Incoming first year students

New Student Orientation

Winter Orientation for spring 2020 admitted students will be on January 9 or 10 (depending on your student status). Please complete your Orientation registration as soon as possible and complete the items on the Orientation checklist prior to attending.

Welcome to Virginia Commonwealth University!

We look forward to meeting you at New Student Orientation, where you’ll learn about all the resources and services available to new students. NSO is required for first-year students, transfer and adult learner students, international students and students who are returning to VCU after being away for more than three years. Parents and family members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Think of it as your formal introduction to VCU.

During this action-packed program:

  • Orientation Leaders will provide the inside scoop on academics, involvement and social life at VCU.
  • Representatives from your school or college will inform you about requirements for your area of study.
  • Faculty and staff will introduce you to campus resources and answer your burning questions.
  • The time spent with your orientation team will help you make friends (and maybe find a roommate).
  • You’ll participate in your first VCU tradition and become an official Ram!

Reserving your space at NSO

We look forward to seeing you at New Student Orientation, but you must make a reservation to attend. The fees listed below cover all of the items listed as well as new student programs and services designed to support your transition to VCU. Your reservation is not complete until your online payment is received. Payments are nonrefundable.

First-year students (i.e. recent high school graduates) 

First-year students attending winter orientation are required to attend a one-day orientation program. A nonrefundable $100 fee covers all orientation materials, staffing, facility fees, parking, lunch, and programs and services designed to support new students in their first year.

First-year students attending summer orientation are required to attend a two-day orientation program, which includes an overnight stay in a residence hall. A nonrefundable $175 fee covers all orientation materials, staffing, facility fees, parking, overnight accommodations (for the summer program only), linens, lunch and dinner on day one, and breakfast on day two in addition to programs and services designed to support new students in their first year.

Transfer and adult learner students 

Transfer students are required to attend orientation. A nonrefundable fee of $100 covers all orientation materials, staffing, facility fees, parking and a meal. There are day and evening options available. Evening sessions are designed for working professionals who are not able to attend a day program and for non-traditional students over the age of 25. If you do not meet these criteria, please register for a day session.

The program will last 4-5 hours giving you an opportunity to accomplish other business on campus if needed.  

If you are a transfer student with fewer than 24 credits, we encourage you to participate in the two-day program for first-year students for a more immersive introduction to VCU. To request participation in this program, please email New Student and Family Programs at or call us at (804) 828-3700.

Families and guests 

We encourage family members and guests to attend Orientation. As important partners in your student’s success, we have designed an orientation program just for you. The nonrefundable fee for guests is $50 (first-year program) or $25 (transfer program), which covers orientation materials, a family calendar and guide, and a meal, as well as family programs and services designed to support you. 

Overnight accommodations are not included for family members/guests but there are several options available. Housing on campus is available in the Cary and Belvidere Residential College at a rate of $50-$170 per night depending on family size. Please note that this is not the residence hall students are housed in during NSO. To make a reservation, visit

Several area hotels offer special rates during the summer for NSO families and guests. See for more information.

Tailored Orientation Programs

There are several different NSO programs offered to meet the needs of our diverse student body. Please consider attending one of our tailored programs if you meet the criteria to have a more individualized NSO experience.

Access orientations for students with disabilities

Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity (SAEO) is partnering with NSO to create tailored orientation experiences for students with disabilities and their families. These programs will include:

  • A workshop for students with disabilities making the transition to VCU
  • Opportunities to hold initial meetings and register for accommodations with SAEO
  • A sensory and mobility-friendly experience

International and out-of-state students

International and out-of-state students may attend any NSO program but there are reserved NSO dates just prior to the start of classes so that you do not have to make multiple trips to VCU before classes begin. You may not be able to select these dates using the registration system. To be registered for one of these dates email New Student and Family Programs at or call us at (804) 828-3700

Veteran students

If you are a transfer student who is serving or has served in the military, there is a special orientation program designed just for you to learn about resources and opportunities specific to you and to meet other veterans.

When to attend

New Student Orientation is twice a year. NSO sessions are based on academic major. Space is limited and seats fill up fast, so register as soon as possible once dates are made available. You’ll attend based on the semester you plan to start:  

Fall semester: Orientation is a two-day summer program with an overnight stay for first-year students. Transfer students attend for one day.

Spring semester: Orientation is a one-day or half-day event during winter break.

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