A first-year student is any student attending college for the first time (not including dual-enrollment taken in high school), typically straight from high school or after a short time away from school.

Orientation for first-year students offers an immersive experience for students to learn about life at VCU, understand academic requirements, campus resources and to connect with VCU students, faculty and staff and includes an overnight stay on campus.

First-Year Student Orientation

For students admitted for the Fall semester, Orientation consists of two-day overnight sessions held throughout the summer and includes the Ram Ready Orientation Modules.

For first-year students admitted for the Spring semester, Orientation consists of a one-day in-person session held in January and includes the online Ram Ready Orientation Modules.

Spring 2023 Orientation date:
Orientation will take place in-person on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. More details will be available when registration opens on Nov. 14.

Below is an overview of each component of the Orientation experience. You will receive more detailed information in your email once you have completed Orientation registration. It is important to check your email regularly and read over emails carefully.

Orientation cost

There will be no upfront cost for students to participate in Orientation. The cost for the program is covered by the new student transition fee on your student bill in your first semester and will be paid alongside tuition and other fees or covered by your financial aid package (if applicable).

The new student transition fee for incoming first-year students covers your full Orientation experience (including all online and in-person experiences, your Orientation materials and programming in the first weeks of classes that support your transition to VCU).

Visit Student Financial Services for more information on student fees.

Family and guest fee

Students may add up to two guests to their Orientation reservation for an additional fee. This non-refundable, one-time fee covers the cost to attend the in-person program and includes a printed VCU Academic Calendar, materials, refreshments and meals during Orientation, access to Ram Ready modules for families, staffing and rental fees. 

This fee is collected at the time of registration via a secure online payment system. All major credit and debit cards are accepted. We cannot accept cash or checks.

Spring orientation guest fee: $30.00 per person.

Please note: Fees are subject to change from semester to semester. This fee is non-refundable.

Advising and course placement

Advising and registration will take place in tandem with your Orientation session. Advising and registration vary by your student type (first-year or transfer) and your academic college/unit. Expand the options for more details based on your student type and the semester you are enrolling.

For more information on general academic advising, visit VCU Advising.

First-year advising

First-year students will be assigned an advisor prior to Orientation and will receive more information on selecting and registering for your first semester classes before attending your scheduled Orientation. You will schedule an in-person or virtually to finalize your schedule. You should complete the First-Year Advising survey and then make an appointment in Navigate. You should try to schedule your advising appointment for a time before your Orientation, but you can meet with your advisor at any time before the start of classes.

Course Registration

Students should begin the course registration process prior to meeting with their advisor. You can review the Course Registration Guide for more information on how to begin the scheduling process and use eServices. To determine what classes to take, review your Major Map for your plan of study.

Be sure you have completed the appropriate Course Placement tests below to ensure you are selecting courses appropriately based on your scores.

Course placement options

VCU determines your entry-level math, chemistry and foreign language courses based on your academic background and course placement test scores. All first-year students are required to complete math placement, and may also need to complete others based on their major. Transfer students are encouraged to complete math placement if they will not be transferring to a college-level algebra class or higher. Review the information below for more details.