University of Southern California
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Academic Policies


New Student Orientation

The university strongly recommends that all new students attend Orientation. Attending Orientation is the best way for new students to acclimate themselves to life at USC. Orientation provides students a chance to become familiar with campus, learn about student life, and register for first semester course work. In addition, new students will receive academic advisement and meet current faculty, staff and students. Program descriptions and session dates are mailed to newly admitted students in their Welcome Packet, and can also be accessed online at

Orientation programs offer a variety of orientation sessions for incoming students. On-campus programs for freshman and transfer students are offered in June, July, December and January. In addition, a graduate student orientation is offered in August. Freshman and transfer students living in Hawaii may choose to attend the Orientation session in Honolulu in May, and freshman and transfer students living in Hong Kong may choose to participate in the Hong Kong Orientation in July. An additional charge to cover meals, refreshments and overnight housing will apply when the Orientation session selected includes meals and/or an overnight stay. Students with financial need may receive a partial fee waiver for their Orientation reservation.

During Orientation, students learn about the university, our wide-ranging student resources and our academic programs and expectations. Students will meet with their academic advisors and plan their first semester's schedules. Parents and family members are invited to attend Orientation to become acquainted with the university. Separate workshops, programs and lectures are offered to address the special needs and concerns of parents and family members.

International student orientation is offered prior to the beginning of each semester. More details can be found on the Orientation Web site at

A number of academic departments and professional schools offer orientation sessions for graduate students, in addition to those offered by Orientation Programs. Visit the Orientation Web site at for a list of department and professional school orientation sessions. Sessions are also available for graduate assistants through the Center for Excellence in Teaching (CET). For information about CET's programs, see Special Study Options or visit Email to subscribe to the Friends of CET weekly update.

All new entering students are assessed a mandatory one-time orientation fee, payable during their first semester of enrollment, along with tuition charges and other fees. This fee covers special services, programs and publications throughout the student's continued enrollment at USC.