Orientation FAQs

Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions for All Orientation programs. 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 new students, spend time with a Patriot Leader (current Mason student), learn more about campus life and support resources, and develop even more Patriot Pride!

For students admitted for Fall 2023, you will complete Orientation through 2 events: (1) Virtual Advising and Registration and (2) On-Campus Orientation.

Do I have to stay for the entirety of both Orientations?
Yes, Orientation covers essential content for students to be successful at Mason, and incoming students must attend both sessions in order to be eligible to register for classes.

Is there a fee to attend Orientation?
Freshmen students enrolling for the first time are charged at $350 and Transfer students are charged $275. More information can be found at New Student Fee.

This fee covers all costs associated with Orientation and New Student Programs including, but not limited to preparation and materials, mailings and publications, catered meals, parking, etc. The fee also covers new student programs offered during the school year. 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.

Guests are assessed upfront Orientation fees that are assessed and processed through a Mason-connected payment platform. Adult guests are charged $55 per person and $25 per child, children 2 years of age and under are free.

What should I bring to Orientation?
Items that are helpful to have at Orientation can be found in the orientation confirmation and reminder e-mails sent to each student after they register. Students will also receive reminder e-mails in the week leading up to Orientation.

Generally, for the on-campus orientation, we suggest a water bottle, phone charger, any necessary medications, weather gear (there are often afternoon summer storms in Virginia requiring an umbrella or rain jacket; sunscreen can also be helpful for hot summer days, etc.), and anything else needed to be comfortable for a day-long program. We will provide a bag on-site to both students and guests if you do not bring one. For the virtual program, please be at a place with a strong internet connection, otherwise feel free to have whatever you need with you for a few hours. You may be asked to put your camera on, so be aware of that for your virtual session

How and where do I Park for the on-campus Orientation program?
Complimentary parking for all Orientation sessions will be provided in Lot K. Parking Permits are not needed in Lot K during your on-campus orientation session. Parking in any other lot or parking garages will be at the cost of the individual.

I didn’t submit my Mason ID photo before the on-campus Orientation, can I take by photo there and pick up my ID?
If a student does not submit an ID photo and have it approved prior to Orientation, students can take an ID photo on the morning of their on-campus orientation session after they check-in at the main tent. Any student who does not submit their photo in time will need to visit the Mason Card Office on their own time before or after Orientation to get a Mason ID.

Is Housing Provided during my on-campus Orientation?
Yes, there is housing provided for students if pre-designated on your registration form. We also encourage students and guests to check out our hotel partners for discounts if they choose to stay in the area around the on-campus orientation session. 

I am unable to attend any of the Orientation dates. What should I do?
Please contact New Student and Family Programs at 703.993.2475 to learn more about options and next steps. Students should be prepared to provide official documentation of their inability to attend as orientation is a required program.

Guest Information

How do I register a guest for Orientation?
Guests will register on their student registration form and pay the fee for their attendance.

Will my family members and guests be with me during Orientation?
During the on-campus orientation, Students will be with their guests during parts of on-campus Orientation, but a number of sessions are designed specifically for students. During these programs, family members and guests will be in programs specifically designed for them and separated for part of the day.

Families and guests are NOT permitted to attend Virtual Advising and Registration. If guests would like programming during that time, we encourage them to review our Virtual Family Resources. 

Can my friend come with me to Orientation?
Students are not encouraged to bring friends with them to on-campus Orientation. Despite their relationship to the student, friends are still considered guests and will be required to go through the family and guest orientation program versus accompanying their friend through pieces of the student orientation program.

Is the guest fee refundable if my guest ends up not being able to come?
Guest fees are non-refundable as communicated in the guest orientation registration process before submitting payment. If you are unsure if your guest can attend, we encourage you to wait to register guests until they can confirm that they can attend or bring a guest day-of as a “walk-in” and pay with a credit card at check-in. Pre-registration is preferred so that we can ensure materials will be available.


How do I take the Math Placement Test?
Review the requirements for the math placement exam in preparation for advising and course registration. This is only required for certain majors and degrees. It is preferred to take this on-campus either as a walk-in Monday-Friday or during your On-Campus session. If you prefer to take it remotely, you will find that registration link in your confirmation email.

How do I take the Foreign Language Placement Test?
Review the requirements for the language placement exam in preparation for advising and course registration. This is only required for certain majors and degrees.

Can I register for classes before Orientation?
No, all course registration will occur during the Virtual Advising & Registration date. There is no advising or registration during the on-campus orientation session. 

In preparation for course registration, please watch the “How to Register for Classes in Patriot Web” Video. 

How do I contact my academic advisor after Orientation?
At your Virtual Advising & Registration session, 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, but all 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.


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. As always, keep checking your Mason email account for important university updates during this transition. 

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 January 5 for Spring Semester and August 1 for Fall Semester start. Students can bring completed copies with them to their orientation session to give to Student Health Services directly. 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.

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. The office is in Student Union Building I, Room 4205, on the Fairfax Campus. 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 finish coursework at NOVA and have degree-seeking status at Mason.

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.

What is Quill Camp and why should I attend?
Quill Camp is an extended orientation experience for incoming students that brings together new and current students to help jumpstart the college experience in a fun summer-camp setting. Quill Camp is designed to aid students in their transition to George Mason by developing a diverse social network and strengthening their ties to their new home.

Each program offers its own unique flavor and focus, with some programs having an academic focus, like True Crime and Republic, and others offer outdoor adventure experiences, like Project Peak. All programs utilize experienced student leaders to serve as mentors to new Patriots. Over five days and four nights, new students along with other incoming students and student leaders learn more about Mason, its traditions, and their new GMU family.

Students can learn more and register at orientation.gmu.edu/quill-camp.
There may be additional fees depending on the camp selected.