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Accepted Undergrads FAQ

General Q & A

When am I expected to arrive on campus?

See your specific Orientation Schedule for full schedules of events for ESF Orientation—fall or spring.

  • Fall: The official move-in day for first-year students is Tuesday, August 22, 2017, and Thursday, August 24 from 12-5pm for transfer students. You will receive your room assignment via e-mail no later than mid-July from Centennial Hall.

Is there a list of what to bring and not to bring?

Yes, you can find a very detailed list here: www.esf.edu/ff/parents/

How do I purchase my textbooks?

The ESF College Bookstore has partnered with the SU Bookstore for all of your textbook needs. Now you can order your textbooks online and have them delivered right to the ESF Bookstore at no additional charge. Textbook delivery is available through Wednesday, September 6th. Please allow 48 hours for your order to be processed and available at the ESF Bookstore.

If you need to purchase books after Wednesday, September 6th, you can go directly to the SU Bookstore in the Schine Student Center.

If you choose to order your books through the Virtual Bookstore, we will have computers and staff available to assist you with the process during Orientation. There will also be a presentation during Orientation that will go over the entire process.

When you purchase your textbooks through the Online Bookstore, a portion of all sales comes back to the Alumni Association which we then use for student programming. This includes the New Student Ice Cream Social, the Student Poster Session, Festival of Places, the Graduation Toast and a number of other departmental events throughout the year.

What’s the weather like?

While Central New York in the winter is well known for cold weather and lake-effect snow, the region actually experiences four distinct seasons. You will join us at the close of summer and should come prepared for warm days and nights. Soon, however, summer will yield to a spectacular autumn that attracts thousands just to gaze at our fall leaves. By early December, expect to see the snow fly…and keep flying until early April.

Financial Aid Questions
Phone: 315-470-6670

Upon graduation from High School I received a scholarship. The check is payable to ESF and myself. What do I do with it?

Your scholarship check (please endorse the check by signing the back) should be sent to the Financial Aid Office. It will be deposited in an account in our Business Office. The Bursars Office will use your funds to pay your ESF bill. If your ESF bill is already paid by other aid or resources, then a refund will be issued to you for your use to pay other educational expenses (i.e. books, rent, food). The SUNY-ESF Financial aid office is located in Room 113 Bray Hall.

Are there payment plans available for my bills?

Information on payment plans for ESF tuition is available from the ESF Bursar (315-470-6652) or on their website at: www.esf.edu/bursar

Information on time payment plans for SU charges is available through the SU Bursar (315-443-4025).

Can I use my work-study as deferment on my tuition bill?


When will I receive my financial aid package?

Refer all financial aid package questions to the Financial Aid office. (315-470-6670) or email at: finaid@esf.edu

I just received a Syracuse University bill. My ESF financial aid is not listed on it. How do I use my ESF financial aid to pay Syracuse?

An ESF student must first use their financial aid to pay ESF tuition and fees. If after paying ESF’s bill a student has money left over, the ESF Business Office issues a refund to the student or parent. It is the student’s responsibility to use this money for any charges being billed by Syracuse University Bursar Office and use it to pay for their SU charges. A student must make a copy of their ESF financial aid award letter and send it back attached to the SU bill, asking for a postponement of payment until their refund is ready.

Where do I sign up for my college work-study job?

Students who received a work-study award on their Financial Aid award will receive instructions over the summer on where to report to sign up for a job. The Financial Aid Office does this mailing. Mark Hill (x6673) should handle questions regarding work-study.

Can I use my ESF work-study award to work a job at Syracuse University?

No! An ESF work-study award is for use on ESF campus only.

When will my refund from ESF be available?

If a student has completed all their necessary paperwork and has registered for classes, then the refund should be available during the first week of classes in the ESF Bursar Office.

Can my student aid be used as bookstore credit?

ESF does not have a bookstore per se. Therefore, we are not able to offer bookstore credit to students. Students should be prepared to make other arrangements for books and then use their refund to reimburse themselves.

Can I use my financial aid to pay my deposit?

No, but students may request a waiver of deposit if determined to be financially eligible. Refer to the Undergraduate Admissions office, who will verify financial need with the Financial Aid office.

My financial aid is not listed on my ESF bill. Why not?

There are a number of factors that could cause this. First, if a student has not been registered as a full time student, then the aid is not printed. Reason: all aid is based on full time enrollment. Another reason why financial aid may not appear on a bill is that the student has not completed their paperwork, even though they think they have. Another reason is that the student has done nothing wrong and there was an error in processing the bill. Whatever the reason, this question should be referred to the Financial Aid office (315-470-6670).

ESF Semester Bills

When are bills available online?

  • Semester bills for summer classes—May 1st
  • Semester bills for Fall semester—July 1st
  • Semester bills for Spring semester—December 1st

ESF Centennial Hall charges will be on the ESF semester bill.  Room and board charges at SU - bills are sent from Syracuse University—315-443-9501

When is my semester bill due?

Semester bills are due 30 days from the date they are available online.

Contact the Bursar Office (315-470-6652) for payment options.

What are the fees for?

  • ESF & SU Student Activity Fee – supports student clubs and organizations.
  • College Fee – Administrative costs.
  • Student Service Fee – for services offered by Syracuse University.
  • Transportation Fee – fee for field trips.
  • Yearbook Fee – covers the cost of ESF’s own college yearbook, the Empire Foresters.
  • Orientation Fee – covers the cost of all social and academic programs.
  • Intercollegiate Athletics Fee – to partially offset the costs of the college’s intercollegiate athletics program.
  • Technology Fee – to ensure student access to high quality information technology.

Can I use my work-study as deferment on my tuition bill?


Orientation Q & A: Preparation for ESF Orientation

How can I reassure my parents/family that I will be okay when I arrive at ESF and am on my own for the first time?

The best time to reassure your parents that you will be okay at ESF without them is now. By proving your maturity and sense of responsibility now, they will be confident in you and your decisions as a college student. It is also important for you and your parents to understand that part of life and growing up is making mistakes along the way, and that communication is essential for a smooth transition. Also, sometimes it is a good idea for you and your family to talk to one another and map out some expectations that you have for one another before you leave for school.

When do I schedule my classes for the fall semester?

Your department will work with the Registrar's Office to pre-register you for the fall semester. You will receive your schedule and meet with your advisor during orientation. You will be able to make any necessary changes to your schedule after you meet with your advisor.

Should my parents/family attend Orientation? Is it mandatory for them?

We have found over the years that parents and family members are taking a more active role in their students’ college experience. For this reason, we offer a “family” session in our orientation program in the fall. It is a personal choice if family members attend; it is not mandatory. Most often, parents of first year students do attend. Parents/families are asked to leave no later than 7 PM on Tuesday of Orientation weekend.

Should I bring my own computer?

Bringing your own personal computer is a personal choice. Many students find it convenient to own a personal computer. If you do not wish to purchase or bring your own computer, there are many computer labs located throughout campus and residence halls for your use. Visit the Computer Purchase, Email & Internet Information page for more guidance on purchasing a computer.

Can I live off-campus?

First-year ESF students are required to live on campus (unless they have immediate family within commuting distance to campus). Transfer students do not have a residential requirement.

Is it okay for me to bring a bike or car to campus?

You may wish to bring a bike for easy transportation around the campus area. If you choose to bring a bike, there are bike racks located around the academic buildings and also in Centennial Hall for your use. We recommend that you purchase a strong “U” bike lock to secure your bicycle.

Resident first-year students may register and operate only motor driven cycles. You must petition for the possession and/or responsibility for other motor vehicles by writing to SU Parking Services. Once you are a sophomore, you may apply through Parking Services to purchase a parking spot for your car on campus. If you have questions, concerns, or would like further information, visit the SU Parking & Transit website.

I do not understand what the different meal plans are, please explain. Also, how do they work?

There are many different meal plans/SUpercard FOOD options available to you, visit the SU Meal Plans page to see what they are. The SUpercard FOOD account, which is a cash account that allows students to use their College ID card to purchase food and beverages in dining centers, the Schine and Goldstein Dining area, Kimmel and Brockway Food Courts, all University Food Services snack bars, FoodWorks campus grocery, FoodWorks II (FWII), and Campus Delivery. All SUpercard FOOD account food and beverage purchases are exempt from the New York State sales tax.

To give you an idea of how the meal plans work here, take the 14-meal plan as an example. The plan is available to all students and includes any 14 meals a week in North Campus dining centers and special events such as exam breaks. This plan also includes 7 guest meals and a SUpercard FOOD credit per semester. From Thursday morning through Wednesday night, you are entitled to 14 meals in a given meal time frame. If you do not eat 14 meals in one week, your meals will not “carry over” to future weeks.

There is a dollar amount on your SUpercard FOOD associated with your chosen plan. This is a declining balance account that on your ID card. The register attendant at campus eateries will swipe for the amount of purchase, allowing you to see the remaining balance on your account. At any point in time, you can add more money, in $25 increments, to your SUpercard by visiting the SU Housing Office, or stopping by Kimmel or the Schine food court, and completing an add form. The $25 increment you select will be charged to your Bursar account. Cash balances unused at the end of the spring semester are not refunded or carried forward. Please visit the SU Housing & Meal Plans website for more information.

How do I get my ID Card?

If you sent in a picture and you are living in Centennial Hall, your permanent ID card should be at Centennial Hall upon check-in. If, for any reason, this is not the case, your ID will be made available to you at some point during orientation. Transfer students and commuters that are not living on campus are asked to pick their ID during Orientation Check-In if the photo was submitted during the summer.

What does my ID Card do?

Your SU ID card allows you access to your residence hall and the South Campus Center. It is your meal card and SUpercard. It is your access to use the library and all the fun books you will need to reference as you write papers. It allows you to enter recreational facilities on campus, as well as events held in the Carrier Dome. It is your identification to take exams. It gets you discounts on admission to certain campus and community events…we could go on and on with its uses, but the bottom-line is that you should carry it with you at all times.

Personal Q & A

If I identify as a student of color, what support is available to me?

The ESF Diversity and Inclusion Office provides the necessary support and guidance needed to encourage students to become members of a community respectful of differences. They offer one-on-one support for students of color. The Office reaches out to students of all identities who are struggling with mixed messages they may receive in dealing with issues of race and diversity in their own communities and assists students to grow into individuals willing to take a proactive stance against oppression in all its forms. For more information, visit the ESF Diversity and Inclusion website, call 315-470-4815, or visit 14 Bray Hall.

As a student with special needs and/or a disability, what resources and support are offered to me on campus?

The Division of Student Affairs works to facilitate equal access to all academic programs and services for students with physical, psychological, and learning disabilities. If you feel that you may be eligible for services, you should contact this office to discuss documentation guidelines and appropriate accommodations. You may call 315-470-6660, visit 110 Bray Hall, or visit the SU Office of Disability Services for more information.

If I identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender or if I am thinking about coming out, what support is available to me at SU?

If you are just coming out or have questions about your sexuality or gender identity, we invite you to click LGBT Resource Center website to visit the SU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered (LGBT) Resource Center, call 315-443-3983, or visit the LGBT Resource Center located at 750 Ostrom Avenue. The Student Affairs staff at SUNY ESF are also available to speak with for support and additional resources.

2  students walking on campus

Campus Life Q & A

What might an average day be like for me as an ESF student? How busy do you think I will be?

A typical day is different for every student here at ESF, it will most likely even vary from day to day. One day, you might have your first class of the day at 8:30 a.m., while another day, you might not start class until 2 p.m. Some days you might be on campus most of the day, leaving you plenty of opportunities to grab lunch at the Trailhead, take trips to the bookstore, library, Nifkin Lounge, student lounge in Bray Hall, dining halls, and many other events.

At night, after your homework is done, there are seemingly endless school-sponsored events and programs related to both academic and student life, including concerts, lectures and seminars, art shows, etc. There are also many different activities that you can become involved in such as student government, cultural clubs, intramural or club sport, volunteer organization, or other special interest groups.

It is important to recognize that you can be as active and involved at ESF as you choose to be. If you are working, volunteering, are active in student organizations, establishing new friendships, or more importantly, tending to your academics, you might find that your days can become extremely busy. A student planner will be provided to you, and we encourage you to start using it as soon as possible as soon as possible. As sad as this sounds, your planner will become your new best friend. If you take care of it and tend to it often, it will take care of you. Being in college, you cannot believe how many headaches and stressful situations you can avoid by keeping an up-to-date calendar and centralized to-do list. Having great time-management skills—which is an essential component of being a successful college student—begins with a planner!

What do I do if I lose my ID card?

Monday thru Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., contact the SU ID Office to put your card on hold. You may also access the ID Card Services website to place your card on hold and check on the balance of your SUpercard account.

How is the food?

Syracuse University offers you a variety of meal plans, a number of dining centers, as well as several snack bars located in academic buildings on the quad or elsewhere on campus. Dining centers offer a wide variety of foods to choose from, including vegetarian, vegan, kosher, and Halal meals. For more information, visit the SU Housing & Meal Plans website. The University also has a nutritionist that works with University Food Services and individual students to make sure your nutritional needs will be met.

What if I want kosher meals?

Kosher meals are served in Shaw Hall. There is a new Winnick Hillel Center on campus, but it does not offer a formal meal plan. However, there may be times when meals will be prepared in Shaw and served in the new center.

What if I am a vegetarian/vegan or have special nutritional needs?

All the dining centers offer entrees for both vegetarians and vegans. If you have other dietary needs, you should consult with a nutritionist in the Health Center. The nutritionist will work with a dining manager to provide the appropriate meals for you.

Is it safe to walk around campus at night by myself?

No matter where you are, it is always a good idea to walk with someone else, especially at night. ESF and Syracuse University offers many services to foster the safety of students, such as blue lights distributed throughout campus, campus escort services, postings of previous incidents, as well as frequent tips on how to stay safe. For more information, visit the SU Public Safety website.

Is it hard to get around campus?

The combined SU and ESF campus can seem a little overwhelming at first. However, with accurate maps and helpful people, you will find that our campuses are easily navigated. It is also important to remember that the majority of undergraduate classes are located within the same general area, and that you are not alone in worrying about finding your way!

We suggest that you map out where your classes are located for the fall semester. Once you are on campus—before classes begin—you might want to walk around and familiarize yourself with where the buildings are for your classes. On the first day of each class, we suggest that you give yourself a few extra minutes before your class begins to find your classroom and get settled in. And a word to the wise: don’t feel bad about carrying a campus map with you. Remember, everyone here has been new to the campus at one point or another!

SU’s Interactive Campus Map is available to help you find buildings, decrypt cryptic class locations on your schedule, and find offices on campus.

Are classes far away from residence halls?

While there may be some exceptions, most classes are not far away from residence halls. If you are living in the SkyHalls on South Campus, you will need to take a bus (or you can bike) to campus. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the bus schedule (schedules available in your residence hall) so that you are able to catch the bus and make it to campus on time. If you are living on North Campus, it usually won’t take you longer than 10-12 minutes to walk to class from your residence hall—though some classes may be much closer. Once you receive your residence hall assignment and compare it to your class locations, you will get a better idea of how much time you will need to give yourself to get to class. During the winter months, we suggest that you add a few extra minutes to get to class from your residence hall.

Is there a workout center on campus and is it open to all students?

Our main athletic facility is located in the Archbold-Flanagan Gymnasiums. In these two buildings there are basketball courts, weight and cardio machines, a pool, locker rooms, and other amenities. Another large athletic facility is the Women’s Building. The Women’s Building houses a pool, basketball court, and dance studios. There are also various smaller athletic facilities located around campus and in some of the residence halls. BE SURE TO TAKE YOUR STUDENT ID WITH YOU!

Should I start out with a job my first semester?

The decision of whether or not to start out with a job during your first semester is a personal choice. If you wish to work or must work for financial reasons, there are many opportunities for employment on campus, which can be a great way to meet other students, get involved on campus, and learn to manage your time.

As academic and student life are an important part of the college experience, it is also important to consider how employment will impact your overall transition into academic and student life. For additional information, there will be a Work Study Information session available to you during Orientation Weekend. You can also visit the website at https://www.esf.edu/financialaid/fws.htm for more information on opportunities.

What health services are available to me if I get sick?

There are many health-related services available to you, should you get sick while on campus. Crouse Medical Practices (CMP) makes every effort to meet the need of students. For additional information, visit ESF Student Health Services at Crouse Medical Practice.

What is the secret to first-year success?

Learning to manage your time efficiently is one of the hardest and most important secrets to success. Asking for help and advice about time management from your peers, your family, your professors, teaching assistants, academic advisors, etc. may be helpful to you. Also, as time goes on, managing your time will become easier.

It is important to remember that other new students are going through many of the same things that you are. Therefore, be open and willing to reach out to your peers and the ESF community. Be willing to get involved in campus life and engage yourself in the campus culture. Keep in mind that while everything might not happen for you right away, there are plenty of opportunities for you to find your niche and to hit your stride. Realizing that you are going through a pretty big transition from high school to college—or from another institution of higher education to ESF—trying your best to go with the flow and not being afraid to ask for help along the way, is another great secret to a successful first year.