Virtual International Student Orientation


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

With the health and safety of  the university community being paramount and the consideration of local, state, and federal guidance surrounding COVID-19, George Mason has made the decision to make orientation programs virtual for Summer 2021. 

New Student and Family Programs and the Office of International Programs and Services are committed to providing new international students 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.  

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. 

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: Patriot Preview Pre-Orientation Modules
  • Complete Patriot Preview – a set of online modules that provides brief overviews on topics including preparing for academic advising, course registration, paying for college, navigating campus, enhancing academic success, student life at Mason, personal well-being and safety, and other logistics of being a new student at Mason.    
  • Students will gain access to Patriot Preview starting on May 1st.
  • Students should complete these modules at their earliest convenience, but prior to the start of the semester.
Step 2: Academic Advising and Course Registration
  • After registering for Orientation, academic advising and course registration is available to freshman and transfer international students beginning on May 1st through the academic College/School they are majoring in at Mason. To meet with an academic advisor, students need to complete the online request form starting on May 1st 
    • 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: Virtual Orientation Course in Blackboard

Access Information:

  • Students will participate in a virtual orientation session via Blackboard, the university’s learning management tool. Access will be granted to the Blackboard system starting on June 1st by 5pm EDT.
  • If a student signs up for orientation after June 1st, access will be granted to the Blackboard system within 5 business days of registering.
  • Students will receive an email once they have been added and granted access to the Blackboard Virtual Orientation course.
    • 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 August 2nd.

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.
  • Navigating Mason During COVID-19 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

Final Important Notes:

    • If information shared throughout Orientation is altered or updated in relation to COVID-19, additional content will be added to each student’s Blackboard course as needed. Be sure to check e-mail regularly for university and additional orientation information during this unprecedented time.  
    • Students’ Virtual Orientation course stays in Blackboard for the remainder of their collegiate experience and can be referred back to at any time.
    • More information specific to the transition as an international student may also be provided by the Office of International Programs and Services. 
Step 4: 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, August 9, 2021 at 9:30AM EST for F-1 undergraduate students. Information on a J-1 student session will be communicated via e-mail by OIPS. 
Step 5: Undergraduate Student Welcome Session
  • Additionally, there will be an Undergraduate Student Welcome Session hosted by the Office of International Programs and Services on Monday, August 16, 2021 at 9:30AM EST
Preamble and Welcome2Mason Programming

To assist in the transition to college, Mason offers a series of mandatory and optional programming to help all new students get connected to campus and each other. 

  • The Preamble is a series of mandatory programming that helps new students learn more about Mason values, expands on topics covered at orientation that are essential to student success, and gives students the opportunity to feel more comfortable about navigating Mason. This programming will take place between August 18 – 21. 
  • Welcome2Mason are the weeks following The Preamble 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 at Mason and build connections with other students. 

More information about both programs can be found at welcome2mason.gmu.edu.

Additional Information
  • Check out the our Orientation Guide for comprehensive information about the university and new student resources! The 2021-2022 Orientation Guide is coming soon!
  • 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. Families can also take part in a live Family Orientation program. To register and learn more information about both opportunities, 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.