What Happens at Orientation?

“You’ll find out everything at orientation!”
How many times have you heard this as you prepare for your first year as a Go Campus student?

All colleges and universities in North America hold an orientation for the new incoming students. Some last a day or two, others take place over a whole week. Orientation is especially exciting for international students as it will most likely be the first time they get to visit the campus!

What to Expect

The aim of orientation is to give new students a feel of what their life on campus will be like. You will be introduced to the resources available during the year, where to go for food or if you need help, how classes work, campus rules and regulations, and other useful information to know before class starts. Some parts of orientation may take place in lecture halls with academic staff, while others will involve walking around campus, led by a student ambassador.
If any of your classes require a placement test (ESL, languages, math, etc.), these usually take place during orientation.

Freshman orientation differs from school to school; therefore, be sure to communicate directly with your college or university to confirm dates and details. Make sure you arrange your travels to arrive on campus in time for orientation, as attendance is mandatory.

Freshman orientation

Orientation Tips

  1. Pack and dress smart – You are very likely to be spending a lot of time on your feet during orientation, so be sure to dress comfortably. Remember to pack a small notebook and paper in your bag in case you need to write down some important information.
  2. Be ready to talk – Orientation is the first time new students meet each other, and as an international student you can be certain others will want to hear about your background. It’s a great occasion to jump right in and start practicing your English!
  3. Leave your comfort zone – There are usually many student activities organized during orientation. Keep an open mind and get involved as much as you can. Whether it’s attending a sports event or taking a trip to the grocery store, being proactive is the best way to meet new friends.
  4. Set home aside for a few days – The first few days on campus you might be tempted to regularly get in touch with friends and family back home to let them know how things are going. Try not to spend too much time on your phone or computer; you don’t want to miss out of your first days as a college student.


Sandrine first became an international student when she was 10 years old and hasn’t stopped since. Over the years, she has studied/worked in France, England, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and the USA. She brings her passion of travel and writing together to inspire students to embark on their journey around the world and discover its many cultures.

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