Frequent Questions

Questions about living arrangements

Q: What is the living arrangement for incoming freshmen? On campus? Shared rooms?
A: Incoming new freshmen live in Murphy Hall, Pacelli Hall, Sutowski Hall, or on the Honors floor in Campion Hall. Most rooms are double rooms shared with another person. There are community bathrooms on the floor. All students must live on campus their first and second year before having the choice to remain in university housing or to seek housing off campus.

Q: If I live in a residence hall, will I be living with other international students or American students? Will they be freshmen like me, or will they be second-, third-, or fourth-year students?
A: Most international students will be placed with an American student of the same age/year in school – first year students with first year students, and continuing students beyond the first year with another continuing student.

Q: If I live in a residence hall, how many people live together in one room?
A: Generally two students live together in the same room. We encourage this living arrangement for international students. However, there are a limited number of single-person rooms on campus that are assigned on a priority basis.

Q: What if my roommate and I do not get along?
A: The first step is to meet with your Resident Assistant. The Resident Assistant is a student who lives on the floor and acts as a resource person for students. Part of their job is to help mediate conflicts between students and try to resolve any roommate issues. If the situation does not improve, there are options that can be discussed to change your roommate assignment but this is hopefully the last option that is always considered.

Q: What furniture/appliances are in residence halls?
A: Each student in a residence hall room has a twin-sized bed, a dresser, wardrobe/closet, desk, desk chair, and book shelf. Four campus residence halls have their own kitchen facility (Bernet Hall, Campion Hall, Hamlin Hall, and Dolan Hall). All residence halls have some common areas with lounge furniture and laundry rooms with washers and dryers that are free of charge. There is no local phone service in the individual rooms, but there are courtesy phones in each hallway. There are a limited number of local phone lines that can be connected in student rooms by request.

Q: Can I live in a residence hall during winter, spring, and/or summer breaks?
A: Four residence halls are open over the holiday breaks: (Bernet Hall, Hamlin Hall, Dolan Hall, and Murphy Hall) with the exception of the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Students who do not live in these buildings can stay in one of the open halls or can come to Residence Life to inquire about other housing options. Note: For some international students, staying with a host family or travelling to other parts of the U.S. are possibilities during semester breaks as well.

Q: Are there stores nearby where I can buy bedding, toiletries, school supplies, and clothing?
A: The University Square shopping center is less than a mile from campus with shops and restaurants. Also, Legacy Village and Beachwood Place are shopping areas close to campus. A free campus shuttle is provided to access these areas on Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Q: Will there be computers for students to use on campus or in residence halls? If I bring my own laptop, where can I go if I have problems with it?
A: The University provides over 150 computers for general student use in seven different public computer lab spaces. Each location is equipped with at least one laser printer. Information Technology Services has Student Network Technicians that are available on a regularly scheduled basis in the Lombardo Student Center lab to provide technical assistance specifically for student-owned computers. The campus is also fully wireless. Visit our Information Technology Services website for details on computers and the campus technology.

Q: Where can I do laundry?
A: Laundry machines are located in each residence hall and are free to use.

Questions about food at John Carroll

Q: What dining options do I have?
A: The Fresh Food Company at Schott Dining Hall features cutting-edge exhibition cooking, authentic ethnic dishes, a culinary twist on American favorites, and a greater variety of healthy/vegetarian options prepared right before your eyes, ensuring that your dining program in no way resembles a cafeteria. The Fresh Food Company provides students and guests with “unlimited seconds,” including salads, sandwiches, entrees, vegetables, fruits, beverages, desserts, and more. We also have retail dining locations on campus that include the Inn-Between (food court style with a grill, pizza/pasta, and sandwiches/salads), Java City (coffee and pastries), and Einstein’s Brothers Bagels (bagels, sandwiches, and beverages).

We offer two different styles of meal plans – a Block Plan and a Weekly Plan. The difference between the plans is:

  • Block – the meals last the entire semester, don’t roll over from semester to semester, and students get the flexibility of using their meals when they choose.
  • Weekly – the meals get recharged every week, don’t roll over from week to week, and students don’t have to worry about using their meals too quickly.

Our most popular plan is the Block 175 (which is 12 meals/week) with $150 in Plus Points. Plus Points are a declining balance that is attached to your student ID card. They are used just like cash. Plus Points are accepted everywhere on campus where food is sold.

Q: I have food allergies/diet restrictions. Can JCU accommodate to my needs?
A: We meet with any students that may have special dietary needs. We have many students with allergies and dietary restrictions, so it is not a problem if they need anything special. We are here to help!

Q: Can I cook my own food in the residence halls?
A: Cooking is only permitted in the halls that have kitchens. Cooking pots and pans and utensils are not provided. Students can purchase a refrigerator and microwave for use in their room. Guidelines for size are provided on our website at

Q: Are there grocery stores nearby where I can buy my own food?
A: There is a grocery store near University Square shopping center, one near the Green Road Annex (both are within a mile from campus), and one near Legacy Village. All are accessible by campus shuttle service. There is a convenience/pharmacy store near the front of campus at Fairmount Circle shopping center.

Questions about employment opportunities

Q: If I want to, will I be able to work while I study at JCU?
A: Due to the restrictions of the “F” student visa, you will only be able to work on campus.

Q: Will there be opportunities for internships?
A: Depending on your academic major, you may be eligible to participate in an internship while studying. All international students are eligible to participate in an internship after they graduate.

Questions about health/emergencies

Q: Should I bring medical records with me to John Carroll?
A: A student health form must be completed prior to your arrival on campus and sent to the health center. No additional information is needed, unless you have ongoing or chronic medical problems that will need continuing care at the JCU Health Center.

Q: Where can I go if I get sick? Do I need to schedule an appointment?
A: An on-campus Student Health Center is located in the lower level of Murphy Hall. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. No appointment is necessary. A physician is also in the health center one hour each day; an appointment is strongly encouraged as his/her availability cannot be guaranteed on a walk-in basis.

If you get sick outside of these times, you can contact our student-run JCU Emergency Medical Services. These students are on duty at any time the health center is closed, and are all licensed and certified in the State of Ohio as first-responders.

Q: How much do appointments usually cost?
A: Nurse appointments are always free. Physician appointments use your health insurance and students are directly billed by the physician’s office.

Q: How can I pay for appointments?
A: Cash or personal checks.

Q: How does health insurance work in the U.S.?
A: Depending on your health insurance plan, this insurance can help pay the cost of physician visits and medical testing – each plan is different and requires you to read the plan thoroughly – a “co-pay” is an out-of-pocket cost at the time the service is rendered. Student health insurance information should be given when the JCU health form is completed. You should also carry your insurance card with you at all times.

Q: Who can I talk to if I have any problems or need help?
A: Please come to the health center and talk with a nurse!

Questions about money

Q: Should I open a bank account in the U.S.? Will someone help me with this?
A: Yes, you should open a bank account. Having a U.S. bank account will make it easier for you to withdraw and deposit money. There are many banks located within walking distance of John Carroll University. The staff of the Center for Global Education can assist you in opening your bank account.

Q: How can I transfer money from my home country to the U.S.?
A: Once you have your U.S. bank account, it will be fairly easy to transfer money into it. You will simply need to know your personal account number and the official bank number. Naturally, there is a small fee anytime you transfer money from one account to another.

Q: How can I pay for tuition?
A: There are a few ways you can pay your tuition. The University has a payment plan that you can join, but also will accept other methods of payment that you will learn about in the admission process. You can also wire your payment to John Carroll University. If you prefer this method, a member of staff in the cashier’s office can give you the University’s banking information.

Q: Once in the U.S., is it common to use cash, debit/credit cards, or checks?
A: All three forms of payment are acceptable and widely used, although paying by checks is not as common anymore.

Questions about transportation

Q: How will I get around campus? Will I need to buy a bicycle or a car?
A: The campus property is quite small and compact, so you will not need a bike to navigate the campus. However, JCU is also proud to run its own Bicycle Co-Op where students can borrow bicycles for their own transportation. There is ample shopping within a short walk of campus and many students walk to the supermarket, department store, and local restaurants.

Q: Are there buses, subways, or taxis I can take from JCU to various parts of Cleveland?
A: John Carroll University is well-connected by bus and train services to the rest of Cleveland. You can take the train to downtown Cleveland and even to Hopkins International Airport. You can certainly call and order a taxi to take you to various parts of the city. There are several taxi companies and these telephone numbers are available in your residence hall. The University also maintains a free campus shuttle service that reaches many popular off-campus destinations.

Q: I want to visit friends/family in other cities. What’s the best way to travel?
A: Depending on where your family or friends live, you can take a bus, train, and/or airplane. Currently, many international students who have long distances to travel take an airplane. It is easy to find inexpensive fights, especially if you reserve ahead of time.

Q: How can I get to the airport and back to the university?
A: You can take the train from the airport to campus; keep in mind that you will have to walk 20 minutes from the station to campus. Alternatively, you can take a taxi. A taxi ride takes about 30 minutes and costs approximately $30.

Questions about academics: Getting started

Q: My teachers/professors have office hours – what are these?
A: Office hours are designated times that a professor is in his or her office, available to assist students that have additional questions about what they are learning in class. These “hours” are in addition to the regularly scheduled class lectures and meeting times. These are required of all faculty. All students should utilize this time to visit and ask questions, whether it is about a viewpoint shared, something you don’t understand, or feedback you require on papers or exams that you have submitted.

Q: How often should I meet with my professor?
A: Students should attend all scheduled classes and any other requirements outlined by the professor.

Q: My professor wants to meet with me. Is this a bad thing?
A: No, this is not a bad thing. John Carroll has a student-centered approach to learning. If a professor wants to see you, it is more than likely to help you improve and because the professor cares about your success.

Q: My professor says that class participation is expected from all students. What does this mean? How do I participate?
A: It is reasonable to ask the professor what participation means since the answer and how it impacts your grade for the course will vary from professor to professor. Some may consider good questions and comments in class, but there are many different ways to participate, so it is best to clarify this with your professor.

Q: I signed up for a class, but after a few days of being in the class, I don’t like it or I think it’s too difficult. What should I do?
A: You will want to speak with your advisor or an Assistant Dean as soon as possible to discuss ways to succeed in the class or gain suggestions on working with the faculty member. Your advisor or an academic dean can also help you by suggesting any additional support needs or to discuss withdrawing from the class as an option.

Q: What should I do if I have a difficult time understanding my professor in class?
A: Talk with your professor for clarification after class or during office hours.

Q: I don’t understand my homework assignment. What should I do?
A: Ask for clarification from your professor.

Q: What happens if I fall behind in my classes? Are there tutors that can help me?
A: In some subjects there are tutors available; you should first consult your professors. They may recommend a tutor. There is also a Writing Center on campus to help with writing assignments and courses offered that can help with note taking and study skills that may be worth considering.

Q: I received a grade on an assignment or test that I’m not happy about. What can I do?
A: You should talk with the professor to find out whether there was a mistake, and if not ask what you can do to improve. If, after talking with the professor, you do not agree with the grade then you can follow-up with the department chair.

Q: I need to miss class for one or more days. What should I do?
A: Every instructor is different, so consult the syllabus for each particular class. There are excused absences such as illness and death of a family member, but you must contact the Dean’s Office if you have an excused absence.

Questions about cultural issues and social adjustment to campus

Q: I’m having a hard time making friends. Any advice?
A: Get involved with campus student organizations. There are many campus organizations at John Carroll University and they are all welcoming and friendly. You may connect with other students more easily inside the classroom, if you meet students with similar interests outside of class time.

Q: If I become homesick, is there someone who I can talk to on campus?
A: Students at John Carroll come from 35 different American states and over 35 countries as well. You will not be alone in your feelings. At times of national holidays, or semester breaks when other students go home, it becomes important to connect with others. You can talk to other international students who have been at the University a while; typically they experience the same emotions. Also, there are many resources at John Carroll that will help you link to the Greater Cleveland community. There are many nationalities in Cleveland and you can find community centers, places of worship, and other “touches of home” where you can continue to feel connected. If you feel very homesick, there is a University counseling center you can visit to discuss your feelings. This service is free and confidential to all John Carroll University students.

Q: How/where can I celebrate my home country’s holidays?
A: If you wish to celebrate a religious holiday that isn’t celebrated at John Carroll University, Campus Ministry can assist you in finding nearby places of worship.

Q: In my country, it is common for one person to pay for everyone when a group of people eat together or see a movie. Is that common in the U.S.?
A: No, this is not common in the U.S. When going out with a group of friends, it is common for each person to pay his/her own way.

Q: If something my roommate does is bothering me, is it okay to talk to him/her about it? What’s the best way to talk about difficult situations?
A: Often students have different ways of communicating concerns with one another. Some students are open to this kind of communication and others are not. We recommend working with your Resident Assistant on concerns you have and they will help you communicate with your roommate.

Q: If my roommate talks to me about something I’m doing that’s bothering him/her, what should I do?
A: If your roommate talks to you about something, listen to what they have to say. Often we don’t know that what we are doing may be bothering someone else and we can change the problem easily. If you feel uncomfortable, ask your Resident Assistant to sit in on the meeting so they can help mediate the conversation.

Q: I come from a family that is not Catholic. Is this going to be a problem?
A: It is not a problem at all! All students are welcome to all events/programs offered by Campus Ministry at JCU. We welcome and look forward to interacting with students from diverse spiritual/religious backgrounds.

We regularly provide prayer services for non-Catholic and non-Christian faiths. The Campus Ministry office is here to help students grow spiritually. We include all students in this mission.

Q: How can I balance my time better? I have school work to do, but also want to have free time.
A: In the beginning of your academic career you may find it difficult to strike a balance between homework and a social life. International students are not used to having so much homework or so many quizzes. But happily, the longer you are a student the easier it will be for you to find that right balance between homework and school work.

Q: Can I bargain when I shop?
A: At supermarkets, department stores, and shopping malls, it is not customary to bargain on prices in stores in the U.S. You have to pay the retail price or price listed on the products.

Q: What is tipping? When/how much should I tip?
A: A tip is money you leave a waiter/waitress for good service. This payment is in addition to the bill for the meal itself. It is customary to tip between 15% and 20% of the total meal price.

Questions not listed above

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