Potsdam Life

Potsdam, NY is a small town in upstate New York that is considered ‘The North Country’. Don’t let our size fool you – you would be surprised on all there is to see and do here.

Explore the Region

Living in Potsdam

Schenectady Life

Schenectady, NY is centrally located to many of the University's corporate partners for research, graduate education and alumni networking. The Capital Region Campus (CRC) is less than 15 minutes from the state capital in Albany and less than 3-hours from New York City, Syracuse and Boston.

Explore the Region

Living in Schenectady

Communication

Internet Access

On-campus - Wireless internet access is available across campus and in residence halls. See the Office of Information Technology (Help Desk) for information or assistance in connecting your devices.

Off-campus - Some businesses do offer free Wi-Fi connections – if you plan on living in Potsdam  or Schenectady you may need to enroll with an internet provider for connection.

E-Mail - All on-campus residence halls have ethernet & wireless connections. All new students and scholars are given a Clarkson e-mail account. Please note – your CU e-mail is your primary form of communication from the campus community.

Phone Service

Phone Numbers - All phone numbers in the U.S. have 7-digits plus a 3-digit area code. Dialing a number outside of the area code will require 1 + 3-digit area code + 7-digit phone number – i.e. 1-315-268-3943

Cell Phones - Phone plans available in the Potsdam  area are Verizon & AT&T. Unless you are here for a longer term you may wish to consider a Trac Phone or a Go-Phone at the local Wal-Mart shopping center. These phones can be purchased with a pay as you go and not have to purchase a long-term contract.

Mail Service

U.S. Post Office - Clarkson University has a campus mail room in both locations that serves both students & administration. Both the Administrative Mail Room & the Student Mail Room provide most of the same services offered at the local Post Office in Potsdam.

On-Campus Mailing - all students living on campus will have a campus mailbox where you can receive mail.
Address to receive mail – enter the student's box number where "xxxx" is shown.

  • Student Name
  • CU Box xxxx – 10 Clarkson Ave
  • Potsdam, NY 13699-xxxx

Off-Campus Mailing - graduate students and international visitors in Potsdam will have a campus mailbox typically located within your department. Address to receive mail – enter the department mailbox number where ‘xxxx’ is shown.

  • Graduate Student or International Visitor Name
  • CU Box xxxx – 8 Clarkson Ave
  • Potsdam, NY 13699-xxxx

Graduate students in Schenectady, N.Y. will receive mail to their local address.

Day Trips

Potsdam, N.Y. and the surrounding areas offer an array of exciting sights & attractions. From museums to theaters to a number of day trips from Clarkson University.

Schenectady, N.Y. is located in the heart of the capital region with opportunities for a variety of cultural experiences.

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Health & Safety

Medical care & Insurance

Health care in the United States can be extremely costly and complicated. All students enrolled at CU are required to have health insurance either through their parent/guardian’s policy, their own policy, or enroll in Clarkson’s Student Health Insurance Plan. Health insurance is very important as it will help defray medical or preventative costs associated with your health care. Choosing a company is a personal choice based on your needs – and while Clarkson University cannot evaluate, recommend, or endorse any specific health insurance company or policy – information on available insurance plans are available.

Note – all J-1 visa holders are required by the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to have health insurance with specific minimum coverage requirements while in the United States which covers for sickness or accident during the duration of your program.

Student Health & Counseling Center (SHAC)

The Student Health & Counseling Center is an integrated health & counseling center at Clarkson. All undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for the services SHAC provides. Standard physical and mental healthcare visits are free. Visit the SHAC website for details on services and office hours.

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Housing

Potsdam Campus

Clarkson University offers residences from traditional to apartment style housing for undergraduate and exchange students. The self-catered apartment style housing which include: Riverside Apartments, Townhouse Apartments, and Woodstock Village are traditionally housed with upperclassmen and exchange students. Clarkson University does not offer graduate housing on either campus. On-campus housing will be available to all incoming undergraduate/exchange students enrolled at Clarkson University for study. On-campus housing may not be available to exchange student researchers based on space availability.

All new and returning students that will live on-campus must abide by the date to arrive and check-in to your dorm or apartment. Early arrivals must be approved and may not be accommodated – in addition – those arriving early and checking in may be issued a charge to cover the additional night stay. Please consult the housing calendar and/or Residence Life if you have any questions on this policy.

Temporary Housing

Temporary housing on campus may be available during the summer months –fees will apply. Contact the Residence Life Office for more information.

Hotel/Motels:

  • Potsdam, N.Y.
  • Schenectady, N.Y.

Staying with current students and scholars international student organizations or other current students may assist with temporary housing. Contact your program student organization or department for more information.

Off-Campus Housing

Graduate Students - The Graduate Studies Office at both the Potsdam & Schenectady will provide a housing listing when you accept your admission to Clarkson University. Please review your graduate orientation in Moodle. Other ways to find available apartments are through the following:

Scholars

Clarkson University housing is not available to visitors during the academic year and apartments for short-term stays can often be difficult to secure. Therefore we urge you to make arrangements with your sponsoring faculty member or department well in advance of your arrival to Potsdam. You can expect to pay approximately $500 - $1,000 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. A deposit is usually required in advance. We estimate a minimum average monthly cost of $1,200 to cover rent, food, utilities, transportation, clothing and other essentials but you should consider a minimum of $1,500 to cover such expenses. There are a number of temporary lodging options within a short distance from campus. Please visit North Country Now for more information. 

Note: visiting exchange students for study or research from partner universities will be housed on campus.

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Money & Banking

Determining what you need upon arrival to Potsdam or Schenectady, NY will depend on what your situation is. We recommend that you change some money to U.S. dollars before you leave your country. Do not carry large amounts of cash currency, it is best to use traveler’s checks. Better yet have a credit card that you can use internationally. Upon arrival you can choose to open a bank account locally as there are a number to choose from.

Open a bank account

As previously mentioned – it may be convenient to open an account locally during your time in Potsdam or Schenectady. To open an account you need proof of your identity – i.e. – your passport. You do not need a social security number to open a bank account. Representatives from local banks are often on campus at the start of each semester.

Some possible expenses

  • Food & Transportation:  you may wish to travel before arriving to Clarkson or during breaks. Please also note that if you choose the meal plan at CU – there are times when this is not active during the semester (official breaks). However, there are alternate dining options on and off campus.
  • Utilities: living on campus will not encounter additional costs for utilities (electricity, gas, internet, etc) however, living off campus you typically must account for these as additional costs.
  • Clothing:  The most important thing to remember is that Potsdam and Schenectady are located in the northeastern part of the U.S. and it can get very cold here in the winter. Since we can have large quantities of snow, you will need a good thick coat and snow boots. Most students and scholars have down or polyester padding filled jackets or coats, and of course, good gloves, scarves and woolen hats. Well clothed, you can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Many of our students and scholars like to ski and pursue other outdoor activities.
  • Furnishings: living on campus you are supplied with a bed, a dresser and a desk. Any additional items may need to be purchased or borrowed during your stay at Clarkson University. It is likely that off campus living may require purchase of essentials if your apartment is not furnished.

Note: The Lending Cupboard is a dedicated source for all international students, visitors and their families. This resource is run by The Clarkson Club and allows international students and visitors the ability to borrow items during their time at CU. Items available can include: linens, dishes, small furniture, small appliances, clothing, etc. Once you are done borrowing the item, you simply return it to the Lending Cupboard for another student/scholar to use. The Cupboard takes donations as well.

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The Lending Cupboard

The Lending Cupboard is an initiative dedicated to helping international students, as well as scholars, their spouses, and families. The Lending Cupboard is operated by The Clarkson Club. At the ‘cupboard’ you can borrow items needed for your apartment or dorm room. There are a lot of items available, from clothing and small appliances to furniture. When you are done with an item you simply return it to the Lending Cupboard.
Location
The Lending Cupboard is located on Route 11 south (heading towards Canton) just past the Clarkson Entrance Road to the university near the Scott Softball Field (campus map #36) and Snell Baseball Field (campus map #29). See the Clarkson Map

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