Preparing for International Orientation

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

Once you have registered for the Winter 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. 

In order to expedite its processing, you must submit a photo that will be used for your university ID card (Mcard) by January 2, 2019.  Please visit for information regarding photo specifications and the submission process.  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 are unable to submit your photo in advance, visit the Mcard Center in person on your own time after Orientation on Wednesday, January 9.  The M-Card Center will be open at 8:00 a.m., and it is located at 1011 Student Activities Building, 515 E. Jefferson St.. 

Make Arrangements for Your Travel Documents

You are strongly encouraged to apply for your U.S. student visa as soon as possible after you have received your certificate of eligibility document from the University of Michigan. It may take significant time for visa processing. Please allow at least a month to plan for your travel to the United States. You should plan to obtain your visa and arrive on campus in time to attend the Winter Orientation Program.

At Winter Orientation, you will participate in the mandatory check-in required by the Department of Homeland Security. As part of that check-in, you will need to bring the original AND a photocopy of the following documents:

  • Your passport (pages containing your picture, passport validity and U.S. visa)
  • I-20 (page 1) or DS-2019 (page 1)
  • Print out of Form I-94 from OR I-94 card (small white card in passport) front side (if you were issued one)

These photocopies must be made after you enter the U.S. Photocopies must be black and white and each photocopy must be on standard letter size paper (8 ½ x 11 inches).

Bring the Right Things to Campus

As you prepare for Winter Orientation, be sure to bring the following with you to the orientation program:  

  • Your uniqname and password
  • Campus map
  • Water bottle
  • Backpack/book bag for your orientation materials
  • Comfortable walking shoes/boots
  • Comfortable clothing appropriate for the weather
    [typical January temperatures for Michigan are lows of -8 degrees Celsius, and highs of 0 degrees Celsius)
  • #2 Pencils
  • Orientation confirmation email
  • Picture ID
  • AP Scores and/or Transcripts, if available
  • Money for parking (if applicable)
  • Enthusiasm! 
Online and Proctored Placement Exams

The University of Michigan provides two types of placement exams for incoming students: online and proctored (in-person) exams. The Math and Spanish exams, as well as the Directed Self-Placement for Writing are offered online. Students must complete the online exams before attending orientation.  Please refer to the charts under Orietnation Overview to note which exams you are required to take.

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 Winter Term students may be found at the following links:
MATH   (Available November 19, 2018)
SPANISH (Available November 12); must be completed at least five business days prior to your orientation; click on "accept the invitation to join the course"

Placement exams in chemistry (Freshmen only) and other languages are proctored on campus during winter orientation. Language exams in French, Hebrew, Italian, and Russian will be offered. If you want to take a placement exam for a language other than the ones listed above, call the department directly 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 - Freshmen Only  (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 Placement Exam Charts for Freshmen and Transfers

**Students who need to arrange for extended testing time should visit the Testing Accommodation Center for more information.

Understand the Orientation Expectation

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. 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 and 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

If you are traveling to orientation by car. Click here for complete driving and parking information.


Traveling to Orientation by Plane

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) is the closest major airport to Ann Arbor. 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 program location, please contact our office.