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First Days on Campus

International students are among the first students to arrive on campus every semester, so expect the campus to look pretty empty, with only international students wandering around with you.

  1. When you arrive, go directly to your Neighborhood Desk with your passport and luggage (check to see which neighborhood your dorm is in). Check in, get a temporary key, and go to your room.
  2. Once in your room – you will see that sheets, pillows, blankets, and other necessities are not provided. Plan on making arrangements to go to the Campus Bookstore or other stores in the area to purchase those (Walmart is open 24 hours and the Cue bus and Mason shuttle will bring you there). If you want to order items online, you can have them delivered to this exact address:

    Your First Name Last Name
    PMB New Student / Incoming Freshman
    4450 Rivanna River Way
    Fairfax, VA 22030

    For pick-up, come to the Campus Mailroom, located on the bottom floor of The Hub. The Mailroom is open Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm.
  3. After you have purchased all the immediate necessities, grab a snack. Your meal plan will not be valid yet, so try out some food on campus (see the fall 2017 move-in week hours of operation) in the Johnson Center Food Court or walk over to the nearest shopping center called University Mall, where you can find a grocery store (Giant Food), as well as restaurants, a movie theatre, and small shops.
  4. Grab a map and explore campus. Expect the campus to look pretty deserted – students living on-campus will arrive three days after you; students living off-campus will show up the first day of classes. Enjoy the quietness and emptiness while you can – the campus will be bustling once classes start!
  5. Get your Mason ID in SUB I, room 1203. They are open Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5pm. You need to bring your passport and G number. Once you receive your Mason ID, you do not need to use the temporary card anymore. Return it to your Neighborhood Desk.
  6. Purchase books for classes. First, find what textbooks you will need through Patriot Web. Then either purchase or rent them at the campus bookstore or search for good used book deals online (e.g.,,, etc.). Do it as soon as possible to save your money. The supply of used books in the campus bookstore is limited.
  7. Take the time to visit to Washington, D.C.
    1. Take the free Mason to Metro Shuttle or Cue bus to get to the Vienna Metro station.
    2. Purchase a SmarTrip card. You can use the Metro Trip Planner to estimate times and distances.
    3. Take the Orange Line to Smithsonian to get to the Capitol and many free museums, or check out other great attractions in D.C. on Tripadvisor. Also, the Orange line will take you to Foggy Bottom, which is the nearest station to visit Georgetown.
  8. Go on a shopping spree to one of the nearby malls by hopping onto the free Gunston Go-Bus (Mason ID required to ride). You can get groceries and enjoy fun shopping, restaurants, and cinema.
  9. Explore Fairfax by taking one of the CUE Buses (show your Mason ID to the driver to ride for free).

Once classes start, the campus will transform into a lively, almost crowded place with lots of things going on every day. Join a student organization or two, start exercising at one of Mason’s free gyms, go to class on time, do homework, and take advantage of the many resources Mason has to offer.