International Student Orientation 2020

ATTENTION: Registration for Winter Orientation opens on Monday, November 2nd. Winter Orientation sessions for Spring 2021 new students will be virtual. More information on the Winter Orientation process is coming soon and will be updated below at that time. Specific details will be included in Orientation confirmation e-mails. Questions? Contact New Student and Family Programs at orientu@gmu.edu or 703-993-2475. Welcome to Mason!


Welcome to George Mason University and Maso
n Virtual Orientation! The International Student Orientation program is designed to help transition new international students to the institution and expose them to the broad educational opportunities at George Mason University.   

With the health and safety of  the university community being paramount and the consideration of local, state, and federal guidance surrounding COVID-19, George Mason has made the decision to move orientation online for Summer 2020. The previously advertised August 17th, 2020 International Student Orientation date will no longer happen in-person and all information covered in this program will be moved online.   

New Student and Family Programs and the Office of International Programs and Services are committed to providing new international students with a high-quality virtual orientation experience using several online platforms to provide timely and relevant information that is easily accessible while providing personal connections to Mason.  

All specific information surrounding the virtual orientation experience, gaining access to systems, and instructions on how to navigate those systems will be sent to students directly via e-mail.  

Below is an overview of the international student orientation experience with general information about each component.

Patriot Preview Pre-Orientation Modules
  • Students will gain access to a set of pre-orientation online modules called Patriot Preview starting on May 15th. Patriot Preview gives information to help prepare students for their orientation experience 
  • Patriot Preview provides brief overviews of topics including preparing for academic advising, course registration, paying for college, navigating campus, enhancing academic success, student life at Mason, personal well-being and safety, and other logistics of being a new student at Mason.   
  • It is highly encouraged to complete Patriot Preview modules before orientation. 
Virtual Orientation Program

Access Information

  • Students will participate in a virtual orientation session via Blackboard, the university’s learning management tool. Access will be granted to the Blackboard system starting on June 15th.
  • If a student signs up for orientation after June 15th, access will be granted to the Blackboard system within 5 business days of registering.
  • Students will receive an email once they have been added and granted access to the Blackboard Virtual Orientation course.

Virtual Orientation Structure

  • For an outline of the Blackboard Virtual International Student Orientation structure, click here.*
  • *Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on communicating certain pieces of important information for international students, additional content related to the international student orientation (such as Immigration Compliance, Honor Code, US Culture, etc.) will be uploaded in Blackboard in early August.

Virtual Orientation Components to Complete Before Academic Advising

  • Once in Blackboard, students should complete the following sections before Academic Advising & Course Registration:
    • Welcome to Virtual Orientation – an overview of orientation and how to use  Blackboard
    • Preparing for Your First Semester – a series of pre-recorded, mandatory presentations on the most important transition information for new students
      • Each presentation will have a small quiz at the end to test a students’ knowledge of the content shared in the video and signify completion.
    • Learning More About Your Academic College – important overview of college-specific information that is essential to know and understand before Academic Advising appointments

Additional Virtual Orientation Content in Blackboard

  • New Student Resources section – Six categories of videos sharing information about relevant campus resources for new students.
  • Mason First Year Webpage section – One-stop-shop of all Mason webpages frequently visited by new students, curated by current students
  • Learn Blackboard section – An easy troubleshooting guide for the most common Blackboard user issues

Final Important Notes

    • If information shared throughout orientation is altered or updated in relation to COVID-19, additional content will be added to each student’s Blackboard course in early August. Be sure to check your e-mail regularly for university and additional orientation information during this unprecedented time.  
    • Students’ Virtual Orientation course stays in Blackboard for the remainder of their collegiate experience and can be referred back to at any time.
    • More information specific to your transition as an international student will also be provided by the Office of International Programs and Services office in early August. 
Advising and Course Registration
  • After registering for orientation, academic advising and course registration is available to freshman and transfer international students beginning on May 15th through the academic College/School they are majoring in at Mason. To meet with an academic advisor, students need to complete the online request form 
  • If international students are a part of the China 1-2-1 program, Global Exchange program, Mason Korea program, or INTO Mason program, specific directions on the process for academic advising and course registration will come directly from their respective program. Academic advising and course registration will not be able to occur until that happens.  
    • For more information, students should contact their specific program.
Preamble and Welcome2Mason Programming

August 19 – 22, 2020 

  • To assist in the transition to college, Mason offers a series of mandatory programming and optional programming to help students get connected to campus and each other.  
  • The Preamble is a series of mandatory programming that helps new students learn more about Mason values, expands on topics covered at orientation that are essential to student success, and gives students the opportunity to feel more comfortable about navigating Mason.  
  • Welcome2Mason are the weeks following The Preamble and consists of programs and events for all students that they can pick based on their personal interests. These university and student organization led events give students the opportunity to learn how to get more involved on-campus and build connections with other Mason students.  
    • If the fall on-campus schedule is altered due to COVID-19, this series of programming will be adapted to best serve students in their transition virtually and pick up in-person once students arrive to campus.  
Additional Information
  • Check out the 2020 Orientation Guide for comprehensive information about the university and new student resources! 
  • New Student and Family Programs is coordinating various live virtual events throughout the summer to provide an opportunity to connect with specific GMU departments and have general questions about Mason answered!
  • Connect with us on social media using #Welcome2Mason and follow our Instagram (@MasonNSFP) and Facebook (Orientation@Mason)! We will be sharing useful tips about Mason and a student’s first year! 
Need Assistance?

To troubleshoot an issue in Blackboard, click here.

For questions about international student tasks and servicescontact the Office of International Programs and Services by e-mailing oips@gmu.edu or calling 703-993-2970. 

For orientation-specific questions, contact New Student and Family Programs by e-mailing orientu@gmu.edu or calling 703-993-2475.