For freshmen students entering in the Fall 2022 semester, there is one special Virtual Orientation option intended for students who are out-of-state and cannot travel to the in-person program or are unable to attend for another scheduling reason. If the session still had space, it will be listed in the Orientation Registration Form as an option starting April 1st, 2022 and will be named accordingly.
New Student and Family Programs, along with all of our university partners, are committed to providing new students and their families 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. Some components of the Virtual Orientation experience will still occur live, in real-time, while other components will be self-paced.
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 upon registering.
Below is an overview of the Virtual Freshman Orientation experience with general information about each component.
Step 1: Start Your Pre-Orientation Checklist
Step 2: Complete REQUIRED Pre-Orientation Presentations
- 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 3: Attend Live Virtual Orientation Program
Blackboard Access Information:
- Students will participate in Virtual Orientation via Blackboard, the university’s learning management tool. Orientation will appear as a Course just like a class will.
- Instructions on navigating Blackboard will be sent to students in their Orientation registration confirmation email.
- Access will be granted to the Blackboard Virtual Orientation course 24 – 48 hours after students register for their desired Virtual Orientation date to start reviewing content and preparing for the live components in the coming days.
- It is important for students to be familiar with how the Virtual Orientation Blackboard course is set up before participating in live components to be able to easily navigate the system day-of.
- Students’ Virtual Orientation course stays in Blackboard for the remainder of their collegiate experience and can be referred back to at any time.
Items to Complete Before Virtual Orientation Begins:
- Once in Blackboard, students should complete the following sections prior to their live session components in the coming days:
- Welcome to Virtual Orientation section- an overview of Virtual Orientation and how to use Blackboard
- REQUIRED Orientation Presentations section- a series of pre-recorded, mandatory presentations on the most important transition information for new students
- Your Mason Impact
- The Mason Core
- Academic Integrity
- Academic Success Resources
- Funding An Education
- Student Rights, Privacy, & Campus Safety
- Living On or Off-Campus (as applicable)
- Parking & Transportation
- Mason ID Card
- Mason Dining
- Learning More About Your Academic College section – important overview of college-specific information that is essential to know and understand before Academic Advising appointment
Students should set aside approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete this task. 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. Students can complete this in one-sitting or several, as long as they are completed before their live Virtual Orientation program.
Step 4: Explore Additional Resources Available in Blackboard
Live Virtual Orientation is the date students register for in the Orientation Registration portal. On that date, students should go to their Virtual Orientation Blackboard course in Blackboard and head to the “LIVE SESSIONS” menu to find their schedule and accompanying session links.
Students should arrive on-time to the program and hold 11:00am – 5:00pm EST on this day. The Virtual Orientation schedule overview can be found below:
- Patriot Welcome, 11:00 – 11:10am EST
- Welcome to the Orientation, schedule overview, & housekeeping items for the day
- New Student COVID Info & Next Steps, 11:10 – 11:20am EST
- Information on the transition process based on COVID-19 protocols and helpful next steps before the start of the semester
- Transition Resource Panel, 11:20am – 12:30pm EST
- Panel experience including the top offices that new students have expressed wanting information from at Virtual Orientation based on survey data
- BREAK, 12:30 – 1:00pm EST
- Time provided to students to regroup & refresh themselves before academic advising
- Academic College Meetings, Advising, & Course Registration, 1:00 – 5:00pm EST
- Each academic college will host a College 101 presentation to share things like major requirements and academic support structures, followed by academic advising sessions, and course registration for the fall semester
- Students will most likely not take this entire time, but should still hold it just in case.
Personalized links to live session components will be in each student’s Blackboard portal.
In order to access Blackboard and MasonLive email, students will need to .
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, which will be housed in the Blackboard course.
Step 5: Check Out Post-Orientation Opportunities
In each student’s Virtual Orientation Blackboard course, there are several sections that provide useful information for new students and can be viewed based on interest at the pace of the student.
Additional Virtual Orientation Content in Blackboard:
- Important Campus Resource Videos section – Six categories of videos sharing information about relevant campus resources for new students. This takes the place of in-person components such as Info Sessions and Tabling Fairs.
- Students should browse this section and make a plan to watch videos of note to them.
- Helpful COVID-19 Info & Protocols section – Serve as a hub for information and resources to help students navigate Mason while living through the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Most Visited New Student Websites section – One-stop-shop of all Mason webpages frequently visited by new students, curated by current students
Virtual Orientation Support in Blackboard:
- Blackboard Troubleshooting section – An easy troubleshooting guide for the most common Blackboard user issues
- Virtual Help Desk section – Chat a member of the New Student and Family Programs’ staff with any questions or issues that arise during the Virtual Orientation session
Additional Information and Resources
- The Preamble 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 Fall 2022 schedule will become available as the semester approaches, but until then, you can see an example schedule at welcome2mason.gmu.edu/thepreamble.
- 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.
- 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 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. All first-year residential students will belong to an LC. LCs are also offered to upper-level residential students, but upper-level students are not required to join one. More information can be found at housing.gmu.edu/learning-communities.
- For a full list of items to complete before the semester begins, click here.
- 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.
To view a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Orientation, click here.
To troubleshoot an issue in Blackboard during Orientation, click here.
To contact New Student and Family Programs, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-993-2475.
To connect with us during Orientation, send a chat to our Virtual Orientation Help Desk.