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.

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"

First-Year Students Beginning in the Fall

Online Bear Tracks

Bear Tracks is your personalized checklist, and will help move you forward in the onboarding process toward academic advising and course registration.  Keep an eye on your Bear Tracks checklist, as new tasks may be added throughout the spring and summer.  Contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office at 406-243-6266 or with any questions or for assistance logging in.  

Access your Bear Tracks checklist here.

New Student Orientation

AUG. 22 - 26, 2022 - View the schedule here

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.

All first-year students who confirm their enrollment in Bear Tracks are automatically signed up for New Student Orientation - no additional steps are necessary.

New Student Orientation is meant to aid students in a successful social and academic transition to college and will include sessions such as:

- Bystander Intervention Training
- Student-led activities and discussions
- Supporting Your Success sessions about academic support, finances, health, and safety
- Opportunities to meet your academic and social homes on campus     
- and the Big Sky Experience!

Your Big Sky Experience

During the five-day orientation program in August, students will participate in a multi-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

View a list of the 2021 campus and community partners here to get an idea of the opportunities you will see this coming fall 2022.

New Student Residence Hall Arrival

The official move-in day for the residence halls is Monday, Aug. 22 2022.  Students attending orientation will be able to use their meal plans, as well as live in their assigned residence hall room beginning this day unless arrangements for early arrival are made with a specific program (marching band, FLBs, FWE, athletics, etc.) or the UM Housing Office directly.

Parent and Family New Student Orientation Programming

Parents and families are invited to attend programming on Monday during arrival day, as well as Tuesday morning for the kick-off of New Student Orientation.  There is a special student success FAQ panel scheduled imemdiately following the welcome and after your students are dismissed to their orietnation groups.  Your students will be on their own with their small group for the rest of the week.

Pre-Orientation Trips and Special Groups

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 18, 2022, to be prepared for departure the following morning.  Students will spend three nights at FLBS and return to campus on the 22nd to participate in New Student Orientation the rest of the week.

Register for the FLBS Overnight Trip here.

The Freshman Wilderness Experience will introduce students to the incredibly stunning natural surroundings in western Montana. Students do not need any prior outdoor experience to participate. Most importantly, it is a chance for students to meet each other, explore Montana and form lasting friendships before classes begin on campus.  Students have the option to participate in a wilderness backpacking ($275) or canoeing trip ($350), but space is limited!

Those students participating in FWE will need to move into their residence hall rooms prior to check-in for FWE on August 18th at 1 p.m., before New Student Orientation begins the following week.  Groups will be in the field from Aug. 19-22 and will return to campus to participate in New Student Orientation the rest of the week. For more information and to register, visit the FWE website here.

New students who are joining the Grizzly Marching Band should follow the instructions of the band director regarding move-in, arrival, and orientation.  We work closely together to ensure all new students get to experience important aspects of the New Student Orientation program with their peers.  All Grizzly Marching Band students will be automatically placed into a Big Sky Experience group together.

Depending on your sport, there are a wide variety of obligations prior to and during New Student Orientation.  We work closely with the athletic advising team and coaches to ensure student-athletes get to participate in as much of the orientation program with their peers as possible.  Please follow the direction of your academic advisor and coaches.
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

Information for Other Student Types

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.

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 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.

The University of Montana recognizes your transition to college may be a bit different. As such, Adult Learners or "non-traditional students" do not need to participate in the on-campus orientation program as long as you complete Bear Tracks.

You are expected to complete Bear Tracks so you are able to meet with an academic advisor and register for classes. You will also 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.

Adult Learners are more than welcome to participate in New Student Orientation if you would like. You can find more information above.

First-Year Students Beginning in the Spring

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.

New Student Orientation

January 13-14, 2022

Students beginning at UM or the Missoula College this spring should plan on attending New Student Orientation January 13-14, 2022 in person on the Mountain Campus.  The official move-in day for students living in the residence halls is Wednesday, January 12, 2022. View the full schedule of events here.