When you first arrive at Caltech, you should check in with the Housing Office (if you applied for institute housing), the Graduate Office, and your option secretary. On registration day, you’ll finish checking in. IMSS can set up your email account as soon as you enroll, so you can arrange for it to be working when you arrive in the fall. All graduate students are automatically signed up for health and dental insurance; information about these programs will be sent to you within the first couple of weeks of school. International students should also check in with International Student Programs (http://www.isp.caltech.edu).
If you have on-campus housing, you should first check in at the Graduate Housing Office at 414 S. Holliston, on the first floor of the Center for Student Services building (86) during regular business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday). During check-in, you will receive your room keys and will be informed of your housing assignment (if there has been any change since your housing confirmation letter was sent out). You will sign a housing contract and will be given information brochures about housing policies and services. It is highly recommended that you read through the brochures carefully, as Caltech housing offers a lot of convenient services.
Your option secretary will give you a campus mailbox, tell you where you can pick up your paycheck, and give you the forms needed to get a key to your option’s building(s). Check with your option secretary and find out what other forms you have to fill out, who your advisor is (in many options, you are assigned a temporary advisor until you choose an advisor), and what additional check in requirements, such as placement exams, your option has. Some options or departments hold a welcome party for new students this can be a good opportunity to meet senior students.
Upon arrival at Caltech, you will check in with the Graduate Office (http://www.gradoffice.caltech.edu/) (230-87, second floor of the Center for Student Services) where will be given instructions on the next steps for checking in and direct you to the Registrar’s Office where you will get the information for your Caltech ID. New students who are U.S. citizens are also required to also complete an I-9 form, which will allow you to be placed on the Caltech payroll. You will need to bring your driver’s license (or government-issued ID card) and social security card or U.S. passport with you. Students checking in earlier in the summer should follow the same check-in procedures.
Please see: http://www.isp.caltech.edu/ under the ‘New Student Info’ section.
New non-US-resident students:
Upon arrival at Caltech, international students should check in with International Student Programs (250-86, Building #86, x6330, firstname.lastname@example.org) to complete your immigration paperwork, to do some paperwork to determine tax treaty status, and to complete the form I-9, which will allow you to be placed on the Caltech payroll. You will need to bring your passport, your I-20 or DS 2019, and your I-94 when you check in with ISP. Check-in with ISP occurs on the first day of new international student pre-orientation, which occurs the week before the all-school orientation. During all-school orientation, you’ll also check in with the Graduate Office, which will get you started on the remainder of the new student check-in procedures and direct to you the Registrar’s for the information about getting a Caltech ID.
New students who are legal permanent residents of the United States (green card holders):
Upon arrival at Caltech, you will briefly check in at the International Student Programs office (250-86, Building #86, x6330, email@example.com. edu) to complete the form I-9, which will allow you to be placed on the Caltech payroll. You will need to bring your green card and passport with you when you check in with ISP. Once you’ve completed your I-9, you will check in with the Graduate Office, which will get you started on the remainder of the new student check-in procedures and direct to you the Registrar’s for the information about getting a Caltech ID. During these check-in procedures, it’s a good idea to carry all your identification papers, including your U.S. Social Security card if you have one. (If you don’t have a U.S. Social Security card, we will give you help in getting one during international student pre-orientation.) Once you’ve finished all this paperwork, you can store items like your passport, green card, immigration documents, or Social Security card in a safe place rather than carrying them with you.
Caltech uses online registration. However, you will receive a separate form which must be completed with your contact information and mailed to the Registrar’s office within a few days of registration. Also, take your ID to Millikan Library (building #32) to get your library account set-up (required to check out books) and to the Bursar’s Office (363 S. Hill Ave., x2988) to set up your student charge account (which allows you to charge items from the bookstore and on-campus dining facilities). If you have not yet paid the general deposit fee of $100, you can pay the Bursar’s Office at this time. You may also want to set up tax withholding and direct deposit at the start of the year. Payroll has the required paperwork. Some sources of funding (such as NIH training grants) will not automatically withhold taxes. If your funding changes, it is a good idea to check that withholding has changed too.
If you have not already received an email account from your department or group, you can obtain one from Information Management Systems & Services (312 Center for Student Services, x3500, firstname.lastname@example.org). More information can also be viewed on the IMSS webpage: http://www.imss.caltech.edu/.
All Caltech students and faculty are required to sign an agreement
regarding rights to inventions made and computer software developed while at Caltech. A copy of the student agreement is located in the Caltech Catalog. Postdocs should consult the Postdoctoral Scholar’s Handbook for a discussion of their agreements.
You will need to go by the Caltech card office (http://cardoffice.caltech.edu/) to get you Caltech ID card. One unusual aspect of the card office is that it normally closes after 1pm so make sure to plan your day accordingly. Under ‘Access’ you will be able to request access to libraries and other campus buildings which are locked outside of business hours.