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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How and when should I make a reservation to attend Fall Advising & Orientation?

Making a reservation to attend Fall Advising & Orientation (Fall A&O) is an online process and completed directly through the New Student Services/Family Outreach website. The reservation system will open on Friday, July 27th at approximately 12:00pm (noon). Because the system is online, it is accessible 24/7 for students to submit a reservation. Here are some special notes about making a reservation:

  • We highly recommend that students have the experience of making their own reservation to help establish familiarity with campus resources and make choices about their advising group. Students will need to have activated their Universal Account to make the reservation.
  • During the reservation process, there will be an opportunity to indicate if a student is attending with family members and to complete an online payment for Family Orientation fees. If you are bringing family members, please be prepared to complete the online payment at the time of your reservation.
  • Fall Advising & Orientation is a two day program. Student participation in Sunday’s Orientation Program is strongly recommended, but not required. However, student attendance at Monday’s check-in and academic advising/registration session are required in order to receive appropriate academic advising and register successfully for Fall classes.
  • Students and family members should keep in mind that due to federal privacy laws, we may not be able to share certain personal student information with a parent or family member – e.g. Western ID #, WWU login-in information, etc. – should a family member be using a student’s information to make a reservation or if they have difficulty with the system (i.e. get locked out due to incorrect information).

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2. Will I be at a disadvantage attending Fall Advising & Orientation (Fall A&O) versus Summerstart?

Students who attend the Fall Advising & Orientation (Fall A&O) program will have access to a day-long schedule of informative workshops, receive information about campus services and resources, have time to connect to academic departments, as well as completing a robust academic advising session. Additionally, students who attend Fall Advising & Orientation (Fall A&O) can register for their Fall quarter classes during the program.

Do keep in mind, also similar to Summerstart, some classes (e.g. upper division courses, courses in a specific major, etc.) may be filled as new transfer students and matriculating students have also been registering before the Summerstart and Fall programs. Even so, students should still have a variety of options for a schedule. We encourage you to make the best decision for you regarding time, travel, finances, and availability.

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3. How much does Fall Advising & Orientation cost?

STUDENTS: There is no fee for students to attend Fall Advising & Orientation on Sunday and Monday - the cost is covered by the one-time $280 enrollment fee. Additional fees during the program may include:

  • Placement Test Fees: If you determine you need to take a placement test, additional testing fees may apply (for example, the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment or the Spanish Placement Test).

PARENTS/FAMILY MEMBERS: For parents/family members, there is a cost to participate in the Family Orientation program and the fee is listed below:

  • $15 per person: covers the Sunday Orientation Program, all materials, and access to sessions; we also expect to offer a buffet lunch for those family members who pay the $15 program fee in advance.

REFUNDS - PLEASE NOTE: As we are obliged to cover costs for dining/catering and family orientation fees, refunds are not available after the reservation deadline on Monday, September 17th at 12:00pm (noon). Please contact the NSSFO office if you have any questions.

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4. After I make a reservation, do I get any confirmation of my reservation and next steps?

Yes! First, in order to make a reservation, you must ensure your Universal Account is activated. If you have not done so, please make sure your Universal Account is activated and you can access your WWU email account.

Reservations are made via the New Student Services/Family Outreach website. After your reservation has been processed, students will receive a confirmation email sent to their WWU email address as well as a packet of confirmation materials sent via postal mail to the student’s permanent address indicating your program date and further information about check-in, parking and other important details. Parents/Family members will not receive this information as it is only directed to students, so if you have family members attending with you, please consider sharing this information with them as well.

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5. How do I make a change to my reservation?

Once you have submitted your reservation, you cannot go back into the system to make changes (e.g. adding family members, change advising group, etc.). Any changes to your reservation must be made by contacting New Student Services/Family Outreach directly at 360.650.3846 or nssfo@wwu.edu.

Adjustments may not be able to be made after the reservation closing deadline – Monday, September 17 at 12:00pm (noon). The Refund deadline is also Monday, September 17 at 12:00pm (noon); after this time, refunds are not available. All efforts will be made to accommodate changes requested prior to the deadline, but this cannot be guaranteed.

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6. Where can students and/or family member stay off campus?

For a list of accommodations near Western, go to Visit Bellingham

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7. What if I cannot attend the Fall A&O program - can a parent or friend register for classes for me?

No – the Fall A&O program is designed to teach students about WWU's course registration process in a setting with direct support of faculty, staff and student advisors so that you are able to register effectively on you own in the future. The Fall A&O program is the last opportunity for new freshmen to complete their required academic advising and class registration session.

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8. How important is getting cleared for measles prior to Fall A&O?

Very important! You will not be allowed to register for classes if your measles vaccinations/immunity documentation has not been received prior to your registration appointment at Fall Advising & Orientation (Fall A&O). Options for providing proof and additional information are available from the Student Health Center. If you have any questions regarding the measles immunity requirement, please visit the Student Health Center website or call 360.650.3400.

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9. How do I know if I have to take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment?

Most students, including transfer students, who plan to register for a course at Western that has a mathematics prerequisite, must first take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (MPA) twice. The MPA also serves as a prerequisite for courses in other departments such as Astronomy, Chemistry, Computer Science, Decision Sciences, Economics, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Geology, Physics, and Science Education. Some students will need to complete Western’s Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) as part of Western’s General University Requirements (GURs) and may need to complete the MPA in order to register for coursework that will satisfy this area.

Please refer to our Preparing for WWU webpage for more information to help you determine if you need to complete the assessment prior to Fall A&O.

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10. How do I know if I have to take the Spanish Placement Test?

If you are planning to take Spanish in Fall quarter, you should take the exam, which is offered during the Fall A&O program. If you are planning to take Spanish, but not in the Fall, do not take the exam during Fall A&O as you will be asked to retake it again later. The WebCAPE Spanish Placement Test is a multiple-choice computerized exam that tests a student’s knowledge of Spanish at different levels of difficulty. The exam discerns a student’s solid knowledge from partial knowledge, which allows the assignment of a score that will predict accurately a student’s ability to succeed at a particular level of Spanish course.

The exam measures knowledge, rather than experience, so students will place into the appropriate class based on their language skill rather than number of years/classes completed. The Spanish Placement Test is a 45-minute test and will have a $5 fee charged to the student account.

For more information, visit the Spanish Placement Test website.

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11. What else should I bring with me to Fall Advising & Orientation?

  • Confirmation Checklist you will receive via email and postal mail – it has a campus map, parking instructions, and a parking code to use in the lots.
  • Valid photo ID
  • Your Universal Account username and password
  • Copies of any college transcripts (if applicable)
  • Comfortable clothing and shoes; we also recommend watching the weather forecast – check-in begins early in the morning and is often cold. Dress in layers and be prepared with a raincoat/umbrella.
  • A water bottle – bottled water is NOT sold on campus, but water bottle refill stations and water fountains are available.
  • A pen and notepad

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12. Where should I park for Fall Advising & Orientation?

Because the Fall A&O program occurs at the beginning of the academic year, some students may already have parking permits for specific lots. We recommend you follow the Parking Services instructions regarding your parking permit if you have one, and in general, follow Parking signs and policies regarding permits and designated parking areas. For general information about parking, you can explore Campus Maps for a printable map, including Accessible Parking notations.

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13. How do I connect to the wireless network (WiFi) on campus?

For more information on how to connect to the wireless network, go to WWU Public WiFi Network

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14. Whom should I contact regarding a request for Accommodations?

For requests concerning disAbility accommodations and services such as Sign Language Interpreter services, note taking services or similar services during your time at Fall Advising & Orientation (Fall A&O), please contact disAbility Resources for Students (DRS) directly via email at drs@wwu.edu or by phone at 360.650.3083, or visit the disAbility Resources for Students website for additional information.

For requests or questions concerning dietary requirements / allergies during your time at Fall A&O or during the academic year, please contact University Dining Services by email at Dining@wwu.edu or by phone at 360.650.2970.

For information regarding accessible parking on campus, there is a printable parking map which shows Accessible Parking areas around campus. Participants are still required to purchase a general permit for the program, and must have a valid state disability permit to park in designated spaces. Please contact Parking Services for additional questions by email at Parking@wwu.edu or by phone at 360.650.2945.

Please note that Western and the New Student Services/Family Outreach office does not provide support equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches, or motorized scooters. We recommend participants bring equipment from home as needed.

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15. What other amazing First-Year Programs are at Western?

First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) (Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education program)
Get your college experience off to the right start by reserving a spot in a FIG! The First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) Program at WWU presents an exceptional opportunity for new college students. The learning community environment created by a FIG cluster can help students connect more quickly to university life, and foster a smoother transition from high school to college learning and expectations. Please see the First-Year Interest Groups website for information!

Viking Launch (Extended Education program)
Viking Launch offers incoming freshmen a strong, focused start up to college life at Western. Students will arrive on campus a week early for an intensive week of study and preparation for a successful Western Experience, and includes 2-credit, 1-credit, or Non-credit options. Please see the Viking Launch website for information!

Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT) (Associated Students Outdoor Center program)
The Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT) provide a unique opportunity for incoming Western students to spend a week backpacking or kayaking and exploring the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest with a group of fellow students prior to the beginning of their first quarter here at WWU. Please see the WOOT website for information!

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16. Convenient Campus Extension Listing

Department Telephone No.
Academic Advising Center 360.650.3850
Admissions 360.650.3440
Conference & Guest Housing 360.650.3537
disAbility Resources for Students 360.650.3083
First-Year Interest Groups Office 360.650.3004
Financial Aid
  • Financial Aid
  • Scholarship Office
  • Student Employment
International Student & Scholar Services 360.650.7971
Math Department 360.650.3785
New Student Services/ Family Outreach 360.650.3846
Parking Services 360.650.2945
Registrar's Office 360.650.3430
Student Business Office
  • Student Accounts
  • University Cashier
  • Loans & Collections
Student Health Center 360.650.3400
Student Outreach Services 360.650.7443
Testing Center (Math Placement Assessment) 360.650.3080
University Residences 360.650.6565
Veteran's Services Office 360.650.3324

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