First-Year New Student Orientation

Welcome to the Griz Family!

All first-year students beginning in the fall will complete Online Bear Tracks and will attend New Student Orientation.  Students starting in the spring will not complete Bear Tracks.

We are 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, to understand your new responsibilities as a UM student, as well as gain insight to some of the challenges and opportunities you could face in college.

Be sure to complete the Pre-Orientation Checklist!

Online Bear Tracks

Register for Online Bear Tracks now!

Online Bear Tracks is designed to empower first-year students to take care of business ahead of time.  Students must be admitted for the summer or fall term at the University of Montana or Missoula College prior to completing Bear Tracks.

Students will:

  • hear from current UM students
  • complete remote academic advising
  • complete course registration
  • submit a Griz Card student ID photo
  • learn about placement testing
  • finalize financial aid
  • and much more!  

Completing Online Bear Tracks is crucial to every student's success.  

Pawsitive Print "You Matter"

New Student Orientation

Students gather in stadium at orientation welcome 2019
Students gather in Washington Grizzly Stadium to kick of New Student Orientation week!
Move In Crew volunteers help a student unload their belongings from a truck
Move In Crew volunteers help a student unload their belongings during Move-In Day.
Orientation leader provides instructions to Big Sky Experience group at SpectrUM Discovery Area
An Orientation Leader provides instructions to their Big Sky Experience group at SpectrUM Discovery Area.
New students sit in a circle during a small group breakout with their orientation leader
Students sit with their UM Advocate for a small group discussion and activities.

Fall 2020

Register for New Student Orientation!

This year, fall semester classes will start Wednesday, Aug. 19. The last day of the semester and the conclusion of finals week will be Wednesday, Nov. 25, eliminating the need for students, faculty and staff to travel between the Thanksgiving holiday and the conclusion of the semester. Winter break will last until Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, when spring semester begins.

We recognize that these dates may present challenges for some students concerning summer jobs, internships and travel. We are committed to making this adjustment as seamless as possible for you and your peers and will work with you to overcome any obstacles you face.

New Student Residence Hall Move-In

For safety reasons, we are implementing a staggered approach to student residence hall move-in that will allow smaller groups of students to arrive between Wednesday, Aug. 12, and Sunday, Aug. 16. Stay tuned for more information and please do not make travel arrangements until you have selected your arrival time and date with UM Housing.  Freshman Wilderness Experience participants, students in marching band, student athletes, and other special groups will have move in times prior to these dates.  Please contact your respective programs for additional information.

Families are encouraged to join us for some special pre-orientation activities, which will be offered on each day of move-in.  Check in for New Student Orientation will also be offered on each day of move-in to allow for staggered groups.  More details to come.

New Student Orientation

Check in for New Student Orientation will run from 1 - 4 p.m. between the University Center and the Mansfield Library on each day from Aug. 12 - 16.  Students living on campus should try to check in the day they arrive, while non-residential students can check in on any of the early arrival days.

New Student Orientation will take place in person Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 17-18. All first-year students are expected to attend this program in addition to completing Online Bear Tracks.

The Freshman Wilderness Experience will still be offered this fall for those who wish to pay and participate.  FWE students will select a move-in time for Tuesday, Aug. 11 and will participate in FWE from Wednesday, Aug. 12 - Sunday, Aug. 16.  These students are still expected to participate in New Student Orientation the following two days.  Register for FWE here.

All other Big Sky Experience programs are postponed until a later date.

If you have concerns about arriving on time for residence hall move-in or New Student Orientation, please email Director of New Student Success Devin Carpenter at or call 406-243-2332. If you have concerns about arriving by the start of classes on Aug.19, please contact your academic adviser.

UM Mountain Campus First-Year Students

Fall Admission

Students beginning in the fall will attend both Bear Tracks and New Student Orientation 

Spring Admission

New Student Orientation: January 7-8, 2021

Spring Orientation is designed to serve students who are beginning their first semester in January.  This is a two-day program that will allow you to get to know your peers, meet academic advisors and faculty, and familiarize yourself with campus resources and opportunities.

There is no formal family program during spring orientation, however, campus will be open and staff will be available to speak with you and address any questions you may have.

Registration will open in fall 2020

Missoula College First-Year Students 

Fall Admission

First-time students who are under the age of 21 will attend both Bear Tracks and New Student Orientation. 

If you have been out of high school a little longer, if you have dependents, or if there are other extenuating circumstances you can complete your orientation online.  Please contact Alberta Ramirez at if you would like to choose the online option. 

Spring Admission

All incoming Missoula College students for the spring term are encouraged to complete Online New Student Orientation. This is the quickest way you can be advised and register for  courses. 

Registration will open in fall 2020

Optional On-Campus Session

January 6, 2021

Students who would like some additional assistance are invited to join the Missoula College for a half day orientation program to take care of any final business before the semester begins.

You do not need to attend an on-campus orientation if you complete the online module and advising ahead of time.

Registration will open in fall 2020.

Summer Start

Incoming first-year students who wish to take Summer Start courses should let their academic advisor know during Bear Tracks.  They will be able to work with you as you determine which courses make the most sense in meeting your goals.  Students who attend Summer Start are still required to attend New Student Orientation in the fall.

Non-Traditional First-Year Students

The University of Montana recognizes your transition may be a bit different. We encourage you to attend one of the spring Bear Tracks Registration Days so you are able to meet with an academic advisor and register for classes.  You will also need to attend Bystander Intervention Training in August, or 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, either in person or online.

However, non-traditional students are invited to participate in the week-long New Student Orientation program if they would like.  You can find more information 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 instead.

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.