First-Year New Student Orientation

Welcome to the UM Family!

We are so excited you chose to become a Grizzly! Here's some information to help you get started with your transition to campus.

The New Student Orientation experience extends far beyond course registration. It provides you an opportunity to become engaged with your classmates and your community, to gain the necessary tools to become a successful student and to understand your new responsibilities as a UM student, as well as gain insight into some of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Be sure to complete the Pre-Orientation Checklist!

Student gather for orientation welcome in Washington Grizzly Stadium 2019 Student gather for orientation welcome in Washington Grizzly Stadium 2019
Pawsitive Print "You Matter" Pawsitive Print "You Matter"

Students Beginning in the Fall

Online Bear Tracks

Bear Tracks is a required online program and your first step to becoming a Griz. It’s designed to help you explore academic options, register for courses, and get a head start on other important next steps for college – even before New Student Orientation. It’s also a fun opportunity to get acquainted with the UM community! For more information, please visit the Bear Tracks website.

For those who were not able to complete their pre-orientation tasks and register for classes before the July 30 deadline, that’s OK!

First-year students still have access to Bear Tracks, and transfer students can still access Online New Student Orientation. If you are not yet registered for classes, please continue working through your required tasks so when you arrive on campus you can meet with an academic advisor and register for classes.

In the meantime, here are some great resources:

New Student Orientation

AUG. 23 - 27, 2021

In addition to Bear Tracks, all first-year students are expected to attend our in-person New Student Orientation program. This five-day program, which includes move-in day for students living on campus, will provide an opportunity for you to meet your incoming peers, get to know the campus and the Missoula community, and learn about what it means to be a student at the University of Montana.

New Student Orientation will consist of two main parts: the Big Sky Experience and Getting Your Bearings.  The Big Sky Experience is a two-day team-based immersion experience within the community, focused on one of six areas:

  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Science and Technology
  • Communication and Artistic Expression
  • Health and Human Development
  • Justice, Policy and Public Service

Stay tuned for more information on available sites and selections.

The Big Sky Experience portion of the orientation program is followed by Getting Your Bearings, which is a more traditional on-campus program focusing on the academic and social transition to college.

This longer orientation will help students build more connections and friendships with other students (which has been shown to enhance student belonging and retention) as well as enhance their preparation for academic success.

New Student Residence Hall Arrival

The official move-in day for the residence halls is Monday, Aug. 23 2021*.  Students attending orientation will be able to use their meal plans, as well as live in their assigned residence hall room.

Parent and Family New Student Orientation Programming

Families are encouraged to join their students on Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 23-24 for move-in and a few special events ending around Noon.  Students will be on their own in small peer groups for the remainder of the week.

Flathead Lake Biological Station Overnight Trip

We are excited to announce a brand-new pre-orientation trip and want to invite you to join us at the Flathead Lake Biological Station for this special overnight experience! Similar to the Freshman Wilderness Experience, this trip will bring a small group of 20 incoming first-year students together for a multiday adventure at UM’s world-class freshwater research and education facility on Flathead Lake.  This trip is in addition to the on-campus New Student Orientation program and is specifically designed to set you up for a successful transition to UM. The cost is $200 per student and covers transportation, food, and lodging.  Students will need to move into their residence halls on Thursday, August 19 to be prepared for departure the following morning.  Students will spend three nights at FLBS and return to campus on the 23rd to join the rest of their peers for orientation.

Freshman Wilderness Experience

The Freshman Wilderness Experience (FWE) is an overnight outdoor excursion that students can participate in prior to New Student Orientation.  Please note, this option has an additional fee and requires students to arrive in Missoula on Thursday, August 19, 2021, several days before orientation begins.  Space is limited, so be sure to register early!  Students will be back to campus in time to begin New Student Orientation with their peers.

*FWE and FLBS students have a special early arrival date as noted above.

UM Advocate leads a Big Sky Experience at SpectrUM Discovery Area 2019 UM Advocate leads a Big Sky Experience at SpectrUM Discovery Area 2019
UM Advocate leads a small group activity 2019 UM Advocate leads a small group activity 2019

Students Beginning in the Spring

Spring 2022 New Student Orientation

Students beginning in Spring 2022 should keep an eye out for information regarding their orientation program in October.

Summer Start

Incoming first-year students who wish to take Summer Start courses should let their academic advisor know during Bear Tracks. Your advisor will work with you to determine which courses make the most sense for meeting your academic goals. Students who attend Summer Start are required to attend New Student Orientation in the fall.  For more information on Summer Start you can visit their website.

Non-Traditional First-Year Students

The University of Montana recognizes your transition to college may be a bit different. We encourage you to attend one of the Bear Tracks Registration Events so you are able to meet with an academic advisor and register for classes. You also will need to attend Bystander Intervention Training during your first semester of school. If you do not, you will have a registration hold on your account for the spring.

Non-traditional students do not need to participate in an on-campus orientation program as long as they complete Bear Tracks.

However, non-traditional students are invited to participate in New Student Orientation  if they would like. You can find more information and registration links above.

Transfer Students

To be considered a transfer student, you must have completed 12 semester credits at a college or university, post-high school graduation and earned at least a 2.0 GPA. College credits earned by students still in high school do not count toward this 12-credit requirement. If you are a transfer student, please visit our Transfer Orientation page. 

Post-Baccalaureate Students

Post-baccalaureate students are not required to complete an orientation program. You are able to register for classes on your own or contact an academic advisor for assistance.