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Making Preparations

Checklists for Your Return Home

Before You Leave Cornell University

  • Make sure your Cornell bursar account does not have an outstanding balance or credit. You can check your account balance online through our Student Center.
  • Order a copy of your transcript. You may want to order multiple copies to avoid international shipping fees in case you need another copy in the future.
  • Provide your permanent home address and personal email address to your department, faculty advisor and others who might wish to be in contact with you.
  • Return books or other materials you borrowed from the library. Fines are imposed on unreturned books, and the university does not release transcripts until the fines are paid in full.
  • If you worked on campus, be sure to update your home country address in Student Essentials to be sure you will receive your W-2 form from the Cornell Payroll Office.

Before You Leave Ithaca

  • Fill out "change of address" forms online or at the local U.S. Post Office to assure your mail is forwarded to you.
  • Contact your mobile phone company to cancel your account.
  • Notify utility companies of your departure (NYSEG, Time Warner Cable, etc.). Ask if you can pay the bills before you leave. If you will be getting a return on any of your deposits, make arrangements to receive the money.
  • Call U.S. credit card companies to see if you can make outstanding payments before you leave.
  • Close your bank account if you will not be using it anymore. Some prefer to leave the account open if they expect to receive additional payments (including tax refunds) after leaving Cornell.
  • File any medical insurance claims that are still outstanding. Pay the balance that you owe. Note when your health insurance expires to see if you are leaving the United States after this date.
  • Check out of your apartment. Leave a forwarding address with the manager. Return your keys, and request the return of your security deposit.
  • If you are taking a computer or other high-tech equipment home, find out details about U.S. export regulation.
  • Consult your country’s embassy to determine what customs regulations you will need to consider when taking or shipping your belongings home.
  • Return any borrowed household items. If you have items to pass on, donate them to other international students, or ask your friends to share them with new arrivals. Cornell’s Dump and Run program collects donations at the end of the academic year. Donation boxes will be located on campus, or you can arrange a pick-up of your unwanted items if you are located off campus. Other donation locations include Ithaca ReUse, Thrifty Shopper, and the Salvation Army.
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