Orientation 2020 FAQs

Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions for Mason Orientation. Clicking on a topic reveals frequently asked questions pertaining to that topic. If you have other questions or need additional information, contact our office at 703-993-2475 or orientu@gmu.edu.

Preparing for Orientation

Is orientation mandatory?
Yes, Orientation is mandatory for all new students before they begin their first semester at Mason. There are many benefits to attending orientation – students will meet faculty, staff, and administrators, speak with an academic advisor, register for classes, meet other students, learn more about campus life and support resources, and develop even more Patriot Pride! 

Where do I get more information about Virtual Orientation?
General information about each type of Orientation session can be found on this Mason Orientation website. In addition, all students receive two important pre-orientation e-mails – their Confirmation E-mail (right after they register) and their Reminder E-mail (which they receive 2-3 days before their Orientation session). Both contain more in-depth and specific information about the Virtual Orientation experience and give a list of things to complete in the meantime.

If students have not received an e-mail, they should check their Spam and Junk folders – it may be there. If students unsubscribed/opt-ed out of receiving Mason e-mails, they would no longer receive Orientation e-mails. In order to change that, reach out to New Student and Family Programs at orientu@gmu.edu giving permission to be added back to the e-mail list. If none of those items work, also e-mail our office.    

Why can’t I see my Virtual Orientation course in Blackboard?
The Virtual Orientation course will show up in Blackboard 2-3 days before a student’s scheduled orientation session. All students will receive an e-mail when access has been granted and be given instructions on how to navigate to the course. If a student has received that e-mail and still does not see the Orientation course in Blackboard, please reach out to New Student and Family Programs at orientu@gmu.edu 

How do I change my Orientation session?
Students can change Orientation sessions by signing back into their registration portal and updating their reservation, changing their session to another available date. Note that options may be limited as the summer continues. 

What are Orientation Small Groups?
Orientation Small Groups are facilitated by Patriot Leaders, current students at Mason. The small groups are to help participants meet other incoming students, learn a more about the Mason community, connect with a current student, and ask any questions they may have from a student perspective. It will also be a more fun and engaging part of orientation. Students can find information about their Small Group and their Patriot Leader on Blackboard under the “Meet Your Patriot Leader” tab.

Is there a fee to attend Orientation?
Students enrolling for the first time are charged a New Student Fee. This mandatory, non-refundable, one-time fee will appear on each student’s account upon registering for classes, so students do not pay an upfront fee for orientation, it is directly billed. The fee is assessed regardless of enrollment or Orientation attendance. 

Guest Registration

How do I register a guest for Orientation?
Students can register guests for Orientation by signing back into their registration portal and adding guests to their existing reservation. 


How do I take the Math Placement Test? 
Placement testing has changed due to the current COVID-19 measures at the university. Review the requirements for the math placement exam in preparation for advising and course registration.

How do I take the Foreign Language Placement Test? 
Placement testing has changed due to the current COVID-19 measures at the university. Review the requirements for the language placement exam in preparation for advising and course registration.

I am a freshman student. Can I register for classes before Orientation? 
Only Honors and international students can participate in pre-advising and registration prior to Orientation. Please contact your program of study (or the Honors College) for more information. All other freshman students will register during Orientation.

I am a transfer student. Can I register for classes before Orientation? 
Transfer students can request pre-advising and registration prior to Orientation. Visit the Transfer Student Pre-Orientation Advising page for more information. Students who receive pre-advising and/or registration are still required to attend an Orientation session.

How do I contact my academic advisor after Orientation?
At Orientation, the college and/or program will give students information on how to contact their advisor beyond the session. Not all students get advised by their permanent advisor at Orientation, but will receive instructions on how to communicate with them as they begin classes. For additional information, contact your college or school’s academic advising office.

I am a transfer student. How do I find out more about which course credits transfer to Mason? 
The transfer credit evaluation shows the courses students are bringing from another institution and what credits students are receiving toward their degree at Mason. This document is provided by Admissions and will help students’ advisors recommend which courses to register for based on what they are transferring in. If you have questions concerning your transfer credits, please contact the Office of Admissions at 703-993-2400 or visit their Transfer Credit Policy page.


When will I receive information about on-campus housing, roommate assignments, and move-in instructions?
Students can log in to their account at housing.gmu.edu for more information. 

How do I find off-campus housing?
For information on off-campus housing, please visit offcampus.gmu.edu

Preparing for the Semester

When are my immunization records due and how do I submit them?
Student Health Services must receive immunization records by August 1, 2020. Failure to turn in Immunization Records before the deadline will result in a late fee charge and hold on the student’s account, which will prevent them from registering for the next semester’s classes.

For additional information regarding immunizations, please contact the Student Health Services Immunization Office at 703-993-2836 or immunize@gmu.edu. Immunization forms are available at shs.gmu.edu/immunizations.

How do I get a parking permit for the school year?
Once students have registered for classes and received a Mason ID, they can purchase their parking permit. Parking permits are available from Parking Services, located in the Parking Services Building next to the Sandy Creek Parking Deck. Students can also purchase their permit online at transportation.gmu.edu. Check the Parking Services website for information about when permits will be on sale.

How do I submit my Mason ID photo and where can I pick up my ID?
Make sure your Mason ID photo looks great! The Mason Card Office offers online photo submissions, which will save you time and guarantee that you like your photo. If a suitable photo is uploaded and approved, your ID card will be waiting for you once you arrive on-campus for the semester. Your Mason ID provides access to your residence hall, Mason Money for dining, library access, free entry to athletic games, and more! 

To submit your photo, follow the instructions here. More information about ID card pick-up will be communicated in August. 

Is there an office that provides services to students with disabilities? 
If students have a documented disability, the office of Disability Services is available to serve them. Check ds.gmu.edu for more information.

Special Programs

I am an ADVANCE program student. Do I need to attend Orientation at Mason?
ADVANCE students will attend Orientation at Mason as transfer students once they become degree-seeking status and are taking all classes at Mason. ADVANCE students attend certain sessions each summer and winter, so please see your orientation registration portal for available dates.

What is the STEP Program and what is it intended to do?
STEP is an ongoing Diversity Programs & Services initiative, established to enhance the recruitment, satisfaction and retention of an intentionally diverse array of selected, first-year, George Mason University students. Nominated recipients are all Virginia residents and are often first generation college students. The overall objective of STEP is to give students curricular and co-curricular support prior to and during their tenure as Mason students. They will gain an appreciation for service, leadership, diversity and academic excellence. Participants of this incentive-based program are given a jump-start to their scholastic endeavors through academic preparation, career exploration, cultural awareness opportunities, service learning projects, and empowerment services.

Students currently enrolled in STEP will be asked to attend a specific orientation session together. For more information, call 703-993-2700 or check out the STEP webpage.