When is Orientation?
Winter Orientation is Tuesday, January 2 to Friday, January 5.
This program is for all incoming students (first year, exchange/study abroad, transfer and graduate students).
If you have any questions about your first term at Waterloo, please visit the Student Success Office website.
Why should I attend Orientation?
Orientation is an opportunity to learn more about the University of Waterloo and what to expect now that you’re here. We can help answer all of your questions and help you become more familiar and comfortable on campus before you start classes.
Many of our campus resources and services will be on display throughout the week to let you know exactly who’s available on campus to help you succeed in your first year, and throughout your university career. Overall, it’s a great way to start your Waterloo experience, and will help you get acquainted with your new surroundings before classes begin.
How can I join the conversation and connect with other incoming students, upper-year students and Waterloo staff before arriving?
Join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get your questions answered, talk with other students, or learn more about Orientation. You can also get a sneak-peek at campus life by following the UWaterlooLife Instagram account, and the university's Snapchat account, @uofwaterloo.
Registering for Orientation
Do I need to register/sign-up for Orientation?
Yes, you will need to register before checking in for Orientation.
I can’t register for Orientation before arriving on campus, what should I do?
Registration for Winter Orientation will be open throughout the week itself. If you can’t register online before arriving on campus, you will be able to use one of the many computers on campus to do so once you arrive.
Does Orientation cost anything to attend?
There is no fee for students who attend Winter Orientation.
However, there may be events throughout Orientation that have additional costs. Participation in these events is at your own discretion. You will be notified during registration if an event has a fee.
- Transportation to campus. You must coordinate your own transportation and any costs.
- Activities during the program and spending money. If you wish to purchase anything on campus you will need to cover the cost. If your parents and family join you in activities outside of scheduled Orientation events, they will need to pay for public transportation (exact change required). You can ride for free with your WatCard.
I’m living off-campus – should I attend Orientation?
Yes, at Orientation events you can meet other students living off-campus, learn about many campus resources that are available to you, and familiarize yourself with campus.
I will be commuting to Waterloo and want to stay in town during Orientation, how can I do this?
There are a few options for short-term living accommodations, however, they will all be at your own cost. A list of on and off campus short term housing options is available.
If I attend Orientation, do I have to attend every single event?
The number of events you attend, and which ones, is up to you. The events will cover many different topics, and be presented in many different styles, so feel free to ask around and determine which events you think will best suit your interests and needs if you don’t want to attend them all. We do encourage everyone to “try out” all of the events at the very least – you never know what could end up being more useful than you may have thought.
I’m an international student - is there anything special for me to attend?
Yes! Check out the First-Year Students page to learn more.
I'm a transfer/exchange/grad student coming to Waterloo this winter - should I attend Orientation?
Yes, we have programming for all Waterloo students. Find out more about programming for:
My family member (e.g. parent/guardian, spouse, child) wants to come to Orientation with me - what is there for them to do?
Orientation events are exclusive to new students. However, if your family members plan to visit UWaterloo, they can book a student-led campus tour with the Visitor’s Centre to learn more about the UWaterloo student experience and campus.
Are all Orientation events accessible?
Yes – our volunteers and staff work hard to make sure everyone of all ability levels can participate in the week. To ensure that our events suit your specific needs, please register for Orientation and let us know what you require so that we can ensure we have the appropriate accommodations in place for you when you arrive.
If you haven’t already, you can also contact the AccessAbility Services if you require a longer term plan for your time here at the University of Waterloo. They also manage all accommodations for learning needs, temporary disabilities, and provide many services for all forms of accessibility on campus.
Are we allowed to bring alcohol to Orientation?
Orientation is a strictly dry event and there is a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol in effect throughout the week, regardless of if you are of legal age. Any student who shows up for an event intoxicated will not be allowed to participate in the activities and will have their wristband removed immediately. Students will then be escorted to their residence or their off-campus home.
Are we allowed to bring friends to Orientation?
Orientation is only open to incoming University of Waterloo students. We ask that you do not invite friends from other schools to Orientation events, as they will not be allowed in.
When/how do I get my WatCard?
Submit your WatCard photo in advance and avoid the long lines when you arrive on campus. If you don’t submit your photo online, you can have a photo taken when you come to get your WatCard.