A first-year student is any student attending college for the first time (not including dual-enrollment taken in high school). Orientation 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.
If you haven’t already, please review the First-Year Student Checklist for more details on the need-to-know information to prepare for Orientation and your first semester at VCU!
Spring Orientation: For students admitted for Spring 2021, Orientation will take place online for all students. You will complete Ram Ready Online modules at your own pace and schedule a two-hour virtual Orientation meeting. These meetings will be held in January 2021 before the start of the Spring semester. You will also have the opportunity to connect with other new students through virtual meet-ups that will be hosted throughout December and January.
See Dates and Schedules for Spring 2021 information.
Summer Orientation: VCU requires all new, incoming students to complete Orientation. New Student and Family Programs at VCU is committed to helping you get RAM READY by sharing campus resources to help you succeed, answering your questions about becoming a new Ram, and connecting you with fellow current and incoming VCU students! The format of Summer 2021 Orientations will be determined at a later time. Please check back in Spring 2021 for more details.
For Spring 2021, a non-refundable program fee of $100 is required for all students and is charged during online registration. 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).
Please note: fees are subject to change from semester to semester.
In addition, for Spring 2021, there is no fee for family members to participate in Orientation but they must be registered in order to gain access to Orientation materials. To register a family member or guest, make sure you add them to your orientation registration.
Advising and course placement
Advising and registration takes place in tandem with your Orientation. Once you have registered for Orientation, you will receive more details on how to schedule a virtual advising appointment and the course registration process. Advising and registration varies by your student type (first-year or transfer) and your academic college/unit. Expan 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.
As a first-year student, your schedule will be created by your advisor for your first semester based upon your responses to the Registration Survey. You will be provided a link to this survey once you have completed your Orientation registration . New first-year students will be assigned to their advisors on Dec. 21, and you are encouraged to use the Navigate App to schedule an appointment with them when the university reopens in January if you have questions or if you need to make changes to your schedule.
Course Placement Options:
VCU determines your entry-level math, chemistry and foreign language courses based on your academic background. You’ll discuss placement with your academic advisor during your orientation advising session. Most first-year students are required to complete the Math placement, and may also need to complete others based on your major. Transfer stuents are encouraged to complete the math placement. Review the information below for more details.
The math placement test determines the highest-level math course you can initially register for. First-year students are required to complete the test online before registering for orientation. Transfer students are strongly urged to complete the test online before registering for orientation. If you don’t have a test score or AP/IB/dual enrollment recorded on your VCU transcript, you will not be able to register for a math course. Take the test without any help. Receiving a score that doesn’t accurately reflect your math level could place you in a course where your success would be limited.
The chemistry placement test is an online test used to place students into an appropriate general chemistry course based on their background knowledge. All students, current or incoming, planning on registering for General Chemistry I (CHEM 101) are required to take the test. This includes first-year and transfer students who have taken AP Chemistry. The Chemistry Placement Test is a prerequisite for CHEM 101.
Those earning a passing score on the test will be eligible to register for CHEM 101. Those not earning a passing score have two options:
- enroll in CHEM 100 – Introductory Chemistry and earn a B or better, or
- complete the ALEKS online unit. (Additional information is available by exploring the ALEKS Frequently Asked Questions.) After successfully completing one of these options students are eligible to register for CHEM 101.
The study of additional language(s) increases mental acuity and global cultural competence. Please refer to the Foreign Language Website for more details on whether or not you may need to complete a foreign language placement test.
If you took AP or IB classes and you are advised for classes before your scores are available, your advisor will ask for an estimate of your scores. If your estimate is incorrect, your classes will be adjusted once scores are available. Generally, VCU requires scores of 3 or higher to receive AP credit, and a score of 4 to 6 to receive IB credit.
You can also earn credit through dual enrollment. If VCU does not have the final transcripts from the community college by the time you are advised for courses, you’ll need to inform your academic advisor about the classes you completed and the grades you earned.