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Freshman FAQs

Freshman Orientation

What time do I need to arrive?

Freshman Orientation: Students and parents must check in at Manzanita Village between 7:30-9:15am. It takes approximately 10 minutes to walk from the parking lot to the Manzanita check-in area. Please allow extra time for parking and walking to check-in. 

Freshmen who are declared Dance and Theater majors must check in by 8:15am in order to attend an advising meeting with their department at 8:45am.

What do I need to bring?

See What to Bring to Freshman Orientation for a detailed list including important instructions about your UCSB Net ID and a laptop or tablet for course registration.

Where is the parking lot for Orientation and is there a fee?

Follow the signs to Orientation parking when you arrive on campus. Parking fees are $8 per day on weekdays. You will need to purchase a visitor parking permit from one of the pay stations which accept credit cards or cash ($1 and $5 bills only) or use the Park Mobile app.

See Directions to UCSB and Parking for Freshman Orientation for parking location, maps, and directions.

  • In order to park on campus, you must purchase a parking permit
  • You may not park in spaces marked Enforced At All Times, Reserved, or Restricted
  • Please observe all parking signage; parking violations are subject to citation
Is Orientation mandatory?

Orientation is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended. Approximately 95% of the incoming freshman class attends Orientation. At Freshman Orientation, you will participate in small groups for extensive academic advising and register for fall classes appropriate for your first quarter. You'll also learn about campus life, student services, and get a chance to meet some of your new classmates.

Does my parent or guardian need to attend Orientation?

We recommend it! Parents attend a separate but concurrent program that addresses their unique needs, and introduces them to campus resources and academic life at UCSB.

Which Orientation session should I attend if I am a freshman in the College of Creative Studies?

Students who are admitted to the College of Creative Studies should select one of the following two-day sessions to attend Freshman Orientation: June 29-30, July 6-7, August 3-4, August 8, and August 10. All sessions will have specific advising and programming for CCS students and their parents.

Which Orientation session should I attend if I am a freshman in the College of Engineering?

Students who are admitted to the College of Engineering can reserve a space in any of the freshman sessions being offered.

Which Orientation session should I attend if I am in the Freshman Summer Start Program?

Students who are enrolled in the Freshman Summer Start Program (FSSP) can reserve a space in any of the two-day freshman sessions before the start of FSSP on August 4th. See the FSSP page on this website for an explanation of session options for FSSP students.

Will I register for my fall classes at Orientation?

Freshmen will register at Orientation for fall classes that are appropriate for their first quarter at UCSB.

Will I have a better chance of getting my preferred classes if I attend an early session?

Each Freshman Orientation session provides the same in-depth academic advising and fair access to course enrollments. Orientation Programs distributes available class space in appropriate freshman courses equally throughout the Orientation sessions.

Should I wait to attend Orientation until my pending AP and/or IB scores are in?

It is not necessary to wait to attend Orientation if you have pending AP or IB scores. You will still be able to register for a full set of courses appropriate for their first quarter at UCSB. Students who need to take math in their first quarter and have a pending AP or IB Math score, or who have math transfer coursework, should visit this page and follow the instructions provided to assist with appropriate math placement and enrollment. 

What about placement tests for Math and Writing courses?

Math: The Math Placement Exam is not a requirement for most students at UCSB. However, for certain majors the exam is necessary to place you in a math class. See Placement Exams to determine whether you need to take the exam. Students who intend to take Calculus in the fall must either complete the Math Placement Exam online prior to coming to Orientation or have scored a 2 or higher on the AP Calculus AB or BC exam. Go to the Math Department website to take the Math Placement Exam and to find out more about course placement.

Please note: Students with college level coursework in Calculus do not need to take the Math Placement Exam, but do need to bring copies of the transcripts from the Calculus course to Orientation.

Writing: For detailed information on the Entry Level Writing Requirement, see Placement Exams.

Where will students stay overnight during Orientation?

Students who choose the Program With Accommodations option will stay overnight in an on-campus residence hall. The overnight is between the two full days of the session (Monday night or Thursday night). Sheets, blankets, towels, and pillow are provided. Please note that the residence hall does not have air conditioning.

Most students choose to stay overnight in the on-campus residence hall. See Program Overnight.

Those who choose the Program Only option will need to arrange their own overnight accommodations. 

Students must attend both days of the two-day Orientation program.

Where can parents stay overnight during Orientation?

Parents who are attending the Parent Orientation program must make their own overnight arrangements separately.

There are several local area overnight options from which to choose. In addition to hotels and motels, UCSB Conference & Hospitality Services has set aside space in the university-owned San Joaquin Apartments for parents who are attending Parent Orientation. See Hotels & Lodging for these apartments and additional options. 

Parents must make their reservation and payment for overnight accommodations separately from the Orientation reservation.

Can I change my session date or other details of my reservation?

Any change to your reservation is subject to availability and it is preferred that changes be made well in advance of your session date. You can make changes to your reservation through the online system up to 10 days in advance of your session. Within 10 days, please call Orientation Reservations at 805-893-2197 for assistance. You must call us directly if you need to cancel your entire reservation, as this cannot be done online. See the Reserve Your Space page on this website to access the reservation system.

Why do I have to pay for Orientation?

Orientation Programs is self-supported and non-profit. We do not receive state money or campus funding to offset the costs of the program.

Is there financial assistance available for the cost of Freshman Orientation?

A limited number of fee reductions are available to eligible students from families with an annual income of $35,000 or less. If you qualify, you may apply by completing the Application for a Fee Reduction which is available through a link on the Fees & Billing page. Fee reductions are allocated based on need and in the order we receive applications until funds are depleted. Fee reductions are not available for parent program fees.

When will I be billed for Orientation?

All Orientation charges, including program fees for parents, will be billed in August or September to the student’s UCSB billing account known as the BARC Billing Statement. Fee payment deadlines will be noted on the statement.

Can I pay by credit card?

All Orientation fees are billed to the student’s UCSB BARC Billing Statement. See the UCSB Billing website for acceptable forms of payment and terms.

What dining options are available during Orientation?
Our campus dining commons can accommodate many diets with a variety of food options available. Dining commons menus will be posted online for the current day, plus six days in advance, and guests may use this Food Facts Tool to identify common allergens and determine safe foods to consume. Additionally, for guests with medically required gluten-free diets, there is a secured, Gluten-Free Cabinet in each dining commons that can be accessed with advance notice and coordination with our Dietitian. Any guests following a medically required gluten-free diet should contact at least seven days prior to their Orientation session.
What is the difference between the in-person two-day session and the online one-day session?

UCSB offers two different Freshman Orientation experiences. Our in-person program is a two-day visit to UCSB where you will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive extensive academic advising in small groups
  • Register for fall classes appropriate for the first quarter
  • Learn about academics and undergraduate research
  • Meet other new students and make new friends
  • Experience residence hall living
  • Explore ways to get involved in campus activities
  • Discuss important first-year college issues
  • Learn about campus life from current UCSB students
  • Get questions answered about coming to campus
  • Learn how to navigate the UCSB campus
Our online program is a one-day virtual experience focused on academic advising and fall quarter registration. Students who participate in our 1-day program will be asked to complete an online module before the program that will prepare them to register successfully for fall courses, as well as introduce them to many of the campus resources that are covered at our in-person sessions. 
Can I bring my sibling/Can my sibling come to Orientation?
Parents and family members are welcome to join the Parent and Family Orientation. All guests must be registered on your online reservation. Please note that Orientation does not have a separate program or activities for younger siblings or children.

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