FAQ for Spring Orientation - Freshmen

Transfer Students - Click here for Transfer Orientation FAQ


When is Orientation for first-year students?

Spring Orientation is a one-day event held on campus.  Check in begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Dining Center, and the program begins promptly at 9:30 a.m. and ends at 4:15 p.m. You will park in the Lake Lot near the main entrance of campus. When you register, you'll receive a free parking pass for your orientation date via email.


Why should I attend Orientation?

National research indicates that students who attend Orientation perform better in college and are more likely to graduate than those who do not attend. Orientation provides your only opportunity, in advance of beginning classes, to connect with professors and key administrators in person, meet other students, engage in group activities, and ask questions of many different program directors and deans in a single day. Most importantly, Orientation provides you with a memorable day that will help to motivate you to succeed in college.


Do I need to register in advance for Orientation?

Yes!  Registering in advance is crucial because seats are limited for each session, food needs to be ordered in advance, and advising and registration materials need to be prepared for each student. Requests for walk-in registrations, including guests, will not be accommodated. We strongly suggest that you register by December 2, in order to reserve your seat.  It is easy to register online—here's how.


What if I cannot attend Orientation?

Orientation is a required one-day event for all new students. We strongly suggest you arrange your vacation dates or work obligations in order to make attendance at Orientation a priority. Most employers understand the importance of this event for college students. This is a critical step to take for your pathway to success in college. If you cannot attend, your academic advisor will contact you with registration instructions AFTER December 16, when all other students who attended Orientation have registered.  Keep checking your UCM e-mail.


What if I miss my Orientation date or need to cancel?

Refunds cannot be made. Spaces are limited, so all new students are encouraged to make a strong commitment to attending once they have submitted their registration. You may edit your Orientation registration online until two weeks prior to your orientation date. A $20 administrative fee will be assessed after the two-week deadline (December 2) has passed. 


What if the date I want to attend is full?

Registration for Orientation is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. All students are encouraged to register as early as possible in order to reserve a space. Seating at each event is limited; therefore, once an event is listed as "closed," no additional registration for that session will be offered.  We recommend that you continue to login to the registration system EVERY DAY, as opening will occur due to cancellations and changes.


All Orientation dates are full, and I'm worried I can't attend Orientation? What should I do now?

Registration for Orientation is provided on a first-come, first-served basis, and students were encouraged to register as early as possible in order to reserve a space. Seating at each event is limited; therefore, once an event is listed as "closed," no additional registration for that session will be offered.  However, students often cancel or change their registration status, so you are strongly encouraged to check the Orientation registration website daily and frequently for openings. If you cannot find a registration opening, you will be contacted by your academic advisor via email after December 16 with information regarding registration. 


I've already registered for Orientation, but I need to change my registration date?

You may change your registration online up to two weeks prior to your orientation date, as we need time to prepare for your visit. A $20 administration fee will be assessed for any registration changes AFTER the two-week deadline (December 2) has passed. All registration changes are based on availability. 
To make changes:
  • Log back into the registration system
  • Select Dates from the left side menu
  • Change your registration date by selecting another open registration date
  • Click on the Save & Continue button on the bottom of the page
  • Confirm registration change by clicking on MyReservation on left side menu
  • View your change under the Dates section
  • Click on Save & Exit Reservation to log off


How do I cancel my guest for Orientation or change my guest information?

If you still plan to attend orientation but need to cancel your registered guest:
  • Log back into the registration system
  • Select Parents/Guests from the left side menu
  • Click anywhere on the registered guest information you previously entered
  • In the new window that appears, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Delete
  • You will see your guest information deleted in the Parents/Guests page
  • Click on Save & Continue on the bottom of the page to confirm changes
  • You may view updates or changes under MyReservation on the left side menu
To add a parent/guest:
  • Log into the registration system
  • Select Parents/Guests from the left side menu
  • Click Add A Parent/Guest!
  • In the new window, provide the required information and click on Add at the bottom of the page
  • Click on Save & Continue on the bottom of the page to confirm changes
  • You may view updates or changes under MyReservation on the left side menu


Why is there a fee for Orientation?

Orientation expenses such as staffing, materials, equipment, facility rental and food for events are not covered by regular operating funds. However, UC Merced's orientation fees are as much as $50-100 lower than those charged at other institutions—at $100 per student and $90 per parent or guest.


How and when do I pay my Orientation fees?

Once you complete registration, Orientation fees will be posted to your UC Merced student account and must be paid in full by the Spring 2016 fee payment deadline (January 11). Make your payment online. It is your responsibility to pay all orientation fees by the payment deadline.  


Why are fees posted to my account in the month of January?

Financial Aid can be used to pay Orientation and registration fees. During the month of January, the University can determine final fees and what is covered by financial aid. It is recommended you keep checking your E-Pay account for final fees and deadlines.  


Why does the Admissions Office need my transcripts and test scores by December 2?

Advisors will help you identify the courses you should take during your first semester. Transcripts and test scores must be received in advance of your Orientation date to ensure that advisors get the important information they need to help you choose those courses. Your transcripts and test scores are particularly important to determine your readiness for courses that have prerequisites.

Note that you must send your test scores and transcripts by December 2 in order for advisors to prepare materials for your orientation day.  All final documents, including the Fall 2016 transcripts must be receieved by the university by January 6. We suggest that you also bring a copy of your transcripts with you to orientation.  Please make arrangements immediately to have final transcripts sent following the end of your term. 


What if my final transcripts are not received by the deadline?

It is your responsibility to ensure that the Admissions Office receives your final transcripts and any other required materials by January 6. If your materials do not arrive prior to your Orientation date (must be received by December 2), we still strongly encourage you to attend Orientation. Please bring copies of these documents with you for your Orientation date. Note that the Admissions Office may rescind your admission if transcripts are not received by January 6.


How can I be sure my official documents will be processed on time for Orientation?

Go to MyAdmissions and look for Requirements that have not been received. This information is updated with receipt dates when your transcripts and test scores arrive. Ask your schools and colleges to use the following address for Admission:

UC Merced Admissions
5200 North Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343-5603

Be sure to use UC Merced's institution codes as you request official score reports:

  • ACT code: 0450
  • College Board code: 4129


What placement exams will be offered? Who must take these exams?

Most new freshmen will be required to take Placement Exams in math and chemistry, regardless of past accomplishments in these disciplines. Students who plan to study French and Spanish in the fall and who already have some knowledge or previous academic study of the language will need to take the language placement exam.


What if I want to change or declare my major?

New freshman who want to change their major must submit a request within five business days PRIOR to submitting their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). The procedure for applicants to request a change of major, along with deadlines, can be found on the Admission website

New freshmen or SIR students cannot change their major after they have submitted their SIR.  Students admitted into the Undeclared/Undecided major will not be allowed to change their major until after their first semester.


What if I did not take the Writing Placement Exam?

Students needed to complete the Writing Placement Exam in May at their locally designated testing site. If you did not complete this placement exam, you will enroll in the Entry-Level Writing course at UC Merced. Visit the UC Office of the President website for more information about this placement exam.