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.

Attendance at Academic Orientation Program is not required for the following transfer students:

  • Those who already have a bachelor’s degree
  • Registered nurses admitted to the baccalaureate completion curriculum who are taking an online class
  • Those admitted to the Early Care and Education major in the Great Plains IDEA Program
  • Those admitted to an Evening Degree Completion Program
  • Those transferring from the two-year Michigan State University Veterinary Technology Program
  • Those transferring from the two-year Michigan State University Agricultural Technology Program

Students who are not required to attend the Academic Orientation Program must submit their exemption.


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.

Transfer AOP dates are scheduled between June and August for students enrolling in fall semester, in January for students enrolling in spring semester and in May for students enrolling in summer semester. All transfer programs are one day in length.

For fall semester students, an August AOP date is available for students who live more than 200 miles away so they can make the move to the East Lansing area for the start of classes at the same time without incurring additional travel expenses.


Schedule of events

Academic orientation provides the opportunity to meet other new students, faculty, an academic adviser, and other MSU staff who are excited to welcome students to the MSU community, as well as to discuss transfer of credits and enroll for classes.

For transfer students required to attend AOP, each session is mandatory unless otherwise noted.


6:45 a.m.: Check in
6:45 a.m.: ID picture distribution; students must have government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport or state ID
6:45 a.m.: Major changes
6:45 a.m.: Mathematics placement testing for students who did not take the math placement test prior to AOP (if required) or students who would like to take a proctored test in order to waive the university math requirement for graduation
8:00 - 8:30 a.m.: Welcome and overview of the Academic Orientation Program
8:30 - 9:10 a.m.: Degree Navigator and transfer credit
9:10 - 9:40 a.m.: “T” talk with an MSU professor
9:20 - 9:40 a.m.: Veteran student resources
9:45 - 10:15 a.m.: Student parking and commuting information
9:45 - 10:15 a.m.: Reapplying for admission to the College of Business and the College of Engineering (special session)
9:45 - 10:15 a.m.: Gaining admission to the College of Education (special session)
10:20 - 10:50 a.m.: Student billing/financial aid/student work
10:20 - 10:50 a.m.: Secondary education majors and child development majors meeting (special session)
10:50 - 11:50 a.m.: Major changes
11:00 - 11:15 a.m.: Online resources presentation
11:00 a.m. - noon: Lunch
Noon: Orientation to your major:

  • Academic advising
  • Enrollment

Noon - 3:00 p.m.: Placement testing
12:30 - 2:30 p.m.: Tour a residence hall room
1:00 - 4:00 p.m.: Resource fair
1:00 - 6:00 p.m.: 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
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

8:30 - 9:30 a.m.: Placement Testing
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

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
9:00 - 10:00 a.m.: Student panel
9:30 - 10:00 a.m.: Reapplying for admission to the College of Business and the College of Engineering
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
10:10 - 10:30 a.m.: Neighborhood student success programs and services
10:30 - 10:45 a.m.: Online resources
10:45 - 11:15 a.m.: "T"-talk presentation
11:30 a.m.: College session: planning my college learning experience
12:00 p.m.: 

  • Lunch
  • Academic advising
  • Enroll for classes
  • Check out

12:00 - 1:30 p.m.: Resource fair
12:00 - 4:45 p.m.: Obtain Spartan ID card


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.

Students attending an August, January or May AOP who will live on campus should also bring all personal items, including bedding, so they are prepared to move into their residence hall.


Lodging and meals

See below for lodging information specific to 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.


Lunch is provided during AOP. Students move into their residence halls the day before AOP. Please refer to the AOP booklet for detailed move-in information.

A continental breakfast and lunch is provided during AOP.

Lunch is provided during AOP. Students with a campus meal plan eat in one of MSU's dining halls. Students who do not have a meal plan or who are commuting receive a voucher for the Crossroads Food Court.

Students move into their residence halls 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 during AOP. 

Students move into their residence halls the day before AOP. Please refer to the AOP booklet for detailed move-in information.


Before arriving

In order to be prepared for AOP and the start of the academic year, it is important that students log in to 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 assistance needed 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)

Accommodating students with disabilities during AOP

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) 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 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 6:45 a.m.
  • 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 at 7:00 a.m.
  • 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 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.


Download AOP Information

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

January AOP Booklet