Picture of WWU's Viking Commons with the sunset in the Fall

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Fall Advising & Orientation?

Fall Advising & Orientation is for new first-year students who did not attend Summerstart and who need to complete their campus orientation, academic advising and class registration process. Fall Advising & Orientation also includes a Family Orientation and we encourage you to invite your family to participate.

For students and family attending this session, Fall Advising & Orientation (Fall A&O) is held in two parts:

  • Sunday, September 24: Student and Family Orientation includes a casual catered lunch on campus, a Welcome in the Performing Arts Center Mainstage, followed by a Student Orientation session and a Family Orientation session.
  • Monday, September 25: Students will complete their academic advising and class registration process.

Fall A&O Student Orientation

There is no additional fee for students to participate in Fall A&O - the cost is covered by the one-time $250 enrollment fee. Similar to the Summerstart experience, students attending Fall Advising & Orientation will:

  • Meet with helpful academic advisors
  • Register for fall quarter courses
  • Learn about Western’s student support services
  • Visit the Associated Students Bookstore
  • Connect with other new and current WWU students

Fall A&O Family Orientation

Fall Advising & Orientation also includes an optional Family Orientation for parents/ family members. The program includes the casual catered lunch, Welcome session, program materials and an engaging Tips for Families orientation session. When students make their online reservation for Fall A&O, they can indicate how many parents or family members will be attending with them.

The fee for Family Orientation is $15 and the New Student Services/Family Outreach office will send an invoice for payment to the student prior to the event. Payment for Family Orientation must be made in advance by Friday, September 15. Students have been sent an email invoice with a link to complete payment by September 15

During Family Orientation, parents and family members will:

  • Receive information on Western’s academic programs, financial matters, campus life, health and counseling services, and becoming more involved with Western
  • Meet WWU staff and faculty members
  • Connect with new and current WWU students and family members
  • Gather resources, explore campus and more

REFUNDS - PLEASE NOTE: As we are obliged to cover costs for dining, materials and other costs associated with family orientation, refunds are not available after the Fall Advising & Orientation reservation deadline, 12:00pm (noon) on Monday, September 18. Please contact the NSSFO office if you have any questions.


2. What am I required to attend?

Students attending the Fall A&O program are REQUIRED to attend Monday morning’s check-in between 7:00am – 9:00am to receive your advising materials and be assigned your academic advising and class registration time. You will not be provided that information in advance; you must show up (especially if you end up with a morning registration appointment!!). You are also REQUIRED to attend your academic advising and class registration session and attendance will be taken during that session to confirm your course registration access.  

The Sunday orientation is strongly recommended, but it is optional, and includes valuable information for both you and your family should they choose to attend. During the lunch, Welcome session, and Orientation session you’ll be able to connect with peers and hear from a variety of campus speakers. Additionally, orientation sessions will cover a wide range of information about campus resources and services to support your transition.


3. Where can my family stay off campus?

For a list of accommodations near Western, visit our Local Accommodations page.


4. How do I make reservation for Fall A&O?

Reservations will open around 12:00pm on Friday, July 21st and be open July 21 – September 18.   All reservations occur online via the New Student Services/Family Outreach website. Please make your Fall Advising & Orientation Reservation by September 18. If you need assistance, please contact New Student Services/Family Outreach at 360.650.3846 or nssfo@wwu.edu.

We strongly encourage students to make their own reservation. 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 they have difficulty with the system.

In order to make a reservation, you must ensure your Universal Account is activated. If you have not do so, please complete the Universal Account Activation process. After your reservation has been processed, you will be sent a confirmation email to your WWU email account and a confirmation packet will be mailed to your permanent address indicating your program date and further information about check-in, parking and other important details.


5. How do I log in for my online reservation?

In order to make a reservation, you must ensure your Universal Account is activated. If you have not do so, please complete the Universal Account Activation process. Once you have activated your Universal Account you may log in to myWestern (student information portal) which provides access to your WWU student email, tuition & billing information, etc.


6. When is the reservation deadline?

The Reservation deadline is: Monday, September 18 at 12:00pm. Students must complete an online reservation by the deadline. Students bringing parents/family members to the lunch, Welcome session, and Family Orientation should indicate the number of family they are bringing on the reservation form (the New Student Services/Family Outreach office will send you an invoice for payment afterwards).

REFUNDS - PLEASE NOTE As we are obliged to cover costs for dining, materials and other costs associated with family orientation, refunds are not available after the Fall Advising & Orientation reservation deadline, 12:00pm (noon) on Monday, September 18. Please contact the NSSFO office if you have any questions.


7. What if I don't have access to a computer/internet to make a reservation?

Fortunately, our Fall Advising & Orientation online reservation system is open for a considerable length of time: July 21st at 12pm – September 18th at 12pm. If your circumstances are such that will not have access to a computer during this length of time, please contact the New Student Services/Family Outreach directly at 360.650.3846 for assistance.


8. How can I make changes to my reservation?

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 cannot be made online after your request has been submitted or after the deadline. All efforts will be made to accommodate changes requested prior to the deadline, but this cannot be guaranteed.

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. – or make certain changes to a student’s reservation without their permission.


9. I didn’t attend Summerstart and cannot attend Fall Advising & Orientation, can a parent or friend register for me?

No - Fall Advising & Orientation is designed to teach you about WWU’s course registration process in a setting with direct support of faculty and student advisors so that you are able to register effectively on your own in the future. You must attend your academic advising session in order to successfully register for fall classes. Please contact the New Student Services/Family Outreach office at 360.650.3846 for assistance.


10. How important is getting cleared for measles prior to Fall Advising & Orientation?

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 on Monday, September 25 . Options for providing proof and additional information are available from the Measles Requirement on the Student Health Center website. If you have any questions regarding the measles immunity requirement, please call 360.650.3400


11. Do I have to take the Math Placement Assessment (MPA)?

Most freshmen will need to complete Western’s Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) as part of Western’s General University Requirements (GURs). To register for Math course at Western, a student must first take the MPA. The MPA also serves as a prerequisite for courses in other departments such as Astronomy, Chemistry, Computer Science, Decision Sciences, Economics, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, Geology, Physics and Science Education.

The math placement assessment and learning system offers many benefits to students, including the advantages of individual access, 24/7, from virtually any web-linked computer. This new Math Placement Assessment system is available to all new and continuing students.

Taking the Math Placement Assessment

  1. Students must activate their Universal Account in order to access the MPA.
  2. The “Take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment” link along with more information on ALEKS can be found at the following link, including Exceptions and FAQs: ALEKS Math Placement Assessment.
  3. Complete ALEKS MPA # 1 PRACTICE (60-90 minutes) - does not serve for math placement/registration.
  4. Time in Prep & Learning Module-optional but encouraged.
  5. Complete ALEKS MPA # 2 OFFICIAL (60-90 minutes) - Scores valid for math placement/registration!

For questions, contact:


(360) 650-3785


(360) 650-3850


12. Do I have to take the Spanish Placement Test?

If you are planning to take Spanish in Fall quarter, you should take the exam. If you are planning to take Spanish, but not in the Fall, do not take the exam during Fall Advising & Orientation 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.

We are no longer taking reservation for the Spanish Placement Test. If you intend to take the Spanish Placement Test during Fall A&O, please visit the Modern and Classical Languages Department and read Spanish Placement Test.


13. How does the academic advising and registration process work at Fall Advising & Orientation?

New freshmen who did not attend Summerstart must first make a reservation to confirm your attendance at Fall Advising & Orientation.

For your academic advising session, you will work with an advisor who best meets your area of academic interest or intended major. If you are undecided about your major, you can choose a group for undecided students where you will work with a professional advisor from the Academic Advising Center.

Please review the Advising Group descriptions and be prepared to choose one when you make your reservation. During your session, you will be introduced to General University Requirements (GURs), degree requirements, identify classes to prepare for registration, and then select classes and register for your fall quarter courses.

Just like for each Summerstart session, a certain number of common classes for first year students have had blocks of seats held during Fall Advising & Orientation to help make the Summerstart and Fall experiences as equitable as possible. Do keep in mind, 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. Even so, students should still have a variety of options for a schedule.


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

After you complete the check-in on Monday, Spetember 25, please carry all of the advising materials with you throughout the program. Do not leave them in a vehicle, with your family members, or in a residence hall room.

  • Your confirmation checklist and campus map you receive in the mail after you’ve made a reservation
  • Valid photo ID
  • Your Universal Account username and password
  • Copies of your Measles/vaccination documentation if you have not yet submitted it to the Student Health Center (students are strongly encouraged to submit their REQUIRED Measles documentation before Fall Advising & Orientation)
  • Copies of any college transcripts (if applicable)
  • Comfortable clothing and shoes, a water bottle (bottled water is NOT sold on WWU’s campus!)
  • A raincoat or umbrella
  • A pen and notepad


15. Whom should I contact regarding a request for accommodations?

For requests concerning accommodations such as Sign Language Interpreter services, note taking services or similar services during your time at Fall Advising & Orientation, please contact New Student Services/Family Outreach at 360.650.3846 or contact disAbility Resources for Students (DRS) directly via email at drs@wwu.edu or by phone at 360.650.3083.


16. Are there other unique new first-year student programs to know about?

Yes! Check out these academic and orientation opportunities for first-year students:

Viking Launch 2017: Sun. 9/17 – Fri. 9/22

Viking Launch offers incoming freshmen a strong, focused start up to college life at Western. Students will arrive on campus seven days early for an intensive week of study and preparation for a successful Western Experience.

The Viking Launch Experience includes:

  • Move-in to the Fairhaven or Kappa Residence Halls and spend the whole year with other Viking Launch students
  • Receive an extended and supervised orientation to campus life
  • Complete a 1-credit, 2-credit or non-credit thematic seminar or high interest preparation course
  • Participate in a community service-learning project
  • Explore academic support services and other campus resources
  • Experience recreation sites and team-building activities in and around campus
  • Gain skills and knowledge in effective study skills, note taking, academic reading, personal finances, career planning and healthy living
  • Learn to navigate your way around campus
  • Meet peers, make friends and form study groups before fall classes begin

For more information about Viking Launch, please visit the Viking Launch website.

Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT)

The Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT) provide a unique opportunity for incoming Western students to spend a week backpacking 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. WOOT is sponsored through the Associated Students Outdoor Center and offers amazing outdoor excursions.

Registration for WOOT trips opens June 1st and they usually fill quickly! You can learn more by visiting the Outdoor Center’s WOOT website!

First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs)

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.
Students who register for a FIG will enjoy many advantages:

  • Lock in the most popular classes early
  • Get a guaranteed basic schedule
  • Meet some of the best professors
  • Make new friends
  • Learn new technologies

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. For more information, please visit FIGs website. Advance reservations for FIGs are anticipated to open May 19.


17. What is Western Welcome Week?

Western Welcome Week is for ALL new and returning Western students and is a weeklong series of educational, informational and social programs and activities designed to support WWU students in kicking off the academic year.

Program highlights for Western Welcome Week include:

  • Out of State Student Dinner – NEW Transfer & Freshmen students & family - Sat. 9/23
  • Fall Advising & Orientation – Fall A&O is for new freshmen students & family who did not attend Summerstart. [anticipated schedule; subject to change]
    • Student & Family Lunch, Welcome session & Orientation – Sun. 9/24
    • Student Advising & Registration – Mon. 9/25
  • Associated Students Information/Club/Resource Fair in Red Square
  • Library/Learning Commons Tours
  • Workshops (anticipated: student accounts, student employment, study skills, etc.)
  • Bike Tours and Bus Tours of Bellingham
  • Late Night Socials and Activities
  • Welcoming Convocation & Associated Students Outdoor Movie - Tues. 9/26
  • First Day of Classes - Wed. 9/27

You can review the Western Welcome Week schedule for specific event details. Complete printed schedules will be available on campus in the fall as well.


18. Convenient Campus Extension Listing

Academic Advising Center




Conference & Guest Housing


disAbility Resources


FIGs Office


Financial Aid

  • Financial Aid
  • Scholarship Office
  • Student Employment


Math Department (Math Placement Assessment)


New Student Services / Family Outreach


Parking Services


Registrar’s Office


Student Business Office

  • Student Accounts
  • University Cashier
  • Loans & Collections


Student Health Center


Student Outreach Services


Testing Center (Math Placement Assessment)


University Residences


Veteran’s Affairs


Page Updated 09.18.2017