Students entering UWM through Pathway Advising as first-time new students will find information on our required New Student Orientation program below, including important steps that we’d like you to complete before you join us at an on-campus or online orientation. General information on UWM’s full orientation programing is available here.
Prior to Orientation
1. Choose your Pathway
Students in Pathway Advising follow one of six metamajor pathways, each of which can lead to a variety of UWM’s majors, minors and certificates. These pathways will help undecided students explore UWM’s curriculum, and help students who have an idea in mind develop a clear plan for progression into their chosen major. Choosing a pathway now will allow your academic advisor to start preparing class options for your first semester.
You can select a metamajor pathway through your Admissions portal.
If you’re trying to choose between two pathways, review each pathway’s linked major from our Undecided page, and select the one that best fits you for now. You can change your pathway at any time, as your plans for a major take shape.
If you really aren’t ready to make a decision at this time, that’s fine too — we’ll be able to create a general set of course recommendations that won’t align with any particular pathway.
2. Sign up for New Student Orientation
Follow the steps here to complete your matriculation to UWM and receive your invitation to orientation.
It is to your benefit, where possible, to attend the earliest possible orientation you can. Classes can fill up over the summer, and knowing your Fall plans earlier can help you get yourself ready for fall classes.
3. Plan for a 15 Credit Schedule
Both nationwide and UWM-specific studies have shown that students get better grades and make faster progress towards a degree if they take 15 credits each fall and spring semester, or 30 credits each academic year. This will typically mean you should plan to take about 5 courses in your first semester, which will work out to require about 15 hours in class and 30 hours of reading/studying/out-of-class home work.
Sample schedule information is available for each of our Pathways from the Our Pathways category in the menu bar on this page.
4. Consider Other Demands on Your Schedule
If you will be working, or you will have other demands on your schedule during your first semester of college, be sure to make note of those as you prepare to enroll in classes as a part of your Orientation. We recommend limiting your work hours (or other responsibilities, where possible) to 20 or fewer hours during the school term if you will be attending school full-time. A full-time schedule in college will typically require 45 hours of your time and attention each week, as noted above, so dividing your time among other responsibilities can lead to a lessened focus on your academics. If you have significant responsibilities other than college courses, consider taking fewer courses and plan on a longer path to graduation.
ALSO: Given COVID-19, a further consideration should be your ability to adjust to online courses, if there should be a need to do so. If you are in need of technological tools, UWM can help with some recommendations and resources. UWM's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, who have significant expertise in helping instructors optimize their courses for online delivery, share their advice on how to be a successful online student.
At New Student Orientation
Orientations will be held in-person, with options for online orientation for adult and transfer students. As part of orientation, students will work with our advising staff in a UWM computer lab to enroll in classes.
A full schedule for Fall will require that students have established placement criteria for English and Math classes. You’ll find information about placement procedures either in your student portal or on our Freshman Course Placement page.