What is a first-year student?

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.

Students walking
What students told us they enjoyed most about their Orientation in Summer 2023:
  • “Overall, my orientation experience has made the majority of my fears go away and I feel ready to become a Ram at VCU. “ 
  • “I really enjoyed my orientation team and leader. [My Orientation Leader] was awesome/amazing and I made some good friends through my orientation group.”
  • “I enjoyed being able to learn more about my school and meet other students and faculty from that school.”

First-Year Orientation 

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. In addition to attending Orientation, you will complete the online Ram Ready Orientation Modules before attending Orientation.

Students accepted for Fall: Orientation is a two-day, overnight experience. Sessions are held throughout the summer, typically in June or July. 

Students accepted for Spring: Orientation is a one-day in-person session held in January before the start of classes.

Orientation information:

Orientations sessions are available based on the VCU college or school that your major falls within. At Orientation, you will have the opportunity to meet with staff and faculty from your college or school and will be grouped with other students by your college/school. First-year Orientations are generally only available as in-person sessions unless you are in a fully online program.

Summer 2024 Orientation dates:

You can select an Orientation session based on your VCU college or school. You will be able to see the specific dates available for you when you log into your Orientation account. Most sessions occur during the week.

  • June 17-18*
  • June 21-22
  • June 24-25*
  • June 27-28*
  • July 8-9*: This session is held for students in the Summer Scholars, Acceleration or Richmond Talent Pathways programs. Limited seats for other students will become available closer to the summer.
  • July 11-12*
  • July 15-16*
  • July 18-19
  • July 22-23

What to expect at Orientation

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 is 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 fee for incoming first-year students covers your full Orientation experience, including meals during Orientation, materials (usually a bag, water bottle and more), your overnight stay on-campus, program staffing and other associated costs (including space rental). The fee also contributes to programming for first-year students during the academic year, including Weeks of Welcome and more. 

Visit Student Financial Services to learn more about mandatory student fees.