Academic Policies


New Student Orientation

The university strongly recommends that all new students attend Orientation. Attending Orientation is the best way for new students to acclimate themselves to life at USC. Orientation provides students a chance to become familiar with campus, learn about student life, and register for first semester course work. In addition, new students will receive academic advisement and meet current faculty, staff and students. Program descriptions and session dates are mailed to newly admitted students in their Welcome Packet, and can also be accessed online at

Orientation Programs offers a variety of orientation sessions for incoming students. On-campus programs for freshman and transfer students are offered in June, July, December and January. An additional charge to cover meals, refreshments and overnight housing will apply when the Orientation session selected includes meals and/or an overnight stay. Students with financial need may receive a partial fee waiver for their Orientation reservation.

During Orientation, students learn about the university, our wide-ranging student resources and our academic programs and expectations. Students will meet with their academic advisers and plan their first semester’s schedules. Parents and family members are invited to attend Orientation to become acquainted with the university. Separate workshops, programs and lectures are offered to address the special needs and concerns of parents and family members.

International students are required to attend international student orientation, which is offered prior to the beginning of each semester. More details can be found on the Orientation Website at International freshman students living in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai or the surrounding areas may also choose to participate in the International Kickstart programs held in May in order to meet current faculty and students and receive online academic advisement in preparation for course registration.

USC also offers a centralized graduate Orientation in August. In addition, a number of academic departments and professional schools offer orientation sessions for graduate students, in addition to those offered by Orientation Programs. Visit the Orientation Website at for a list of department and professional school orientation sessions. Sessions are also available for graduate assistants through the Center for Excellence in Teaching (CET). For information about CET’s programs, see here or visit Email to subscribe to the Friends of CET weekly update.

All new entering students are assessed a mandatory one-time orientation fee, payable during their first semester of enrollment, along with tuition charges and other fees. This fee covers special services, programs and publications throughout the student’s continued enrollment at USC.