Complete ISP Senior Surveys

Intl Student Graduation Reception RSVP ISP invites you, your immediate family, your host family, and/or your significant other to the graduation reception for members of the ISP community on Thursday, May 11, 2017 5-6:30 p.m. in the Alexander G. Hill Ballroom in Kagin Commons. Please let us know if you will attend and the people who will be joining you. If you are inviting your host family, please confirm with them first, then complete the form with the names of those who will attend. If you are inviting more than 8 people (not including yourself) please contact Kara,, to make special arrangements.

Senior Sash Survey ISP is offering graduation sashes featuring country flags that you can wear during Commencement (to see an example please go to Fill out this form to have us order you a sash! ISP will cover half of the cost of each sash, bringing the price down to $15 for one-country sashes and $25 for two-country sashes. You must pay ISP (cash only) the $15.

International Student Graduation Reception Booklet Survey We need to gather this information both so that we keep it in our records and so that we can prepare the booklet for the international student graduation reception! If you want to see what it looks like, please stop by ISP to read the ones from previous years.

Check Your Credits

During your last semester, you only need to take the amount of credits required for you to graduate (i.e. 1 credit if that is all you need). However, you must report it to Aaron, Luyen, Kara, or Bruce.

Notify ISP of your Post-Macalester Plans

Make sure to find a time to discuss and notify Aaron, Luyen, or Kara of your post-graduation plans. The three possible courses of action are:

  1. Applying for an OPT and seeking employment in the U.S
  2. Going to graduate school
  3. None of the above, going home

If Applying for OPT

Check out our OPT Page for application instructions and complete your application as soon as possible. Remember it can take 90-120 days for OPT to be authorized and you CANNOT start working until your OPT is approved. Also check the CDC Tips And Resources for international students seeking employment in the U.S. 

While you are on OPT, make sure to notify ISP of any changes (name, address, phone, employment...) by completing the SEVIS Update Form so we can keep your SEVIS record updated.

If Going to U.S. Graduate School

If you are attending another U.S. school in the fall, we need to transfer your SEVIS record from Macalester to your new school, since only one school can control your SEVIS record at a time. Typically, your new institution will have a downloadable 'transfer release form' online. We have to transfer your SEVIS record after your graduation and no later than 60 days after that, unless you will be on OPT. If you are working on OPT before starting graduate school, keep in mind that OPT employment ends on the date transfer your SEVIS record. 

If Going Home

If you are neither working on OPT nor going to graduate school, you have 60 days after graduation to leave the United States. In other words, you must leave by July 12, 2017. Once you leave, you cannot enter the U.S. with your student visa even if it is still valid.

Make Arrangements for Family/Loved Ones Visit

If your family, friends or loved ones are visiting for graduation, you might need to help them with their visa application and other travel plans. Check out our Family Visit Page for information on visa application support and finding accommodations. Also, Commecement has its own page with Informations for Families Visitors , including details about parking and hotels with special rates for graduation season.

Make sure they arrive by May 10, 2017 so they can attend the International Student Graduation Reception on May 11, 2017. RSVP by May 8, 2017. If you are inviting more than 8 people, please contact Kara at to make arrangements.

Complete ITS Graduation Techlist

Your Macalester email account will expire in August. Things like transferring all your emails and documents can take more time than you think! Check out and make sure to complete ITS's Graduation TechList.

Change your Mailing Address

Macalester forwards certain classes of mail (letters only, not packages) received for graduating seniors for 30 days after graduation. They do forward letters internationally. So that Mailing Services has your updated address, fill out their Mail Forwarding Form. if you don't complete it, they will forward mail to your permanent address on file. Mail received after the forwarding period will be returned to sender.

You can also change your address at USPS and have mail forward to you here. USPS however does not forward mail internationally. Make sure to contact your friends and any important parties (such as your bank and health insurance) with your new address.

If applying for OPT, have your mail sent to ISP "in the care of" (c/o) Aaron Colhapp. U.S. Federal Mail cannot be forwarded and, if your address is outdated, it will be returned to the USCIS and destroyed. Also make sure to notify us so we can keep your SEVIS record updated by completing the SEVIS Update Form.

U.S. Bank Accounts

You should decide whether you want to close your bank account or keep it open. If you are expecting a tax refund, rent deposit refund, or have to write checks for OPT or something else, you might want to keep it open until money is received or payment is made. If keeping it open, update your address as needed and switch your statements to electronic format. Check with your bank, but some may allow you to complete paperwork now and contact them later to officially close the account.

If Staying (and driving) in Minnesota

If you have a Minnesota Driver's License and intend to remain in Minnesota, you must provide proof that your admission status has been extended to the DVS. You can do this by providing an I-20 indicating OPT employment status or a new I-20 from the grad school in Minnesota you are attending. See the DVS' "Status Check Information" form for more information.


You must file taxes for every year you lived in the U.S. - which means that in the Spring of 2018, wherever you are, you must file taxes for 2017. To be prepared, make sure to:

  1. Update your email on Glacier Tax Prep to something other than your Macalester address.
  2. Let your employer know where they can send your 2017 W-2, 1099, or other income statements.
  3. Keep your residency status in mind. Students on F-1 visa are generally Non-Resident Aliens for tax purposes during their first 5 years in the U.S. Most of you arrived in 2013 and stayed through 2017. This means that when you file 2017 taxes you will still be filing as a Non-Resident Alien (forms NR). If you stay in the US two years after graduation, starting in the 2018 tax year you will be considered a Resident for Tax Purposes, which means you can file your taxes using the same forms that U.S. residents or citizens use. You may be able to use a commercial tax software to file your taxes online or print them out to be filed. See the bottom of ISP's Taxes page.
  4. Social Security and Medicare Taxes: if you are a Non-Resident Alien for Tax Purposes (which most of you will be for tax year 2017, if you arrived in 2013) your employer should not be deducting or paying for your Social Security and Medicare Taxes at least until January 1, 2018. If you find out Social Security and Medicare Taxes are taken from your paycheck, talk to your employer to get a refund and if that doesn't work then file the appropriate forms (link coming soon). Filing for refund through the federal government may takes months or a year. See the appropriate section in ISP's Taxes Page.

Health Insurance

Make sure you know when your current health insurance coverage ends and, if you are staying in the U.S. past that date, make arrangements for a new insurance plan. A lot of employers offer insurance through the company itself.

Rental Security Deposit

If you are renting a house/apartment, check with your landlord about getting your security deposit back.

Student Loans

If you took out student loans to pay for Macalester at any point, make sure to attend the exit interviews/information sessions and talk to Student Accounts to clear any paperwork and make sure you understand the repayment plans.

Always Keep Copies of Your Documents

Even the ones that don't seem important. Old I-20s, past tax forms, everything! You will need these in the future if you ever apply for other visas in the US, graduate school, get tax audited, etc.