Virtual International Student Orientation


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

For students entering in the Spring 2022 semester, the Orientation process will be a virtual with an optional, in-person campus visit event called Explore Mason. The Orientation process will be a multi-step experience versus a one-time program.

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.

If you are a part of the China 1-2-1, Global Exchange, Mason Korea, or INTO Mason program, you will receive Orientation information directly from your respective program as it will be different from the process highlighted below. 

Below is an overview of the International Student Orientation experience with general information about each component.

Step 1 - View REQUIRED Orientation Presentations

Students will gain access to their Virtual Orientation portal in a system called Blackboard 24 – 48 hours after they register for International Student Orientation. Students should review several sections, as well as watch a series of REQUIRED Orientation Presentations on topics ranging from the academic experience to essential campus information such as financial aid.

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.

More information on the Virtual Orientation system and these REQUIRED orientation presentations is below.

Blackboard Access Information:

  • Students will access in Virtual Orientation content 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 International Student Orientation to start reviewing content.
    • If international students are a part of the China 1-2-1 program, Global Exchange program, Mason Korea program, or INTO Mason program, you will receive information from the Office of International Programs and Services on  January 3rd.
  • Students’ Virtual Orientation course stays in Blackboard for the remainder of their collegiate experience and can be referred back to at any time.

Required Virtual Orientation Course Components:

  • Once in Blackboard, students should complete the following sections as soon as they received access.
    • Welcome to Virtual Orientation – an overview of Orientation and how to use Blackboard
    • REQUIRED Orientation Presentations – 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

Additional Virtual Orientation Content in Blackboard: (optional – view if & when desired)

  • 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.
  • Helpful COVID-19 Info & Protocol 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
  • Blackboard Troubleshooting section – An easy troubleshooting guide for the most common Blackboard user issues
Step 2: Academic Advising and Course Registration

After registering for Virtual Orientation, academic advising and course registration is available to freshman and transfer international students through the academic College/School they are majoring in at Mason. 

To gain access to advising information and request an appointment, students must:

  1. Register for a Virtual Orientation live program (starting November 1st)
  2. Complete all videos in the REQUIRED Orientation Presentation section mentioned above. Completing the REQUIRED Orientation presentations in Blackboard will unlock access to Advising instructions. To learn more about these videos, see the above section.
  3. Request a pre-orientation advising appointment. Academic colleges and schools will begin fielding pre-orientation advising requests on November 15th. 

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. For more information, students should contact their specific program.

Additionally, students should watch the College 101 presentation of the college they intend to major in before their academic advising appointment.

Step 3: Mandatory Immigration & Compliance Meeting
  • Just before the beginning of the semester, students will receive another e-mail from the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) with information about a MANDATORY Immigration and Compliance Meeting that they will provide to incoming students. 
  • This live virtual presentation is slated to be on Monday, January 10, 2022 at 9:30AM EST for F-1 undergraduate students. Information on a J-1 student session will be communicated via e-mail by OIPS. 
Other Important Opportunities & Resources
  • 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.
  • Check out the 2021-2022 Orientation 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.
Orientation Checklists

For a full list of items to complete before Orientation, click here. 

For a full list of items to complete before the semester begins, click here.

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.