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What to Expect at College Freshman Orientation

Last updated October 20, 2020

What To Expect At College Freshmen Orientation

Your first official act as a college student is to attend your college freshman orientation the summer before freshman year. It can range anywhere from a full day of activities to a full weekend of events. Whether you are headed to a community college or a four-year college in the fall, attending freshman orientation gets you all set up to shine your freshman year in college!

We get the idea of spending time with total strangers can be a little overwhelming. Trust us, college freshman orientation is the best way to adjust to your new life as a college student. To help you survive the day or weekend like a pro, we put together this little new student orientation cheat sheet. (This is the only time we’ll encourage cheating!)

What to expect at new student orientation

New student orientation is designed to help you explore your new college, meet the professors and advisors who will help you through the next few years, and make friends! That means you don’t have to arrive already knowing the answers to everything and you don’t have to already have friends. During the orientation process, you will get to meet with people who might be from your same city, have declared your same major, or will live in your same residence hall. You will play games, tour your campus, eat together, and maybe even hang out for social activities in the evening. You can kind of think of it as summer camp for college students.

Getting connected to the college system

But it’s not all fun and games. After all, you’re going to college to advance your education! During your new student orientation, you will take all the steps necessary to become an enrolled student. That means getting your student identification, submit outstanding information for your student account, logging into the school web portal, taking your placement tests for math, science, and language classes, and getting enrolled in your classes for the fall.

New student orientation is the first time you will meet with your academic advisor who will help you choose your first semester of classes and do an outline of what your academic program will look like as you make progress toward your degree. You’ll get to meet the professors in your department if you’ve declared a major and explore potential academic programs to help you decide on a major.

Prepare for the fall

Because new student orientation is all about helping you get adjusted to your new life as a college student, you will want to make sure you leave orientation prepared for the fall. That means checking in with the financial aid office to make sure your tuition bill is correct and paid, connecting with your roommate to finalize who is bringing what for the room if you’re living on campus, purchasing all the supplies and things you’ll need for school, and checking out your class syllabi to get familiar with your classwork for the fall.

Parent Orientation

Check with your school to see if there is an orientation component for your parent(s) or legal guardian(s). There is a lot of valuable information for parents, such as financial aid, support resources and more. Don't be "too cool" to not invite your parents. This is a new and exciting journey for them too and they want to be able to support you.

COVID-19 Update

Due to COVID-19, a majority of colleges will be moving to a remote virtual college freshmen orientation. Please do check with your college for those details.

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Complete College Freshmen Checklist

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See the whole series

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