Milwaukee Freshmen Orientation 2021

Congratulations on choosing UWM–we’re thrilled to welcome you to the Panther Family!

Starting Summer or Fall 2021: The deadline to register for Orientation was Friday, 8/27, meaning if you haven’t completed your Orientation steps, it is too late to enroll for Fall semester. It’s not too late to choose to start at UWM in Spring 2022 – if you’re admitted for Summer or Fall 2021, you can request to change your starting semester here, or if you haven’t applied, you can fill out the application.

You can appeal to start in the Fall—exceptions will only be granted for extreme situations related to finances or wellbeing. Please email us at as soon as possible to discuss an exemption to enroll for Fall courses.

Orientation Registration has Closed

Orientation Steps

Step 1: Complete Admissions Steps

You will be invited via postcard and email to sign up online for New Student Orientation once you have satisfied your Course Placement and Housing requirements:

Step 1: Complete each of these three items:

Course Placement Requirements: You have 2 options to complete your course placement requirement:

    • Submit your ACT or SAT scores to UW Milwaukee.
      • If you have already submitted your ACT/SAT scores with your application, you do not need to submit them again.
      • If you have not submitted your ACT/SAT scores, you can request those scores be sent directly to UWM from ACT or SAT.
      • If you have a copy of your ACT/SAT scores, UW Milwaukee also has an online form to report your test scores.
    • If you do not have test scores, use our free online placement tools in BOTH math and English.
      • Math– Panther Math Prep is a free online placement tool that allows you to assess your current math skill level and receive a course placement via an online proctored math placement test in a platform called ALEKS.
      • English – UWM offers a free online placement option called Guided English Placement (GEP). The GEP takes about 30-60 minutes to complete.
    • Please visit for more information on course placement and to access the online placement options. For questions,

Housing Requirement: Submit the University Housing Contract (and pay the $100 University Housing deposit) OR submit an Exemption Form (may be completed before or after the Course Placement step). For questions regarding Housing, please contact them by visiting their website.

Confirm your Enrollment: Complete the “Intent to Enroll” To Do List item in your PAWS account. This will confirm your enrollment to UW-Milwaukee.

Step 2: Complete the “Pre-Orientation” To Do List item in your PAWS account. This Pre-Orientation is required for all incoming students and you will be asked to reschedule your Orientation if it is not complete.

Step 3: Register for Orientation!

The $150 Orientation Fee you will see on your account is not due until the first day of classes. The Orientation Fee is not refundable if you participate in Orientation. You will also see a $100 New Freshman Fee which is also not due until the first day of classes. This Fee covers many costs related to the first-year programming that will be available to you this year! If you cancel enrollment prior to the start of the term, you will not owe this fee to UWM.

Learn more about enrollment next steps by watching this video. If there is a scheduling conflict, please contact our office

Step 2: Register for Orientation

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.

Student Policies

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 on 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 7 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 students 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.

Step 3: Prepare for Orientation

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

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 the GET UWM app, 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. You can complete it through your PAWS account, by clicking “Credit Agreement” on your To Do List items.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) [Required] Enroll in multi-factor authentication (MFA). Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an additional layer of security that keeps your account safe. With MFA, you will be using something you know (your password) with something you have (your device/smartphone) to confirm your identity. For more details on how to enroll, sign in, and manage your devices please review instructions: 

UWM Email [Required]
You can access and set up your UWM email 1-2 days after you complete your “Intent to Enroll” To Do List item. Your email account is through Outlook and you can log in to the Microsoft suite here. Your email address is your ePantherID followed by ( 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.

If you have questions about planning your schedule, you’ll have the chance to ask an Academic Advisor when you enroll in classes shortly after your Orientation. For more general questions about your experience at UWM, email us at!

Scholarship Opportunity
UWM’s 2021 Panther Summer Prep program is a free program designed to help you be successful in your first year at UWM. Most of it is offered online, with one on-campus session at the end.

More information is here: Panther Summer Prep

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 programming:

  • 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!

Engage with UWM
Check out the Admitted Student website to see if there are any fun events you’d be interested in joining!

Step 4: Participate in Your Orientation!

New Student Orientation has three required program components:

Step 1: Complete the Canvas Orientation Module
One week prior to your Orientation, you will receive an email granting you access to the Online Orientation module hosted on UWM’s online learning platform, Canvas. After being enrolled in the Orientation course, you will complete all modules, videos, and quizzes, including the program evaluation to receive full credit. Ensure that you finish this portion of your Orientation prior to the start of your Panther Virtual Hangout on the day of your Orientation. If this course is not completed, you will not be able to enroll in courses.

Step 2: Attend the Virtual Program

Panther Virtual Hangout
You will participate in a small group experience facilitated by your Orientation Leaders. In this session, you will meet other new students, learn more about campus resources, and review important technology to help you be a successful student at UWM.

School, College, or Advising Unit Meeting
Your Advisors are excited to meet you! To prepare you to register for courses, you will participate in a group advising 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. It’s a great idea to come to this meeting with a list of questions about courses, majors, and minors. Your Advisor will make sure you’re feeling set up for your first semester.

Step 3: Enroll in Classes
Check the next dropdown item!

As a result of completing Orientation, students will…

  • Be able to make informed choices regarding academic, personal and social issues.​
  • Grow in their understanding and respect of others in a diverse community.
  • Be more excited to join the UWM community (and develop a sense of belonging).
Step 5: Enroll in Classes

You will be contacted by an Academic Advisor prior to your Orientation regarding setting up your advising appointment. Appointment dates, times, and format (phone or Teams Video Conference) will vary between each school/college/unit.

You’ll get information in your School, College, or Unit Meeting during Orientation that will prepare you to select classes. Your Advisor will check your choices during your Advising Appointment. You will not be able to register for classes until you (1) complete all components of Orientation and (2) meet with an Academic Advisor.

Step 6: Stay Connected After Orientation

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!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Orientation held in-person?

No. Due to COVID-19, students starting at UWM in the Summer and Fall of 2021 will participate in an Online Orientation experience. The details of how to register and what to expect are listed above in Steps 1-4. We will be offering small, socially distant, optional in-person programs on campus. Use this form to indicate if you’d be interested in joining a small on-campus program later in the Summer, after your virtual Orientation.

Don’t have access to reliable internet? 

Orientation will take place totally online, if you have concerns about your access to reliable internet or a computer/tablet, use this form to notify us and we will work with you to make accommodations. 

Having trouble connecting to Zoom or Teams, need other technical support? 

Am I required to live on campus this Fall/Spring?

Yes, UWM requires all first-time freshmen to live in University Housing residence halls, where availability allows. The Board of Regents Residency Requirement is enforced for the 2021-2022 academic year.

University Housing recognizes that living on campus may be of concern to you and your family. We encourage students and families to evaluate their own health, any comorbidities and assess if living on campus is the best for you personally.

If you’re uncertain about living on campus, given the current state of the pandemic, we do offer an exemption process to this policy. Please see the Residency Requirement section for more information.

How can I find my housing assignment? 

University Housing Contract Holders are able to view their housing assignment online at logging into your MyHousing portal, locate your Contract (e.g New Resident 2021-2022 Academic Year Contract). Under the contract, link will be another link that shows your housing assignment.  When clicking on the assignment link, it will open to additional details about your assignment, roommate, suitemates, and move-in appointment details. You are also then able to message your suitemates via the message function in MyHousing.

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

Financial Aid counselors are here to help! You can schedule a 1-1 appointment here!

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

Review the First Year Checklist before the semester begins. Below are key items to complete:

  • Complete the “Pre-Orientation” To Do List item in your PAWS account.
  • Take a photo of yourself for your student ID and submit it through the “Get UWM” app, PantherCard’s online management system. Go to the PantherCard Office website for detailed instructions and requirements for your photo.
  • Complete the University Credit Agreement ( listed under the finances section, click “Credit Agreement”. This must be completed to enroll in classes for the upcoming semester.  
  • Enroll in multi-factor authentication (MFA), this is required for all students. For more details on how to enroll, sign in, and manage your devices please review instructions: 
  • 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. 
  • 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 items, accept wards, etc.). 
  • Review the schedule of classes online: 

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.
  • Family participation in Orientation is not required.  However, students can add guest(s) to their registration when selecting their NSO date. This triggers an email to families to participate in all family programming. 
  • Families have access to a variety of programming options, all laid out here. There are great opportunities to interface with our student service units!

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

  • You must fulfill course placement in the required areas of math and English. We also have tools for optional placement recommendations for foreign language courses. Please refer to “Step 1: Complete Admission Steps” for course placement options. Please visit for more information. For questions,
  • You will sign up for classes after your Orientation experience.

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

  • If you have already registered for an 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) Pending on workload, it will take 1-2 business days for the 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 of 2022. 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 2021 and want to start classes in Spring 2022, you must submit a Term Change Request here.
  • If you Term Change and have paid your $150 Orientation Fee for Fall, you will NOT get a refund. Your Fall Orientation Fee charge will be canceled and you’ll get a Spring Orientation Fee charge. The Fall payment you already submitted will then automatically cover the Spring Orientation Fee charge.
  • There are many implications to changing terms. To get more information about Term Changes and ask questions, email

The Orientation Requirement

Orientation is an exciting opportunity for you to get familiar with your new community. We’ll show you all the ways you can be a part of the UWM community, find a group of friends, and get help during your time at UWM. Our talented team of Orientation Leaders will guide you through the program and share their stories about their experience on campus. Orientation will help you: 

  • Be able to make informed choices regarding academic, personal, and social issues.  
  • Take personal responsibility for their own success.  
  • Feel welcomed, comfortable, engaged, and excited to be a member of the UWM community.   
  • Grow in their understanding and respect of others is a diverse community. 

Orientation is required program because navigating the transition to college can be challenging. We want you to have access to all the tools, knowledge, and support that you can to make your transition to UWM as seamless as possible. We’re committed to your success and can’t wait to welcome you to your new community!