Emerson College is a community of passionate, driven, and hard-working individuals who foster an education grounded in inclusion, diversity, and creativity. The Undergraduate Orientation program aims to empower new students to begin their journey at Emerson with a sense of confidence and a system of support.

The Orientation Program is designed by 6 Undergraduate Students who are advised by the staff in the Office of Student Transitions and Family Programs and a planning committee of Emerson staff members. The program is backed by over 100 inspiring Orientation Leaders who have been trained to help guide new students into our community. Learn more about our Orientation Program mission.

Here are some important Orientation dates—please mark your calendars now!

Please mark your calendars now for the Fall 2021 Undergraduate New Student Orientation program dates:

  • August 22–23: Pre-Orientation programs for undergraduate International Students and Students of Color (registration required, scheduled move-in hours TBD on Aug 22)
  • August 24–25: Move-in for on-campus residential undergraduate students (scheduled hours, TBD)
  • August 24–30: Undergraduate New Student Orientation for first-year and transfer students
  • August 31: First day of Fall semester classes (Monday class schedule observed)
  • August 31 through September 3: Week of Welcome programming
  • Parent and Family Orientation: Information about Parent and Family Orientation can be found here.

Undergraduate New Student Orientation is mandatory for all incoming students, regardless if you live on campus, live off-campus, or are studying online as a remote learner. There will be options to virtually participate in Orientation for those who are unable to physically be on campus.

If you have questions, please email us at orientation [at] emerson.edu or leave a voicemail on the Orientation Hotline at 617-824-8638. The Orientation Team is happy to answer any and all questions. Please do not hesitate to reach out!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Orientation?

The Undergraduate New Student Orientation Program is your guide to starting your journey at Emerson College. Orientation is a series of events about one week before the start of each academic semester set aside for incoming students. Driven by our mission, the goal of Orientation is to assist all undergraduate new students in their transition to Emerson. Not only do we want to introduce you to Emerson’s community and campus, but we want to give you opportunities to meet others, build connections, and take advantage of the resources that are available to you. We have a team of staff, faculty, and student leaders working hard to create an innovative program that allows you to connect with one another during a time when community is critically important.

Due to the unique and ever-changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be continually monitoring the situation alongside the College. During the Fall 2021 program, we will offer as many in-person events and experiences as possible while maintaining safety for you, others in the Emerson community, and our neighbors in downtown Boston. We hope you’ll embrace all that Orientation has to offer---and, trust us, nobody does Orientation like Emerson!

When is Orientation?

Fall 2021 Undergraduate New Student Orientation will take place from Tuesday, August 24 through Monday, August 30. Students will be scheduled to move-in on either August 24 or August 25, and programming will begin once students arrive and through August 30.

There are two Pre-Orientation programs taking place August 22 and August 23: Student of Color Pre-Orientation and International Student Pre-Orientation. Pre-Orientation programming may continue through August 24. Registration for these programs is required and can be done through the Admitted Student Portal, once available. Students registered for the programs will move in on August 22 at time to be determined.

Week of Welcome (August 31 through September 3) keeps the Orientation spirit going with events geared toward all new and returning students, and especially our transfer and off-campus students, to celebrate the beginning of a new semester.

Will Orientation be virtual or in-person?

Due to the unique and ever-changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be continually monitoring the situation alongside the College. During the Fall 2021 program, we will offer as many in-person events and experiences as possible while maintaining safety for you and others in the Emerson community. The most up-to-date information regarding College decisions around COVID-19 can be found on emerson.edu/one-emerson. If you are a remote learner (online-only student), you will still have opportunities to participate in events during Orientation, including any mandatory events.

How will move-in for on campus students work?

If you are planning to live on campus, student move-in for new undergraduate students will take place on Tuesday, August 24 and Wednesday, August 25. More details will be made available to students regarding move-in times and processes.

Decisions regarding specific Fall 2021 move-in procedures have not been decided and will be determined at a later date. Below is the process for January 2021 Move In for your reference—it will give you an idea of how move-in during COVID-19 has been handled in the past.

January 2021 Process (not yet updated for Fall 2021): “...This includes new first-year students and transfer students. You will be given a specific 30-minute window to arrive. Prior to arrival on-campus, you and any family members accompanying you will be required to quarantine for 14 days. While traveling, you and your family members will be expected to follow the CDC guidelines including physical distancing, mask-wearing, and good hand hygiene. Please log into the Housing Portal to confirm your move-in assignment.

In order to comply with the College’s COVID precautions, each on-campus student will be tested for the virus upon arrival, move onto campus, and follow the quarantine protocol until a negative test result is received (estimated 24-48 hours), during which the College will deliver meals to on campus students. One individual (in addition to you), who will need to be registered in advance, will be permitted to assist your moving in process for a maximum of two hours on your move-in day. Additionally, the College will have student assistants prepared to help out on move-in day. The Office of Housing and Residential Education will provide more details via email.

In addition, you and your family members will also be required to complete the Massachusetts Travel Form, and adhere to all Massachusetts Travel Guidances. For more on Emerson’s COVID precautionary guidelines, please view our campaign website called One Emerson, reflecting that we are all in this as one community.”

Are there Orientation sessions for parents & family members?

The Parent and Family Orientation for Fall 2021 will be a combination of virtual events and tentatively, an in-person event that will coincide with new student move-in. The virtual events may be attended live, and will also be recorded for viewing at a later time:

  • July 21, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
  • July 28, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
  • August 4, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
  • August 11, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
  • August 18, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

The tentative In-person Orientation will be on August 24, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET, repeated on August 25th at the same time.  Parents may choose one day to attend.  If circumstances make it impossible to host the event in-person, we will offer it virtually.  

In-Person Orientation will include “Parenting Your Lion During the College Years".

More information about parent and family orientation can be found here.

Be sure to have your parents and family members join the Emerson College Parents and Families of Newly Accepted Students Facebook Group for frequent updates from Maureen Hurley, Director of Student Transitions and Family Programs, and other Emerson staff members. If you have questions about orientation programming for parents and families, please email parents [at] emerson.edu.

What technology is required to participate Orientation? 

Please note that to fully participate in virtual Orientation sessions, students will need a laptop, tablet, or cell phone (with access to platforms like Zoom and an internet browser), in addition to having a reliable internet connection. It is suggested that these devices be audio- and video-enabled to participate in sessions. If you have any tech support or requirement issues, please submit a request to the Emerson IT Help Desk.

In addition to Zoom, Orientation will utilize the following platforms: Slack, Canvas, and EmConnect. More information about these platforms will be sent via email to new students.

What is Slack? How can I stay connected prior to and during Orientation?

As a new student, you will be invited to join us on the Orientation Slack. Slack is a channel-based messaging platform designed for collaboration and communication for internal teams and closed communities. Many companies use Slack to allow for quicker team collaboration as an alternative to long email threads. Similar to email, Slack allows users to send files, pictures, videos and chat messages. At Emerson, many students, staff, and faculty choose to communicate on Slack to stay connected and share information.

We have created a Slack Workspace just for Orientation so you can meet your classmates, ask questions, and learn about important Fall 2021 Orientation updates in realtime. There are desktop and mobile app versions for Slack and it is very user-friendly.

You can join the Emerson Orientation Slack by using your Emerson email address. Here are the steps:

  • Visit this link to sign up: https://join.slack.com/t/emersonorientation/signup
  • Create an account using your emerson email address by doing one of the following:
    • Enter your Emerson email address to join (your email address in the format: firstname_lastname [at] emerson.edu)
    • Or click “Sign-in with Google” and use your Emerson email address and password to log into the Emerson Google suite
  • Please note you will need to sign in using an email address that ends in @emerson.edu or it will not allow you to access the Slack Workspace.
  • Bookmark the link to access Slack in the future: emersonorientation.slack.com

Remember: Slack is only useful if you’re receiving messages! Be sure to set your notification preferences by clicking on the Emerson Orientation Slack Workspace icon at the top-left >> preferences >> then select Notify me about… all new messages so you don’t miss anything!

Here is a how-to guide on joining a Slack Workspace with links to different help articles for navigating Slack. Feel free to reach out to us at orientation [at] emerson.edu or DM us at @emersonorientation on Instagram if you have any questions! We’re happy to help.

We look forward to connecting with you on Slack!