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Information for

New Student Orientation

Welcome to Howard University!



New Student Orientation (NSO) is designed for all incoming first-year and transfer students to be introduced Howard University, and to provide students and their families the opportunity to learn more about academic support services, student development initiatives, and technology tools for academic success.

All new students are expected to participate and complete New Student Orientation, which includes Bison PReP (Virtual Summer Orientation), and Bison Week (Fall Orientation).  Our goal is to facilitate a seamless transition to Howard University, so that you immediately aclimate and become a part of the Bison family! If you have any further questions or concerns pertaining to New Student Orientation, please email us at

Due to high volume of daily email inquiries from incoming students and their families, please allow the Orientation Team 48-72 hours to respond.

Please take a moment to read the Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of this page regarding New Student Orientation, and other important information pertaining to your enrollment and the fall 2020 semester. 

 Click here to access VIRTUAL ORIENTATION 

2020 Bison Week Schedule

Bison Week Schedule

New Student Resources

Fall 2020 NSO Booklet


This booklet will help navigate new students through orientation by providing important dates, information and list of activities to be completed before arriving in the fall.

First-Year StudentsTransfer Students

Fall 2020 NSO Booklet


This booklet will help navigate parents and families through orientation by providing important dates and information needed for you and your child to have a seamless transition to HU.

Parents and Families



The Student Health Center is committed to creating a seamless transition through meeting your medical requirements, so please review the information on our page very carefully.  

Click here to visit Student Health Website!

Placement Exams & Transcripts


All New students are required to take our placement testing. These tests help the university assure you are enrolled in your correct classes! 

TranscriptsHU Placement Exams

Howard University Virtual Tour

Campus Tour

Explore the Campus Virtual Tour as you please, choosing the subjects and points that interest you. You may proceed systematically; or browse the site, entering the Tour at any point, leaving, then returning at your convenience.

Get Access, Here!

Hotel Accommodations


We encourage visitors to use the CTM Visitor Travel Portal to book their hotel reservations with our hotel partners to save money and support Howard University.

Need Accommodations? Click Here

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.


What is New Student Orientation?

New Student Orientation is comprised of two main components: Bison PReP and Bison Week.  Bison PReP is our Online Summer Orientation where students and their families will have the opportunity to learn more about Howards’ academic and student support services and tools for academic success.

Bison Week begins the week prior to the start of your fall 2020 semester for all new students. You will actively participate in a wide array of activities virtually, in-person or hybird to ensure you have a seamless and successful transition into Howard and the greater Washington, DC area.


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

Yes, all incoming first-year students will take the Math Placement Exam either in the summer or in the fall based upon their School/College and majorAll students in the following Schools/Colleges and majors will take their math placement exam in the summer:  School of Business, College of Engineering and Architecture, College of Nursing and Allied Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math, Health Education, Human Performance and Leisure Studies majors only).  These Schools/Colleges and majors require the completion of a math course in your first semester at the University. 

All other first-year students will take their math placement exam in the fall and complete a math course in their second or third semester at the University.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Math Placement Exam, please contact Tutoring and Learning Support Services at

How will New Student Orientation programs be impacted by the response to COVID-19?The University continues to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus.  In response to the COVID-19, the University transitioned to a distant learning environment for the duration of the spring 2020 semester and will continue throughout the summer.  Bison PReP, our summer online orientation will be offered through our New Student Orientation website at


What do I need to complete Bison PReP (online orientation)?

All incoming new students will need access to the internet and access to a computer, tablet or cell phone to complete Bison PReP and other orientation task by July 31, 2020.


When is Bison Week?

Bison Week will be held August 17th – August 22nd.  Bison Week will consist of events and activities for all new students to actively participate (virtually, in-person, hybrid) and engage with fellow classmates to ensure a successful and seamless transition to Howard University.  The Bison Week schedule will be published in early August 2020.


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

All new (first-year and transfer) students are assigned to an Academic Adviser(s) in their School/College.  Students should contact their School/College using their bison email account to meet and/or schedule an appointment with an academic adviser (see list below).




School of Business                                School of Communication                     School of Education

Karen Hampton                                    Bernadette Williams                             Brandy Jackson


Melissia Gould                                     Mikeisha Best

Troy Spencer


College of Engineering & Architecture                                      College of Nursing & Allied Sciences

Caryn Cabaniss                                                                        Suzy Guerrier-Adams (Nursing)                                           


Kourtney Britton                                                                      Trevor Leiba (Allied Sciences)                                         


College of Arts & Sciences

Avante Chestnut

 (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math)


Faith Harrison

 (Economics, Psychology and Political Science)


Joshua Rideaux

(African Studies, Afro-Studies, English, History, Philosophy, Sociology, Criminology, French, Spanish, Health Education, Human Performance, Leisure Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies)


Can I change my major?

No, incoming first-year students cannot change their major until Spring 2021 semester.


Will I register for fall 2020 classes?

No, incoming first-year students do not register for fall 2020 classes.  An academic adviser in the Schools/Colleges will register incoming first-year students for the fall 2020 semester.

Please note:  all incoming first-year students’ course registration are 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.


When will I receive my housing assignment and move-in date for fall 2020 semester?

The Office of Residence Life and University Housing is working diligently to accommodate incoming and continuing students for the upcoming 20-21 school year.

Move-In Dates and Times
New student move-in will occur August 14th – 15th, which is when most new students will move into their residence halls. Some academic and extracurricular programs may request that their students move-in earlier, and arrangements will be made with the points of contact of those programs.  Please note:  these dates are subject to change.  An official notification will be sent to the Bison E-mail account.

Fall Housing Assignments
The Office of Residence Life and University Housing continues to make housing assignments on an ongoing basis via StarRez, the University’s housing application system.  Students should log-in to StarRez to confirm their housing assignment before their scheduled check-in date.


If you have any other questions or concerns regarding University Housing, please contact the Office of Residence Life and University Housing at


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?

Email us at


Have additional questions relating to Orientation?

Email us at

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. You are not required to pay this fee upfront in order to attend Bison Prep.

This fee includes student attendance to Bison Prep, programming for new students, Bison Week activities, resources, placement exams and university publications.