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FAQ's for First Year Student Summer Orientation

For a list of Transfer FAQ's please click here


When is Orientation for first-year students?

First-year students will attend their on campus orientation on any of the nine orientation dates listed in the orientation registration page. Dates range from July 10-July 31. Students and their parents/guests should plan to stay the entire duration of the in-person orientation experience with check-in starting at 8am and the program concluding with a farewell reception from 4pm-5pm.

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 advising and registration 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 June 12, 2024, 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 to sign up for an alternative orientation experience taking place at the end of August.

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 two weeks 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 two weeks prior to your scheduled orientation date.

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 (June 12)

How and when do I pay my Orientation fees?

Once you complete your orientation registration, orientation fees will be posted to your UC Merced student account and must be paid in full by the Fall 2024 fee payment deadline (August 16, 2024). 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 August?

Financial Aid can be used to pay Orientation and registration fees. During the month of August, 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?

Although it is your responsibility to ensure that the Admissions Office receives your final transcripts and any other required materials, they will work with any applicant that misses the admission document deadline that reponds to communications and shows an interest in enrolling.

The Admissions Office considers your admission status as provisionally admitted until final transcripts are received and evaluated. Not having your admission status finalized before housing move-in may impact your move-in or enrollment plans, so having the document in by the deadline ensures your admission can be finalized without issue.

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

Go to Connect and view the "My Checklist" to look for Requirements that have not been received. The requirement status is updated when your transcripts and test scores arrive. When requesting your documents, ask your schools and colleges to use the following address for Admissions:

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?

UC Merced has 4 required placement exams for first year students:

1. Writing (administered by the Merritt Writing Program). More information is available at Note that for Fall 2024, students may also choose to complete the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE).

2. Math (administered by SNS) More information is available at the School of Natural Sciences Advising page.

3. Chem (administered by SNS) More information is available at the School of Natural Sciences Advising page.

4. Computer science and engineering (administered by SOE). More information is available at the School of Engineering Advising page.

For more details on these exams, please visit the Bobcat Advising Center site.

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? 

On May 1st, students will receive an email invitation from with the link to access the Writing Readiness Review. More information is available at 

Can I stay overnight in one of the UCM residence hall rooms the night before my orientation?

Yes, students and their family can stay overnight in one of our residence halls the night before their on campus orientation experience. For reservations, please contact the Hospitality Services office at 209-228-0009 or