Orientation Checklist

New students walking underneath the skybridge between Haggard Hall and Wilson library with faculty and staff cheering on either side
wwu orientation in blue text on a white background with a blue triangle pointer shape in a compass ring

Chart Your Course through Orientation to Western by following this new student checklist to help you prepare. The Orientation Checklist is organized as a general timeline and identifies required and recommended tasks to complete or review prior to your first quarter. While some specific deadlines and dates may change quarter-by-quarter, the flow of the checklist will provide a common roadmap as you plan for your first quarter no matter what quarter you begin in the academic year. 

Additionally, check out the Community Resources webpage for links to campus event calendars, student connection hubs, and student resource offices to learn more about student clubs, organizations, on-going events, and student life at Western. 

New Student Orientation Checklist

Getting Started

In order to register for classes, you must set your new Universal Account Password in advance. Please visit the Set Your Universal Account Password instructions for more information. Please keep track of your username and password, and have this information with you for your Advising & Registration session. If you need assistance, are unsure how to navigate the set-up process, or if you have forgotten your password, contact Academic Technology User Services Help Desk (ATUS) at (360)650-3333.

Western students are required to provide proof of measles immunity.  To meet this requirement, enter the dates of the two doses of measles vaccine (typically MMR) received OR the date of a measles (rubeola IgG) titer blood test result showing measles immunity in your MyWesternHealth patient portal. 

Follow these important steps:

  1. Log in to MyWesternHealth with your WWU email and password.
  2. Click “Medical Clearances” in the menu column on the left. 
  3. Locate “Measles” and click the green “Update” button next to it. 
  4. Enter in your two individual measles vaccine dates OR the date of your measles (rubeola IgG) titer blood test result.
  5. Locate “Immunization Records” in the Medical Clearances section and click the green “Update” button next to it.
  6. Upload your supporting documentation (immunization records, rubeola titer result, and/or health care provider verification forms).

Please refer to the Measles Requirement on the Student Health Center website for more information. Contact the Student Health Center at (360) 650-3400 or Student.Health@wwu.edu for additional assistance.

If your personal email address on file with Admissions is linked to your high school or other institutional account (for example: VictorViking@SeattleSchools.org), please be aware you may not receive important orientation-related information. Many high school-based email accounts or accounts affiliated with previous colleges often become inactive soon after you graduate or leave that institution. Because they become inactive, important messaging about your Advising & Registration (A&R) Session may not be received and will bounce back. 

To ensure you don't miss your A&R Session messaging, please provide an updated personal email address (like Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) with the Office of Admissions to be able to receive important Western communications about Orientation and Advising & Registration Sessions. 

You are able to change your email address yourself in your Student Portal. After you log in, below the header on the right side, is a link to "Change Email Address." Both applicants without a decision and decided admits can change their email address by clicking on that link in the student portal. 

Recognizing the expanding reliance on electronic communication, WWU has determined that email will be one of the University’s official means of communication. Email correspondence will be sent to students’ WWU email addresses, so be sure to review your WWU email account for future important announcements.

Students can access their WWU email by navigating to myWestern, selecting Email, and logging in with their Universal login. 

See University Academic Policies on E-Mail as Official Means of Communication.

Special Note: When the Student Health Center sends messages to new students, you will receive an email notification in your WWU Email account, however you will need to log in to your MyWesternHealth patient portal to read the messages received.

  • Off Campus: Students who live off campus instead of a residence hall are introduced to plenty of new choices and, along with those choices, new responsibilities. For more information, visit the Off Campus Living website.
  • On Campus: For more information about Western’s On-Campus Housing, visit the On-Campus Housing website.

Students can log into the Student Portal to keep track of the status of measles clearance, the receipt of final transcripts, and Advising & Registration session reservations. Visit the Welcome New Students page for more information about making a reservation for an Advising & Registration session.

Contact the Disability Access Center (DAC) to apply for services and learn more about accommodations support and resources at Western. Visit the DAC website to learn more about an Overview of the DAC Process and Documentation Guidelines, or contact the DAC directly by emailing the office at drs@wwu.edu, or calling 360-650-3083.

The Viking Resource Hub can be used like a campus directory to help you connect with campus services and resources by searching under their function rather than an unfamiliar department name. Not finding what you need? Please contact the NSSFO office for assistance via phone 360-650-3846 or email NSSFO@wwu.edu. 

Prior to Your Advising & Registration Session

Once you have confirmed your enrollment at WWU and Advising & Registration reservations have opened, you can sign up for your Advising & Registration session. Advising & Registration sessions are required for incoming First-Year and Running Start students and strongly recommended for incoming Transfer students. Post-Baccalaureate students, please refer to the pages below for advising options.  

Fall Quarter Winter Quarter Spring Quarter Summer Quarter 

Complete the Virtual Advisor online Canvas course: This course will introduce you to key Advising & Registration resources and tools. You are required to spend time reviewing the videos and modules in this course before attending your A&R session. Plan to spend 1-2 hours going through the modules and plan 2 possible schedules in advance of your A&R session. The Virtual Advisor course is accessible at least 3-4 weeks before the first A&R session of any quarter.

The ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (MPA) is an online, adaptive assessment and learning system to determine math placement. Most students who plan to register for a Math course at Western must first take the MPA, and the MPA also serves as a prerequisite for some courses in other departments. As such, you may need to complete the practice MPA #1 and the proctored MPA #2 prior to attending your Advising & Registration session.

Important information about the ALEKS MPA is on the Testing Center's website, including exceptions to the MPA and FAQs. You can also review the Academic Advising & Student Achievement Center’s Do I need to take the Math Placement Assessment? Tool.

To learn how the ALEKS MPA works, watch this 2-minute video.

For questions about whether or not you need to take the ALEKS MPA, please contact the Math Department at (360) 650-3785 or The Academic Advising & Student Achievement Center (AASAC) at (360) 650-3100.

For technical questions or to report navigational issues with the online ALEKS program, please contact the Testing Center at (360) 650-3080.

  • The Spanish Placement Test is required for all students who wish to study a Spanish course at Western. Exception: Students who want direct placement into 101 (beginning level of Spanish) are not required to take the test. Students may register for 101 directly. Placement into 102 and higher require completion of placement test. 
  • The Japanese Placement Test is available for students who wish to test into JAPN 201 or 301. Students who do not have experience with the Japanese language do not need to take the placement test and should enroll in JAPN 101, which is offered Fall Quarter only.
  • The MIS 220 Equivalency Exam is an optional test for students who have intermediate-level Excel skills and feel they already have knowledge from the MIS 220 course. If you do not plan on majoring or minoring in Business, you do not need to take the exam. The MIS 220 course is a prerequisite for several 300 level classes at CBE and is useful in other classes.

Transfer students: Please visit the Admissions website - Transfer Credit Policies to learn more about transferable credits, Transfer Credit policies, using the Transfer Course Equivalency Guide, and information about AP, IB and Cambridge International credit.

First-Year (Freshmen), Running Start, and College in the High School students: All students who enter Western directly after graduating from high school are considered first-year students for admission purposes even if they earned college credit while in high school. First-Year/Running Start students should visit the College Credit page for more information about submitting transcripts, Transfer Credit policies, and information about AP, IB and Cambridge International credit.

The Admissions Office is your contact for questions regarding the status of transfer credits. You can contact Admissions at admit@wwu.edu or call (360)650-3440 and connect to a counselor.

New students are encouraged to contact academic departments any time with major-specific questions. To explore all 200+ academic programs at Western, visit the Explore Majors page. For a complete list of majors, minors, and graduate degrees, please see the University Catalog. 

Cherry trees blooming across from the Communications lawn in spring
Explore Fall Quarter First-year Academic Programs
Early Start: Viking Launch

A program that brings students on campus a week before fall term, with early move-in and a head start on academic success in a credit-bearing course.

First-year Interest Groups (FIGs)

In their first quarter, new students can enroll in a seminar course with a small group of students that is linked to one or two other courses in the general education curriculum.

New Student Experience Seminars

Stand-alone courses which are limited to enrollment to 25 students that change quarterly and are designed to enhance your experience as a first-year or transfer student.

Students standing at the top of a hill with a snow covered peak behind them
Explore Additional Fall Quarter Early Arrival Programs
Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT)

Western Outdoor Orientation Trips support, enhance, and ease the transition to Western for first-year students through outdoor adventure.

Marine Science Distinguished Scholars

Western’s Marine Science Distinguished Scholars Program is a selective, small group experience for incoming first-years. The program is planned and organized by faculty from Western’s Marine and Coastal Science Program and the Shannon Point Marine Center.

Prior to Your First Quarter

The Western Card is the ID, access, and transaction card for Western Washington University, providing students with access to a wide variety of services, including dining, library, the Rec. Center, Student Bus Pass, and ATUS Equipment Check-out services. Go to the Western Card website to upload your ID photo and they will create your card.

For new Fall Quarter students: All cards ordered before September 1 will be mailed to the Student address listed in Web4U. All cards ordered after September 1 will be held for pick up when you arrive on campus.

Please email western.card@wwu.edu if you have any questions regarding obtaining a Western Card. 

Explore virtual campus tours on our homepage. For more information about in person tours for admitted students, visit the Admissions Office's website.

Student Business Office 

The Student Business Office is responsible for the financial administration of all student billing related to tuition and fees, room and board, and for the processing of refunds as well as providing support and advice to students to aid in understanding their student account with the University. Students can also add parents/family members as payers to their student account after giving proper access. Explore the SBO's "How-To Videos" for more information.

Review the SBO’s website to complete your “Checklist 4 Success," access your Western Account Online, and track important dates related to tuition and fee payments. For more information on payments, visit the SBO's "When, Where and How to Pay" page. Still have questions? Access the SBO’s Virtual Schedule (toward the bottom of their home page) to schedule a virtual meeting! 

Student Business Office: Old Main 110, sbo@wwu.edu, or (360)650-2865. 

Registrar's Office 

The Registrar’s Office also lists Important Dates & Deadlines each quarter that note due dates for Tuition & Fees, Housing & Meal Plans, adding/dropping classes, due dates, late payment deadlines, and more. 

Registrar’s Office: Old Main 230, Registrar.Office@wwu.edu, or (360)650-7327. 



Transportation Services provides resources to help you travel around Bellingham and beyond. Check out their video library for an overview of transportation and parking at WWU. As a student, your Western Card also serves as a WTA bus pass and provides unlimited rides on all WTA bus routes. You can also explore Regional Transportation Options on the Transportation Services website for more information about getting to and from Bellingham.

Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Office provides information about grants, loans, Work Study, scholarships, on and off campus employment opportunities, and personal finance. 

Review Important Dates & Deadlines on the Registrar's Office website, including information about final exams, breaks, and holidays. 

During Your First Quarter

Western Washington University is committed to creating a campus culture of compassion, well-being, equity, and social justice, and improving the health of all our community members. One way our school commits to these values is by providing students with the Voices for Change training to build the skills and knowledge that create healthy communities, prevent violence and hazing, and help ensure a safe campus environment for everyone. 

New students will receive an email to their WWU email address from StudentTrainings@getinclusive.vendor.wwu.edu with information about the Voices for Change training no later than the first week of the quarter. Visit the Voices for Change website for details about the training and how to access it.