General Pre-Arrival Information and Planning

Thinking About Where to Live

Most undergraduate students live in the University residence halls. You will be receiving information from the CWRU Office of Housing, Residence Life & Greek Life, but if you have questions in the meantime, please feel free to contact them directly.

There are no rooms allocated for graduate students in the CWRU residence halls. Married students or graduate students may use the services of the Off-Campus Housing Bureau in Yost Hall. Off-campus housing information is also available onlineYou should plan to arrive two weeks prior to the beginning of the semester since you must make your own arrangements for off-campus housing upon arrival. For students with families, we advise that your family arrive after you have had time to locate suitable housing for them. Arranging temporary accommodations for your family while you are looking for housing can be very difficult and expensive.

Planning What to Bring or Buy in the US

Money – Even if you have substantial funding from CWRU, you should bring with you approximately $2,000 (USD) to cover immediate expenses for initial supplies and books, settling-in costs such as security deposits for rent, telephone, and utilities. We recommend you bring these funds in the form of “traveler’s checks” in U.S. dollars. Traveler’s checks provide a safe way to carry money while traveling in the United States and abroad. They are insured against loss and theft and are more readily accepted in the United States by businesses away from your area of residence than personal checks. Banks sell traveler’s checks, for which they charge a small fee of usually 1% for the value of checks purchased.

Clothing – Temperatures vary considerably from year to year. During spring and fall, moderate periods of rainfall occur. In Cleveland, OH the summer can be very hot and humid. A great deal of snow falls periodically during the winter months.

Three basic types of clothing are essential. In winter, heavy jackets or overcoats, hats, scarves, gloves, and boots are needed. During chilly autumn and spring days, raincoats or medium-weight wool coats or jackets are worn outdoors, sweaters indoors. A light-weight jacket is sometimes necessary for cool nights during spring, summer, and fall. The general dress code on campus is rather casual, except for special occasions for which you may want to have one or two nice outfits. During your first weeks on campus, there may be one or two gatherings where the appropriate dress code may be more formal.


Nearly all universities provide basic furniture in campus housing. This includes:

  • Desk
  • Desk chair
  • Dresser
  • Bed

There are some items you will probably buy when you arrive. These include:

  • Linens
    • Sheets. Find out what size the bed is in your new home. You will need to buy sheets to fit that bed. Most on-campus beds are extra-long-twin-sized (approximately 2.03 meters long).
    • Blankets. Again, make sure they are the right size.
    • Pillow cases
  • Towels
  • Laundry materials
    • Detergent/clothes soap
    • Dryer sheets
    • Fabric softener
    • Bag for soiled laundry
  • Clothing hangers
  • Alarm clock
  • Rubbish bin
  • Shower shoes (these are also called “flip flops”)
  • Calling card or cellular telephone
  • Plastic storage bins. These are most helpful if they can fit under your bed. Buy plastic bins that aren’t taller than 25 cm.
  • Toiletries
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Soap
    • Shampoo
    • Deodorant
    • Comb or hairbrush
    • Shaver

Many shops in the U.S. specialize in selling these items and others you will need for university housing. The staff at these shops is very knowledgeable. They can answer questions if you’re not sure what you need. You can also order items online from most of these shops. In the U.S., it is very easy to purchase things online and have them delivered if you have a credit card. (Learn about credit cards in the finance section of this orientation). Some of these shops include:

Immunizations and Health Testing

Immunization Information
All students entering Case Western Reserve are required to have proof of immunity to measles, mumps and rubella. It is recommended that all students have a Diphtheria-Tetanus booster within the past 10 years. Students who have not had these immunizations, or can’t document that they have had them, can get them at University Health Services after classes begin. There will be a fee for these vaccines, which the CWRU Medical Plan (insurance) does not cover.

TB Skin Testing Information
All international students that need to have a Tuberculin Skin test should come to UHS to get this done. University Health Service is open Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with the exception of Thursday when the office opens at 9:30 a.m. Having a positive tuberculin skin test will not affect your status at the university.