ISPOP Frequently Asked Questions

International Student Pre-Orientation FAQs

The International Student Mentoring and Pre-Orientation Programs (ISMP and ISPOP, respectively) are coordinated by International Student Advising within the Office of Pluralism and Leadership (OPAL). This page is a compilation of the most frequently asked questions over the years. Additional information is also communicated to your Dartmouth email address from ISMP/ISPOP Core Staff – a group consisting of your International Student Mentor Co-Coordinators and OPAL staff members, including the International Student Advising Program Coordinator and Assistant Dean.

Should you have further questions after reviewing this page and messages from the ISMP/ISPOP Core Staff, please email International.Student.Advising@dartmouth.edu. We ask you to allow 3-5 business days for a response in July and August as we work to prepare for your arrival.

Don't forget to join us in the Dartmouth International Students Class of 2026 Facebook Group and follow us on Instagram @dartmouth.ism!

Arrival

1. How do I travel to campus?

The most common way to travel to campus is by the Dartmouth Coach. The Coach travels between Hanover and stops at the Boston Logan International Airport, Boston South Station, and New York City midtown. Note: The Dartmouth Coach shares a name with the College, but is independently owned and operated.

Additionally, there is an Amtrak station and a Greyhound bus stop 5 miles/8 kilometers (10-minute drive) from campus in White River Junction, Vermont. While seemingly close, there are extremely limited taxi cab, car, and rideshare (Lyft/Uber) services in the area. Many students opt to travel by Dartmouth Coach to more easily arrive directly to Hanover.

For your convenience, we have compiled a non-exhaustive list of local taxi cab companies and car services. Reservations are recommended. (Listed in alphabetical order)

Taxi companies

  • Best Transportation, LLC – (603) 448-4004, https://www.bestuvride.com
  • Big Yellow Taxi – (603) 643-8294
  • Lebanon Taxi – (603) 448-7027
  • New Aces Transportation – (603) 558-3116
  • Twin State Cab – (802) 295-7878

Car services

2. Where do I go when I get to campus? How do I check into ISPOP?

On Monday, August 29 between 9:00 am and 7:30 pm, ISPOP check in will be located on the patio of the Collis Center for Student Involvement (2 North Main Street, Hanover). There, you will be greeted by OPAL staff members who will ask for your photo identification to receive your ISPOP Resource Packet, DartCard (Dartmouth ID), room key, four (4) take-home rapid antigen tests, and testing instructions.

At 7:30 pm, check in will relocate indoors to the Collis Center front desk.

If you arrive after 10:00 pm and are not on the Dartmouth Coach, please contact us to arrange for room access. ISPOP check in will re-open at 8:30 am on Tuesday, August 30.

For those arriving by Dartmouth Coach, we do our best to have upper-level student leaders welcome you at the Coach stop in Hanover and guide you to ISPOP Check In.

For those arriving by Greyhound or Amtrak to White River Junction, please note the Greyhound stop and Amtrak station are in White River Junction, Vermont – a nearby town across the Connecticut River. While only 5 miles/8 kilometers (10-minute drive) from campus there are extremely limited taxi cab, car, and rideshare (Lyft/Uber) services in the area. Please see above for taxicab and car service options to get to campus.

For those arriving by private vehicle, navigate to the Collis Center for Student Involvement (2 North Main Street, Hanover). Plan to park nearby and walk to ISPOP check in. Additional information about parking in Hanover can be found on the town website.

3. When and where do I pick up my Dartmouth ID Card (DartCard) and room key?

Participants will be given their ISPOP Resource Packet, DartCard (Dartmouth ID), room key, four (4) take-home rapid antigen tests, and testing instructions upon checking into ISPOP. Please have photo identification ready at check in.

4. Can I move into my room earlier than Monday, August 29?

On-campus housing is not available earlier than August 29. It is recommended you secure other accommodations. Since lodging in Hanover can be limited, many students opt to stay in Boston, New York, or wherever they will be prior to traveling to Hanover.

Accommodations in towns adjacent to Hanover are available; however, there are extremely limited taxi cab, car, and rideshare (Lyft/Uber) services in the area. Most hotels are not accessible by public transportation, which operates on weekdays – there is no weeknight/evening or weekend service.

There are two hotels within walking distance to campus (listed in alphabetical order):

Program

1. Do I have to participate in all ISPOP programs and activities?

Your engagement and participation with ISPOP sessions is expected unless otherwise noted or specially arranged.

ISPOP is carefully planned by the ISMP/ISPOP Core Staff to introduce you to Dartmouth and to familiarize you with key resources and people. The programming features a mix of focused, informational sessions and fun activities designed to help get you off to a smooth start as you begin to engage with the College, wherever you are in the world! Fully virtual sessions will be recorded, and staff/presenters will encourage your participation in breakout discussion opportunities whenever possible.

There will be many opportunities to bridge multiple student communities during ISPOP, New Student Orientation (NSO) , and First-Year Trips (FYT, or Trips). We intentionally partner with the First Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP) Summer Session and the Native and Indigenous Pre-Orientation Program to forge connections during their sessions. We encourage you to intentionally engage with non-international classmates during your introduction to Dartmouth.

2. What's the difference between ISPOP and New Student Orientation (NSO)? Do I need to do both?

ISPOP is a pre-orientation program within the International Student Mentoring Program and developed specifically for incoming international students, providing an opportunity to connect with the incoming international student cohort. 

New Student Orientation (NSO) is for all incoming first year students and begins after pre-orientation programs, including ISPOP. Additional information about NSO can be found on their website.

International students are expected to engage in both ISPOP and NSO. We work closely with our colleagues in New Student Orientation to minimize redundant content between the programs so participants are able to access information from different perspectives and in varied peer groups.

3. Can I be part of both the FYSEP Summer Session and ISPOP?

Yes! We encourage students who are invited to the FYSEP Summer Session to take advantage of the opportunity. While there are some schedule overlaps, we work closely with our colleagues in the First Generation Office (FGO) to ensure FYSEP students have access to asynchronous content where possible. Should you have any questions about schedule conflicts, please let us know.

4. I'm an athlete. How does ISPOP impact my pre-season schedule?

It is our expectation that all international students participate in ISPOP. Some athletes may have pre-season practices and must organize their schedules to maximize learning the information they need to thrive on campus – in addition to participating in necessary practices. We recognize it can be a challenge for our first-year student-athletes to navigate pre-season athletic commitments as well as attend pre-orientation programming. If you have any questions or need to create a hybrid schedule, please reach out to us.

5. How do exchange students engage with ISPOP?

Exchange students are invited to join the Canvas page and all virtual sessions offered in August. However, there is no in-person component for international exchange students. Please arrive to campus as directed by campus colleagues, such as First Year Trips (if participating) and Residential Life (if living on campus).

6. Do Canadian citizens have to participate in ISPOP?

If you are an international student from any country and will be studying in the US on a visa, you are expected to fully engage in ISPOP. Canadian students, as international students, fall within this category. It is particularly important for those who have not lived, studied, or spent more than a few weeks in the US prior to coming to Dartmouth. ISPOP includes a mandatory session for visa holders. If you are unable to attend the session you should contact the Office of Visa and Immigration services immediately (Visa.and.Immigration.Services@dartmouth.edu).

7. When will the in-person ISPOP schedule become available?

A physical copy of the in-person ISPOP schedule is included in your Resource Packet upon checking in. An electronic copy (PDF) will be available on the ISPOP landing page during the program.

Should you need accommodations for your physical schedule (ex. large print), please include this request in your Information and Arrival Form or by emailing International.Student.Advising@dartmouth.edu no later than two weeks prior to your arrival. While we will strive to provide large print items for all documents in the Resource Packet, materials provided by campus or community partners may not be available in large print format.

8. Who will be my mentor? What is the role of a mentor?

International Student Mentors are returning, upper-level students. You will meet your mentor and connect with your mentor/mentee group during in-person ISPOP – there are about 10-12 international '26s in each group. This mentor will be your guide and main point of contact for ISPOP, and with whom we also hope you will remain connected throughout your time at the College. As an individual available to answer questions, offer support, make referrals, and share experiences, your mentor can help you to begin to make these important introductions and will be a key resource for you this year.