Preparing for Freshman Orientation

Orientation will be a busy time, so it’s important to plan ahead for the program. 

Once you have registered for your Summer Orientation program, here are a few things to do before you come to orientation: 

Submit Your Mcard Photo

The Mcard is the official University of Michigan ID card. All new students should submit a photo to be used on your Mcard no later than two weeks prior to your orientation date. To submit your photo online, or for information regarding photo specifications, visit If you submit your photo before the cut-off, your Mcard will be completed and ready to pick up during Orientation.

If you have any questions, contact the Mcard Center at 734-936-2273 between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday. 

If you do not submit your photo in advance, it will delay the processing of your Mcard. You will be given a temporary card during your stay at the Summer Orientation program. You will then need to pick up your official Mcard in person at the Housing Information Office, located at 1011 Student Activities Building, before your arrival on campus in the fall. 

Bring the Right Things to Campus

As you pack for your freshman Summer Orientation program, please plan to pack lightly. You will be responsible for transporting all of your luggage up to your residence hall room with no assistance.  Also, remember that it could be very hot, so plan for the hot weather. 

Be sure to bring the following essentials: 

  • Your uniqname and password
  • Water bottle
  • Backpack/bag for your orientation materials
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Comfortable clothing appropriate for the weather
  • Alarm clock
  • #2 Pencils
  • Long Twin Sheets (to fit a 36"x 80" mattress) and a pillow with pillowcase.  A light blanket is fine, but please refrain from bringing heavy blankets/comforters. There is an adjustable thermostat in each room to adjust the air conditioning. Sleeping bags also work well.
  • Towels
  • Umbrella
  • Orientation confirmation letter
  • Toiletries
  • Picture ID (driver's license, state ID card, or passport)
  • AP Scores and/or Transcripts, if available
  • $30 Cash to pay for overnight parking (if you choose to park your car overnight)
  • Money for parking (daytime only; not overnight) and social activities
  • Documents for hiring paperwork if you would like to work for the dining halls in the fall
  • Enthusiasm! 

Bring your luggage and bedding with you to East Quad when you check-in. You'll have time to store it in your room before your orientation officially begins.

Online & Proctored Placement Exams

The University of Michigan provides two types of placement exams for incoming freshmen: online and proctored (in-person) exams. The Math Placement Exam, Spanish Placement Exam, and the Directed Self-Placement for Writing are offered online. Students must complete the online exams before attending orientation.

All test results will be given to your academic advisor and reviewed with you during your advising appointment at orientation. Results cannot be provided ahead of time by the Office of New Student Programs or the individual departments.

Browser Requirements
For each exam, you will need a computer with a web browser. It is recommended that you take the tests using Firefox, version 3.0 or later, as your browser. Other supported browsers are:

  • For Windows: Internet Explorer 7+ or Opera 9.1+
  • For Macintosh OS X: Safari 3.2.1+; Mac OS 9 is not supported.
  • For Linux: Konqueror 3.3+

In addition, please have your uniqname and password readily available.  Be sure your computer is fully charged (and with enough battery if you are away from an electrical outlet). Arrange to take all online tests in a quiet area, free from distractions (TVs, phones, etc.), and allow yourself ample time, as indicated in each section.  Refer to the links below for specific deadlines by which each exam must be completed prior to orientation.  

Information regarding the online placement exams for Fall Term Freshmen students may be found at the following links:
MATH   (Available May 24) -- Complete this exam no later than three business days prior to your orientation
DIRECTED SELF-PLACEMENT FOR WRITING  (Available April 1) -- Submit your essay no later than five business days prior to your orientation
SPANISH  -- Please review this link for more specific information before you take the test. Complete this exam no later than five business days prior to your orientation. Please allow a few business days after creating your uniqname to access the exam.

Placement exams in chemistry and other languages are proctored on campus during freshman orientation. Language exams in French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin and Russian will be offered. If you want to take a placement exam for a language other than the ones listed above, visit the website of the department to find information on how to take the test after orientation. Do not schedule one of these exams while you are participating in the program. A list of languages and their corresponding departments can be found online

Information regarding the placement exams taken during Day One of Orientation may be found at the following links: 
CHEMISTRY  (Taken during Day One of Orientation)
More Information about LANGUAGES (Taken during Day One of Orientation)

If you are unsure as to whether you need to complete any of the exams, please review the Freshmen Placement Exam Chart 

**Students who need to arrange for extended testing time must complete the online request form located on the Testing Accommodation Center website.

If you are a current student who needs to take a placement exam or would just like to know when a particular exam is offered, please find a list of the placement exam schedule here.

Please note: 

The Chinese Language Program will not offer Chinese placement tests during the freshmen orientation during the summer. The tests right before the fall semester begins. Please click here to learn more about the placement test and register for it there. 

Understand the Orientation Expectations

As a new student at the University of Michigan, you will be expected to handle your new responsibilities as a college student, beginning at orientation. 

We expect you to make your own reservations for orientation, and to make the reservations for your parents or family members as well. Students are responsible for creating your University of Michigan computing account (uniqname) and password prior to registering for orientation, and for keeping this information safe and secure. You should not share this information with anyone. You are also expected to complete placement exams without the aid of others. 

We expect you to attend all orientation activities. All sessions during orientation are required, and programming is specifically designed to assist students with your academic and social transition to the University. You may be dismissed from the program without registering for classes if you have missed activities and are unprepared to register for classes. 

We expect you to act as responsible adults, without the imposition of a high school-like curfew. Since you will not have a curfew in the residence halls during the school year, you are not given one during orientation. Required orientation sessions extend into the evening on both nights of the program. Additional activities designed to acquaint new students with campus and Ann Arbor are also planned by our staff. You are expected to participate in these activities, as it is a great way to meet new friends. 

We expect students to follow all orientation rules, including rules prohibiting alcohol and drug use. Failure to comply with these rules can result in dismissal from orientation without registering for classes, or legal consequences including arrests, Minor in Possession tickets and fines, and future appearances in local courts. 

Make Your Travel Plans

Traveling to Orientation by Car and Parking 

Most students travel to orientation by car. Click here for complete driving and parking information.

Traveling to Orientation by Plane

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) is the nearest major airport to Ann Arbor. It is located approximately 20 miles east of Ann Arbor.

Delta Air Lines is pleased to offer special discounts for University of Michigan students and their families attending Summer Orientation. Please click here to book your flights!

You may also call Delta Meeting Network at 1.800.328.1111* Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. (Central Time) and refer to Meeting Event Code NY2N6. *Please note there is not a service fee for reservations booked and ticketed via Delta's reservation 800 number. 

The University of Michigan is not responsible for delays, cancelled flights, damaged or lost belongings, personal injury or loss of life due to any incident involving Delta Airlines. As part of this arrangement, and to help offset orientation program costs, the University receives promotional tickets that are used solely for normal University business travel.

If you purchase your tickets from a travel agent using this discount program, you or your agent must make the reservations through Delta Airlines. The Office of New Student Programs provides this arrangement with Delta Airlines as a convenience for new students.

Using a Travel Agent

If you purchase your tickets from a travel agent using this discount program, you or your agent must make the reservations through Delta Airlines. The Office of New Student Programs provides this arrangement with Delta Airlines as a convenience for new students.

Using a Bidding System for Airline Tickets

ONSP strongly recommends that you do not use airline ticket services that do not allow you to pick specific arrival and departure times. If you cannot choose specific travel times, you may end up with an itinerary that causes you to miss a portion of the orientation program. You are required to attend the full orientation program, and we may require that you attend another program if you cannot do so. Do not purchase a ticket where the company determines flight times. We will not make any special accommodations, and ONSP will not be responsible for costs associated with attending another orientation program and/or booking another flight.

Getting to Ann Arbor from Detroit Metropolitan Airport

There are many shuttle services and cab companies that provide service from Detroit Metropolitan Airport to campus. A list of these services is available online from the Ann Arbor Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Other Means of Travel

Ann Arbor is accessible by both Amtrak train service and Greyhound bus. To inquire about train schedules or make reservations, you can call 800-USA-RAIL (800-872-7245) or you can book online at The telephone number for Greyhound is 800-231-2222 or you can book online at For directions from the train station or bus depot to the orientation residence hall, please contact our office.

NOTE:  Most students finish registering for classes by 12:00 PM on the third day of orientation.  We recommend you do not make return flight/travel arrangements prior to 3:00 PM due to traffic, distance to the airport, and airport security check-in.  If you are auditioning for Marching Band, do not make return flight/travel arrangements prior to 5:00 PM as the ending time varies.

Take the Wolverine Access Online Tutorials

Wolverine Access is the system that you will use to register for your classes. Your academic advisors at Orientation will expect you to already be familiar with this system when you meet with them to register for courses. There are several online tutorials available to assist you in learning Wolverine Access prior to orientation:

These tutorials will introduce you to the services available through Wolverine Access, and they will prepare you for course selection and registration at Orientation.