Fall – New Freshman

Congratulations on choosing UWM – we’re thrilled to welcome you to the Panther Family! Orientation will introduce you to our campus, the network of support you have access to, and to other students. Orientation is intended for new students, but parents and families are welcome to attend the concurrent Family Orientation – you can register when your student signs up for Orientation.

Registration for New Student Orientation is closed

New Student Orientation (NSO) marks your entrance into the UWM community. NSO is a two-day program that gives students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the UWM campus, meet other students, spend the night in a residence hall, and enroll in classes! NSO is intended for new students, but parents and guests are welcome to attend Family Orientation.

We offer programs throughout June and July, with make-up dates in August. Select your date through your Admissions Portal starting March 1st. If none of the dates work for you, reach out to us at 414-229-2222 or  orientation@uwm.edu, and we can help work out a plan.

*We offer family Spanish-speaking orientation programs on June 21 and July 12. If you would like to attend a Spanish speaking family program, please call or email the Roberto Hernández Center at 414-229-6156 or rhc@uwm.edu.

Orientation Fee
All new students pay a $150 Orientation fee, which is used to fund our Orientation programs and ensure an unforgettable experience! The fee is nonrefundable if you attend Orientation or complete the make-up Online Orientation program and will be included in your tuition bill, due on the first day of classes. 

June 14-July 26 Orientation Schedules

August 10 & 23 Orientation Schedules

Orientation Registration Steps

Step 1: Get Admitted

Log into your Admissions Portal to take these actions:

  • Submit required documents for your application to UWM
  • Check the status of your application to UWM
  • View your decision letter
  • View contact information for your UWM Admissions Advisor 

Once you’re admitted to UWM, you’ll be invited to register for Orientation and take other necessary steps.

Step 2: Register for Orientation!

How to Register for Orientation

Log into your Admissions Portal and find “New Student Orientation Registration“.  Select a date and share dietary needs, disability accommodations, and guest registration information.

You will receive a confirmation email after registering. More details about the program will be sent about a week before the event  

New Freshman & Orientation Fee

The $100 New Freshman fee is paid by all new first-time first-year domestic students. This fee covers costs related to the first-year programming available to you during your first year at UWM. If you cancel enrollment prior to the start of this term, you will not owe this fee. 

The $150 Orientation Fee is paid by all new students (transfer and first-time first-year students) who attend orientation. This fee is not refundable if you participate in orientation. This fee covers the costs associated with your orientation experience (meals, staff pay, gear and giveaways, etc.). 

Changing Your Major

You can change your major up to 14 days prior to your Orientation program. You can do this by completing the major change request form on your admission portal or by emailing orientation@uwm.edu. We cannot accommodate major changes at the Orientation program. Please note: Not all academic majors are represented at every Orientation. If you change your major after you register, you may need to select another date.

Additional Information

Disability, Mobility and Dietary Restrictions

We want to accommodate any mobility, disability, or dietary restrictions. If you need an accommodation, indicate this when you register.

Guest Policy

You may bring family/guests to Orientation, but it is not required, and you will be separated from your guests for much of the program, including course enrollment. You are allowed up to two guests. Romantic partners or friends are not appropriate guests for this program, and we do not recommend bringing children. Guests are required to provide their own accommodations for the overnight portion of the program. 

Spanish Language Accommodations

If your parents/guests need Spanish language translation, we can accommodate their needs. Please visit our Family Spanish Language Orientation website for more information.

Step 3: Complete Your Next Steps Prior to Orientation

Before you can enroll in classes at New Student Orientation, you have some important next steps to complete. Please complete these steps before attending Orientation to ensure that you are able to enroll in classes:

Course Placement

Complete more than 14 days prior to Orientation. You have three options to satisfy your course placement requirements for Math and English:

*Students participating in the First-Year Bridge Program do not need to complete Course Placement.

  1. Submit your ACT or SAT scores to UW Milwaukee (Official scores only).
      • 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.
  2. 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.
  3. If you would like to come to UWM’s campus for testing, there are optional walk-in placement testing times. Email panthermathprep@uwm.edu or visit Panther Math Prep website for more info about these testing options.

Please visit the Course Placement Website for directions including optional testing for Chemistry and world languages. For questions, email NFTest@uwm.edu

Submit the University Housing Contract OR Exemption Form

The Housing Contract and Exemption Form can be completed in the Housing Portal found at uwm.edu/myhousing. For more information, please visit the Housing Website. If you completed a University Housing Contract, you must pay the $100 University Housing Contract Deposit.

Complete Your University Credit Agreement

This appears on your To-Do List on your PAWS account and must be signed before you can register for classes. For more information, visit the Bursar’s Office page.

Submit your Final High School Transcripts

Work with your High School counselor to send us your final high school transcript once your final grades and graduation date have been posted. Transcripts can be sent by email to: undergraduateadmissions@uwm.edu or mailed to:

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
P.O. Box 749
Milwaukee, WI 5320

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

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.

Access your UWM Email 

You can access and set up your UWM email 1-2 days after registering for New Student Orientation. Your email account is through Outlook and you can log in to the Microsoft suite here. Your email address is your ePantherID followed by @uwm.edu (ppanther@uwm.edu). Login with your full email address and your ePanther ID password.

Submit Your ID Photo

You will receive your official UWM student ID — your PantherCard– at Orientation. You must upload a photo of yourself to our system at least 48 hours prior to your Orientation date. Guidelines for taking and submitting your photo are available on the PantherCard Office website. 

Step 4: Prepare for Orientation


Student and family programs run simultaneously. Please review the schedules listed below:

NSO Student Agenda: Student Orientation Agenda Student Agenda August 2023

NSO Family Agenda: Family & Guest Orientation Agenda Family and Guest Agenda August 2023

Check Out Class Options in Advance

One of the most important things you will do at Orientation is register for your first semester of classes. An advisor will be there to guide you and ensure you register for classes important for your major. Check out our schedule of classes to see what classes sound interesting to you in case you have room for one in your schedule.

Family Preparation

We recommend you do the following to get the most out of the (optional) Family Orientation program:

  • Talk to your student about their academic classes since you won’t be joining them for class registration.
  • Bring something to take notes with – we provide a lot of information about resources and programs.
  • Provide your email address in your program registration to get on the PantherFamilies email list.
  • Have questions prepared for the offices you’ll be hearing from.
  • Bring a sweater! Our buildings can be chilly.
  • Connect with your student after the program to hear what they learned.

Packing List

In your are attending orientation during the months of June or July, make sure you’re ready to spend the night with us! We will provide sheets, a blanket and pillow in the residence hall. Feel free to bring your own if you prefer. 

*If you are attending an August program, you are not staying the night. Please bring what you need to spend the day on campus.

Items to pack: 

  • Toiletries 
  • Towel
  • Phone charger
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Clothes for two days
  • Sweater or jacket (buildings are air conditioned and can get cold)
  • Spending money, or debit/credit card (meals are provided, but Panther Shop, Restor and vending machines are available. Cards accepted at all locations.) 
  • Umbrella (as needed)
  • E-Panther ID
  • For days with heat advisories, please feel welcome to bring a small fan

Engage with UWM

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

Step 5: Attend Orientation

Parking Details

For June/July programs only: Before parking for the day, please arrive at Sandburg Hall (3400 N Maryland Ave) to drop-off student luggage. You will then be directed to parking by orientation staff.

All programs: Students/Guests receive free parking the Pavilion Parking Garage (3409 N. Downer Ave.). Do not park in a space marked “reserved.” Vehicles higher than 6’9” will not make the garage clearance. From the parking garage, Orientation Leaders and signage will direct you to the check-in location.

Due to limited space, we can only accommodate 1 car per family.

Overnight Details (June/July programs)

Please bring any items you will need to stay overnight comfortably. Upon arrival, you will start your Orientation program at Sandburg Hall to drop-off student luggage, so we can store your luggage for the day. During dinner, you will receive your room key and information about your suite and staying overnight. You will also retrieve your luggage. All students will be sharing a suite and bathroom with 4-6 other new students and sharing a room with 1-3 students.

There are several vending options, as well as UWM’s Restore in Sandburg if you’re looking for a late-night snack. Be sure to bring a credit or debit card.

You’ll check your luggage again for Day 2 and retrieve it at the end of the program. Orientation Leaders will guide you through all parts of this process!


After attending 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 in a diverse community.

We also expect that you have fun, come willing to learn and meet new people, and adhere to all university policies during the program.

Additional Information

Social Media

Use #UWMNSO on your Twitter or Instagram posts during the program to share your experience! (Follow us: uwmnewstudents) 

Campus Map

Click here for a map of the UWM campus.

Step 6: Stay Connected After Orientation

Join us for August Welcome Programs!

First and foremost, we hope you join us in August for our welcome events including our Panther Transition Day, Class Photo & Coin toss tradition, and Fall Welcome. Visit our webpage to see what welcome programs are available for New Freshman.

Engage with the UWM Community

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to do before I come to Orientation?  

  • Complete items in Steps #1, #2, and #3 above.

Can family and guests attend NSO with me? 

  • Family Orientation provides a great opportunity for family members and guests to learn how to support your academic success at UWM.  
  • Families and guests (limit 2) are welcome, but are not required 
  • If family or guests attend NSO with you, there will be portions of the day where you are separated.  Some conference sessions and course enrollment are exclusively for students.  
  • Students add guest(s) to their registration when selecting their NSO date. Registrations can be updated after submission.  

What are the Fees I’m paying? 

  • 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. This pays for all the costs related to your Orientation experience.
  • 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. 

What should I bring with me to NSO?  

  • See “Packing List” in Step #4!
  • ePanther ID and password (you will need this to enroll in classes)  
  • Umbrella (as needed)

Will meals be provided for me? 

  • During our June & July 2-day programs, Students will be provided dinner on Day One and breakfast on Day Two of Orientation. Meals will not be provided for families.
  • During our August 1-day programs, students and families will be provided lunch.

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

  • If you completed your course placement requirement 14 days prior to Orientation, advisors will have your results 
  • Advisors will meet with you during the program to help select the appropriate courses to take.
  • All students will leave the program with a course schedule! 

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

  • Log into your Admissions Portal at http://uwm.edu/admissionsportal and find the “Change my Major” button! You’ll find the remaining steps in your Admissions Portal.
  • Note that not every school/college participates in every Orientation so if you change your major, check that your field of interest is represented on your chosen date 
  • Lastly, note that you can’t change your major inside of 2 weeks before your Orientation. If you want to change your major at that point, it’s best to do so after Orientation.
  • If you have any additional questions about major changes, email orientation@uwm.edu.

I’m considering waiting to start at UWM until the Spring or next Fall. 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 and want to start classes in Spring, you must submit a Term Change Request form.
  • If you Term Change and have paid your $150 Orientation Fee, you will NOT get a refund. Your first Orientation Fee charge will be canceled and you’ll get a new Orientation Fee charge for the correct term. The payment you already submitted will then automatically cover the new Orientation Fee charge.
  • There are many implications to changing terms. To get more information about Term Changes and ask questions, email undergraduateadmissions@uwm.edu.

The Orientation Requirement

Orientation is required because navigating the transition to college can be challenging. We want you to know about all the tools, knowledge and support available to help make your transition to UWM as seamless as possible. We’re committed to your success and can’t wait to welcome you to the Panther community! 

Once you’re admitted, Orientation begins right away when you start to learn about support resources to promote your success as a UWM student and know what to expect from your experience at UWM. We’ll work with you to take care of your to do list when you visit campus to enroll in courses. This is an exciting opportunity for you to get familiar with your new community. Our talented team of Orientation Leaders will guide you through the program and share stories about their experience on campus. While you’re here to enroll, you can also expect to:

  • Learn how to use PAWS to enroll in courses during future semesters until graduation.
  • Address logistical questions and concerns so you can feel confident in your decision to attend UWM.
  • Know how to log-in and utilize campus technology, specifically Office 365, and Canvas allowing you to complete required trainings, participate in courses, and communicate with UWM staff and support systems. 
  • Understand how to access resources to support your individual, holistic success as a UWM student.

Once enrolled, Orientation continues at your own pace through Panther Transition Training via Canvas, UWM’s online learning platform. In this training you will:

  • Receive Title IX, FERPA, Free Speech, etc. federal, state, UW System compliance information.
  • Consider how and plan to utilize resources to support your holistic success as a UWM student. 
  • Learn about technology support resources to support your academic success. 
  • Evaluate your financial plan and take steps toward financial wellness including information on scholarships, student employment, budgeting, and identifying expenses.
  • Plan for living arrangements and transportation 

Orientation culminates with the Panther Transition Experience which takes place a few days prior to the first day of the fall semester. This program is designed for you to immerse yourself in UWM and interact with resources hands-on. At Panther Transition Experience, you will:

  • Build skills to inform bystander intervention and consent to apply in social situations with your fellow Panthers.
  • Visit and learn about resources to support holistic well-being. 
  • Build academic skills and plan for academic success as a UWM student.
  • Explore campus and become more familiar with classroom locations, buildings, resource locations, etc.  
  • and, most importantly officially become a UWM Panther!