Virtual Orientation FAQs

Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions for virtual 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

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 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 1-2 days after a student registered for an orientation session. If it is still within that time window, try again soon! Uploads are made every morning at 9am with the exception of weekends. It it has been longer, please reach out to New Student and Family Programs at 

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. 

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. 

What are Patriot Groups?
Patriot Groups are small groups facilitated by Patriot Leaders, current students at Mason, during Virtual Freshmen Orientation sessions. The 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. Lastly, this session will help you prepare for your academic advising appointment.

Do family members/supporters have a Virtual Orientation program?
Yes! For more information, click on the “Family Orientation” tab on the Orientation main page.


How do I take the Math Placement Test? 
Review the requirements for the math placement exam in preparation for advising and course registration.

How do I take the Foreign Language Placement Test? 
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 international freshmen students or freshmen admitted in the spring semester can participate in pre-advising and registration prior to Orientation. 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. Students must complete the REQUIRED Orientation Presentations section of their Virtual Orientation Blackboard course to unlock Pre-Advising information and request tools. 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 703-993-2000 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 for more information. 

How do I find off-campus housing?
For information on off-campus housing, please visit

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 1st. 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 Immunization forms are available at

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 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. 

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 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 date(s).

What is the STEP Program and what is it intended to do? (applicable only for Summer Orientation)
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? (applicable only for Summer Orientation)
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

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