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.
Fall/Spring Orientation sessions
For students admitted for the Fall semester, Orientation consists of two-day overnight sessions held throughout the summer and includes the online 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 dates:
Orientations 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.
To check which college or school your major falls in, you can search for your program under VCU Academics. Please note, your major is the one that you were accepted into by VCU. Please verify this through the VCU Application Portal. To request a change of major, email email@example.com at least two weeks in advance of your Orientation date to ensure you are in the correct session. If changing your major results in a change of your college/school, you may need to select a new Orientation session.
When you log in to register for Orientation, you will only see dates that have open seats and are available to you based on your college/school.
- College of Humanities and Sciences: June 12-13, June 15-16, June 20-21, June 23-24, June 26-27, June 29-30, July 10-11*, July 13-14, July 17-18, July 20-21
- School of the Arts: June 12-13, June 15-16, June 23-24, July 10-11*, July 17-18, July 20-21
- School of Business: June 12-13, June 23-24, June 29-30, July 10-11*, July 13-14
- College of Engineering: June 15-16, June 20-21, June 26-27, July 10-11*, July 20-21
- Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs: June 12-13, June 23-24, July 10-11*, July 20-21
- School of Social Work: June 20-21, July 10-11*, July 17-18
- School of Education: June 20-21, July 10-11*, July 20-21
- VCU Life Sciences: June 15-16, June 26-27, July 10-11*, July 17-18
- College of Health Professions: June 20-21, July 10-11*, July 17-18
- University College: June 20-21, July 10-11*, July 13-14
A final Orientation session will be offered Aug. 18-19 for ALL schools/colleges and is available for students coming from out-of-state, international students and those who are unable to attend a date in June or July. The August session does not include overnight housing on campus, and students living on-campus will move into their assigned room.
*The July 10-11 session is held for students participating in Summer Scholars, the Trio Summer Bridge Program and VCU Acceleration. There will be more limited availability on this date for students outside of these programs.
In addition to your school or college, students accepted into the Honors College should plan to attend one of the following dates: June 12-13, June 15-16, June 20-21, June 26-27, June 29-30, July 10-11, Aug 17-18.
As part of your Orientation, you will have a brief meeting with the Honors College to review requirements and have an opportunity to meet with Honors College staff and advisors, as well as meet other Honors students who will be in your classes.
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.
Before attending your Orientation session, you will need to complete the Ram Ready Orientation modules. These modules cover important academic information, financial planning, campus resources and how to prepare for your Orientation session. Students will also begin the course registration process before attending Orientation. You will receive more detailed information through your VCU email as Orientation approaches. See the Advising and course placement section for more details on the advising and registration process.
Spring Orientation is a one-day program and takes place in-person. This session will consist of large and small-group sessions, a campus panel, an opportunity to connect with your school or college, and a campus resource fair. A campus tour will also be available.
For students admitted for Fall, the First-Year Orientation program is a two-day experience, and students will stay overnight in Gladding Residence Center. At Orientation, you will have large group sessions, small group sessions led by your Orientation Leader, and opportunities for breakout sessions based on your college/school and your interests.
Family and guest Orientation: A separate program for families will also happen in tandem with the student program. Overnight accommodations are not included for families. Learn more on the families and guests page.
After attending Orientation, you will gain access to the final Ram Ready Orientation modules and several online training sessions that are required before starting your first semester at VCU.
Spring students will complete all modules before Orientation.
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 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.
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.
The math department recommends that students take a math course during their first semester at VCU because many programs at VCU require some level of math as a prerequisite and many courses outside of the math department have math as a prerequisite. Only some students will need to take the math placement test depending on your major, your incoming SAT or ACT scores and any applicable incoming credits for math from AP, IB or dual enrollment courses. If you are not satisfied with your math placement based on your incoming test scores or credits, then you can opt to take the math placement test to try to place into a higher level course.
To determine if you need to complete Math Placement before registering for courses, visit the Math Placement page on the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics website.
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 planning on registering for General Chemistry I (CHEM 101) are required to take the test.
Majors that commonly require CHEM 101 include: engineering, biology, chemistry, forensic science, bioinformatics, environmental studies, interdisciplinary science, and many of the pre-professional health programs (pre-med, pre-pharmacy, etc.) This includes first-year 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:
- Complete the ALEKS online unit. After successfully completing one of these options students are eligible to register for CHEM 101. ALEKS must be completed by no later than July 31 (for fall semester) or Jan. 10 (for spring semester).
- Enroll in CHEM 100 – Introductory Chemistry and earn a B or better.
Students who plan to continue studying a foreign language that they studied in high school must take the language placement test to determine the appropriate language class. Only students with transfer credit from other educational institutions are eligible to enroll in the next course within their language sequence.
The foreign language placement test must be taken in person either before or during Orientation. Learn more about foreign language placement testing, including when and where tests are administered.
Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate scores:
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.
The VCU Transfer Center evaluates Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate credits from high school. To ensure you receive credit for them, you must submit your AP and IB scores directly to VCU’s Transfer Center. AP scores must come directly from The College Board and IB scores should come directly from the International Baccalaureate office. We cannot accept AP or IB credits from a high school or college transcript.
Dual enrollment credits:
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.
Submitting dual enrollment transcripts
Students who completed dual enrollment/early college credit while in high school must submit official college transcripts from the dual enrollment college/university to VCU prior to July 31. Transcripts can be mailed to the VCU Transfer Center at 900 Park Ave., Box 842532, Richmond, VA 23284.