Welcome future Alderson Broaddus University students. You and your family have made an excellent decision to pursue college education in the United States and we hope you will choose Alderson Broaddus as your home. Explore our web pages and see what we have to offer. Everything you need to know about our academic programs, financial aid, student life, and requirements for international admission is right here.

Alderson Broaddus University is in the heart of the mountains of West Virginia, within a few hours of Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. No matter where you are on your educational path, AB can help you realize your dreams with more than 46 academic programs, convenient scheduling options, and academic support. AB is committed to realizing our goals of a truly global campus.

Click on the links to explore Alderson Broaddus University’s programs and check out how you can become an AB student. Even though Alderson Broaddus University is affiliated with the American Baptist church, we have always welcomed and embraced students of other cultures and religious backgrounds. Today, 59 students attend AB from 16 different countries on five continents.

And if you still have questions, we can answer them by phone, Skype, or email.

International Undergraduate Admission Requirements

Please review all of this information prior to submitting your application online. Alderson Broaddus has specific admission criteria that must be met. Some programs may have additional criteria not listed here so please check the program’s web site for the most complete information.

Who is an international student? You are considered an international student if you are not a United States citizen. That includes foreign nationals living with their parents in the United States and attending United States high schools.

Admission requirements for new students:

All international applications must be made on our international platform at www.ab.edu/international. From your mobile phone, go to Alderson Broaddus > apply > international. The application is free.

You are a freshman student if you have never attended a college or university after secondary/high school graduation. Students who have taken post-secondary or college courses while enrolled in high school are considered first-time freshman.

  1. Official transcripts from your high school that shows a cumulative grade point average that translates to 2.0 on the American scale. Most international applicants will be required to furnish a grade translation. Click here for a list of approved outside companies that can do that for you for a fee.
  2. Any student transferring from a college or university outside the United States must absolutely file a transcript evaluation. The evaluation should have a course-by-course evaluation, accreditation, and grade point average equivalence. No credit will be given for courses taken outside the U.S. without this evaluation.
  3. Acceptable English skills. International students who come from English speaking countries are exempt. All other international applicants will need to have a TOEFL score of 500 (paper-based test) or 61 (internet test). See org to register. We also accept the IELTS overall band score of 5.0. See ielts.org for more information. Please be sure to indicate you wish your results to be sent to Alderson Broaddus University.
  1. Demonstrate that you can be successful in an American college by taking the ACT or the SAT test. AB requires a combined score of at least 910 on the SAT or 24 composite score on the ACT. See these web sites to determine which test is available in your area. https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register/international. or actstudent.org. The tests are offered on a limited number of days so be sure to take the test early. You may take the test more than once and students often do better the second time. Just like the language test, be sure to have your results sent to Alderson Broaddus University.

Your Name on Documents

Materials for applicants are filed alphabetically under the family name (surname) as indicated by the applicant on the application form. The family name on the application should be the same name as on your passport.  It is important that you use the same name and spelling on all forms, documents and correspondence. Any changes or variations in names on academic records need to be carefully explained by a cover letter and accompanied by a copy of the identification page of your passport. Variations may also cause needless delays in the acceptance process.

Can I apply as an international student if I have dependents?

Yes, but we cannot accommodate spouses or children in ABU Housing at this point; however, bringing dependents would qualify as an exemption from campus housing. Be advised that apartments in Philippi are not always easily available. You will need to document that you have enough financial capabilities to pay for yourself AND your dependents. Remember that the U.S. does not permit an F-2 spouse to work. Please refer to the Student Services section on the left then choose the Dependent Visas section.

1 Step 1
Application for Admission for International Students


Last Name
First Name
Middle Name
Preferred name/Nickname
Other Names by which your records may be listed
Home Address/Mailing Address
Postal Code
Home Phone #
Mobile Phone #
Date of birth (mm/dd/yyyy)
Country of Birth
Ethnic Origin
Current Place of Citizenship


Parent(s) or Guardian(s) names


I am applying as a
Semester in which I would like to begin:
Name of High School or Secondary School
High School or Secondary School Graduation Date (MM/YYYY)
High School or Secondary School City
If a transfer student - what is the name of the college your are transferring from?
I have taken or will take the
Date(s) of SAT, ACT, or TOFEL test(s)
0 /
Please make sure your test scores are sent from appropriate testing agency.

::::::: INTENDED MAJOR - Select only one major, please.

If you chose any music degree program as your intended major, what is your primary performance area?
Music Degree Options


I am interested in the following varsity athletic teams (collegiate level):


I plan to live
May we text you?
Do you have family who have graduated from ABU?
If yes, please list name(s) and relationship of family member:
0 /
If you have a ZeeMee account, please paste your link here:


I certify that the information provided on this application is complete and accurate to the best of my knowledge. I understand that I am responsible for requesting official transcripts from previously attended institutions (high school and/or colleges and universities) and that such transcripts become property of Alderson Broaddus University and will not be returned to me. I also understand that acceptance to the University is subject to verification of official records sent directly from the institutions I have attended.

All courses at Alderson Broaddus University are taught in English and as such, we require a college level understanding of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English.

If you are applying from a country where English is the official language, nothing more needs to be done here. However, we reserve the right to ask for testing if English is not your primary language.

If you are applying where English is not your primary language, you must complete one of the following English proficiency exams and score at or above the following levels. When you take these tests, please indicate you would like your official scores sent to Alderson Broaddus University.

TOEFL paper based test 500
TOEFL internet-based test 61

For help in preparing for the TOEFL, prospective students can consult Go Grad, which has recently released a comprehensive guidebook to help plan and prepare for the TOEFL, including helpful test-taking strategies, videos, steps for preparation, study tips, tutoring resources and more. What to Expect can be viewed at Go Grad.

If you still need English proficiency: You may apply to Alderson Broaddus University for a conditional admission after you complete an English Intensive Program. Consult the International Student Coordinator at nusseljm@ab.edu for more information.

After You Have Been Accepted

Your Name on Documents

Materials for applicants are filed alphabetically under the family name (surname) as indicated by the applicant on the application form. The family name on the application should be the same name as on your passport.  It is important that you use the same name and spelling on all forms, documents and correspondence. Any changes or variations in names on academic records need to be carefully explained by a cover letter and accompanied by a copy of the identification page of your passport. Variations may also cause needless delays in the acceptance process.

All international students applying for admission to any college or university in the United States must hold valid passports and entry visas. Upon your acceptance and receipt of all documents, Alderson Broaddus will issue form I-20 (a certificate of eligibility). This form is required before application can be made to obtain a student visa.

After the I-20 is made, we will contact you about housing, distance registration, meal plans, and your Battler account.

What you need to provide in order for AB to issue the I-20:

  1. Be accepted as a student at Alderson Broaddus University. See admission requirements.
  2. Demonstrate that you will have the necessary finances. All international students will need to complete the Affidavit of Support linked here. (Statement of Financial Support). International students do not qualify for United States financial aid; however, you also need to waive FAFSA. (FAFSA Waiver). Many countries provide free college education. Unfortunately, the United States is not one of them. Finances will be discussed more on the Financial Information page.
  3. Supply a copy of your passport. You must provide Alderson Broaddus University a copy of the face page of your passport and any existing visas so that we can be sure the name on the I-20 and the passport are the same.
  4. Pay your enrollment and international fee. The international fee of $100 is a one-time non-refundable fee to cover expenses relating to creating your SEVIS documents and mailing costs. The $200 enrollment fee holds your place as a student. This can be refunded under some circumstances. Other fees will be required for students from some countries or when transferring in with a SEVIS record in terminated status.
  5. Obtaining your Documents. You must have original documents to take to the Embassy and show to ICE at our borders. You may be required to pay for the shipping under certain circumstances. While we could work with email during the acceptance process, you will need original documents when you go to the Embassy. (Express Shipping of I-20)


Obtaining your visa:

It is the responsibility of the applicant to contact the United States consulate or embassy in his/her country for an F-1 non-immigrant student visa. Currently, ABU does not offer the J visa. Obtaining a visa will require a personal appearance before an American consular officer in the home country. You should make an appointment and be sure to understand what documents you will need to take with you for the appointment.

Make an appointment for an interview. Do not just show up!

Pay your SEVIS fee in advance! Click here for payment information. Print the I-901 receipt.

What to take with you to the Embassy:

  • I-901 receipt showing you have paid your SEVIS fee
  • I-20 issued by Alderson Broaddus
  • Statement of Support including all supporting documents. Your scholarship offer, if you have one, will be included in your admissions packet
  • Valid passport
  • Acceptance letter from AB
  • Birth certificate

Be sure to make an appointment as early as possible with the US Embassy or Consulate. We no longer allow students to enroll more than two days after the program start date. Your consulate may also require you to bring other forms of identity. Please note that you should see the American consulate as soon as you have your documents.

Students admitted to the United States with a F-1 non-immigrant student visa are required to be enrolled as full-time students and carry a minimum course load of twelve credit hours during regular semesters. F-1 students will also be required to complete their educational program within the time period indicated on form I-20. To earn a bachelor’s degree students must successfully complete a minimum of 120 credit hours.

Documentation Required for Entry Into the United States
Upon arrival at the U.S. Point of Entry you must present the following:

  • A Form I-20, signed by a designated official of Alderson Broaddus University.
  • A valid visa containing the SEVIS ID and Alderson Broaddus University (unless you are visa exempt)
  • Financial documentation as evidence of ability to pay tuition and living expenses. The copy of your Statement of Support works for this.
  • A valid passport
  • Proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee. Be sure you have the receipt.

You must furnish the above documentation during the Point of Entry inspection. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Point of Entry (POE) sometimes take nonimmigrants aside for further inspection. This is referred to as a secondary inspection. DO NOT interpret this as a problem, unless the border official says so. It may just be a case of a long line or an official not yet trained in student visas.

Students from Canada or Bermuda do not need a visa in order to enter the United States in nonimmigrant status, but you must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. Be sure to check with your consulate to be sure you are visa exempt! Have these documents ready at your Point of Entry. Suppose you forget your I-20 or I-901? Occasionally, border officials have allowed students without documents to enter the U.S. as a tourist. If that happens, you must leave the country and return within 90 days. The closest border crossing to AB is Niagara Falls, New York. This is not an excused absence from classes or activities, so be sure to get it done right the first time.

  • Apply directly at the point of entry for a determination of their eligibility to enter the United States
  • A Form I-20, signed by a designated official of Alderson Broaddus University.
  • Financial documentation as evidence of ability to pay tuition and living expenses. The copy of your Statement of Support works for this.
  • A valid passport
  • Proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee. Be sure you have the receipt.

Students who are members of indigenous groups including Native Americans and First Nations. If you hold a card or certification that you are a member of a tribe, you do not need an I-20, visa, or to pay the I-901 fee. You may simply cross the border at will.

Statement of Support:  Every college/university in the United States requires a Statement of Support in order to process your I-20 Certificate of Eligibility that a student needs in order to secure a visa. (I-901 for Canadians). You may use any combination of scholarships, financial aid, personal savings, parents, or other permitted sources (See the Permitted Financial Sources for a complete list.)

  • Work Study:  It should also be noted that it is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT for international students to obtain work study in the United States. Any work study award is limited by the government, usually around $1,500 per year and cannot be awarded until arrival, so therefore cannot be used as a source of support.

Sources of financial aid for international students are not limited to these suggestions:

Please note these are just suggestions and you may find more opportunities on your own. Alderson Broaddus makes no guarantee about any of these suggestions:

International Scholarship Search Engines:  Scholarships are gifts from some granting organization. These are gifts to you and they do not have to be repaid. However, watch out for scams. Do not apply for a scholarship that requires a processing fee. Here are some scholarship search engines. :

Scholarship Competitions:

Student Loans:  Lots of Americans go this route. These are funds that would have to be repaid after graduation, but you might be able to work some of that debt off by working for the Peace Corp, UNICEF, or other international aid organization.

Agencies:  There are some international recruiting agencies and financial aid agencies. Beware that you know what you are signing!!! Any agency that guarantees any part of your financial aid picture must document that for your Statement of Support.

Sponsors:  You are not required to have a sponsor for the F-1 student visa. Please note that Alderson Broaddus will not accept any member of our faculty, staff, or coach to act as a sponsor except for his/her own spouse or child. Your sponsor becomes liable for your debts if you default. If you do use a sponsor:

  • Living in the United States as a citizen or immigrant: That person must complete form I-134 and an independent Statement of Support that will be attached to yours.
  • Sponsor living outside the United States must complete an independent Statement of Support that will be attached to yours.

Other Ideas:

Faith-based sources:  Many denominations, including Catholics and Baptists,  with international membership may have scholarships or loans through their organizations. This may be especially true if you or your parents have been missionaries for that denomination. Check with your local clergy or search online. Try scholarship.com.

Resources & Scholarships for Catholic College Students: https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/catholic-scholarships-resources/

Your home government:  Many home national, state, or provincial governments have a variety of financial aid options. This is a very limited list:

Saudi Arabia:   Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission

India:  Indian Council for Cultural Relations

Mexico:  Mexico Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE)


Canada/US Fulbright Program

Scholarships for Canadians

Check your provincial listings:

Alberta Students

Manitoba Students


Ontario Students

Quebec Students (Note: we can only accept documents in English)


International Aid Organizations:   Students from developing and emerging countries might find financial aid through international aid organizations like UNICEF, United Nations, Doctors Without Borders, Operation Smile, and countless others. Surf the internet looking for them.

Immigrant Organizations:  Some immigrant organizations in the U.S. give scholarships to students from their home country wanting to study in the U.S. This is a very small list:

GoFundMe:  Set up a Go Fund Me Account at gofundme.com . Ask everyone you  know to make a contribution to your education for your birthday and any holiday. You’ll write this in as personal savings on your Statement of Support Form.

If All Else Fails:  In case you can’t get the funding together when you want to start studies, you can always defer admission up to one year without reapplying that would allow you to work and save in your home country and just start a little later.

Higher education in the United States is not free. It is generally not even free with state supported colleges and universities. However, Alderson Broaddus is competitive with most private and public universities in terms on international student costs.

Tuition and Fees 2017-2018 $27,700
Housing Varies but usual freshman housing is $4,380
Meal Plans $4,480
Books Estimated at $1,000 per year
Fees $210
Estimate $37,840 per year

Expenses not covered here include US mandated health insurance and immunizations, spending money, sending and receiving of documents, enrollment deposit, international fee, or round trip airfare. Note that Alderson Broaddus provides free shuttle service from the Pittsburgh Airport that will be announced on the web page. Students arriving at different times will have to pay for transportation from the airport to campus. There may be additional fees for programs and labs that are not required here, but may be on the semester bill.

Financial aid is very, very limited for international students. The United States government requires all international students to have an approved Statement of Support before the I-20 can be issued.

These figures are an estimate and should not be considered the final bill.

Statement of Financial Support

Other potential sources of Financial Aid outside ABU: Finding Financial Aid for International Students. These sources are the student’s responsibility.

Other Fees:

International Student Fee. $100 one time fee to cover the cost of preparing and shipping documents. This fee is non-refundable.

Enrollment Fee: $200 holds your place as a student at Alderson Broaddus. This fee is refundable if you do not enroll and request a refund by May 1 for Fall admissions and October 1 for Spring admissions. After those dates, the enrollment fee is only refundable if you are denied a visa. The denial slip must accompany the request for refund.

Form A Deposit: Some students will be required to pay an additional deposit before we issue the I-20:

  • All students from several countries. You will be notified if you are required to pay this deposit and your Statement of Support will reflect this need.
  • All students with government assurances, but not expressly addressed to Alderson Broaddus at the time of enrollment.
  • All students transferring in with a terminated visa. This is non-refundable.

The Form A Deposit is put toward the first bill. The rest of the bill will still need to be paid to assure continued enrollment. In the case where the deposit is larger than the first bill, the remainder will be put toward a subsequent bill. This deposit is fully refundable, within 30-days of request, if the student does not enroll for any reason.

The Form A Deposit is not refundable after enrollment if the student leaves after the add/drop deadline (third day of classes), the student is expelled or suspended, or loses the adjudication on a terminated I-20.

Paying Your Bill

You can pay your fees, tuition, room, board,  and your future bills in several ways. Paying by credit card is the fastest and most secure. We also accept certified checks and wire transfers, and Western Union (click here for information about Financial Transactions With ABU). If you will need to pay tuition and fees by installment, please open an account at Nelnet. Go to www.MyCollegePaymentPlan.com/AB.  It’s easy to register, but there is a nominal fee, not interest, to use this service.

We accept:

  • Credit cards. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express but note we assess a 2.75% transaction fee. (We have parents who use credit cards with airline miles to fly their student home at breaks.)
  • Certified checks
  • Wire transfers
  • Western Union
  • Installment payments through our third party.
  • Cash in U.S. dollars – although we do not recommend this for safety reasons

Campus jobs and Work Study. The United States government assumes that each international student has access to funds, but does not require we document spending money. ABU encourages families to take that into consideration since working for wages is next to impossible for international students. Working off campus is not allowed at all. Working on campus is only permitted in an extreme emergency and you may only work at Sodexo Food service. If you are offered a job at Sodexo, you must obtain a US social security number and you will pay taxes on your earnings.

There are no vaccines required to enter the United States as a visitor, but with an F-1 visa, you will have to present evidence that you have received the immunizations the U.S. requires for immigrants. Most of these are probably immunizations required in your home country. Download our health document and have your family physician sign it attesting that you have had the following immunizations:

Bring the health form with you to campus. (Student Health Assessment Form)

  1. PPD (this is the skin test for tuberculosis). You must have this within six months of entering the U.S. If you come from an area where tuberculosis is common, AB may require a repeat test.
  2. MMR (one shot for mumps, measles, and rubella)
  3. IPV or OPV (prevents Polio)
  4. Varicella (chicken pox)
  5. Hepatitis B is required, but we also recommend Hepatitis A
  6. DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus). You must be vaccinated against this within the last 10 years.
  7. Meningococcal is required to live in campus housing, but is highly recommended for everyone.


  1. HPV for females (protects against the human papilloma virus)
  2. Seasonal influenza

Health Document

All students must bring the attached health form signed by your home physician. (Student Health Assessment Form)

Note about prescriptions: Many medications that are available in other countries are only available in the United States when prescribed by an American physician. Many more go by different trade names. Please ask your doctor or pharmacist to translate all of your medications into English. If you are bringing medications with you, be sure they are clearly marked. We will help you find a local physician to write new prescriptions here.

Health care in the United States is really expensive. As a result, all students in the United States are required to have health insurance. International students are not eligible to purchase plans through the federal marketplace (also known as Obamacare). You must provide Alderson Broaddus with a health insurance policy that will cover you in the United States. If your parents’ coverage will cover you while studying in the U.S., we will need proof of that coverage. That is not the usual case, so you will most likely need to purchase coverage from a company in or who does business in the U.S.

Alderson Broaddus University does not require you to use any particular provider for health and medical insurance. The only requirement is that athletes have coverage for athletic injury. Although we do not officially endorse these companies, you might want to compare premiums and coverage with the following:


Advising at Alderson Broaddus

As an international student at Alderson Broaddus University, you will have two advisors.

  • Your academic advisor will be a professor of the subject you are majoring in, and will help you make decisions about which classes to take and answer any questions you may have about your classes or profession. If you are having trouble in a class, you should speak to your academic advisor and ask for advice.
  • The International Student Coordinator, Jill Nussel, will help you settle in to the culture of West Virginia and FSU. She will guide you through the customs, responsibilities, and privileges of being a student.

While at ABU, it is your responsibility to come to the International Student Office, located in Burbick Hall in Admissions, each semester to update your SEVIS record. If you do not come in time, you may become “out of status.” Once out of status, it is much more difficult to be re-instated. Please check in with the International Student Services Office as soon as possible at the beginning of each semester or if your address changes throughout the semester. It is also very important to make sure that the office has correct and current information about how to contact you in case of any problems. Please be sure to check your battler e-mail regularly as our office, your teachers, and the school administration will contact you through this e-mail address.

Traveling Outside the U.S.

Traveling outside the United States

While here in the United States, you may want to take advantage of travel to neighboring countries like Canada or Mexico. Plan ahead and be sure AB knows where you are.

If you are planning to return to your home country for a vacation or any purpose, you need to make sure your I-20 will remain valid until after you have returned. The International Student Coordinator can help you with this.

If you are an international student from outside of Europe, you may need a Schengen visa if you wish to visit countries on holiday in Europe. For instance, if you are travelling on a passport from Brazil and wish to make a Christmas trip to Portugal, you will need a Schengen visa. Most countries in North and Central America as well as those countries in the Schengen zone are exempt. See schengenvisainfo.com/who-needs-schengen-visa/.

Please plan ahead and take sufficient time.

Transferring Colleges

Transferring to or from another college or university:

Transferring Into Alderson Broaddus University

Alderson Broaddus University welcomes applications from students who are currently attending other universities. Please follow the admission guidelines for the program you are applying to. Once you have been admitted we will need to have a Transfer Eligibility Form completed prior to processing your transfer I-20. This is so that your current university can review your international record and ‘release’ you in SEVIS to Alderson Broaddus University. Once this occurs then we are able to process your transfer to ABU.

Please be sure to contact the International Student Coordinator if you have questions regarding this process.

Transferring out

The International Student Coordinator can assist you with transferring your SEVIS record to your next US institution. You will first want to contact International Student Coordinator after you have been admitted to see what the process is to transfer your record from ABU. Most schools will require you to have a student transfer form completed by International Student Coordinator at ABU. Once you receive this form – please make an appointment to have your transfer reviewed and processed.

Dependent Visas

Can I apply as an international student if I have dependents?

Yes, but we cannot accommodate spouses or children in AB Housing at this point; however, bringing dependents would qualify as an exemption from campus housing. Be advised that apartments in Philippi are not always easily available.

  • If you and a spouse are both applying for F1 visas and you will both be students at Alderson Broaddus University.

Both of you must apply independently and both must be accepted independently.

If you are applying and you are bringing a spouse on an F2 visa:

  • To qualify for dependent status, your spouse and children (under age 21) must establish during the visa interview that
    • He/She is the spouse or child of the F-1 principal. This is done by supplying a marriage license and birth certificates.
    • He/She has sufficient funds to cover expenses while present in the United States.
    • He/She intends to leave the United States upon termination of the principle F-1
    • If the dependents are following the student – you will need to show that the “F-1 student is, or will be within 30 days, enrolled in a full course of study or engages in approved practical training.”
  • You will need to provide ABU with a marriage license for your spouse and birth certificates for each dependent child in order to be issued the I-20. You will also need those documents for your visa interview. Note that the United States will only accept ONE spouse.

F2 Arrival to Alderson Broaddus University – upon arrival the dependent should bring the SEVIS I-20 to the International Student Coordinator to have it signed on page 3. This signature indicates that you have arrived in the U.S. and that Alderson Broaddus University has been notified.

Maintaining F-2 Dependent Status

  • F-2 Spouses may not engage in full-time study
  • F-2 children may only engage in full-time study at the K-12 level
  • An F-2 Spouse is only permitted to study part time to the extent that it is “vocational or recreational” in nature. (Examples would be physical fitness or artistic courses.) Note: Please see the International Student Advising Office prior to engaging in any form of part-time study.
  • An F-2 spouse status is only valid if the F-1 student is in the United States and continues to maintain valid F-1 student status. If the living arrangement dissolves (divorce or separation), the F-2 spouse’s status is nullified.
  • F-2 dependents may (after initial entry to the U.S.) temporarily leave the country – however – you will need to have the documents necessary to enter both the country to be visited as well as to re-enter the United States.
  • F-2 dependent children must be enrolled in school during their parent(s) time of study. Good news is that’s free in the United States.

Dependents & Family/Friend Invitations

Alderson Broaddus University strongly supports the reunification of families and friends. Parents, siblings, friends, and any others may VISIT you at AB on a B tourist visa. They may apply for a visa on their own. Please note that some short visits from many countries may not require a visa at all. Note that extended accommodations for non-students cannot be made in campus housing.

Steps to obtain a dependent I-20:

  1. Complete the Dependent Request Form and submit to the International Student Advising Office
  2. After review a Dependent I-20 will be issued and sent to you, the student to forward to your dependents
  3. Apply for the F2 visa at your local consulate

Working in the U.S.

Working in the U.S.

There are limited employment opportunities available in the United States for an F-1 student. For this reason, before being admitted to the United States, a student must have documentary evidence that they have the financial ability to pay for tuition and living expenses while studying in the United States. This is the amount the Designated School Official (DSO) enters on the student’s Form I-20.

  • The U.S. government takes illegal employment very seriously, so it is important to reiterate this message:
  • Students should consult with their DSO before starting any on-campus employment.
  • Students must obtain DSO authorization on the FORM I-20 before starting curricular practical training (CPT)
  • Students must obtain a DSO recommendation on the Form I-20 and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) authorization (Form I-766 “Employment Authorization Document,” (EAD) before starting any other employment

The United States has very strict rules for international students who want to work during their studies. International students enrolled full time and in valid F-1 status may work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week during when classes are in session, and up to 40 hours per week when classes are not. Students in valid F-1 cannot be employed off campus without meeting eligibility requirements and obtaining official authorization. Immigration regulations severely limit the international student’s eligibility to accept employment off campus. Students found working illegally are failing to maintain their F-1 student and risk having their F-1 status revoked.

U.S. Social Security Number

In the United States, a Social Security number (SSN) is a 9-digit number issued to citizens and eligible non-citizens. Its primary purpose is to track individuals for taxation purposes. A SSN is important because you need it to get a job on campus and off campus. Many other businesses, such as cell phone companies, banks and credit companies, also ask for your SSN. You cannot apply for a SSN until you have a job offer and an employer cannot pay you until you provide them with your SSN.

To apply for a SSN, bring the following documents to the Social Security Office located in Elkins, West Virginia.

  • The SSN application, which can be picked up from the International Office, or downloaded online from http://www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf. You only need page 5.
  • A letter from your employer or AB, on company letterhead, stating the job title, work hours, start date and rate of pay. The letter must include the Federal EIN number.
  • A letter from your the Financial Aid confirming your eligibility to work.
  • Your passport, F-1 visa and I-94 number.
  • Your Form I-20.
  • Your Alderson Broaddus ID

If your application is approved, you will receive your Social Security Card within 10-14 business days. Keep your SS Card in a safe place – it is difficult and costly to replace.

On-Campus Jobs

Job openings can be found on the Work Study page of the AB website. You may also work for outside contractors who provide work on campus without approval from Financial Aid. At AB, that means you can work for Sodexo.

Off-Campus Employment

Immigration regulations limit an international student’s eligibility to accept employment off-campus. Students found working illegally are failing to maintain their F-1 student status and risk having their F-1 visa revoked. Off-campus employment is only allowed in the following circumstances:

Curricular Practical Training: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is employment that trains you in your field of study and for which you fulfill academic credit or part of your degree requirement. CPT may be a paid or unpaid internship, cooperative education job, a practicum, or other experience that is related in your field of study. Students interested in doing a CPT must make an appointment with International Student Services to see if they are eligible.

Optional Practical Training: Optional Practical Training (OPT) is work authorization that will allow you to work in areas that are related to you major. A student must be enrolled for a full academic year to be eligible to apply for OPT. You can apply up to 90 days before your graduation and it is recommended that you apply at least 45 days before graduation to ensure timely processing. Students interested in doing OPT must make an appointment with International Student Services to see if they are eligible.

Severe Economic Hardship Employment: This benefit is available to students who have completed at least one semester and have proven a severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond his or her control that arose after obtaining F-1 status, and that on-campus employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient. Students must make an appointment with International Student Services to see if they are eligible.

Obtaining a Social Security Number

Obtaining a Social Security Number

You will need a Social Security Number (SSN) if you plan to work or obtain a driver’s license in West Virginia.

You will need to go in person to one of the two Social Security Offices within a short drive of Alderson Broaddus:

  • Elkins: Elkins Federal Building, 300 Third Street, Suite 325, Elkins, WV (877)828-1693. They are open daily from 9am-4pm. This office closes at noon on Wednesdays. They are also closed Saturday, Sunday, and all federal holidays.
  • Clarksburg: Clarksburg Federal Building 320 W. Pike St. Clarksburg, WV (866)783-7305. They are open daily from 9am-4pm. This office closes at noon on Tuesdays. They are also closed Saturday, Sunday, and all federal holidays.

A reminder that cell phones are not permitted in any U.S. Federal Building. Leave it in your car.

You must take these documents with you:

  1. Application. You can download it from http://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf . They only need page 5. Fill out as much as you can to save time at the office.
  2. Your AB student ID
  3. Your passport with visa. (Canadians should bring their I-901)
  4. Form I-20
  5. SEA form that you have a job. This needs to be signed by your supervisor. Obtain the form from Financial Aid.
  6. A letter from Financial Aid that you have been awarded work study.

It will take seven to ten days to receive your social security number and card. Keep this in a safe place as it is costly to get a replacement. This will be your Social Security number for life. Use this card if you go home after graduation and then return to the U.S. to work later.

Obtaining a West Virginia Driver's License

International Driving Laws in West Virginia

Welcome to West Virginia. The good news is that West Virginia will allow international students to obtain a driver’s license and you must have a license if you wish to drive on a West Virginia roadway. If you have a driver’s license from your home country, it is only valid for the first 90-days of your stay. After that, you’ll need to get a West Virginia Not For Federal Use Driver’s License.

Even more good news is that Alderson Broaddus University will allow you to keep a car parked on campus in designated parking areas.

There is a fee at every step of the process.

Note: It is not the job of the International Student Coordinator to drive you to the DMV. It is also against ABU policy for any ABU employee to supply you with an AB or personal car for your road test.

How to obtain a West Virginia License

You must do this in person at a West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. The nearest ones are in Elkins or Bridgeport. The waits at Elkins are generally shorter. You must present the following documents:

  • Social Security Card if you have a US social security number. If you don’t have a social security number, you will sign a form.
    • Valid passport and visa. Canadians should bring their I-901 receipt.
  • I-20
  • Letter from Alderson Broaddus University on stationery that includes the date, your name, indicating you are enrolled full time at ABU and your West Virginia address. The letter cannot be more than 20 days old.
  • Application. You can obtain an application in the International Student Office to save some time. You may also pick up an application at the DMV.
  • I-94. Do this before you go because they will not do this at the DMV.
    • Go to http://cbp.gov. Click on TRAVEL
    • Click on FOR INTERNATIONAL VISITORS link in the middle.
    • Under the TRAVEL SMART tab on the bottom right, click on ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE FORMS I-94 AND I-94W.
    • On the top right, click GET THE I-94 NUMBER
    • Click yes, which takes you to another page. Fill that page out and print it.
    • Open GET TRAVEL HISTORY. This will self- populate. Print that page, too.

Turn all of the above in to the DMV official who will scan and return your original documents. They will inform you if you need to take the written test and/or the road test. Most international students will have to do both.

Taking the written test. Prior to taking the written test, you should study the “rules of the road.” In an effort to save you time and effort, you can take the online practice test as many times as you want. Find it at https://dmv-permit-test.com/west-virginia/practice-test-1.html. Printed books and the application are also available in the International Student Office. If you fail the test, you can retake it over and over, but you must wait seven days between tests. When you pass the written test, you will be issued a temporary permit. You may drive a car only if you have a licensed driver with you.

Taking the road test. After you have passed the written test, the DVM agent will tell you when you can take the road test. Make an appointment. A licensed driver will need to bring you and wait in the lobby while you take the test. If you fail, you may retake it in seven days. If you pass, you will be a licensed driver.

Your license:

Carry your license with you at all times. Put it in your wallet and leave it there.

Drinking, cell phone usage, and texting. Simply put, do not do it while you are driving. The penalties for a DUI in West Virginia will really hurt you. For a first offense, it could be up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, suspension of your license. You will be suspended from your sports team and you will not be allowed to return on your I-20. If you are under 21, the legal limit is 0, not even on your breath. If you are over 21, the limit is .08 (the second drink in one hour). West Virginia is also a “hands free” state meaning you cannot use your phone to call or text while the car is in drive. If you are in an accident, even if it is not your fault, and it can be demonstrated that you were on your phone, you will be charged.

Note to women: For women coming from areas where women are not permitted to drive, you can get a license and drive in the United States. Any other issue is between you and your family. You will have to have your face uncovered for your driver’s license photo and you will need to remove any face covering if you are stopped by law enforcement. This applies just to the face. You may keep your hair covered if that is your cultural practice.

Organ donation. While we hope this does not happen to you, in the very rare case that you die in an accident, West Virginia wants to know if you would donate your useable organs (kidneys, heart, liver, corneas) to someone on the waiting list. This is up to you; however, the American Baptist Church, fully endorses organ donation. Most religions, including Islam, supports organ donation. You can sign your consent on your driver’s license indicating your willingness to do so. No one will take your organs without discussing it with your designated family member first.

Bringing a car to campus. While it may only apply to students from Canada or Mexico, you may bring your car from home. Any car on campus must have a parking permit. If you opted out of parking at the beginning of the semester, you will need to pay the fee.

 Buying a car in the United States.

  • International students with the funds to do so may purchase a car in the United States. Generally, you will need to pay cash. The seller will provide a title. If you purchase your car outside of West Virginia, you will have to obtain a new title here. Take your title and bill of sale to the Department of Motor Vehicles anywhere in West Virginia and get a new title made. Of course, there is a fee for that and you may have to pay sales tax if you did not pay at your point of purchase. YOU MUST HAVE PROOF OF AUTO INSURANCE TO DRIVE A CAR IN THE UNITED STATES!!!

Mountain driving and driving in the winter.

  • While we have some of the finest roads in America, driving can still be treacherous even in the best weather. Slow down, especially on a curve. Know the road markers so you know when you can pass. Never, ever, cross a solid yellow line. Unlike many places in the world, drivers in the United States generally follow the rules of the road. Stop means stop. Speed limits are enforced and you will get at least a $110 ticket if you are stopped for speeding. Americans, and especially West Virginians, are generally courteous drivers.
  • Our winters are relatively short, but our weather can change in an instant. Always be prepared. Be sure you have good tires and working breaks. Check the information from the American Auto Association to get more tips on braking and skidding in bad weather.
  • Winter Driving Tips

Making International Calls

You may use the provider of your choice for international calling, but please be sure they cover Philippi, West Virginia before you sign any contract. If you do not have international calling, you may make occasional calls for free from the Student Affairs Office. In case of emergency and you need to call home after normal business hours, contact Campus Safety.

Graduate School

Many professions require an advanced degree in order to work in that profession, meaning that your bachelor’s degree is just the first step. Here at Alderson Broaddus, we offer three graduate degrees and you are urged to contact Nick Ravagli at ravaglinr@ab.edu to discuss your options. The world is your oyster because you can apply to any college in the entire world that will accept your academic and English language skills.
Here are a couple College Degree Guides to help job seekers, professionals understand the changing landscape of graduate schools and their impact on careers and employment:
Some web sites to help you get started:
  • https://www.gradschools.com/
  • You may be eligible to join one of the branches of our United States military. There is a recruitment office in Bridgeport at the mall. https://www.military.com/join-armed-forces
  • The FBI and CIA are looking for people who can speak, read, and write in a second language, especially Arabic, but you need to be a US citizen for those. You can join the military and get on a path to citizenship if these organizations interest you.

The Alderson Broaddus Office Of International Admission requires students living outside of the United States to use a secure express mail service called eShipGlobal to receive your I-20 and other admissions documents. EShipGlobal allows you to pay and receive your documents through DHL or FedEx mail services within 3-5 days. Your I-20 will be shipped to you at your expense and your credit card (Visa, Mastercard or Discover card only) will be charged upon requesting this service.


You must use the website provided above. EShipGlobal will notify the Office of International Admission that you have created an account and have requested your documents be sent by express mail. To use EShipGlobal, you will be required to create an account with a username and password. Please make sure that your name is properly spelled and that you indicate Find Alderson Broaddus University in the pull down menu. In the student ID field, you should enter your AB student number.

If you experience any difficulty in registering and processing the shipment, please use the “Help” link on the eShipGlobal website for step by step instructions. If you have additional questions on how to use this service, please email support@eshipglobal.com.

Meet your International Student Coorinator

Jill Nussel - International Student Coordinator

(304) 457-6296 – phone
(304) 457-6239 – fax

Dr. Jill Nussel is the Alderson Broaddus International Student Coordinator. She has over 15 years of experience teaching and working with international students at the college level. Dr. Nussel is the SEVIS Designated School Official (DSO) you will see most often. Contact Dr. Nussel any time you have a question about your immigration status, if you plan a trip outside the United States, apply for internships, or if you plan to look for work.

Dr. Nussel’s office is in Burbick Hall #129 in the Admissions Office on the first floor.

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