Freshman 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

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!  

Register for Online Bear Tracks now!

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

Aug. 24-28, 2020

New first-year students are expected to attend the five day New Student Orientation program, which includes move-in day for students living on campus.

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

  • the outdoors
  • entrepreneurship
  • science and technology
  • arts and culture
  • or diversity, service and leadership

This 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.

The official move-in day for the residence halls is Monday, Aug. 24 2020*.  Students attending orientation will be able to use their meal plans, as well as live in their assigned residence hall room.

Families are encouraged to join their students on the first day, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020 for move-in and a few special events.  Students will be on their own in small peer groups for the remainder of the week.

Registration for New Student Orientation is not yet open.

*Students who are opting-in to the Freshman Wilderness Experience will have a special move-in time that is earlier than Aug. 24th.  Please visit the FWE website for more information.

UM Mountain Campus Freshman 

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 Freshman 

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 Freshmen

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.