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!
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!
- Students admitted for Fall 2021 will participate in a two-week virtual Orientation session.
- Students will choose a session that fits your schedule based on your school or college:
- Session 1: June 21 - July 2 (Arts, Business, Humanities & Sciences, Engineering, Life Sciences, Undeclared, Wilder)
- Session 2: July 12-23 (Education, Health Professions, Humanities & Sciences, Nursing, Pre-Health Baccalaureate, Social Work, University College)
- Session 3: July 26 - August 6 (All schools/colleges including Pre-Health and Undeclared)
- Each session will contain two mandatory meetings with an Orientation Leader (OL) that are one and half hours long each. These meetings will take place Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of both weeks of the session at your chosen time.
- Times for each day are as follows:
- Monday and Tuesday
- 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, 4 pm, and 6 pm
- 10 am and 12 pm
- Monday and Tuesday
- Times for each day are as follows:
Students will also need to attend one required virtual academic event and one required financial event which they will register for on RamsConnect. These events are offered at various times throughout your session to meet your scheduling needs.
*Last-chance Orientation will take place on August 12th from 4-8pm for ALL students regardless of student type or major.
There will be no upfront cost for the Orientation program. The cost for the program is covered by the New Student Transition Fee on your student bill and will be paid alongside tuition and other fees or covered by your financial aid package.
Please note: fees are subject to change from semester to semester.
For Fall 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 session. Advising and registration varies 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 students are registered for their classes by their academic advisor based upon information provided in the Registration Survey and in line with the ideal first semester class schedule for your major. You will find a link to this survey on the First-Year Checklist. Students should check their VCU email during the first week of their Orientation session for instructions on making their orientation advising appointment to review that schedule and start making plans for a successful fall semester. Depending upon your major, this appointment may be in a group or an individual format.
After your schedule has been created, an advising hold will be placed to stop any changes from being made. This ensures that all first-year students have the opportunity to have the best schedules created for them, regardless of the date of the orientation session they attend. Don't worry, this hold will be lifted automatically for you! You will be able to make minor adjustments to your schedule on August 10. Students who must make adjustments to their schedules in order to accommodate work or personal matters can request these required changes by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Course Placement Options:
VCU determines your entry-level math, chemistry and foreign language courses based on your academic background and course placement. All first-year students are required to complete Math placement, and may also need to complete others based on your major. Transfer students are encouraged to complete the math placement if they will not be transferring a college level algebra class or higher. 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.