College orientation is often the first official college event you’ll be invited to, so it’s normal to have questions about what to bring. The answer depends on whether the freshman orientation at your college will last just a few hours or a few days.

Many schools send out a list of what to expect from freshman orientation, and what to bring to the event. But if yours has not done so, here is an overview of what you may need.

Come Prepared for College Orientation

Your school may offer plenty of activities for freshman orientation, including campus tours, presentations and question-and-answer sessions. You should come prepared with a pen and notebook so you can take notes.

If you prefer to take electronic notes, you can bring a smartphone or tablet to record any information you might want to access later. Just avoid bringing too many expensive items since they can easily be lost, stolen or damaged during the busy events that comprise college orientation.

If you already have your class schedule, you should bring it so you can find your classes ahead of time. Consider bringing a printed map of campus (though you may also be provided with one at orientation) so you can mark down where your classes are.

You will likely be given a lot of paperwork and freebies at college orientation, so you might consider bringing a backpack with you to store all the items you receive.

Spending the Night

If your college orientation takes place over two or more days, you should likely plan to spend the night. The same goes if your school is far from your home, since traveling for just one day does not usually make sense in such cases. Additionally, it is often nice to have time to explore the area during an overnight visit to your new school.

If you are staying in a dorm room for the event, you should bring clothes for the next day, as well as toiletries so you can take a shower and get ready in the morning. Don’t forget shower shoes or flip flops, and a towel.

Before you pack for the night, you should find out where exactly you will be sleeping. If you are sharing a dorm room with current students, you will likely need a sleeping bag and pillow. If you will be provided with a bed, you should typically bring extra-long sheets, a blanket and a pillow or a sleeping bag.

As you pack your clothes for college orientation, you should find out what the weather will be like during your stay. Depending on the forecast, you may need to bring an umbrella, sunscreen or warm clothes. No matter what the forecast is, though, you should bring comfortable walking shoes to college orientation.

Ask Questions Before You Go

If you are staying with students in a dorm room and have been given their contact information, you should feel free to ask them any questions you have about what to bring to freshman orientation. When in doubt, you can also typically call the school to find out what you should be bringing.

Though you should be prepared for college orientation, you should also make sure not to bring too much. After all, the more you bring, the more you will have to transport and watch so nothing gets stolen or left behind.
If you have been to college orientation already, what would you suggest new students bring?

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    • Juliana Zipay
    • June 07, 2012
    • Reply

    Come with an open mind!
    I was pretty quiet and conservative in my high school days and when I came to freshman orientation a few months before moving to school I was paired with another girl who was scheduled for the same orientation program I was in for rooming. We only ended up being paired due to our last names (the rooming was by gender, then alphabetical). After a long day of touring and programs and meeting other new people, I was ready for a few hours of sleep since I had to get up early to schedule the next morning and all the girl in my room wanted to do was talk about all the crazy parties she went to in high school and how much she drank. I was a little put-off at first, but I soon realized that I’d be meeting a lot more people like her (and not like her!) in just a few short months and that it wasn’t indicative of how I’d spend my next four years!

    • Diane at University Language
    • June 08, 2012
    • Reply

    Great tip, Juliana. Personally, I made one good friend at orientation, but I wish I would have been more outgoing and tried to make even more!

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