Frequently Asked Questions
Orientation will consist of a series of modules for students to complete at their own pace. In addition to the modules, there will be a required virtual meeting for all new students. We recognize the important role of families and are providing a virtual Family Orientation experience at no cost to families. More information about Orientation will be communicated via e-mail to admitted students and on this website as they become available. Thank you for your patience as we work to provide you with an informative and engaging orientation experience in this new format.
With the health and safety of all students, families, faculty, and staff being a priority and the continued community impact of COVID-19, Orientation will be online for Spring 2021. A determination of the format for Summer 2021 has not been made at this time, please check back.
The fee for the virtual Orientation program is $100 for both first-year and transfer students. This fee has been reduced to reflect the cost of a virtual program and covers all orientation staff support, maintenance of the online registration system and Ram Ready online modules, and programs and services designed to support new students in their first year (including Weeks of Welcome and other transition events). For Spring 2021, this fee also includes access for up to two guests to the Ram Ready Orientation modules for families.
The fee for orientation covers the cost for the program and cannot be waived. We have lowered the fee for students entering in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 to reflect the new virtual experience and we have waived all guest fees. The $100 student fee covers staff support, maintenance of the online registration system and Ram Ready online modules, and programs and services designed to support new students in their first year (including Weeks of Welcome and other transition events). If you are experiencing financial hardships as a result of COVID-19, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Modules can be completed at your own pace after they have been released. Please visit the Dates and Schedules page for more information on launch dates for each module.
Yes, VCU requires all new students to complete Orientation. Completion of the online modules is tracked and attendance will be taken at the three mandatory virtual meetings. If you are a readmitted student, you must complete Orientation if you have not done so within the last two years. If you attended/completed Orientation in 2018, 2019, or Summer 2020 you do not need to complete online Orientation.
Research supports that if you complete Orientation, you are more likely to achieve success in college and graduate. This is true for both incoming first-year students and transfer students. VCU is committed to helping students succeed in and out of the classroom so we require your participation in Orientation. Over the past three years, 95% of students who completed Orientation have been retained to their second year of study at VCU.
More importantly, this is your time to connect with an academic advisor, learn the specifics of your academic major, register for your classes, get familiar with campus resources, ask questions and make new friends. Even if you already know people on campus, Orientation will give you a comprehensive overview of the resources and services available to you as a new student.
Once you have paid your tuition deposit and it has been processed (usually within 2-3 business days), you can register online. You may also need to complete placement tests and the VCU Registration Survey, please check the appropriate Accepted Student Checklist to ensure you have completed all the required steps prior to registering for orientation.
To make changes to your orientation registration or to add a family member or guest, you can log back into your orientation account up to one week prior to your scheduled orientation. If it is within one week of your orientation, please email email@example.com with your full name and V-number and we will do our best to assist you.
All first-year students should take the math placement test before attending for Orientation. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to do so if they intend to take any math courses at VCU in their first year of study. It enables the math department to have a general idea of how many sections of each type of math to open for class registration and helps your academic advisor have a good idea of which math courses to consider when helping you build your schedule.
Students are still required to take the test if they are bringing in credit from AP or dual enrollment classes. Many students who bring in AP credit or transfer credit from community colleges do not have official scores or grades when they are advised for classes. As a result, students have had to “guess” how they will do, which has often resulted in students being placed in courses that are too advanced. This test has proven to be a good predictor of what their scores will be so that students don’t have to request to be put into a different class if they didn’t get the scores or grades they anticipated through AP testing or dual enrollment courses.
If a student scores low on the math placement test but brings in AP credit or credit for courses through dual enrollment, the credits received through those means will be evaluated and the student will be able to go into a higher-level course than the one suggested by the math placement test.
A first-year student is someone who has not attended classes on another college campus. For orientation purposes, high school students who have dual enrollment credit are considered first-year students.
A transfer student has attended another four-year or community college prior to coming to VCU.
You will have the opportunity to meet with an academic advisor.
If you are a first-year student, you will be registered for your classes throughout the summer by an academic advisor based on your responses to the first-year advising registration form you filled out after accepting your offer. You should complete that survey before you register for Orientation. Once you have completed the module on Academic Success in Ram Ready (Module 4), which will be released in July, you will then be able to schedule your small group advising appointment to review the advising process and your course schedule. Group advising appointments are available throughout the summer. Once these appointments fill, students will be able to schedule a one-on-one appointment with their advisor after August 1.
If you are a transfer student, you should complete the transfer advising registration form first. Then, you can set up a one-on-one advising appointment and begin registering for classes prior to Orientation through Navigate.
If you would like to change your major prior to the start of orientation, then please email Undergraduate Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org and include your full name, V number, current major and the major you wish to change in to. If your new major is within the same college or school (e.g. within the College of Humanities and Sciences, etc.) then this will not impact your orientation or advising. Students wishing to change into a new college (e.g., from College of Humanities and Sciences into College of Business) will need to wait to hear from Admissions to ensure that you meet the requirements for the requested major.
If your major change is approved or you have recently changed your major, your orientation account will update with your new major and you will be notified via email if you need to change your session.
If you need special accommodations please indicate this when filling out your registration questionnaire. A staff member from our team will reach out to you if we have any further questions about your request. You may also email us at email@example.com, please be sure to include your full name and V number.
For more information on accommodations during the *academic year*, please reach out to the Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity (SAEO) office.
VCU is excited to offer tailored content for veterans and current service members in our online Orientation. This content is designed to give you more information about how to utilize your military benefits and will help you learn how to connect to other service members and their families.
There will also be virtual opportunities to connect with Military Student Services before the start of the semester. More information will be available soon.
Parents and family members are encouraged to register and complete virtual Orientation. You can register a parent or family member when you complete your own registration. They will have the opportunity to complete the same modules that students do online and will also see tailored content designed to address their needs including information on-campus resources, family involvement, academic expectations, and changing relationships.
The on-campus housing application for Spring 2021 opened on Nov. 2, 2020. You can fill out the application online. To start your application and learn more, visit https://housing.vcu.edu/application/.
Students have the option to request roommates when submitting their application. Roommate requests must be mutual – both students must request and accept one another in order to be assigned. To find a roommate, you can fill out a special form as part of the Housing application under the Roommate page.
For more details and FAQs on all things on-campus Housing, Check out the bottom of the Housing application website.
In order to receive an on-campus housing assignment, students must be registered for orientation and you must have paid your orientation fee in full. For more details on when housing assignments begin and how applications are processed, visit https://housing.vcu.edu/application/.
VCU’s Off-Campus Housing office is a one-stop-shop for searching local area listings, finding roommates and starting the leasing process. You can begin your search online, but if you would like more assistance, you can schedule an appointment with the Off-Campus Housing staff.
Students can submit their photo online for their VCUCard. Students will receive information on how to submit their photo online upon registering for Orientation. Visit the VCUCard website to learn more about photo requirements and specifications and how you will receive your VCUCard before the start of classes.
You should complete all of the items on the accepted student checklist before the start of classes.
All new and returning students will be required to complete the COVID-19 health and safety training via Blackboard before the start of classes. New students will receive more details on this training as part of Ram Ready Online Orientation and emails will be sent to your VCU email with more details on how to access the training. More information will be updated on the Return to Campus Student website.
VCU will re-open in phases following winter break and spring semester courses will begin on January 25, 2021. Similar to the fall semester, courses will be held in a range of modalities, including online, hybrid and in-person. The Spring 2021 Schedule of Classes is now available and is searchable by course modality (how the course will be taught: in-person, online, or a combination) for more than 8,000 course sections. You can also review the updated Academic Calendar for Spring 2021 for more details. Please check https://together.vcu.edu/ for the most updated information and announcements as they become available.