Transition Tips

Get to know your school  

Take some time to read through the resources available to you. The orientation website (welcome.fuller.eduis a great place to start! Get familiar with Moodle and Portico by looking through Preparing for Classes and
Coming to Pasadena for information on 
local housing, churches, things to do and more!

What is a Social Security Number?  

A social security number is intended to report your earnings to the federal government for taxation purposes and to receive social security benefits later in life. However, it is often 
used as a form of personal identification by other institutions. The only way non-citizens are eligible to receive a social security number is if they obtain legal employment in the US. Please note that students do not need a SSN to get a driver's license or open a bank account. However, landlords and utility, cable and cell phone companies may request an SSN to do a credit history check to determine the amount of deposit they will require to secure housing or to activate services.

        Please visit for more information

Is Southern California always sunny? 

Most of the time, yes. However, it does get cool and rainy during some periods so bring some heavier clothes (sweaters and a warm coat/jacket) as well. Students dress casually for classes although you may want to bring a few formal items for the occasional dress-up event.

How do I find a school for my children?  

There are both public and private school options available in the Pasadena area. Your local address determines the public school your child will attend. The Neighborhood School Locator on the Pasadena Unified School District website will help you find your school. While public schools are free, private and religious-sponsored schools charge tuition and other related fees.

You will need to take the following document to enroll:

    • Proof of Residence (utility bill, driver's license etc.)
    • Passport and I-94 Form
    • Past school records (transcripts from middle school and high school)
    • Child's birth certificate and recent immunization records

What will I do about transportation? 

There are plenty of ways to get around Pasadena without driving a car. But if you plan on having a car, check out these tips for new Californians on applying for a driver’s license or ID card, vehicle registration and more. If you are legally present in the U.S but ineligible for a SSN, you are exempt from the SSN requirement when applying for a driver’s license or ID card.

Where can I get furniture? 

We understand that you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on furniture you will only use temporarily. Some budget-friendly options include ACTS Thrift Store, located just a few blocks from campus for gently used items, or Ikea for new furniture at affordable prices. 

            Acts Thrift Store                                                   Ikea
            1382 Locust Street                                                600 N. San Fernando Blvd.
            Pasadena, CA 91106                                             Burbank, CA 91502
            626-577-4477                                                        818-842-4532  

What is tip and what is the appropriate amount? 

Tip can also be called gratuity and it is a voluntary extra payment made for service. Service industry employees will often expect a tip (taxi, airport shuttle, hotel, restaurant, hair salon). A 15% tip on the bill is typical at restaurants. A 20-25% tip is considered a generous tip for services you felt were above average. A $1-2 tip is typically given for luggage help or housekeeping at a hotel.

How do I get a cell phone? 

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile all have branches near campus. Take your passport and a second form of identification. Here is some additional information that may help you decide on the best plan for you.

The following is meant to help you choose the right cell phone carrier for you and does not reflect store policies for international customers. Please check with a sales associate for current information. If you do not have credit in the U.S., you will most likely need to put a deposit down.

   Prepaid Plan?  Deposit
(if no SSN)*
 Intl. Credit Card OK?*  Other Information*
 Verizon Wireless
 368 South Lake Avenue
 Pasadena, CA 91101
 Yes  Addition $400 deposit per
 line added. After 6 months of
 good payment, additional
 deposit requirement is
 T- Mobile
 173 South Lake Avenue
 Pasadena, CA 91101
 Yes  N/A  Yes  At account setup, F-1/J-1
 students are pre-approved
 for up to 3 lines
 AT & T
 83 East Colorado Blvd.
 Pasadena, CA 91105
 Yes  Yes  Yes  
 80 East Colorado Blvd.
 Pasadena, CA 91105
Inquire with
sales associate
for most current information
 Yes  Can open up to 2 lines
* See store representative for most updated information

Do I need an adapter for my electronics? 

Bring an adapter plug if you wish to use your small electric appliances such as an iron, hair dryer or electric razor right away. If you forget, not a problem! You can buy adapter plugs here as well. U.S. electrical current is 110-115 volt, 60 cycle AC. 

Where can I do my banking? 

To open a checking/savings account, go to the nearest bank of your choice to speak with a bank associate. Be sure to bring your passport and a second form of identification (California ID, home country driver’s license or ID card etc.) Please note that a SSN is not needed to open a checking/savings account but is needed to open a credit card.

Some popular local banks include:

Wells Fargo Bank
82 South Lake Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101 

Bank of America
399 East Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91101

U.S. Bank
720 East Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91101

How can I prepare for cultural adjustment? 

While every student's experience will be slightly different, there are two main postures that can help understand entry approaches and the potential outcomes of each approach. 

What's in Pasadena?

Find local grocery stores, cafes, banks and other recreational locations

View in Google Maps (will show a list of all places marked)