How can I study in the United States at SMCC?
Apply for admissions to SMCC. You must complete the International Application and Student Information Form. Additionally, you must submit all other required documentation prior to the deadline date. Once all documents have been received, if you are admitted to the college you will be mailed the I-20 and official admissions letter. Your next step is to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and then contact the U.S. Consulate's Office and schedule an interview.
Click here for a list of websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates and Diplomatic Missions.
How should I prepare for the interview with the Embassy or Consulate Official?
Be sure to:
Review the I-20 for accuracy. Make sure everything is spelled correctly and the dates are accurate.
Prepare another set of official financial documentation.
Bring all other required documents: I-20, official admissions letter, financial documentation, unexpired passport, receipt showing that the SEVIS fee was paid and so forth.
The typical interview time given to an applicant is anywhere between two to three minutes. The following are some of the questions you will be asked. You should be able to answer the questions in proper English promptly:
Why did you choose to study at SMCC?
What are you going to study at SMCC?
What are you academic and career plans?
Note: When you are applying for an F-1 visa:
DO NOT show interest in finding a job and living in the U.S. for as long as possible.
DO NOT falsify information and documents.
DO NOT show interest in permanently immigrating to the U.S.
Do I have to take the TOEFL test?
Yes, this is an admission requirement for those students who are from countries where English is not the native language or who completed high school in a country where English was not the sole medium of instruction.
I'm not good in Math or English. Can I get help?
Yes, SMCC offers free tutoring services. Tutoring services are also available for students in the ESL Intensive English Program.
What is occupational training?
SMCC offers a variety of degrees for students seeking vocational/technical education. These programs are called occupational training because they allow the students to enter the workforce upon completion of their program.
Will my college classes from another country count toward my SMCC degree?
This depends mostly upon the accreditation of the institution, the class, the course level, the grade you received, and the requirements for your designated program of study at SMCC. Students need to have their official international academic records evaluated by an MCCCD approved external professional evaluation agency.
Then the student will need to have the professional evaluation agency submit an official evaluation directly to the SMCC Registration & Records Office. The student will also need to provide SMCC Registration & Records with a copy of the official international academic records as well as a certified English translation.
Please contact the International Admissions Assistant in the Registration & Records Office for a list of recommended professional evaluation agencies. (Note: If the academic records from the foreign country are not issued in English, they must be accompanied by a certified English translation.)
What is an assessment test?
All students who want to enroll in an academic program of study are required to take the ACCUPLACER English, Reading and Math assessment test prior to registering for the classes. Please note that the test does not appear on a student's transcripts; it is simply a placement tool to help register the student into the appropriate level of study.
Those students applying for the Intensive English Program will be required to take the CELSA assessment test.
How do I register (sign up) for classes?
Students should visit with an academic advisor before their first semester begins. The advisor can inform the student about the many different programs of study available at the college for those students who are uncertain and work on a checklist of appropriate classes for those students who have a major declared. It is highly recommended that students visit with an advisor each semester so that they make certain that they are taking the correct transferable classes. It is okay if the student is not sure exactly which course of study to pursue, he/she can change majors after studies commence.
What is a semester credit hour?
Each credit is usually equivalent to one clock hour of class for each week you are in class. For example if a student enrolls in a 3-credit class they can attend classes:
For an hour each day on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
For an hour and a half on Tuesday and Thursday
For three hours on Wednesday night
All three examples total three (3) hours in class time each week. Most classes at SMCC are three (3) credit courses, except for science courses (usually 4 credits) and math courses (usually 5).
How many credits must I take?
F-1 students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 semester credit hours each fall and spring semester. Summer is an optional enrollment period.
Can I transfer to a four year university after I complete my studies at South Mountain Community College?
Yes. Most college-level classes will transfer to a university; however, students are encouraged to meet with an academic advisor to map out an appropriate combination of classes that suit the students' academic goals and apply toward a transfer degree. SMCC has articulation agreements with the three main Arizona universities (ASU, NAU and UofA), but not all universities.
Students should communicate carefully with the admissions office of universities outside of the state of Arizona to determine what classes they are eligible to take at the community college level. The classes taken at SMCC are the same caliber of classes taken during the first two years at a university. When selecting classes students should take into consideration both their program of study and the requirements of the institution to which they are transferring.
Do I need to pay the $20,030 directly to South Mountain Community College?
No. You will pay SMCC for tuition, fees, and the student health insurance. You will also purchase your books and supplies at the college. Therefore, you will need to have sufficient funds to pay for these costs when you arrive. Please remember that if you will be living in an apartment, you will need to ensure that you have enough money to move into the apartment and pay all associated living expenses (rent, electric bill, telephone, food, etc).
Is it required that I purchase health insurance?
Yes, all F-1 students are required to purchase the Maricopa Community Colleges’ International Student Health insurance.
Will I be able to pay tuition and fees as an Arizona resident?
During your entire enrollment period on F-1 status you will be considered a nonresident for tuition purposes. F-1 status indicates a temporary status in the United States, which makes you ineligible to establish Arizona residency.
Can I work while I am on F-1 status?
Although employment is not recommended in your first year of study, you are eligible for employment on-campus. Students on an F-1 visa may work on campus 20 hours per week or less. Employment is limited to working on SMCC's campus and the pay is minimal; therefore, students should not rely on any monies from on-campus employment for living expenses or tuition. Students should visit Career Services to find out if any jobs are available to them.
You may not engage in off-campus employment without proper authorization from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Although under certain circumstances United States Citizenship and Immigration Services may grant permission to accept off-campus employment after one year, in the case of severe economic hardship. Please contact the Designated School Official (DSO) at SMCC with any specific questions you may have.
If you have specific questions regarding CPT and OPT, please contact the Designated School Official (at SMCC).
Please note that the U.S. government is very strict about working without authorization. Working illegally may subject you to deportation.
Are scholarships available for International Students?
SMCC does not have assistance programs or scholarship funds available to international students. Unfortunately, international students do not qualify for U.S. financial aid. See the financial aid page for more information on useful financial aid resources.
Does South Mountain Community College have dormitories or other student housing?
No. SMCC does not offer on-campus housing. Students are responsible for finding their own off-campus housing. There are nearby leasing communities at which a student can rent an apartment for a monthly fee ranging from $600-$1200 a month depending on the quality of living preferred and location. (Note: These monthly fees are estimated and are subject to change.).
Below are various websites students can check out to find information on local housing options. Please note that South Mountain Community College does not sponsor or endorse any particular apartment complex or housing locating service:
I have just been accepted to SMCC and obtained my F-1 visa, what do I bring to the U.S.?
Below is a list of items that you will want to bring with you. (Note: The list below is not inclusive.)
Immigration documents: Passport, Visa, I-94 card (arrival/departure card), I-20AB/I-20ID.
Official copy of academic records from high school (secondary school), colleges or universities previously attended (if applicable) and course descriptions issued in English. The documents should have the appropriate seals/stamps/signatures. Also please bring a certified English translation of your previous academic records if they are not issued in English. (Note: If you plan to transfer to a four year university, you may wish to bring extra copies of your academic records.)
Other items: Airline tickets, credit cards, emergency contact information, medicines & prescriptions, eye prescriptions, prescription eye glasses or contact lenses (if needed), a copy of your birth certificate, electrical adapter (voltage in the U.S. is 110) and a bilingual dictionary if your native language is not English. Other documentation to bring (if applicable): copies of children's birth certificates, marriage certificates, international driver's license, medical, dental and immunization records.
Clothing: A. Light cotton clothing is recommended for most of the year if you are living in the greater Phoenix area. The dress is rather casual. For example, most students wear shorts and light cotton blouses or t-shirts to campus. B. In the winter months, you will need jeans, sweaters, and a light jacket. (During the winter months, if you leave the city to visit areas in the higher elevations, such as the Grand Canyon, you will need much heavier and warmer clothing as it snows up in those areas. For example, a warm coat, gloves, hat, scarves and boots.) C. Shoes: Sandals, hiking shoes, and sneakers.
A few mementos from home are suggested; but not required. These can include photographs, cultural items specific to your native country, traditional national costume or dress (maybe an outfit or two), CDs, phone cards (for international calls), etc. (Note: Phone cards can be purchased in the U.S. as well.)
Note: We strongly recommend that you always wear sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor of 15-30, sunglasses and a hat during the summer months.
What's the weather like?
Phoenix, Arizona; has an arid climate. The summer months, May through September can be very hot. Daytime temperatures range from 40 degrees to 50 degrees Celsius. (Note: Americans utilize the Fahrenheit temperature scale instead of the Celsius temperature scale. Please see the link to the Fahrenheit to Celsius Converter below under the "Helpful Websites" section.) The winter months, November through February, daytime temperatures range from 15 degrees to 26 degrees Celsius. (Note: Nighttime temperatures in Arizona can range from 10-20 degrees cooler than daytime temperatures on average.)
Tips for living in the desert
Drink plenty of water. During the summer months be sure to keep water with you and drink at least eight glasses per day.
Beware of heat-related illnesses (i.e. dehydration and heatstroke).
Use sunscreen and avoid the midday sun between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Also wear loose fitting long sleeve shirts, hats and sunglasses for additional protection.
Watch out for desert creatures: Rattlesnakes, scorpions, tarantulas and other creatures live in the desert and prefer to be left alone. Don't bother them and they probably won't bother you.
Desert storms: Monsoons or dust storms can be very dangerous. The dust storms and rain storms come quickly without warning bringing lots of lightning. The rain storms can cause flash floods. Desert washes fill up quickly and are much more dangerous than they appear. DO NOT attempt to drive across the washes. If you are in town, stay inside and away from the windows. If you are outside, stay away from trees and seek shelter if possible.
Phoenix AZ current weather information
Fahrenheit to Celsius Converter
City of Phoenix Website
Motor Vehicle Website