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FAQ's for Spring Orientation - First Year Students

Transfer Students - Click here for Transfer Orientation FAQ


When is Orientation for first-year students?

Spring 2023 Orientation Update Transitioning to Hybrid Model as of January 11, 2023 3:30pm. 

Friday, January 13th Orientation will take place via Zoom Webinar from 1:00pm-4:45pm. Please check your e-mail for the link. This Zoom webinar orientation session will be for both students and their guests.

Friday, January 20th the second part of spring orientation will take place in-person for students only from 12:15pm-4:00pm in SSB 130.

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 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 spots are limited for each session and  materials need to be prepared for each student. Requests for guest add-ons will only be accommodated if space is available. We strongly suggest that you register by January 04, 2023, 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 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 are unable to attend Orientation please contact our office.

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 attend once they have submitted their registration. You may edit your Orientation registration online until one week prior to your orientation date. 

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

If you are unable to attend orientation and have already registered, you need to contact the Orientation team at at least two weeks prior to your scheduled orientation date.

No changes can be made after January 4, 2023 

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?

There is a fee to attend New Student Orientation to cover the program costs. Orientation expenses such as staffing, materials, and equipment 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. 

The New Student Orientation fee for students is $110 and $100 for each parent or guest if registered by the priority deadline (January 4). 

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 2023 fee payment deadline (January 11, 2023). 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 MyBill for final fees and deadlines.  

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. We encourage you to bring copies of your unofficial transcripts during your Orientation date. We understand that some of you are finishing your fall term and that your final official transcripts for this term may not be available before Orientation. Even if your fall grades are not posted prior to Orientation, we still strongly encourage you to attend Orientation. The Admissions Office considers your admission status as provisionally admitted until final transcripts are received and evaluated. The Admissions Office may rescind your admission if transcripts do not meet qualifications or are not received by the deadline.

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.