Freshman Orientation

Welcome to George Mason University and Mason Orientation! The Freshmen Orientation program is designed to help acclimate and transition students to the institution, expose students to the broad educational opportunities now available to them at Mason, and integrate students into life at the institution.

For freshmen students entering in the Spring 2023 semester, our mandatory Orientation program is comprised of 2 events: a Virtual Advising & Registration Session and an on-campus one-day Orientation session.

All specific information surrounding the Freshman Orientation experience will be sent to students directly via e-mail upon registering. Please read this and all Orientation-related e-mails closely, especially those going to your GMU email account to ensure you receive all information and can prepare for each session as needed.

Below is an overview of the In-Person Freshman Orientation experience with general information about each component.

Step 1: Start Your Pre-Orientation Checklist
  • It will be important to complete items on the Pre-Orientation Checklist (as needed) to ensure a successful transition experience at Mason and prepare you for your on-campus Orientation program.
  • Upon registering for Orientation, key items include but are not limited to:
    • Completing Pre-Orientation Virtual Content
    • Submitting Final Transcripts
    • Accessing Financial Aid Info
    • Completing Immunization Paperwork
    • Taking Placement Tests (as needed)
Step 2: Complete Patriot Preview Pre-Orientation Modules
  • “Patriot Preview” is a set of pre-Orientation modules designed to give freshmen students a general overview of important Mason information to support the new student transition. It also includes information to prepare students for their in-person Orientation experience. The modules are divided into two sections: Before Orientation and Before Classes Begin.
  • Complete Patriot Preview “Before Orientation” module, prior to either of your session dates. You will need your Mason Net ID and password (Patriot Pass login information you used to create your email) to gain access. This will open on November 15th. 
  • Students are also welcomed to complete both sections prior to Orientation if they desire. It will only help to have more information about Mason’s campus, programs, and services.
Step 3: Attend Virtual & On-Campus Orientation Sessions
  • When registering for Orientation, you will select 2 events: a Virtual Advising & Registration Session and an On-Campus One-Day Orientation Session.
  • You will receive a confirmation email for EACH session you register for and you are REQUIRED to attend both sessions.
  • Virtual Advising & Registration will focus on learning about your academic college and opportunities, receiving academic advising, and registering for your classes.
  • On-Campus Orientation will focus on building relationships with peers, learning about key campus resources, learning campus transitions, and more. It will begin at 10:00 am and run until approximately 7:00 pm, with optional evening activities until 8:30 pm.
  • For those bringing family members or supporters, it is important to note that students and guests have separate, concurrent programs and only come together for welcome sessions and some meals.

Technology Requirements for your Virtual Session:

In order to access Blackboard and Mason email, students will need to set up their Net ID and password.

Students will need access to a Wifi Enabled device with a web browser on their registered virtual date. For the live sessions, we encourage students to use a device with a webcam.

During advising and registration, students may be asked to download documents from the college to reference along with the session.

To view a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Orientation, check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

Step 4: Explore Post-Orientation Opportunities
  • The Preamble occurs every fall semester and is a series of events leading up to the first day of classes that help students prepare for the semester. Some sessions are mandatory and others are optional. The schedule will become available as the semester approaches, but until then, you can see an example schedule at welcome2mason.gmu.edu/thepreamble. This program does not occur in the Spring semester, only Fall.
  • Welcome2Mason are the weeks following the start of the semester and consists of optional 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. More information about event can be found at welcome2mason.gmu.edu. This occurs twice a year to welcome students in both Fall and Spring semesters.
  • Quill Camp is an optional self-selected extended orientation experience for incoming students that brings together new and current students to help jumpstart the college experience in a fun summertime setting designed to support students in the transition to their new home by developing a diverse social network and strengthening their ties to the Mason Nation. Each program offers its own unique flavor and focus. More information can be found at ofps.gmu.edu/quill-camp.
  • University 100 is a small discussion-based, 1-credit transition course designed specifically for first-year students generally taken in the fall semester. Courses are designed to help first-year students develop college success skills, establish connections among peers and faculty, and learn about available campus resources. More information can be found at univstudies.gmu.edu/university-100.
  • Learning Communities (LC) are groups of students living on campus who share a common academic college, identity, or interest! When living in an LC, students will join like-minded peers to explore their passion areas on a deeper level, to connect to vital campus resources, and to grow both in and out of the classroom. Students in the same learning communities live together in a residence hall, which makes it easier to make connections within the Mason community. More information can be found at housing.gmu.edu/learning-communities.
Additional Information and Resources
  • For a full list of items to complete before the semester begins, view the Pre-Semester Checklist.
  • Check out the 2022–2023 New Student Guide for comprehensive information about the university and new student resources!
  • Download Mason360 – a must-have app to know what’s happening around campus, where students can find other Patriots with similar interests, and have quick access to important resources that help students navigate their time at Mason.
  • Connect with us on social media using #Welcome2Mason and follow our Instagram (@MasonNSFP) and Facebook (New Student and Family Programs)! We will be sharing useful tips about Mason and a student’s first year!
  • For families, New Student and Family Programs has curated a Family Orientation website that provides mirrored information of student content, but from a family lens. To learn more, visit the “Family Members” menu at the top of this page.
Need Assistance?

To contact New Student and Family Programs, e-mail us at orientu@gmu.edu or call 703-993-2475.

A Note for Honors College Students

Honors College students will only be able to see one Orientation session in their registration portals as the Honors Orientation program will have several specialized sessions and opportunities that are different than other freshmen sessions.

If an Honors student cannot attend the Honors Orientation session, they should contact New Student and Family Programs at 703-993-2475 or orientu@gmu.edu