Milwaukee New Freshmen Orientation 2020

Congratulations on the achievements that have led you to this step in your journey. New Student Orientation marks your entrance into the UWM community, this year, in a new and exciting format! In the Summer of 2020, Orientation will take place totally online to protect you and the rest of the UWM community. The process to meet your Orientation requirements and register for your Fall classes is outlined below! There are many opportunities for Families to engage virtually as well.

Register for Orientation

Orientation Registration Steps

Step 1: Complete Admission Steps

You will be invited via postcard and email to sign up online for New Student Orientation after you have paid the $150 New Student Confirmation Deposit* which is part of the $250 New Freshman Fee (the other $100 will be added on with Tuition in August and is not refundable after the start of the term).

If you’d like to live on campus, but haven’t submitted a contract, you’ll need to reach out to University Housing to request access to a contract. Please note that it’s likely that University Housing will not be able to house as many students as previously projected. It is Housing’s intention to house as many students as possible, while staying within the guidance provided by public health officials.

Placement Tests: Math and English ACT/SAT scores will be utilized for placement. For optional testing (Chemistry, Spanish, German, French, Math and English), please visit the Placement Testing Website.

If there is a scheduling conflict, please contact our office

*This deposit is not refundable if you participate in Orientation or if you do not cancel your Orientation registration at least 10 days prior to the program.

Step 2: Register for Orientation

After you register, you’ll immediately receive a confirmation with limited program details via email. You’ll receive more extensive directions via mail and email about one week prior to the program.

Changing Your Major
Part of your orientation experience is based on the major that you selected when you applied to UWM. You have the ability to change your major up to 10 days prior to your Orientation program in the registration site. Please note: Changing your major after you register for Orientation may impact which date you can attend orientation.

If you’ve already registered for a program and you want to change your major, you’ll need to cancel your current registration at the same website, log back in and select “Change Major” at the top. You’ll then have to wait until your major is/is not approved and log back in to re-register for the program. We will not accommodate major changes during the Orientation program.

Date Selection & No-Log In Policy
Orientation dates are available on a first come, first served basis. If a program date is unavailable, we are unable to “hold” a date as our system updates in real time and anyone can select a date should it become available.

You are allowed to change the program you have registered for up to 5 days before the program begins. To change your orientation date, log on to the registration site and select a program that works better for your schedule. If you register for a program and do not participate, that is considered a “no-log in.” If you “no-log in” twice, you will not be allowed to register for a program until the end of the summer in August.

Families and Guests
You are not required to invite a family member or guest to participate in Orientation, but if you would like, you may input their information into your Orientation registration and they will receive communication directly to participate in Family programming.

Parents and Families may join their student throughout their Orientation experience, but we’d like to encourage students to have individual one-on-one appointments with their Academic Advisors when it comes time to discuss their college plans and enroll in courses.  Individual appointments will help to establish the trust and rapport between your student and their advisor, and these are important first steps on the road towards graduation.

Note that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) applies differently to college students than to elementary or high school students — the student now has sole and direct ownership of their educational records.  While parents and families understandably have an interest in a student’s academic progress, they may only access the student’s records with written consent.  We encourage families to honor and appreciate their student’s role in charting their academic path and choosing their courses, under the guidance of UWM’s professional advisors.  See for more information about how FERPA applies to college students.

Spanish Language Accommodations
If your parents/guests need Spanish language translation, please visit our Family Spanish Language Orientation website for more information. If you want your guest to participate in a Spanish Language Orientation, call 414-229-5842 to speak with New Student Programs and we can help get your guest registered for the program.

Step 3: Prepare for Orientation

View schedule here:NSO Student Orientation Online Schedule
Make sure to use #UWMNSO on Twitter or Instagram (Follow us: @uwmnewstudents)!

Complete the BCSSE Survey [Required] In your Orientation confirmation materials, you will receive your link to complete the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement. Complete this prior to your Orientation date.

Submit Your ID Photo [Required] Prior to Orientation, you need to submit the photo you would like to appear on your PantherCard. All you have to do is take a photo of yourself and upload it through GET UWM, PantherCard’s online management system. Go here to the PantherCard Office website for detailed instructions and requirements for your photo.

Credit Agreement [Required]
Before being able to register for classes, you must complete your credit agreement. If you have not done it yet, you can complete it through your PAWS account. Log in to PAWS, click the Credit Agreement link on your “To Do List” and complete your Credit Agreement there.

UWM Email
You can access your UWM email 1-2 days after you pay your confirmation deposit. Your email address is your ePantherID followed by ( Your email account is through Outlook and you can log in to the Microsoft suite here: UWM Email. Login with your full email address and your ePanther ID password.

Academic Plans
One of the most important things you will do as part of your Orientation experience is register for your first semester of classes. An advisor will help guide you on requirements for your major, but it’s a good idea to explore classes that fit your interests if you have room in your schedule. You can look at the schedule of classes for some ideas.

Family Preparation
Check out the full array of Family engagement opportunitiesWe recommend you do the following to get the most out of the (optional) Family Orientation programing:

  • Talk to your student about their academic classes since you won’t be joining them for class registration.
  • Provide your email address to get on the PantherFamilies email list.
  • Connect with your student after the program to hear what they learned.
  • Join for additional live, pre-recorded, and interactive Family-focused opportunities!
Step 4: Participate in Your Orientation!

Complete the Canvas Orientation Module
On the morning of your Orientation, you will receive an email granting you access to the Online Orientation module hosted on UWM’s online learning platform, Canvas. Using that link, you will enroll yourself in the Orientation course, and work through the pages, videos, and complete the quizzes. Ensure that you finish this portion of your Orientation prior to the other components of your day.

Panther Virtual Hangout
You will participate in a small group experience facilitated by your Orientation Leader. In this session, you will meet other new students, hear more about the campus resources you learned about via the Canvas course, and get to know your Orientation Leader.

School or College Meeting
Every School and College is excited to interface with our newest students! To prepare you to register for courses, you will participate in a School or College meeting to learn more about what your first year curriculum has in store! This meeting will set you up with all the information you need to have a great individual advising appointment after your Orientation.

You must attend the correct School/College meeting – which is in your Orientation confirmation email and will be sent to you in the access email the day prior to your program. Failure to attend the correct meeting may impact your ability to enroll in courses.

Register for Classes

You will not be able to meet with an Advisor until Orientation is completed. You’ll be contacted via email when you’re ready to schedule an appointment. Don’t schedule an appointment in Navigate until you receive that email.

In order to adhere to FERPA Law, parents are not allowed to participate in the Advising meeting. While you meet with your Academic Advisor, you’ll be enrolling in your courses! We have Orientation Leaders on hand to virtually support you with questions regarding navigating the PAWS course registration system, though we ask that you direct questions regarding specific courses to your Academic Advisor.

As a result of completing Orientation…

  • Students will be able to make informed choices regarding academic, personal and social issues.​
  • Students will take personal responsibility for their own success.​
  • Students will feel welcomed, comfortable, engaged and excited to be a member of the UWM community. ​
  • Students will grow in their understanding and respect of others is a diverse community.

Get to Know UWM
There are a huge number of additional opportunities to connect in live, interactive, and pre-recorded sessions! UWM is here to help you have a successful college experience–start here to learn more about your network of support and the resources available to you!

Step 5: Stay Connected After Orientation
Frequently Asked Questions

Is Orientation held in-person?

  • No. Due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, students starting at UWM in the Summer or Fall of 2020 will participate in an Online Orientation experience. The details of how to register and what to expect are listed above in Steps 1-4.

Having trouble connecting to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session? 

Below is some other UWM technology instruction guides to review:

Am I required to live on campus this Fall?

  • No. The UW-System first-year on-campus living requirement has been suspended for Fall 2020 due to COVID-19. If you’d like to live on campus, but haven’t submitted a contract, you’ll need to reach out to University Housing to request access to a contract. Please note that it’s likely that University Housing will not be able to house as many students as previously projected. It is Housing’s intention to house as many students as possible, while staying within the guidance provided by public health officials.

How can I speak with Financial Aid regarding the costs of college, loans, scholarships, and more?

What do I need to do before I participate in Orientation?  

  • Take a photo of yourself for your student ID and submit it through “Get UWM,” PantherCard’s online management system. Go to the PantherCard Office website for detailed instructions and requirements for your photo. Be sure to upload your photo at least 48 hours prior to your Orientation date. 
  • Complete the University Credit Agreement ( In the Finances section click “Credit Agreement”). This must be completed to enroll in classes for the upcoming semester.  
  • Pay outstanding balances on your PAWS account (in the Finances section). If you have overdue charges and a Bursar’s Hold is placed on your account, this may impact your ability to register for classes. 
  • Review the schedule of classes online: 
  • Read the PAWS Financial Aid tutorial to learn how to accept your aid and prepare to speak with a Financial Aid advisor. 
  • Complete any outstanding Financial Aid items (found on your PAWS to do list, accept wards, etc.). 

Can my family or guests participate in Orientation with me? 

  • Families and guests are not encouraged to participate in the Canvas course, Panther Virtual Hangouts, or Advising Appointments.
  • Families have access to a variety of programming options, all laid out here. There are great opportunities to interface with our student service units!
  • Family participation in Orientation is not required.
  • Students can add guest(s) to their registration when selecting their NSO date. This triggers an email to families to participate in the opportunities linked above.

When will I get my placement tests results and be able to sign up for classes? 

  • You are not required to take placement tests to enroll in Summer or Fall 2020 classes.
  • Math and English ACT/SAT scores will be utilized for placement. For optional testing (Chemistry, Spanish, German, French, Math and English), please visit the Placement Testing Website.
  • You will sign up for classes during your Orientation experience.

I want to change my major. How do I do that?  

  • If you have already registered for a NSO program: Please (1) Sign in to the Orientation Website and cancel your orientation registration, (2) Click “Change Major” at the top of the page and fill out the form, (3) Wait 3-5 business days for major change request to process, and (4) Re-register for the program.  
  • If you have not registered for NSO: Complete a Major Change Request form found online at 

I’m considering waiting to start at UWM until the Spring. How do I do that, and should I do it?

  • It’s your choice to start classes in the Fall or Spring. If you’ve been admitted for Fall 2020 and want to start classes in Spring 2021, you must submit a Term Change Request here.
  • If you Term Change and have paid your $150 Confirmation Deposit for Fall, you will NOT get a refund. Your Fall Confirmation Deposit charge will be cancelled and you’ll get a Spring Confirmation Deposit charge. The Fall payment you already submitted will then automatically cover the Spring Confirmation Deposit charge.
  • There are many implications to changing terms. To get more information about Term Changes and ask questions, email