Fall Orientation Overview

The purpose of orientation is to provide students with a smooth and helpful transition to college life. The University of Michigan expects undergraduate students who are admitted for the Fall Term to attend one of the many Summer Orientation Programs offered from June to early August. The University offers over 30 separate sessions to accommodate as many freshmen as possible, and over 95% of freshmen are able to find a Summer Orientation Program that works with their schedules. 

While at Summer Orientation, freshmen complete all necessary steps to attend the University of Michigan for the Fall Term, including placement testing, group and individual academic advising, and course registration. Students leave orientation with their Fall Term schedule of classes, including sections and times. In addition, students learn about the resources available at Michigan to help them be successful – academically, socially, and emotionally.  

If you are unable to attend one of the Summer Orientation Programs, then you are required to attend the Final Fall Orientation. Click on “Cannot Attend” to learn more about Final Fall Orientation.

Click on the links to learn more about each of these things as you make your plans for orientation! 

Program Dates

Program Dates for 2015 range from June 8 – August 3, however students must select dates during which academic advising will be available for their school, college, or program (e.g., Literature, Science & the Arts; Art & Design; Honors Program, etc.). Not all dates are available to students in all academic programs. 

Information about Freshman Orientation is emailed in mid-April to the UMICH email accounts of all students who have paid their enrollment deposit. When you register for orientation, you will select an appropriate orientation session based on your academic unit and space availability. Program dates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Program Check-In

Check-In Time

Check-in for the freshman Summer Orientation Programs occurring between June 8 – August 3 is 8:00 a.m. at East Quadrangle, 701 E. University Ave.  

Check-In Procedures

When you arrive for orientation, you will be asked to sign in and will receive some orientation materials and further instructions. Please plan to bring a photo ID with you in order to pick up your MCard, and a backpack or book bag in which to put your orientation materials. 

If you are staying in the residence hall during the orientation program, you will also receive a key to your room and instructions to take your luggage to your room. Plan to pack light! You will not have assistance in getting your luggage to your room. Click here for a list of what to bring to orientation.  

Program Schedule

Check-in is at 8:00 a.m. at East Quadrangle.  Orientation activities will take place from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. on the first and second days of the program. Orientation activities will take place from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on the third day, except for students auditioning for the Michigan Marching Band. Marching Band auditions typically end by 5:00 p.m.  

If you are traveling by air, do not make return flight/travel arrangements prior to 3:00 p.m. due to traffic, distance to the airport, and airport security check-in.  If you are auditioning for Marching Band, do not make return flight/travel arrangements prior to 7:00 p.m. as the ending time varies. Please remember that you are welcome to have lunch in East Quadrangle before heading home.

The exact orientation schedule is unique to each student and is based on the academic program(s) to which he/she has been admitted. The student will receive his/her customized schedule at check-in. 

Here is the general outline of events:

Day 1
Receive MCard
Welcome Meeting (introduction to orientation & general information about campus life including transportation, roommates, meal plans, and more)
Campus Safety
Central Campus Walking Tour
Money Management 
Placement Exams
Educational Theatre Presentation
Evening Activities (movies, games, etc)

Day 2
Making the Academic Transition
Campus Life Discussion
Campus Libraries
Academic Advising & Preparation for Course Registration
Michigan Learning Communities
Peer Academic Advising

Day 3
Course Registration
"Ready, Set, Go Global" Study Abroad Presentation (optional)
Michigan Marching Band Auditions (if applicable)

Program Fees

The Freshman Summer Orientation program fee for 2015 is $297.75 and it will be billed directly to your student account in the fall. The fee for Summer Orientation includes two nights of lodging in East Quadrangle and eight meals. DO NOT send this fee in advance. We highly recommend that you stay in East Quadrangle during the program.

If you are from the local area or have other reasons for not staying on campus, you may attend the program for a fee of $234.25.  This fee includes eight meals but does not include overnight accommodations. No other fee reductions are possible.

If, due to travel, distance or other circumstances it will be necessary for you to arrive the night before your scheduled orientation date, you may stay in East Quadrangle for an additional fee $33.75


The Freshman Summer Orientation program is a three-day program for students and includes accommodations for two nights and eight meals in the orientation residence hall. Students need to arrive for check-in at 8:00 a.m. 

If, due to travel distance or other circumstances, it will be necessary for you to arrive before your orientation date, you may check into the residence hall between 6 pm and 9 pm the night prior to your scheduled date. There is an additional fee of $33.75 for early arrival. If a student needs to arrive earlier than one night prior to orientation or stay later, he/she must make his/her own arrangements for lodging. Additionally, we only provide lodging for incoming students registered for orientation or, in the case of a student with a disability, for their caregiver.  We do not provide lodging for parents or other guests in the residence hall. Click here for information about lodging for parents and family members attending Parent & Family Orientation.

Students live on a floor with their orientation leaders and approximately 185 other new students in their orientation group. We strongly encourage all orientation participants to stay in the residence hall, as we feel it is part of the total learning experience. Students wishing to commute to orientation, however, may decline their orientation housing opportunity at the time of check-in. If students do not stay in the residence hall during orientation, they will be charged a reduced fee which includes eight meals but does not include overnight accommodations. 

Placement Exam Information

Placement exams in chemistry, mathematics, algorithmic thinking, certain languages, and an essay and questions to help you choose your first writing course (a process called Directed Self-Placement for Writing) are administered prior to and/or during orientation. All tests are for placement in University of Michigan courses only.  Advisors use the information from the placement exams in conjunction with information from your transcripts and your prior course experience. Students are not expected to study or prepare in advance for the placement exams. 

Placement exams are mandatory if: 

  • you are required to take these subjects by your academic school/college 
  • you wish to continue in these subjects
  • in the case of writing, to help you choose the writing course most appropriate for you

Please visit Online & Proctored Placement Exams under the Preparing for Orientation link to the left for an explanation of each exam (opening dates, due dates, etc.), as well as links to the exams. 

Directions and Parking

If you are traveling to orientation by plane, bus, or train, click here for travel information.

Parking for East Quadrangle:

Parking for Student Orientation is located at the Forest Street Parking Structure, located at 650 S. Forest Avenue. Students who are driving themselves to orientation should park in this structure. If you are staying overnight at orientation (most students), you will also need an overnight parking pass that you can pick up from our ONSP Parking Attendant upon entry to the Forest Structure; this pass provides parking for a reduced flat rate. If you are not staying in East Quadrangle overnight during orientation, you do not need the overnight pass. You will pay a daily parking rate. 

If your parents or family members are driving you to Orientation and staying for the Parent & Family Orientation program, they should review the Parent & Family Orientation parking information

Driving Directions to the Forest Street Structure:

From the North (Flint): 

  • Take US-23 South to M-14 (exit 45)
  • Take M-14 West to Exit 3 - Downtown Ann Arbor (exit turns into Main Street)
  • Take Main Street to Huron St. (approximately 1.5 miles)
  • Turn left (East) on Huron St. Huron St. will turn into Washtenaw Ave. 
  • Take Washtenaw Ave. to S. Forest St. (approximately 2 miles). Turn right onto S. Forest St. 
  • Take S. Forest Street two blocks, past the intersection of S. University Ave. The Forest Street Structure will be on your right. 

From the East (Windsor, Detroit, and Airports)

  • Take I-94 West to State Street (exit 177)
  • Turn right (North) on State Street, travel approximately 2.5 miles
  • Turn right (East) onto Hill St. 
  • Take Hill St. to E. University Ave. Turn left onto E. University Ave. 
  • Go 1 block to Willard St. Turn right onto Willard St. 
  • Take Willard St. two blocks to Forest St. Turn left onto Forest St. 
  • The Forest Street Structure will be on your left. 

From the South (Toledo)

  • Take US-23 North to I-94 West (exit 35)
  • Take I-94 West to State Street (exit 177)
  • Turn right (North) on State Street, travel approximately 2.5 miles
  • Turn right (East) onto Hill St. 
  • Take Hill St. to E. University Ave. Turn left onto E. University Ave. 
  • Go 1 block to Willard St. Turn right onto Willard St. 
  • Take Willard St. two blocks to Forest St. Turn left onto Forest St. 
  • The Forest Street Structure will be on your left. 

From the West (Jackson)

  • Take I-94 East to State Street (exit 177)
  • Turn left (North) on State Street, travel approximately 2.5 miles
  • Turn right (East) onto Hill St. 
  • Take Hill St. to E. University Ave. Turn left onto E. University Ave. 
  • Go 1 block to Willard St. Turn right onto Willard St. 
  • Take Willard St. two blocks to Forest St. Turn left onto Forest St. 
  • The Forest Street Structure will be on your left. 

Walking Directions from the Forest Street Structure to East Quadrangle: 

  • Exit the Forest Street Structure at the Forest Street exit. 
  • Travel south (right) on Forest Street to Williard St. 
  • Travel west (right) on Willard St. for two blocks to E. University Ave. (You will see East Quadrangle after only 1 block, however do not attempt to enter East Quadrangle from any of the Church Street or Williard Street entrances. You must enter East Quad from the East University Ave. entrance). 
  • Turn left on E. University Ave. 
  • East Quadrangle will be on your left. 
Cannot Attend?

The Office of New Student Programs strongly encourages students to attend orientation during the summer if possible.  The freshman Summer Orientation Program allows students to focus on the issues they face when making the transition from high school to college, without having to deal with the additional pressures of moving into their residence hall, saying goodbye to friends and family, and adjusting to a new environment. 

If you are unable to attend a summer program due to distance, summer travel, or employment, you may be eligible to attend Final Fall Orientation, which will allow students to complete all necessary procedures for class registration including placement testing, general information sessions, and academic advising.

To register for Final Fall Orientation, you will need special approval from the Office of New Student Programs. Once you pay your enrollment deposit and receive our email inviting you to register for orientation, you should email onsp@umich.edu with "Request for Fall Orientation" in the subject line.  Briefly describe the reason you need to attend Final Fall Orientation, and attach supporting documentation (e.g., airfare e-ticket, letter from camp, letter from employer, etc). 

Spaces in the Final Fall Orientation are filled on a case-by-case basis. If approved, you will receive written confirmation of your assigned orientation date. Your confirmation letter will include information specific to the Final Fall Orientation Program regarding check-in, parking, and what to bring to orientation.

Special Accommodations

If you have a condition that might affect your participation in orientation, ONSP will coordinate any arrangements you may need while you are on campus for the orientation program. Services may include extended time testing and testing assistance, accessible rooms in the residence hall, and refrigerators for medication. Please note: There will be walking involved in orientation. If you are using crutches or need the assistance of a wheelchair, we can make those arrangements as well. 

You can contact our office regarding necessary arrangements in two ways: 

  • You can mark the appropriate box during web registration, and we will contact you prior to your program to discuss your needs. 
  • You can contact our office directly to indicate your needs. 

Because some arrangements take time to complete, please contact us at least two weeks in advance of your assigned date. 

Accommodations made during orientation do not reflect how those same accommodations will be made during the school year. It is important that students with disabilities contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible to discuss your school year needs.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, you do not need to indicate any special accommodations on your orientation registration. All meals at orientation offer some vegetarian and vegan options. However, if you have a food allergy of any type, please note the allergy on your orientation registration.