Frequently Asked Questions

Orientation FAQs

What is New Student Orientation?

New Student Orientation is comprised of three main components: Bison Prep, Virtual Howard, and Bison Week.  

  • Bison Prep is our Online Summer Orientation where students and their families will have the opportunity to learn more about Howard’s academic and student support services and tools for academic success.
    • All new (first-year and transfer) students are assigned to an Academic Advisor in their School/College. During Bison Prep you will have the opportunity to hear from School/College Advisor to learn more about University requirements, degree requirements, and your first-year course schedule. 
  • Virtual Howard (Available online starting July 3) is an online introduction to life at Howard, presented as a series of self-directed modules, which must be completed prior to the start of Bison Week.
  • Bison Week, your official welcome to the Bison family, typically begins the week prior to the start of the fall and spring semesters for all new and transfer students. You will actively participate in a wide array of activities virtually, in-person or hybrid to ensure you have a seamless and successful transition into Howard and the greater Washington, DC community.

What do I need to complete Virtual Howard (online orientation)?

All incoming new students will need access to the internet and access to a computer, tablet or cell phone to complete Virtual Howard and other orientation tasks. Check out the Save-the-Date flyer above for tentative Summer and Fall New Student Orientation dates. 

Do I have to take the Math Placement Exam (MPE)?

Yes, all incoming first-year students will take the Math Placement Exam to be registered for a math course in their first semester. If you have not taken the MPE, or have questions/concerns about the MPE, please email ACE Learning Services at

Can I change my major in my first semester?

Most Schools and Colleges admit students based on their capacities. Thus, most incoming first-semester students cannot change their major until after one semester in residence. In instances where a given major has additional capacity, Deans will decide if they will accept first-semester students.

Will I register for fall 2021 classes?

No, incoming first-year students do not register for Fall 2022 classes.  An academic advisor in the Schools/Colleges will register incoming first-year students for the Fall 2022 semester.

Please note:  all incoming first-year students’ course registration is pre-determined based upon their intended major. A typical first-year first semester course schedule will consist of the following:  Freshmen Seminar course, English course, Introductory Major course, Afro-Cluster course, and Elective courses (2).

How many classes will I take in my first semester?

All new students will take a minimum of 15 credit hours (5 or 6 courses) during their first semester at Howard University.

Who is my Academic Advisor? How do I schedule an appointment with my Academic Advisor?

All new (first-year and transfer) students are assigned to an Academic Advisor in their School/College. During Bison Prep you will have the opportunity to hear from School/College Advisors to learn more about University requirements, degree requirements, and your first-year course schedule. 

Who do I contact if I am having technical difficulties with bison email account?

Email ETS at

Who do I contact if I have questions about my financial aid package, including grants, scholarships and student loans?

Email the Office of Financial Aid at

Who do I contact if I have questions about my bill and/or payment plan options?

Email the Office of Bursar at

Who do I contact if I am having technical difficulties with Virtual Howard?

What does my orientation fee cover?

NSO Fee - All new undergraduate students are assessed a one-time, mandatory New Student Fee of $200 for their first semester of enrollment. It is nonrefundable and charged to your tuition bill as part of the $300 enrollment fee. Once you've paid your enrollment fee, your NSO fee is covered and there is no additional charge.

This fee includes student attendance to Bison Prep, programming for new students, Bison Week activities, resources, placement exams, university publications, and a Howard University branded back pack. 

Where can I find housing information.

Visit the Housing section of the Student Affairs website.

Have additional questions relating to Orientation?

Where can I find a list of key contacts to various offices.

Important On-Campus Offices

  • Office of Residence Life - HU Housing & Residence Life will provide safe, inclusive, and secure residential communities where a diverse and innovative team of professionals encourages students to pursue academic excellence, personal growth, civic leadership, and responsibility.
  • Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) - ETS provides IT resources to support exceptional educational experiences for Howard students, faculty and staff.
  • Financial Aid - We offer a wide variety of methods of payment and financial assistance programs to students who, without such assistance, would not be able to attend a university.
  • Office of Student Life & Activities - We strive to create a student-centered environment that supports the achievement of academic, professional and personal goals while promoting civility, respect, integrity and equity.
  • Office of Student Services - We create an academic and socially accessible environment in three critical areas: Disability Services, Veteran Affairs and Judicial Affairs.
  • Department of Public Safety - The primary duties of the officers of HU-DPS are to ensure compliance with Howard University regulations and policies adopted by the Howard University Board of Trustees, as well as the enforcement of applicable District of Columbia Codes and Municipal Regulations within its jurisdiction.
  • University Counseling Service - The University Counseling Service (UCS) provides a full range of psychological and training services that appropriately addresses the varying levels of need for our student community.
  • Office of Off-Campus Housing & Community Engagement - The OCHCE provides rewarding, experiential learning and growth experiences reflective of the University's core values of Truth, Excellence, Leadership and Service.

Registration FAQs

How do I register for classes?

FTIC students will be registered for at least 15 credits by an academic advisor.

Has registration begun?

Please view the academic calendar for registration dates.

When will I receive my schedule?

Special populations, such as Army ROTC, and other groups who have predetermined activities will be registered first. Thereafter, students who have completed orientation, accepted their financial aid packages, and completed the mathematics placement exam will be registered, followed by remaining students.

What are the registration requirements to maintain my scholarship?

University-based scholarship requirements vary by award. Scholarships generally require a minimum GPA and a minimum number of earned credits per semester. Please carefully review your scholarship contract.

Which immunizations are required to register?

Students should contact the Student Health Center to learn about the required vaccinations. All immunizations must be uploaded to Med+Proctor.

How can I remove a medical hold that is preventing me from registering?

Immunizations must be uploaded to Med+Proctor. Once processed and cleared, student holds are automatically removed. Additional questions should be directed to the Student Health Center.

Advising FAQs

When can I meet with an advisor about course discrepancies and other issues?

Formal advising will begin during Bison Week (8/16/2021). Our first step is to create a basic schedule, then address discrepancies and questions during Bison Week. Given the size of the incoming class, we can only accommodate discrepancies, not preferences.

Who is my advisor?

The directory and additional resources can be found here. As noted above, formal advising will begin on 8/16/2021, during Bison Week.

How do I submit Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), dual enrollment, and other advanced standing credits?

Instructions on how to officially submit credits for review are posted. Please check your transcripts via BisonWeb to see if your credits have been processed.

Who should I contact if I have completed the advanced standing process, but have additional questions?

Questions about AP, IB, CAPE credits earned in high school should be submitted to

Questions about transfer credits, such as dual enrollment, should be submitted to

Will courses be mostly online?

No. Courses will primarily be delivered in a face-to-face format. Changes to course delivery methods will continue in the coming weeks. 

Is there a special orientation for transfer students?

Yes. Transfer Student Orientation will be held on August 3rd (Registration Information Here).