Freshman orientation begins May 30

An estimated 5,600 would-be fall freshmen will participate in Iowa State orientation during June. Roughly 300 at a time, they'll attend one of the 20 two-day sessions scheduled. The first begins on Tuesday, May 30; the last on Wednesday, June 28. This summer, two sessions will begin on a Sunday (June 11 and 25) to accommodate families who face scheduling conflicts during the week.

In addition, about 400 transfer students will attend a one-day orientation tailored for them. The first was May 22; the second is scheduled for Friday, June 30.

It's not just the practically-college-students who are trying on Iowa State. They'll bring about 9,000 friends and family members with them, according to Liz Kurt, director of new student programs. Some committed to Iowa State months and months ago; others are still shopping.

"More than ever, high school seniors are still visiting schools this time of year and haven't made up their minds about where they are going to college," Kurt said. "This tells us that many attending orientation are still on the fence."

Some even will use orientation as their first look at campus. The Cyclone assignment -- perhaps apparent but not simple: Roll out the [cardinal] carpet and help them feel welcomed, Kurt said.

What goes on at orientation?

For incoming students who have accepted admission to Iowa State, orientation gets the student process rolling. They'll get their ISU email accounts and student ID cards, meet with an academic adviser, register for fall classes, learn how their UBill account works and hear an overview on financial aid programs and processes (there's also time for one-on-one meetings with financial aid advisers). The afternoon of the first day is dedicated to undergraduate college-specific orientation sessions. There are optional tours, including campus, library, residence halls and rec services. They'll learn about all the services offered by the public safety department and within the broad umbrella of the dean of students office. Most importantly, they'll have nearly two days to get answers to lots of questions so they're more confident when they return in August.

Locations for college-specific meetings (first day, 1 p.m.)

Agriculture and Life Sciences

Curtiss auditorium*


Gerdin auditorium


Design auditorium


Hoover auditorium

Human Sciences

LeBaron auditorium

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Troxel classroom

*A change from past years

Kurt noted one other location shift from past summers: The UBill and financial aid overview sessions will move to the MU South Ballroom (from the Curtiss Hall location of recent years).

Other key sites

Orientation visitors will park in the lot that wraps north and east of the Maple Willow Larch residence complex and check in at the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center. Those who opt to stay overnight on campus will be in Maple Hall. On-campus lunch options are in the Memorial Union and the Union Drive dining center; dinner also is at that dining center. Most of the morning and evening sessions are in the Memorial Union. A full schedule (PDF) is online.