can be found on the ISSS website.
After you have completed your Federal Tax Return, you will then proceed to complete your non-resident State Tax Return. Although Glacier cannot be used to file State taxes, the University of Buffalo has an excellent webcast on how to file your NYS Tax Return, as well as links to the NYS non-resident tax forms.
Be sure to complete your Federal Returns before you begin your State Tax returns.
Note: If you will be issued Form 1042-S, you cannot file your income tax form until the form arrives
F-1 students who will be graduating in May 2014 and plan to apply for post-completion optional practical training are reminded that they must submit their application paperwork to the ISSS, and then send the processed documents to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) so that it is received at the USCIS lock box address no later than sixty days after their degree conferral date, which this year is May 18, 2014.
F-1 students who have not yet begun the practical training application process are urged to do so soon so that you will have the best possible opportunity to obtain your employment authorization card in a timely manner. Currently, it is taking the USCIS Service Centers approximately 12 weeks to process OPT employment authorization applications. Employment cannot begin unless you have the card "in hand."
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