Student Orientation Information

At Student Orientation (SO) you make friendships that last a lifetime.

Student Orientation (SO) marks the beginning of your membership into the Rensselaer community. The purpose of Student Orientation is to help you make a smooth transition from your life in high school to your life as a Rensselaer student. SO is designed as a full day-and-a-half series of highly structured programs that cover numerous topics of concern to new students.

Start to get excited — it’s almost here! The First-Year Experience office can’t wait to meet you and your families this summer. Orientation registration will not be available until late March.  You will receive information via email about how to register and next steps.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

FIRST-YEAR STUDENT ORIENTATION DATES- will be announced late January


SO 1 

*You may only sign up for Session V if you live more than
450 miles from campus 
AND plan to go on an overnight NRB trip.

  *Session VI is reserved for students who live greater than 450 miles away from Rensselaer, and international students.

***International Students are required to attend International Student Orientation on August , in addition to attending Student Orientation VI.  Additional details will be provided by the Office of International Services for Students and Scholars in the coming months.

Students participating in a ROTC program are encouraged to attend a July session. 

Students in the Physician-Scientist (accelerated medical) Program should sign up to attend either Session 4 or Session 6.

What should I bring to Orientation?

You don’t have to bring too much with you to your SO session. Below is a short list of what you will need:

  • The materials sent as part of your SO confirmation packet
  • A notebook/paper and a pen to take notes with
  • Any forms you have yet to mail in (Medical, Laptop, etc.)
  • A change of clothes
  • Any necessary toiletries you might need
  • An alarm clock so you don’t sleep through registration!
  • You may want some pocket change for a snack or soda although we will feed you well

Your room will have bedding provided. There is no need to bring your own.

What will I be doing during Orientation?

During SO you will attend academic information sessions, meet with an academic adviser from your department, plan your academic program for the fall semester, and register for classes. You will also have the opportunity to meet new classmates, interact with faculty and student leaders, and become familiar with campus facilities. Your photo will be taken for your student ID card, and you will participate in workshops and discussion groups designed to respond to your concerns and interests as a new student.

Below is an example student schedule for SO. Your schedule may be slightly different, but this will give you an idea of what to expect. We look forward to meeting you this summer! A sample parent schedule is also available on the parent page.

Day 1

SO Check-In
You will receive your room keys and orientation packet.

Welcome to Student Orientation!
Learn about the ins and outs of SO.

Welcome to Rensselaer!
It’s our pleasure to welcome you as enrolled students!

Academics Overview
Learn what possibilities and choices await your first registration at Rensselaer.

Departmental Advising
Meet a faculty member from your curriculum.


Living, Dining & Safety
Look ahead to the fall semester and see what to expect from life on campus.


Student Panel Discussion
This panel will be an excellent opportunity to have your questions answered by the experts-the students!

Team 2023
Explore issues of leadership and teamwork with the Archer Center for Student Leadership Development.


Relationships, Sexuality and the Social Scene
An introduction to the college environment and the developmental and transitional issues you may face as part of the college experience.

Evening Meeting
Bring your questions and compare notes with your classmates.

New Student Celebration
A celebration of the Class of 2023 featuring music, food, and prizes.

Day 2


Resource Center
You will have a chance to meet staff from various departments from around campus that will provide you with information and answer any final questions you might have.

Closing Remarks
Attend the closing session and learn what makes your class exceptional and unique!

Use this time to gather your belongings, return your keys and access card, receive your parting gift, and check out with your SO Advisor.

Disability Services for Students
Please notify Disability Services for Students at (518) 276-8197 and the Student Orientation office at (518) 276-8632 of your specific needs. Doing so will ensure that we are prepared to assist you in having a productive and enjoyable stay on campus.

Behavior guidelines
All campus regulations regarding fire safety, smoking, alcohol, drugs, noise, unruly behavior, etc. are in effect and strictly enforced during SO. Information regarding these policies can be found online at and in the Residence Guide at Please familiarize yourself with these guidelines before attending your SO session.

Please note that Rensselaer is a smoke- and tobacco-free campus. We joined more than 360 U.S. colleges and universities that have pursued similar initiatives to promote healthy living, learning, and working environments.