Reaching Others University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
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Frequently Asked Questions

For Prospective Students

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What is an international student?

An international applicant is a student who needs a visa to reside and study in the United States.

A U.S. citizen or permanent resident who currently lives and studies outside the U.S. is considered a domestic applicant with foreign credentials.

What is a freshman applicant?

You are a prospective freshman applicant if you are currently in high school (secondary school) or have graduated high school and have taken no post-secondary courses.

If you have taken college-level credits during high school, you are still considered a freshman.

These courses may include AP, A-level, IB or GAC curriculum.

> Learn more about applying as a freshman

What is a transfer applicant?

You are a transfer applicant if you started post-secondary studies at one college or university and then chose to move to a different school. If you have completed any academic coursework during a regular session at a college or university after high school, you are a transfer applicant.

Intensive English language study is not considered academic coursework.

> Learn more about applying as a transfer

Is there an application deadline?

UB has "rolling admission" deadlines. This means that we accept applications and admit qualified students until all available seats are filled. Some degree programs fill their seats quickly. Most scholarships are awarded in January and February. Therefore, we recommend that you apply as early as you can in your last year of secondary school. Our recommended filing date is Feb. 1 for the Fall applicants and Oct. 1 for Spring applicants; and earlier is better.

> Learn More

Are there any special requirements for admission to certain programs?

  • Art requires a portfolio, and Music requires an audition.
  • Architecture requires SAT I minimum 500 Critical Reading / 540 Math.
  • Engineering requires a minimum score of 600 in Math on the SAT I, and adequate preparation in math and science from secondary school.

> Learn More

What is the difference between SUNY Buffalo (UB) and SUNY Buffalo State?

They are not the same!  There are two SUNY institutions in Buffalo. This can be confusing, so be sure to select the correct one when you're applying.

University at Buffalo (UB) is officially called University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (and this is sometimes shortened to SUNY Buffalo). UB is the premier flagship university center of the SUNY system. UB's SUNY code is: 22. UB's TOEFL and SAT school code is 2925. UB's ACT school code is 2978.

There is a second, different school which has a very similar name and is known by multiple "nicknames"; this school's official name is State University of New York College at Buffalo and it also uses these shortened nicknames: SUNY Buffalo State, Buffalo State, Buff State, Buffalo State College, and SUNY College at Buffalo. This school is NOT the same as University at Buffalo (UB). SUNY Buffalo State is a smaller college located just a few miles from UB.

Just remember:

  • UB (University at Buffalo) is the university.
  • SUNY Buffalo State (Buff State) is a college and a separate institution from UB.

Do you have Early Admission?

No, international student applications are reviewed when they are complete, so “early admission” depends entirely on when and in what state of completion the applicant sends his or her application to UB. We encourage you to apply early so that you'll meet scholarship consideration deadlines.

Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is government money that is available only to qualified U.S. citizens and permanent residents. State and federal financial aid is not available to international students. However, UB offers merit-based scholarships to qualified students, including international students.

> Learn more about scholarships and other funding opportunities

Do I need to take the SAT or ACT?

  • SAT / ACT is recommended for all freshman applicants.
  • SAT / ACT is required for freshman applicants who will graduate from a high school in the U.S.
  • SAT / ACT is required for direct admission to architecture, biological sciences / dentistry combined program, computer science, and engineering. Without minimum SAT scores, students applying to these majors will be admitted to the university as a general student and then apply to the department after meeting the prerequisites.
  • SAT / ACT is required for scholarship consideration.

> Learn more about SAT / ACT requirements

What if my TOEFL/IETLS/SAT score is below the minimum for any type of admission (Standard, Standard with Language Support, Conditional Bridge)?

If you can take the TOEFL or IELTS again in the near future, and present a new score that meets the admission requirements, your file will be reconsidered. We will be happy to review your application file with the new score and, if your score meets the minimum requirement, perhaps offer a new admission decision.

If you cannot achieve a minimum score that meets our admission requirements, you can join UB's English Language Institute to improve your English. Then you would apply to UB when you meet the minimum score requirements.

> Learn more about applying to the English Language Institute

Do you award any advanced standing credit?

Yes, credit can be awarded for some Advanced Placement (AP) tests, GCE A-level exam subjects and International Baccalaureate (IB) subjects.

> Learn More

Are freshmen accepted directly into a major?

Some departments do accept freshmen directly — Architecture, Computer Science, Engineering, Exercise Science, Management, Nuclear Medicine Technology and Occupational Therapy. Otherwise, students are enrolled as general university students and will apply to their major later, usually during the second year after completing any prerequisites.

I am interested in graduate study. Can you tell me what the admission requirements are?

As a prospective graduate applicant, you should contact the academic department directly for information about application requirements and procedures, as well as the availability of financial aid. Each department has its own admission policy and available financial grants.

> Learn more about graduate study at UB

S.M.A.R.T.

On this page:

What is SMART?

SMART stands for Self Managed Application Reporting Tool.

SMART is an online supplement to your application that allows you to electronically submit your application materials to our office for review.

I already mailed all my documents to UB, why do I need to upload them?

The University at Buffalo’s international admissions office has gone paperless! Asking you to upload your documents allows your admissions counselor to review your application as soon as the very next day. By eliminating incoming mail, we save a lot of time and resources that are now spent working toward our goal of making the application process as fast and easy as possible for you.

If you cannot upload your documents, we can still review your application the old-fashioned way, but we cannot guarantee the same processing times. Reviewing application materials that come in the mail typically takes between 2-3 months. If you prefer to use the slow review method, please contact us to have your application removed from the SMART system.

I am missing one of the required documents (for example, TOEFL/IELTS/SAT); should I submit my SMART form now? Will there be any problems if I wait a few weeks?

You should NOT submit your SMART form until you have all the required documents. If you submit the form and documents are missing, admission may be denied.

It is OK to wait until you receive your test score results. Submit the SMART form after you have the necessary test scores. We continue to review applications until all seats have been filled in the incoming class.

I uploaded all my documents to SMART and it has been more than 15 days, yet I haven't heard anything from your office. Why haven’t I received an admission decision yet?

If you have waited more than 15 days for an admission decision, we suggest that you log back into your SMART account and check to make sure you have submitted the form. Just uploading your documents does not allow us to review them. Follow the instructions to electronically sign your name and then click “Submit.”

If you have submitted the SMART form successfully and it has been more than 15 days, please contact our office and we will be happy to assist you.

For Accepted Students

On this page:

Do I have to do anything to accept UB's offer of admission? Do I have to pay a tuition deposit?

Yes, in order to reserve your seat at UB, you need to accept our offer of admission. This is done by paying the tuition deposit. The deadline for paying the tuition deposit is May 1 (or within 10 business days of admission if you are admitted after May 1); tuition deposits are accepted after May 1 only if seats are still available.

> Learn more about paying the tuition deposit and the next steps for enrollment.

Is the tuition deposit refundable if I change my mind about attending UB?

For Fall admission, you may decline UB's offer of admission and receive a tuition deposit refund until May 1st.  After May 1st, tuition deposits are not refundable.

Does UB offer an Orientation program? Do I have to attend?

Yes. In fact, UB's International Student Orientation is one of the most comprehensive university orientation programs in the U.S. All incoming UB students attend an orientation program; UB's international students attend the International Student Orientation, which takes place in the week immediately before classes begin.

In the weeklong orientation program, you will attend required sessions about campus safety and immigration; you'll meet with your academic advisor and register for classes; you'll have the opportunity to meet with representatives so that you can open a bank account and purchase a phone plan. And just as important, you'll have the opportunity to meet others from around the world and the U.S. so that you can start making connections and lifelong friends.

> Learn more about Orientation and register now.

Where should I live?

We strongly encourage all undergraduate students to live in on-campus housing. While living on campus is not required, there are so many advantages to living on campus. Living on campus is safe. Living on campus is convenient (everything from classes to food to activities is just a minute away). The cost of living on campus is reasonable and you won't have any separate charges for utilities like electricity, water and TV. And living on campus is the best way to make new friends and integrate with the rest of the campus.

If you do live on campus, be aware that not all the residence halls stay open during school breaks. If you intend to remain on campus during term breaks, or if you're not sure, you should be sure to choose "break housing." This will be explained on the housing preference application.

> Learn more about on-campus housing.

Can I arrive on campus late?

While you should make every effort to be on campus by the start date specified on your I-20 (which is the first day of International Student Orientation), we understand that problems arise and travel plans need to be changed.

But please understand that arriving late means you will be ill-prepared in your first semester at UB. In addition, you will register for classes late and may not be able to get the classes you need.

We recommend that you make every effort to arrive in time for the start of International Student Orientation.

Each case for a late arrival request is reviewed individually; approval or denial will be based on the individual merits of your request. Typically, if late arrival is approved, your arrival date will be delayed only up to the 4th day of classes; beyond that late arrival is generally not approved.

If you must request late arrival, click here to complete the Late Arrival Request Form.

(Graduate students may not use this form. Graduate students who wish to request late arrival should contact their academic department.)

Does UB provide airport pick-up service?

The Buffalo Niagara International Airport is located just 15 kilometers from campus. It's quick and easy to take a taxi (and it costs only $25 – $30). The taxis are familiar with the campus and they'll know exactly where to take you.

You may also contact a student representative of your international student club to ask if they might provide you with assistance on your arrival.

When do I pay my tuition?

Newly accepted students arriving on campus for the first time will pay their first bill approximately one month after arriving on campus.

> Learn more about paying your university bill.

Can I pay my tuition in installments or do I have to pay it in full?

You can pay in installments or you can pay it in full. It's up to you.

If you wish to pay in installments, you'll need to enroll in the payment plan program after you are on campus. Pay special attention to the application deadlines.

> Learn more about the UB Payment Plan program.

My name does not appear the way that I entered it on my application. Why did you change it?

Your passport is the official document for all our records and with only a few exceptions we follow it exactly.

One exception: If your passport does not show a surname, we are required to use all of your given names as your surname and leave your given name blank (for the university's student information system and your I-20).

Unless you can provide an updated passport that lists your name as you would like it to appear, your record cannot be changed.

I have requested that ETS/College Board/ACT send my official scores directly to UB but you are still asking for them. Do I have to send them again?

If your name on your test results does not match the name you put on your UB application, it can be difficult for our electronic system to match the scores to your record. If you send us a scanned copy of your score report showing that the official score was sent to UB, we can manually match the scores to your application.

UB's school code for TOEFL and SAT is 2925. UB's school code for ACT is 2978.

Honors College

On this page:

What is the Honors College?

The Honors College is a prestigious by-invitation-only program for the top entering freshmen of the university. Honors College students are encouraged to be involved in research, internships and other experiences that will enhance and enrich their undergraduate education.

Honors College students have special privileges such as early class registration, personalized advisement, Honors Living Community, faculty mentor and a special notation on the academic transcript.

Select students are invited to participate in the Honors College after they have been admitted to UB. Interested students will also need to submit an Honors College Interest Form (available online each September).

> Learn more about the Honors College.

Can I reject the Honors College offer? Do I lose my scholarship?

Yes, you may choose to not be part of the Honors College. If you have received the International Merit Scholarship, it is separate from the Honors College offer; you will not lose the International Merit Scholarship if you decline the Honors College offer.

For Transfer Students

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Why didn’t I get credit for my English classes?

Except for a few rare exceptions, UB does not award credit for English composition/English language classes taken outside the U.S. If you have questions, please consult an advisor in the Office of International Admissions after you arrive on campus.

I have received 90 transfer credits. Does that mean I will graduate in one year, or as soon as I have completed my 120 credit total?

No. Simply completing 120 credits does not mean that you have completed the required work to graduate with a degree from UB. In order to graduate, you must earn the minimum number of required credits (120) and also complete all the university and department requirements.

I have already taken several classes that should apply to my major. Why don’t they show up as credit that fulfills my major requirements?

Since the faculty in each department are the experts in their field, they make decisions as to which transfer courses sufficiently match UB courses well enough to fulfill the department requirements. The initial evaluation that is done by International Admissions gives credit for all appropriate courses and assigns some of those credits to specific General Education requirements when possible. Courses in math and sciences, or more specialized fields, have to be reviewed by departmental faculty to determine if they can be used to fulfill UB requirements.

When you arrive on campus, you will submit requests to individual departments asking them to review and match (articulate) the external course to a specific UB course. Be sure to bring copies of course syllabi, course descriptions or course catalogs.

When can I get my new UB I-20?

If you are transferring from a U.S. institution, we cannot begin processing the new I-20 until we have received the SEVIS transfer form from the DSO (Designated School Official) at your previous school. Once we receive the transfer form, we will follow the release date that has been indicated by the DSO. Until that date passes, we cannot work with your record in SEVIS. We work hard to issue transfer I-20s as close to the indicated release date as possible.

For Parents

On this page:

What scholarships are available and how does my child apply for them?

The University at Buffalo offers merit-based scholarships in varying amounts to qualified international FRESHMEN. Scholarship awards vary from $2,500 – $15,000 per academic year and are renewable for up to four years with good academic standing. Each year, 20 – 25 of these prestigious scholarships are awarded.

A special application is not required for these scholarships. All applicants are considered as part of the regular application review process. But students do need to apply early. The best scholarships are awarded early and we recommend that students apply by Dec. 1 to have the best chance of being reviewed in time. Students who apply later (between February and April) will still have a chance for a scholarship, but their chances are diminished and the scholarships amounts may be smaller.

Eligibility is based on overall secondary school performance, test scores, an essay and teacher recommendations. SAT I or ACT is required for international students who would like to be considered for scholarships.

Transfer students are NOT eligible for scholarships.

> Learn more about freshman scholarships.

Can my child receive government financial aid?

International students are not eligible for U.S. government-based financial aid. International students are only eligible for financial assistance at UB through scholarship programs.

> Learn more about UB’s affordable costs and funding opportunities.

When will we receive the tuition bill and when do we have to pay it?

All university bills are sent directly to the student by email. Paper billing statements are not mailed.

Your son or daughter can give you limited access to his or her online UB student account. This way, you can view the university bill and make payments directly to the university on behalf of your student.

Newly accepted students arriving on campus for the first time will pay their first bill approximately one month after arriving on campus. Subsequently, semester bills are due just prior to the start of the next semester (unless the student has signed up for UB installment Payment Plan).

> Learn more about paying your university bill.

Can we pay the tuition in installments or does it have to be paid in full?

You can pay in installments or you can pay it in full. It's up to you.

If you wish to pay in installments, your child will need to enroll in the payment plan program after he or she is on campus. Pay special attention to the application deadlines.

> Learn more about the UB Payment Plan program.

How much money does my child need to bring to UB?

Personal and incidental expenses are not included in the estimated cost of attendance on your student’s I-20. The university recommends an annual allowance of at least $1,000 for books and supplies and $1,500 for personal expenses and incidental costs. We do not recommend that your son/daughter carry large sums of cash when traveling to the U.S. Please bring a small amount of cash (a few hundred dollars) along with a credit card.

If your child plans to bring money (e.g., cash, money order, certified check, travelers’ checks and letter of credit) into the U.S., please note the following advisory from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website:
“Travelers leaving or entering the U.S. are required to report monetary instruments (i.e. currency or checks) valued at $10,000 or more on a "Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments" form FinCEN 105” (available at www.fincen.gov/fin105_cmir.pdf or from a CBP officer). Failure to declare currency in amounts of over $10,000 can result in its seizure.”

How do I know if my child was admitted to his or her intended major?

A student’s acceptance letter states whether or not she or he has been admitted directly into a major program. At UB, some programs admit freshmen directly. Others require that intended students complete prerequisite classes before they can be considered for admission to the major. Most students are not admitted to a major until their second year of study. Academic advisors will be available during International Student Orientation to provide further guidance about admission to a major.

When will my child register for classes?

New international students register for classes during International Student Orientation, which is held each semester the week prior to the start of classes. During orientation, your child will meet with an academic advisor for help with a study plan and choosing appropriate classes.

> Learn More

Is the campus safe?

While we proudly carry Buffalo in our university name, in fact, our main campus is located in the quiet suburb of Amherst about 15 minutes from downtown Buffalo. Since 1997, Amherst has been ranked as one of America’s Safest Cities.

The University at Buffalo has its own police department whose officers patrol the campuses and surrounding areas. All residence halls are secure buildings that only residents can enter using their electronic door cards. Emergency telephones with direct links to the police are located at many places around the campus. UB police officers also conduct crime prevention seminars, self-defense classes and general safety programs for students.

Are students required to live on campus?

No, students are not required to live on campus, but we know that students living on campus experience more of what the university has to offer, because it is a bigger part of their lives. Residents get to know more people with different backgrounds, participate in more campus activities and events, and are more satisfied with their collegiate experience. Living on campus is convenient and complements your child’s education; everything they need is nearby. Studies show a direct relationship between living on campus and academic success in the classroom.

How do I find off-campus housing for my child?

We strongly recommend that all undergraduate students live on campus (at least for the first couple of years). While there are many off-campus apartments, we are not able to make recommendations or take any responsibility for those who live off campus in private apartments.

If you are considering off-campus living, be sure to use search terms like "student apartments in Amherst, NY" and be sure to see which ones provide transportation and how far they are from the UB North Campus (the UB Amherst Campus).

Is there supervision in the university residence halls?

Each building has professional, live-in supervisory staff known as the Residence Hall Directors (RD) and Assistant Hall Directors. The RD generally has a master’s degree in student affairs administration, college student personnel or counseling. Assistant Hall Directors are often graduate students working on their master’s or doctoral degrees. There is also one Resident Advisor (RA) for every 30 students. The RAs are senior students with demonstrated empathy, leadership and communication skills. RAs are trained to respond to emergencies, help with roommate problems, facilitate programming, answer questions, make referrals to appropriate UB offices, distribute information and generally be available for students.

Should my child sign up for a meal plan?

Any registered UB student may purchase a UB Dining Meal Plan, whether they live on or off campus. First-year students living in residence halls are required to purchase a Dining Meal Plan.

> Learn more about meal plans.

Although cooking is not allowed in residence hall rooms, limited cooking facilities are available in shared kitchens in all residence halls. International students who prepare their own meals should know that a variety of ethnic foods are available at local grocery stores and specialty shops.

Are students required to own a computer?

No, students are not required to own a computer.

However, many students choose to have their own computer or laptop. All UB students have access to numerous public computing sites located throughout our campuses in both academic buildings and residence halls.

What do UB students do outside of class?

Extracurricular activities will not only help your child make friends, they also will offer valuable opportunities to learn and to lead.

There are too many possibilities to mention them all here, but a partial list includes more than 200 academic, service-related, international, and multicultural clubs and organizations, leadership workshops, wellness resources, volunteer opportunities, concerts, lectures (for example, the university’s Distinguished Speakers Series has brought renowned leaders such as Kofi Annan, the Dalai Lama, Al Gore, Colin Powell and Tony Blair), athletic events and so on. Students can also find internships or paid, part-time jobs on campus. Getting involved is a critical component of life and learning on campus.

Do students need to have a car?

Students are allowed to own a car, but it is not a necessity. It is often faster and easier for students to walk or take the campus shuttles, especially when they live on campus. Convenient shuttle buses transport students back and forth between UB's three campuses, as well to different points on each campus. UB shuttles also take students off campus to the local shopping mall and grocery store. In addition, campus buses are equipped with bike racks and UB participates in a community bicycle-lending program. International students who are considering owning a car or driving while at UB should refer to the ISSS driving guidelines.

> Learn more about driving guidelines.

What if my child becomes ill?

All UB students pay a mandatory Health Service Fee, which gives them access to excellent primary Health Services on campus. Other off-campus medical services may be covered under the mandatory Student Medical Insurance plan, which provides extensive coverage of medical costs for UB’s international students. UB also has a Counseling Center which provides confidential counseling services to students.

What type of clothing is appropriate for Buffalo weather?

Buffalo enjoys four distinct seasons. Because of that, students must be prepared for weather of all types. Fall (or Autumn), which occurs from September through October, has average minimum and maximum temperatures between 32° and 75° Fahrenheit (0° to 24° Celsius). Winters, which occur from November through March, have average minimum and maximum temperatures between 17° and 45° Fahrenheit (-8° and 8° Celsius), with most snow falling in December through February. Spring, which occurs from April through June, has average minimum and maximum temperatures between 36° and 75° Fahrenheit (2° to 24° Celsius). Summers are pleasant and moderate with average minimum and maximum temperatures between 62° and 80° Fahrenheit (17° and 27° Celsius) and rarely rising above 90° (32° Celsius).

> Learn more about Buffalo’s climate.

Three basic types of clothing are essential for the Buffalo climate. In winter, heavy jackets or overcoats, warm hats, scarves, gloves or mittens, and snow boots are necessary. During chilly autumn and spring days, raincoats or medium-weight wool coats or ski jackets are worn outdoors, while sweaters are often worn indoors. A lightweight jacket is sometimes appropriate for cool nights during the spring, summer and fall. All university buildings are heated during cold weather and many are air-conditioned during the summer. In general, student dress is casual. Many of our professors will also dress informally. Blue jeans and T-shirts are acceptable for class, but you should also bring some formal clothing for interviews, receptions and other special occasions. It is a good idea to bring seasonal clothing with you or have it mailed to you after you arrive. Some international students from warmer climates find that it is more economical to purchase their winter coats and jackets here in Buffalo. Daily UB shuttles to the local shopping mall are available to all UB students.

Distance between major cities and the University at Buffalo

  • New York City: 1 hour flight; about 7 hours by car
  • Boston: 1 hour flight; about 7 hours by car
  • Toronto, Canada: 1 hour and 40 minutes by car
  • Chicago: 1 hour and 15 minute flight; about 8 hours by car

How do students get to UB from the airport?

The Buffalo Niagara International Airport is located just 15 kilometers from campus. It's quick and easy to take a taxi (and it costs only $25 – $30). The taxis are familiar with the campus and they'll know exactly where to take you.

You may also contact a student representative of your international student club to ask if they might provide you with assistance on your arrival.

If my family decides to visit our son or daughter at UB, where should we stay?

There are a number of affordable and comfortable hotels located near the University at Buffalo. When making hotel reservations, please mention that you are visiting UB, as discounts may apply.

> Learn more about hotels near the UB North Campus (Amherst, NY).