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International Current Student


You are one step closer to studying here in the U.S.!  We are excited to welcome you to our country and our campus. In order to best prepare for your arrival to MSSU, we have compiled a checklist and helpful information that will ensure your transition goes as smoothly as possible.

Pre-Arrival Checklist 

  • Pay your SEVIS I-901 fee (see instructions in your acceptance documents)
  • Schedule your visa interview
  • Book your on-campus housing (if under 21). Over 21 may live off campus
  • Order your bedding to be delivered to campus
  • Book your flight
  • Fill out the airport pickup form (for free pick up from the Joplin airport)

Applying for a Student Visa

If you plan to study in the United States, you will need to apply for an F-1 student Visa (or J-1 student visa if you are an ISEPstudent). In order to apply for the F-1 student visa, you will need to have an official I-20 from Missouri Southern State University. Please see the checklist below for the required documents needed for issuance of the I-20 form. If you are an ISEP student, they will issue you the DS-2019 needed for the J-1 student visa.

  1. Admission to Missouri Southern State University
  2. Copy of the name page from your passport
  3. Financial verification for one academic year, expenses including tuition, fees, insurance, and cost of living.
    • Bank Statements
    • Affidavit of support
    • Sponsorship or scholarship awards
  4. If you are currently attending another university in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa, you will need to submit the MSSU transfer-in form.

Five Top Tips when Applying for a U.S. Student Visa:

  • Plan ahead. Schedule an appointment with the embassy or consulate to review your application.
  • Have your paperwork ready.
  • Prove that you intend to return home following your program.
  • Articulate your ambitions (what do you want to study and why?)
  • Practice your English language skills.

Booking Your Housing & Ordering Bedding

It is important that you submit your housing application if you plan to live on-campus. Information about housing can be located here. If you would like to cook your own meals, we recommend looking at our Quads and Lion Village. In these facilities, you will have your own kitchen.

To reserve housing, you will need to log in to your Lionet account and fill out the housing application and pay the $150 refundable housing deposit. For assistance on housing issues, contact Residence Life at

Bedding and toiletries are not provided by MSSU. We encourage you to order items for your residence hall room via OCMand have them delivered to 1007 International Ave, Joplin, MO 64801. We will have them ready for you upon your arrival.

Upon arriving, we will contact Residence Life at 417-659-4261 to check you into your assigned residence hall. Lunches and dinners will be provided beginning Monday, August 7, 2023.

Though you may have already made travel plans and are ready to start your journey to MSSU, you will need to find temporary housing as on-campus housing if you arrive more than four days before the start of orientation. Joplin offers multiple hotel and Airbnb options. You will still be able to request pickup from the airport if you arrive early.

Preparing for Your Arrival

It is almost time to embark on your adventure to MSSU! We are so excited to welcome you to campus! Before you head to the United States, there are a few additional items we would like to share with you about traveling to campus. Please remember that you are expected to arrive to campus at least the weekend before orientation. You can find the dates for orientation in your admission letter. Be sure to finalize your communication plans with family and friends, emergency plans, and other travel-related items.

You should plan on entering the United States no more than 30 days before classes start. Reference your admission letter to find important semester information.

Please complete the following tasks:

  • Please complete the pre-international orientation form. We ask that you let us know about your food allergies, t-shirt size, visa status, and more.
  • Schedule your flight to fly into the Joplin Regional Airport.
  • Complete the airport pick-up form if you wish to be picked up at the Joplin Regional Airport. You must have your arrival information available, including arrival date, time, and flight number. We do not offer pickup at any airport other than Joplin Regional Airport.
  • Convert your currency to USD before you arrive to the Joplin Regional Airport.
  • Prepare your documents for your carry-on passport, I-20, and admission letter.
  • We will coordinate a Friendship Family member to provide transportation to take you from the Joplin Regional Airport to the residence halls at MSSU. Upon arriving to campus, the Residence Life staff will need to be contacted at 417.659.4261 to check you in.

You are welcome to use another airport, but you will be responsible for finding transportation to Joplin via bus, taxi, Uber, Lyft, etc. We do not have trains running to Joplin. **

Packing Recommendations

  • Check with the airline before you start packing. Make sure that your clearly label all of your luggage.
  • Bring warm clothes: In the winter, temperatures typically range between 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 4 degrees Celsius).
  • Bring an umbrella and rain jacket: It is common for us to get a lot of rain. You can purchase umbrellas and rain jackets here, if needed.
  • Ethnic wear: Bring some clothing that is special to your country. There may be international festivals and events where you may want to wear them. You may also do presentations about your country and share your culture with the campus.
  • Items of interest: We encourage you to bring items and photos from your country that you may like to share with others.
  • Formal wear: Bring some formal wear, such as suits, shirts, and dresses that you may wear for class presentations, interviews, etc.
  • Toiletries: You can bring some for immediate use, but they are readily available for purchase in Joplin.
  • Electrical appliances: The voltage used in the United States is 110V so make sure your devices are compatible with that.
  • Bedding: Bedding and toiletries are not provided by MSSU. We encourage you to order items for your on-campus residence hall room via OCM at least a month before arriving to campus. Please be sure to have them delivered to International Ave, Joplin, MO 64801.

Helpful Pre-Departure Orientations from the Department of State

Immunization and Vaccine Records

Please review the international student requirements for the Willcoxon Health Center.

Be sure to collect copies of your medical and dental records with an English translation. Also, you will need to submit proof of immunization that include two immunizations of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) to the Student Health Center as soon as possible. If you do not have these submitted, you will not be able to register for classes. You should arrange to take these immunizations before you arrive to MSSU if you have not taken them already.

A tuberculosis (TB) test will be conducted upon your arrival. You will be scheduled to visit the Student Health Center staff for a TB Test during orientation.

All of your immunization documents must include a signature from your physician, a verified stamp or seal, and your physician’s address. Please bring your documents to orientation with you!

Please complete the Med+Proctor Risk Assessment before arriving to campus. We recommend a month in advance.

Please contact the Willcoxon Health Center at or 417.625.9323 if you have any questions.

Health Insurance

All international students at MSSU are enrolled to have health insurance via LewerMark Student Insurance.

International Student Orientation (Required of all international students)

International Student Orientation will be here very soon! Orientation will provide you the opportunity to connect with other international students, become familiar with campus and community resources and services, enroll for the semester, get your textbooks and student ID card, meet with the Willcoxon Health Center staff, among many other ways to help you adjust to campus and the community.

All new international students are required to attend orientation starting on August 14, 2023. Be sure to bring all of your immigration documents, including your passport with your visa stamp, and I-20 or DS-2019. You will be guided through printing your I-94 Arrival and Departure record during orientation. Soon you will receive an email with the detailed orientation schedule.

Here are a few items to consider before you travel to Joplin. When traveling, make sure all of your necessary travel documents are kept in your carry-on bag. You will always want to have your immigration documents easily accessible when traveling. If you take any medications, you might also want to put those in your carry-on bag so you can access those at any time.

Students usually dress casually and relaxed around campus, however, you are welcome to wear whatever makes you comfortable. It can be very hot in August, but very cold December through March. You may want to bring coat and warm clothes for our winter season. We also recommend bringing some formal clothes (suits, dresses, skirts, etc.) with you. We would love for you to bring any traditional clothing from your home country for when we have cultural events!


There will be time designated during international orientation for you to enroll in your classes for the semester. To meet immigration regulations, you must enroll in at least 12 credit hours.

    • If you are a degree-seeking student, you will enroll with your respective academic advisor.
    • If you must take the Michigan English Test during international orientation, you will enroll with Aaron Carmichael, Director of the Intensive English Program. You will contact him via, 417-625-9573, or in Webster Hall 343.
    • If you are an exchange or visiting student and are not required to take the Michigan English Test, you will enroll with Dr. Chad Stebbins. You can contact him via, 417-625-9736, or in Webster Hall 337.
    • After your enrollment and student accounts are adjusted, you will have the opportunity to pay your bill within the first couple weeks of the semester. Contact the Bursar Office at, 417-625-9381, or visit Hearnes Hall 105 if you have any questions.
    • Here is a link of classes available for the upcoming semester .
    • Classes begin August 21, 2023.

Friendship Family Program & Conversation Partner Program

You have many wonderful opportunities ahead of you at MSSU! One of the biggest opportunities you will experience in America is through our Friendship Family community and our Conversation Partner Program. In the Friendship Family Program, you will be matched with a local family and do a variety of activities in and around the Joplin area. This program allows you to experience life in an American home and traditional American holidays.

There are also opportunities for you to get involved with Conversation Partners. These are current MSSU students who spend 1-2 hours a week with international students who need help practicing their English. Conversation Partners also share experiences with international students, like American holidays, traditions, campus and community events, and many other opportunities.

Apply for Friendship Family Program and Conversation Partner Program 

International Club

The International Club, one of more than 60 different student clubs on campus, organizes many events during the semester such as a prom, bonfire, hayride, World Music and Cuisine Festival, hiking, and other campus events.

Staying Connected

Campus Community

We are happy to invite you to an exciting platform for you to connect with one another before orientation begins. Be on the lookout as we have some fun photo opportunities! This will be a nice introduction to beginning conversations with your peers and potentially your Friendship Family and even your Conversation Partner.Cultivating meaningful first connections based on shared interests, hobbies, and passions. Empowering students to discover, engage and belong from the start.

Campus Community is a private community engagement and peer-to-peer support platform allowing students (like you!) to discover classmates, create unique communities, and engage with communities from your college with ease. Whether you’re looking to connect with classmates, find the perfect study group, or stay in the know, we’ve got you covered.Instantly access meaningful first connections based on shared interests, hobbies, and passions while exploring daily suggested friendships and unique communities in just one click.With advanced search filters and keyword searches, you can easily connect with diverse peers, find roommates, study groups, exercise partners, and language / cultural exchange partners.Participate in student-led discussion boards for peer-to-peer support, join themed groups and conversations, stay up-to-date with campus events, and more.We aim to connect classmates, campus communities, alumni, and more like never before. Join today to engage with your unique community.


1. Set up your account and profile – use your email or personal email address

2. Download the app and enable notifications. Google Play and the App Store  (When you open the app – if you don’t see MSSU, please close the app, and reopen and your institution should appear in the drop-down menu.)

3. Participate in the Photo Scavenger Hunt Challenge

4. Join the discussions in our Forums to find roommates, ask questions, and get advice

5. Connect with your future classmates and friends based on shared interests and hobbies

Additional Scholarships Opportunities (Degree-seeking students only)

We look forward to your arrival and cannot wait to welcome you to campus. In the meantime, take a look around our website and see how you can get involved and connected on campus. Also, if you are seeking a degree through Missouri Southern, we encourage you to consider our MSSU Honors Program or Global Leaders Program, as both also offer great scholarship opportunities. If you take the ACT or SAT, it will create additional scholarship opportunities if you score well. (Exchange students and Intensive English Program students do not qualify for scholarships).

Need help?

If you have any questions as you prepare to come to MSSU for the fall 2023 semester, please feel free to contact Stephanie Goad, Sr. Coordinator of International Admissions, at, 417-625-9372, or in Hearnes Hall 106L.