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) 355-8490. 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 and information for fall 2019 orientation dates wil be released later this fall.

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.


8:00 a.m.: Check-In/Testing/Major Change/ID Pick-Up
Check-in will be at 7:30 am for students still needing to take a placement exam
8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.:  Major Exploration Fair – Led by Current Students in each College
9:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.: Welcome presentation
10:30 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.: Your College Curriculum – Led by Academic Advisers (the College Session)
11:50 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.: Your College Curriculum Repeat – Led by Academic Advisers
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.: Lunch with special sessions:

  • Spartan Success Scholars

  • Academic Scholars

  • Honors

  • STEP

  • Secondary Education

  • Placement Testing

1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.: Resource Fair & Bookstore Fair (included in Personal Schedule)
5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.: Dinner
6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.:   “Different Together” Small Group Discussion and Date with State
9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.:  Evening Activities – Making Connections


7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m.: Breakfast
7:45 a.m. – 7:55 a.m.: AM Check Point
7:55 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.: Commit to Respect – Empowering Yourself and Others
8:15 a.m. – 8:25 a.m.: Spartan Safety Presentation
8:25 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: Meet an MSU Professor
9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.: Bus Loading for Neighborhood/Engagement Center Tour
9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.: Neighborhood/Engagement Center Tour & Living with a Roommate Small Group
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: AOP Check-Out

After AOP, students can:

  • Attend the STEP Welcome Event

  • Visit the ID Office to pick up their Spartan ID Card or have their Spartan ID Card made

  • Visit the Registrar's Office to talk to a financial aid adviser in room 150 of the Administration Building

  • Visit the Housing Office on the first floor of 1855 Place for any housing questions or assistance

  • Explore campus and Grand River

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

Friday, May 11, 2018

Bessey Hall

7:45 a.m.: Check in/major changes/placement testing
8:30 - 9:00 a.m.: Welcome and overview of the Academic Orientation Program*
9:00 - 9:25 a.m.: Degree report presentation*
9:25 - 10:00 a.m.: Student panel*
9:30 - 10:00 a.m.: Applying for admission to the College of Business as a non-business major
9:30 - 10:00 a.m.: Applying to the College of Engineering as a non-engineering major
9:30 - 10:00 a.m.: Gaining admission to the College of Education
9:30 - 10:00 a.m.: Secondary education majors and child development majors meeting
9:30 - 10:00 a.m.: Gaining admission to the kinesiology or athletic training majors
10:00 - 10:30 a.m.: "T"-talk presentation*
10:30 - 10:45 a.m.: Online Resources*
10:45 - 11:05 a.m.: Neighborhood student success programs and services*
11:05 - 11:30 a.m.: Spartans Will…Seek out diverse perspectives*
11:30 a.m: The College session: planning my learning experience
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.: Lunch and resource fair
1:00 - 5:30 p.m.:

  • Academic advising
  • Enroll for classes
  • Orientation check-out

1:00 - 4:45 p.m.: Obtain Spartan ID card

*Parents/Family members are welcome to attend these sessions. Some sessions are designed for students only.

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

  • 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)

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 booklet 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.

Lunch is provided during AOP.

Students living on-campus may move into their residence hall beginning Thursday, May 10, 2018.  Students are to check-in at the Service Center of their residence hall beginning at 8:00 am. At check-in, newly admitted students will receive a Summer early arrival conference card to use at the Brody Square dining hall and The Vista at Shaw. The conference card will provide the student with access to three meals per day beginning with breakfast on May 10, 2018 through lunch on Sunday, May 13, 2018. Regular meal plans begin at dinner on Sunday, May 13, 2018.

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 Assessment 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.
  • 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. 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) 355-8490.

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 west lobby and women to the east 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. 
  • Accessible parking and entrances are available at the entrances of Bessey Hall.
  • Parents picking up students should park in Lot 62W. Students may wait for their parents in Bessey Hall.
  • Orientation check-in takes place in the first floor of Bessey Hall at 7:45 a.m.

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.

Download AOP information

Download a booklet of all your AOP information in one simple packet.

August AOP Booklet