Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I apply?
You will need to complete an International Student Application and submit the application with the supporting documents listed in the checklist. Please refer to our Application Checklist and follow the steps.
- How long will it take me to get accepted to Pasadena City College?
After you submit a complete International Student Application and all the admission requirements, your application will be evaluated and an admission decision will be made. You will be notified by email of our admission decision within 10 business days.
Note: An admission decision will not be made until your application and all admission requirements are submitted.
- When will I get my I-20?
Once you have completed the International Student Application and are accepted to PCC, International Admissions will send you an email to confirm your acceptance. Your admissions documents will be mailed to you using the method that you have chosen. The admission packet will include your acceptance letter, Form I-20, and visa information.
- What are the application deadlines?
The Application Deadlines are as follows:
Change of Status
- Is orientation mandatory for international students?
Yes, all international students must participate in orientation events. Please follow the schedule provided with your acceptance letter.
- What is the estimation of one academic year expenses?
$ 46.00 USD
$ 207.00 USD
Health Insurance Policy
$ 516.00 USD
per semester (coverage for 6 months)
Capital Outlay Fee
Student Health Fee
Student Representation fee
$ 1.00 USD
Student Activity Fee
* Tuition and fees subject to change without prior notice
- Can I get financial assistance/scholarships to help pay my bills?
International Students do not qualify for financial aid. There are a few small scholarships available after you have completed a minimum of one year full-time study with above-average grades. The average scholarship awarded is between $250 to $500 dollars. Many international students have been awarded scholarships.
- Do I need to take the TOEFL or any other English test before I apply?
Yes, all prospective international students are required to submit Proof of English proficiency. For the TOEFL, IELTS, iTEP, STEP, and TOEIC students must submit a score that is no older than two years old. For the TOEFL, paper-based test must have a minimum score of 450. The interned-based test must have a minimum score of 45. PCC accepts other forms of English proficiency.
- I'm under the age of 18, but I want to study at PCC. Can I still apply?
The International Student Center accepts students as long as they are 16 years old at the start of classes and have graduated high school. All minors must submit proof of high school completion at the time of applying to the college. Applicants will not receive a PCC I-20 until proof of high school completion has been submitted. If a student is under the age of 16 but has graduated from high school, they will need to wait until they have reached the required age to apply. Minor students should refer to the Guidelines for Applicants Under 18 years old.
- When do I pay for my classes?
All F1 International Students must make full payment no later than the Friday before the first day of classes.
- When should I arrive at Pasadena City College?
In general, we encourage newly admitted students to arrive at PCC at least one month prior to the beginning of the semester they have been admitted to. Newly admitted students will need to participate in new student events that may last a few weeks. Students are required to follow the schedule provided at the time of admission.
- Do you have an Intensive ESL Program?
At this time, Pasadena City College does not have an intensive English Language Program. We’re currently developing the program and hope to have it up and running for future students in the next few years. All prospective international students are required to submit Proof of English proficiency.
- Does PCC have student housing?
Pasadena does not offer on-campus housing, however the Student Affairs Office (CC105) and bulletin boards around campus post notices for roommates and rooms for rent in the local community. Private apartment living is an option for students who want their own space. Many of our students rent an apartment for six-months to a year at a time often with a roommate or two. It is the responsibility of the student to make their own living arrangements, but the ISC has housing information for students.
- How do I get from the airport to Pasadena?
Driving and public transportation information is found on our website here:
Application & Acceptance
- How do I maintain my F-1 status?
· Maintain at least 12 units each Fall and Spring semester
· Always receive travel approval from the ISC before departing the U.S.
· Keep track of I-20 program end date (#5 on the I-20 form)
· Maintain a GPA of 2.0 or above
· Do not engage in any sort of employment unless approved by the ISC and/or USCIS
· Always have a valid passport
· Always consult with the ISC in regards to questions pertaining to your F-1 status
- Do I have to go to school full-time?
Yes. The United States immigration law requires all F-1 students to enroll in 12 units every Spring & Fall semester.
- How many classes can I miss?
A student may be dropped from a course or receive a grade of "F" for not attending classes. Students must attend ALL class meetings during the first 2 weeks of the term otherwise they risk being dropped from the class. Students should never miss class unless they have approval from the instructor beforehand.
- What happens if the instructor drops me from courses or I drop my courses and fall below 12 units?
By immigration law you must pursue a "full course of study." This means you need to be enrolled in 12 units to keep your status as an F-1 student. Under certain circumstances, your instructor may withdraw (W) you from class. If this results in you being below 12 units, this will affect your F-1 status. You will lose your status as an F-1 student if you remain below 12 units. Always consult with an academic counselor and the ISC before dropping below 12 units.
- Can an international student work?
International students may work part-time on campus if you have maintained a GPA of 2.5 or above and have completed at least one semester at PCC. There are a limited number of jobs on campus. The money earned from a part-time job on campus should not be considered a major source of your funding for your tuition and living expenses. Remember, one of your admission requirements was to submit a financial statement showing that you have $20,000 USD or more for your tuition and living expenses per year. For authorization to work off campus, CPT, OPT, or employment based on economic hardship must be granted. For more information, contact the ISC.
- If I lose my F-1 status, what do I need to do?
Contact the ISC immediately to determine the best course of action for you.
- How do I get a Social Security Card?
You can only get a Social Security Card for employment purposes. Once you are able to work, the International Student Center will write a letter for you to take to the Social Security Office to obtain the Social Security Number.
- What must I do before I travel?
If you are traveling within the United States, you do not need to make any special preparations and do not need to have any documents signed. However, if you are traveling outside the country, you must have a valid travel signature on your I-20 before you travel. Visit the International Student Center and turn in a copy of the following: Travel request form, ORIGINAL I-20, copies of visa, passport, and the front and back page of your I-94 card, and a print out of all the classes taken PCC, including current classes and future classes for which you have already registered.
- What do I do if my passport is going to expire?
All F-1 visa students must have a valid passport at all times. If your passport is going to expire or is expired, please refer to the List of Consulates in the area. Find your consulate, contact their office, and begin the process of renewing your passport. You will also need to bring a copy of your new passport to the International Student Center.
- What do I do if my F-1 visa is going to expire?
An F-1 visa acts as a key that allows you to enter the U.S. Once in the country, it is not a problem if your visa expires. However, if you leave the U.S. and try to re-enter, you will need a valid F-1 visa. This means you must first apply for a new visa at the U.S embassy/consulate in your home country. It can take between 2 weeks to 3 months to process, so be prepared for an extended visit. If your visa is expired or about to expire and you are traveling out of the U.S., you will need to Renew Your Visa. These documents do not guarantee that you will be granted a visa. Check the website of the U.S. Embassy where you will apply for specific instructions.
- My I-20 is expiring soon, but I need more time to complete my studies. What should I do?
To apply for an extension of your I-20, make an appointment with an academic counselor to receive a signed Educational Plan. Complete the New I-20 request form and submit with the educational plan and proof of financial support (original bank statement and Sponsor Affidavit Form) to the ISC. I-20 extensions must be completed before your I-20 expires!
- Do I need health insurance?
Yes. All students holding an F-1 Visa will be automatically enrolled and charged for Health Insurance. For more information visit http://www.pasadena.edu/internationalStudents/insurance/index.cfm.
- Why do I need Health Insurance?
International Students attending PCC are mandated to purchase the medical insurance policy provided by PCC. Medical care in the United States is very expensive, as well as complicated. When an unforeseen accident or illness occurs, it is important that you have insurance to cover the high costs of medical treatment. When used in accordance with the guidelines, the insurance policy the college provides is designed to cover 100% of medical treatment that a student receives and 50% of medication costs that are prescribed. We know that the health care systems in the United States may be very different from what you are used to; therefore we are available to answer any questions that you may have. For more information or to schedule an appointment, representatives can be reached at (800) 537-1777.
- What is a co-payment?
A co-payment is the amount of money you pay your provider (doctor/hospital) each time you receive medical care. Your co-pay for a doctor visit is $25.00 and $100.00 for a hospital visit. These fees are non-refundable.
- What is a deductible, and do I have one?
A deductible is the amount of money you must pay out of pocket for your medical services before the insurance company starts paying. You do not have a deductible; you only have a co-payment.
- Why doesn’t the insurance cover vision and dental care?
PCC only provides F-1 visa students with medical care coverage, not dental and vision. They are recognized as separate plans.For more information about adding vision or dental to your plan please contact a representative at (800) 537-1777.
- What if I don’t receive my Insurance ID card in the mail?
If you’ve paid your health insurance fees and do not receive your insurance ID card in the mail within about three weeks, call 800-537- 1777 to request a duplicate ID card. Always report a change of address to the insurance company. Carry your Insurance ID card with you at all times. You may also download a copy of your insurance ID card from www.renstudent.com
- What is a Claim Form? Do I need to fill one out?
A Claim Form is a form you must fill out with each medical condition you have. It must be filled out completely and you send it to the insurance company. If you receive medical treatment and do not fill out a Claim Form, your medical bill will not be paid.
- What should I do if I need to go to the doctor?
1. Go to the Student Health Services first for a referral because a Campus Health Center referral will waive your co-pay charge
2. If the Student Health Services cannot treat you or is closed, go to one of the urgent care centers approved by your Insurance Plan. Please note that use of an urgent care center instead of a hospital emergency room may decrease your out-of-pocket expenses. You may also refer to the Student Insurance Websiteto search for an individual doctor.
If you have specific questions about your insurance you can contact the insurance company directly at 1-800-537-1777 or visit their Website. In order to for a medical bill be paid at 100%, the doctor or hospital must be a member of the Preferred Provider Organization. (Blue Cross)
- How do I find a doctor?
Go to www.renstudent.com/students 1)Select Pasadena City College. 2)Scroll to the bottom of the page & follow the directions to find a doctor of your choice. 3)Call to schedule an appointment with the doctor. The www.renstudent.com link will also give you access to the following: 1)Download you medical insurance ID card. 2)Review your insurance plan benefits and coverage dates/status. 3)Download claims forms and instructions. 4)Search for a doctor. 5)Translate medication names, medical phrases and terms. 6)Important telephone numbers.
- What if it is an emergency, such as an accident or life-threatening situation?
In the case of an emergency go to the nearest hospital or call 911. You may receive treatment at any hospital and you will have a $100 co-pay.
- What is my insurance in an Accident and Sickness policy?
This means your insurance only covers you when you’re sick or you’ve had an accident. In addition, there is an annual woman’s wellness visit, which includes a pap smear and a breast exam.
- What is a PPO?
PPO stands for Preferred Provider Organization. It is the network of all doctors, specialists and hospitals that accept the PCC insurance plan. All of those listed are available to you for consultation and treatment. Always check that they are still participating providers.
- What if I use a doctor or hospital that is not part of the PPO?
If you utilize a doctor or hospital that is not a member of the Preferred Provider Organization, you will be responsible for 25% of the eligible expenses charged.
- What do I need to bring with me for a scheduled visit with a physician or hospital?
Always bring your insurance ID card, a referral from the PCC Health Center, and photo identification.
- Where do I send my bills, claims, or any other important information?
If the bills are given or sent to you, send copies of them to the Claims Department. The Claims Department may respond if further information is needed. Send your copies to the following address: BC – Life & Health PO Box 60007 Los Angeles, CA 90060-0007
- What if I pay for services such as doctor’s visits, prescriptions, etc…?
If you have paid out of pocket for prescription, doctor visit etc…you will need to submit a claim for a reimbursement. If you do not have a claim form, you may download one at www.renstudent.comand send only copies of the claim form and receipts to the above address.
- How do I check on the status of a claim?
You may contact the Claims Department directly by calling (888) 850-4770.
- How do I know my case is confidential? Will the Health Center tell my parents or guardians about my case?
Every case is treated confidentially by the Health Center and Counseling Services on campus. No information will be released without your expressed written consent.
- What if I already have a Health Insurance Policy from my home country?
No other insurance policies will be accepted as a substitute for the one that PCC provides. International Students attending PCC are mandated to purchase the medical insurance policy provided by PCC.
- What if I’m outside of California or the United States and I need medical treatment?
Any treatment received outside of California is covered at 100% for PPO and 75% for NON-PPO after the co-pays. You should still send copies of all bills, receipts, and other information to the following address: BC – Life & Health PO Box 60007 Los Angeles, CA 90060-0007
- What is a DSO?
DSO stands for designated school official. A DSO is responsible for reporting and updating information to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) about the F-1 student's situation.
- How do I get my student ID card?
- How do I obtain a California Driver’s License?
- Can I repeat a placement test?
Placement tests may be repeated after a waiting period of eight weeks. More information on the assessment test can be found here, http://www.pasadena.edu/studentservices/assessment/
- How do I receive credit for AP (Advanced Placement) test scores?
Take a copy of your scores to a counselor, who will assist you with a student petition. You can also initiate the process yourself by submitting a student petition with a copy of your AP test scores to the Vice President, Student and Learning Services (L112) after you have completed 15 units at PCC.
- How do I purchase a parking permit?
Daily parking permits can be bought at dispensers around all of the parking lots. Semester and intersession parking permits can be purchased online. Students: Log into Lancerlink - Other Student Services: https://lancerlink.pasadena.edu/student_login.htm. Semester and intersession permits can be purchased on campus from the front counter of Police Services (B210) two to three weeks prior to the beginning of the semester/intersession or at the 411 Trolley located in the campus quad on the first day of each semester/intersession. Purchase of a parking permit does not guarantee you a parking space. More information can be found on our Parking web page: http://www.pasadena.edu/police/parking.cfm
- Does the bookstore sell used textbooks?
Yes. And, if you keep your textbooks in good shape, you may be able to sell them back to the bookstore at the end of the semester.
- Are there copy machines, computers, and typewriters on campus for student use?
Computers are available in the Shatford Library, the Instructional Computing Center (D Building, first floor) and the Learning Assistance Center (D300). Copy machines are located in Shatford Library (LL Building) and the Transfer Center (L110). Typewriters are available in Shatford Library (LL Building).
- Is there an ATM on campus?
Yes. The ATM is located in the Campus Center courtyard (between the Bookstore and Campus Center on the West side of the courtyard).
- What does "TBA" in the Schedule of Classes mean?
To Be Arranged. This means that class hours are flexible and will be arranged with the instructor.
- Who does "Staff" in the Schedule of Classes mean?
An instructor has not yet been assigned to that class at the time the schedule was printed. You may contact the appropriate academic division for more information.
- What is a unit?
A unit is the amount of college credit given for a course based on the number of hours the course meets weekly. For example, a three unit class will meet three hours per week. Some classes meet for more hours and may be worth additional units.
- How do I receive credit for coursework taken at another college?
Send an official transcript to the Records Office (L113). After you have completed 15 units of coursework at PCC, you may request a transcript evaluation when you see a counselor.
- What is a PIN number?
A Personal Identification Number (PIN) is a four-digit number of your choosing. It allows you to register for classes and obtain final grades by telephone or online. Choose a PIN and memorize it. If you forget your number, go to the Records Office (L113) to choose a new PIN.
- How do I receive credit for coursework taken in another country?
Your international college transcript must be evaluated by an approved private organization. The evaluation is then reviewed by PCC evaluators.You may obtain information from a Counselor in L104.
- What deadlines am I responsible for meeting every semester?
The academic calendar in the front of the schedule of classes lists important semester deadlines. Some of these include deadlines for adding/dropping classes and applying for graduation. You are responsible for meeting all deadlines each semester.
- Can I drop a class simply by not attending?
No. If you wish to drop a class, you may do so online or by phone. Be sure that you drop by the deadline listed in the academic calendar in the Schedule of Classes. Remember that you must not fall below 12 units. After you drop a class, go to the Cashier’s Office and fill out a Refund Form.
- How do I prove that I meet a course prerequisite?
If you’ve met a prerequisite by taking a course at another college, bring a transcript or report card to an Educational Advisor (L103) or a counselor (L104) for course approval. If the course prerequisite includes a test, you must take it at PCC and then request your results at Advisement (L103). PCC counselors do not use placement test scores from other colleges to determine course placement
- What do I do if the class I want is closed?
You may attend the first class meeting. If there is space available in the class, have the instructor assign an add code. Check the academic calendar for add deadlines.
- How do I contact an instructor?
Leave messages for instructors in the appropriate division office.
- How often do classes meet?
Most classes are completed in one semester or less. During the day, most classes meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for approximately one hour, or Tuesday and Thursday for an hour and a half. Evening classes generally meet once per week for three or four hours. Semesters are 16 weeks long, but some classes meet for a shorter period.
- Do I have to declare a major?
It is not necessary to declare a major during your first semester at PCC. However, it is essential that you have a student educational plan (SEP) prepared by a counselor who will discuss your educational and career goals. Visit the Career Center (L103) and enroll in Counseling 17 (Career Planning) to obtain help in choosing a major.
- How do I change my major?
First, you must see a counselor to get a new Educational Plan. Take your new Ed Plan and New I-20 request form to the International Student Center so a new I-20 displaying your new major can be issued to you.
- How do I know what classes to take?
Counselors and educational advisors will assist you in choosing classes. Before your first meeting with a counselor, be sure to review the Catalog and Schedule of Classes. They contain lists of general education, major, and transfer requirements.
- Do you provide tours of the school?
For an on-site tour, please submit a request through the office of School & Community Relations http://www.pasadena.edu/outreach/tours/form.cfm.
More information about campus tours including virtual tours can be found at http://www.pasadena.edu/tours/tours.cfm.
- Do you have student clubs or organizations?
Yes. There are over 75 clubs and organizations on campus. Please visit http://as.pasadena.edu/clubs-orgs/ for information on how to get involved.
- Can I transfer my college credit from my home country toward my degree plan at PCC?
You may be able to use your credits from another country. However, you are required to have your foreign transcripts evaluated by one of the 3 approved evaluation agencies. Once we receive the official evaluation results and you have completed 15 units at PCC, PCC evaluators will complete a second evaluation for graduation credits. For those students who are planning to transfer to the university, please see a counselor before applying for your transcript to be evaluated. Most universities have their own evaluators who evaluate foreign transcripts. Transcript evaluation is not necessary if you are transferring to a university.
- Will my work at Pasadena City College transfer to a university?
PCC is an accredited college and part of the California Community College system. We offer the freshman and sophomore levels of college and university work. Our college-level classes transfer to the university, allowing students to enter at the junior level if they complete our program for transfer. We also offer ESL classes which prepare students to enter college-level classes.
- Will you help me transfer when I'm ready?
Pasadena City College has a Transfer Center with information on colleges and universities throughout the United States. Recruiters from many of these schools visit our campus each semester. The Transfer Center can assist with college applications, and transfer requirements.