Academic Orientation Program

The Academic Orientation Program (AOP) has been carefully planned to help students transition into college life at MSU and provide them with a strong foundation for achieving their goals. Because of this commitment to student success, MSU requires new students to attend AOP.

Since much of the AOP experience is personalized, it is important that students attend AOP on their reserved date. If extenuating circumstances require an AOP date change, notification should be made as soon as possible by calling (517) 353-5030. MSU reserves the right to cancel or defer a student’s admission if prior notice of absence from AOP is not received.


Dates and format

Students reserve their AOP date online. Dates are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and a waiting list is not available.

Freshman orientation sessions are held June through August for students enrolling in fall semester or in January for students enrolling in spring semester.

June and July programs run one and one-half days. All freshman students who live within 200 miles of campus, including students who live locally and/or students who will commute to MSU in the fall, must attend the entire orientation program. This includes the overnight stay.

August and January AOP dates are one day in length. The August AOP date is available to students who live more than 200 miles from campus so they can move into their residence hall and attend AOP at the same time without incurring additional travel expenses.


Schedule of events

The AOP schedule includes an opportunity to meet new students, faculty, an academic adviser and other MSU staff who are excited to welcome students to the MSU community.

Because AOP is required for all undergraduate students, each session is mandatory unless otherwise noted.


DAY ONE

8:00 a.m.: Check-in for those needing to take placement exams
8:30 a.m.: Math placement testing for students who did not take the exam prior to AOP or students who would like to take a proctored test in order to waive the university math requirement for graduation
8:30 a.m.: Check-in for students not taking placement exams
8:30 a.m.: ID card distribution; students must have government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport or state ID
8:30 - 10:20 a.m.: Major changes
9:00 a.m.: Foreign language testing for students who still need to take the Spanish, French or German exam online
10:20 - 10:50 a.m.: Welcome and overview of the Academic Orientation Program
11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.: College session—planning the college learning experience
12:15 - 1:30 p.m.: Lunch (major change opportunity)
1:00 - 1:30 p.m.: Honors College and Academic Scholars (special session)
1:00 - 1:30 p.m.: Spartan Success Scholars (special session)
1:00 - 1:30 p.m.: Secondary education (special session)
1:00 - 1:30 p.m.: Placement testing (special session)
1:30 - 5:30 p.m.: Personal schedules:

  • Advising
  • Enrollment presentation
  • Enrollment lab
  • Resource fair
  • Personal schedule verification

5:00 - 6:30 p.m.: Dinner
6:45 - 7:15 p.m.: Spartans WILL … Seek Out Diverse Perspectives
7:15 - 9:00 p.m.: Campus tour
9:00 - 11:00 p.m.: Evening activities:

  • Computer lab open
  • Social activities (music, games) in the dining hall
  • Time to relax, enjoy recreational sports and meet other students in the residence hall

11:15 p.m.: Hall closes

DAY TWO

7:00 - 7:50 a.m.: Breakfast
8:00 - 8:10 a.m.: MSU Police-Spartan safety
8:15 - 9:05 a.m.: Understanding student learning-participating in research
9:05 - 9:35 a.m.: College experience-MSU professor presentation
9:35 - 11:00 a.m.: MSU Neighborhoods Q&A
11:00 a.m. - noon: Check out

7:00 a.m.: Check in at Wells Hall/major changes
7:00 - 7:45 a.m.: Placement testing
7:45 - 8:30 a.m.: Welcome and overview of the Academic Orientation Program
8:30 - 9:00 a.m.: 

  • College experience-MSU professor presentation
  • Placement testing
  • Reapplying for admission to the College of Business and the College of Engineering
  • Gaining admission to the College of Education
  • Secondary education majors and child development majors meeting
  • Honors College meeting
  • Spartan Success Scholars meeting
  • Major changes

9:15 a.m.: College session: planning the college learning experience

  • Meet with an academic adviser
  • Enroll for classes
  • Lunch
  • Obtain a Spartan ID card
  • Check out

8:00 a.m.: Check in at Wells Hall A-Wing/major changes/placement testing
8:45 - 9:15 a.m.: Welcome and overview of the Academic Orientation Program
9:15 - 9:30 a.m.: Online resources presentation
9:30 - 9:45 a.m.: Degree report presentation
9:45 – 10:30 a.m.: Student panel
10:00 - 10:30 a.m.: Reapplying for admission to the College of Business and the College of Engineering
10:00 - 10:30 a.m.: Gaining admission to the College of Education
10:00 - 10:30 a.m.: Secondary education majors and child development majors meeting
10:30 - 10:45 a.m.: MSU Police-Spartan safety
10:45 - 11:15 a.m.: College experience-MSU professor presentation
11:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.: College session-planning the college learning experience

  • Meet with an academic adviser
  • Enroll for classes
  • Lunch
  • Obtain a Spartan ID Card
  • Check out

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.: Q&A on:

  • Campus police/parking
  • On-campus housing
  • MSU Federal Credit Union
  • Intramural sports
  • Religious Advisers Association

One Book, One Community

The One Book, One Community (OBOC) program encourages members of the East Lansing–MSU community to read the same book each fall and come together to explore its themes and issues in a variety of on- and off-campus settings.

At AOP check-in, students entering fall semester receive a copy of the selected book at a discounted rate. The cost of the book plus accompanying programming, including the author visiting campus for academic convocation, is charged to their bill. Because OBOC is part of the MSU culture, students are strongly encouraged to read the book, have it available for the start of classes and participate in related events.


What to bring

  • Postcard confirmation of the student’s AOP date
  • A government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport
  • A backpack to carry the material received during AOP
  • Spending money for snacks and other personal items

Valuable items should not be brought to AOP, as Michigan State University cannot be responsible for lost, stolen or damaged items.


  • Comfortable clothes and shoes for walking around campus
  • A fan, since residence hall rooms are not air conditioned
  • An alarm clock
  • Personal toiletries (bedding and a towel provided)
  • All personal items, including bedding, for residence hall move-in


Lodging and meals

See below for lodging information specific to each AOP program. Students with food allergies, intolerances, or are required to follow a special diet can use MSU Culinary Services for resources and information to help make safe choices.


The overnight stay has been carefully planned so students have an opportunity to meet other new students who will be living in their residence hall during the academic year. Students planning to commute to campus will room with other commuting students. Lunch and dinner are provided on the first day and breakfast on the second.
Students move into their residence hall the day before AOP. Please refer to the AOP newsletter for detailed move-in information. Room assignment and roommate information are sent in early August to each student’s MSU email account. Lunch is provided. Students with a campus meal plan will eat in one of the campus dining halls. Students who do not have a meal plan or who are commuting will receive a voucher for the Crossroads Food Court.
Students move into their residence hall the day before AOP. Please refer to the AOP newsletter for detailed move-in information. Lunch is provided. Students with a campus meal plan will receive a dining punch card good for eight visits at any open Culinary Services retail location. Students who do not have a meal plan or who are commuting will receive a lunch voucher for the Crossroads Food Court.

Before arriving

In order to be prepared for AOP and the start of the academic year, it is important that students log into their account and complete a personalized “next steps” list. The most critical items include the following:

  • Activate MSU NetID and MSU email account
  • Take math and foreign language placement tests online
  • Complete the online Student Background and Experiences Inventory and the Spartan Persistence Survey
  • Fill out the Immunization Self-report
  • Become familiar with the MSU computer requirement
  • Submit a Spartan ID photo online
  • Send any Advanced Placement (AP) and college transcripts to the MSU admissions office (if applicable)
  • Contact the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to arrange for needed assistance during AOP or during the academic year

Students can expect to receive the following materials before AOP:

  • Mailings from academic colleges
  • Immunization information
  • Financial aid information (if applicable)

  • Early course reservation: Students who took the math placement test before May 1 will receive information regarding any prescheduled courses.
  • Housing information: Students should receive their campus neighborhood assignment by the end of May and their roommate assignment in August.
  • Information regarding the spring welcome reception
  • Housing information

Accommodating students with disabilities

Accommodation at AOP for students with disabilities should be requested at least two weeks prior to the AOP attendance date by contacting the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). Students who require personal assistance for dressing, eating, carrying items, communications or moving around should discuss these needs with RCPD.


Emergency information

While it is unusual for a student to be injured while attending AOP, Michigan State University reserves the right to call for emergency assistance, including an ambulance, should an injury occur. If transportation by ambulance is necessary, the student will be responsible for meeting any expenses.


Travel information

Check out travel and accommodations for information about airports, public transportation and lodging for families. Other helpful sites provide general driving directions to campus and a downloadable campus map.

Driving directions can be found through Google Maps by clicking on the desired arrival location listed in the "arriving on campus" section below.


Arriving on campus

Certain parking lots have been designated for students and parents attending AOP; Handicapper-accessible parking is available near each program location. Please park in the lots designated below, and note that failure to obey posted signs and regulations may result in a ticket. Academic Orientation cannot accept responsibility for parking tickets and/or towing fees. Questions about parking should be directed to (517) 353-5030.

Students may drive themselves to AOP with no additional notification or permission.


  • Students and parents should park in Ramp 7, located near the corner of Harrison Road and Shaw Lane. A parking permit is required and will be issued by an AOP staff member at the ramp. Please display the permit as instructed. If arriving late, guests must first stop in Case Hall and get a permit from the AOP office. Handicapper-accessible parking is available; please ask parking staff in the ramp for assistance.
  • Parking in front of Case Hall is reserved for employees. Students attending AOP must park in the ramp and walk to Case Hall with their luggage/personal items.
  • Parents picking up students should park in Ramp 7. Students may wait for their parents in the North Wonders Hall lounge.
  • Check-in takes place in Case Hall. Men should go to the north lobby and women to the south lobby.
  • Check-in time is 8 a.m. for students needing to take math and/or foreign language placement exams and 8:30 a.m. for students who have already taken the placement exams.
  • Students and parents should park in Lot 62W, located north of Spartan Stadium. Parking is free, but be sure to enter the gated parking lot since other lots without gates are permit restricted and ticketing or towing may result. 
  • Handicapper-accessible parking and entrances are available at the entrances of Wells Hall.
  • Parents picking up students should park in Lot 62W. Students may wait for their parents in Wells Hall.
  • Orientation check-in takes place in the A-wing of Wells Hall.

Regulations for AOP

MSU expects all AOP participants to comply with university ordinances and policies. In particular, participants should be aware of these policies and ordinances:

  • Possession or use of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs, including marijuana, is prohibited.
  • Possession or use of firearms or weapons is prohibited.

Violations of these university ordinances are also violations of the law and could result in arrest and criminal penalties.

Students attending AOP are also expected to adhere to the following regulations:

  • Attendance is required at all activities except as noted.
  • Punctuality is expected at all program activities.
  • Students are to remain where orientation activities are taking place.

Students attending AOP are also expected to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Be considerate of all faculty, staff and other students attending AOP.
  • Turn off all cell phones during presentations, and do not use them during the advising and enrollment processes.
  • Only students attending AOP are permitted in the academic advising rooms and areas used for enrollment. Family members and friends may not attend these sessions.

Any violation of these ordinances, policies and regulations or any other inappropriate actions as determined by the associate provost for undergraduate education, director of admissions and/or director of orientation will result in disciplinary action, which can include dismissal from the Academic Orientation Program with a postponement of enrolling for classes or a revocation of admission to the university. Violations of university ordinances are also violations of the law and could result in arrest and criminal penalties.


Students attending June-July AOP are also expected to adhere to the following regulations:

  • Attend the entire AOP, which includes the overnight stay and all day-two activities.
  • Be present on assigned floor when the residence hall closes at 11:15 p.m. Please be considerate of those who are trying to sleep.
  • Students who violate AOP regulations may have their courses dropped and be required to repeat AOP or may have their admission postponed until spring semester.

Students attending June–July AOP are also expected to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Family members and friends are not permitted to stay with you overnight in your AOP residence hall room.
  • Do not text during presentations and tours. Turn off cell phones during presentations, advising, course enrollment processes and tours.