Frequently Asked Questions
Orientation Program FAQs
- New Student Orientation Program FAQs (for first-year students)
- Transfer and Combined-Plan Orientation FAQs
Pre-orientation Program FAQs
- Columbia Urban Experince (CUE)
- Columbia Outdoor Orientation Program (COÖP)
- International Student Orientation Program (ISOP)
General Orientation Week FAQs
What events will be happening during NSOP, Transfer and Combined-plan Student Orientation, and ISOP?
The committee is planning a week of activities for orientation this summer. You will receive a schedule upon arrival but may refer back to this website for periodic updates.
What about setting up a bank account?
Columbia University has a special banking relationship with Citibank, and you'll find Citibank ATMs on campus. Other banks can be found in walking distance of the campus.
What should I do if I'm coming from far away and can't pack everything?
There are many places right around campus where you can purchase toiletries and other supplies for your room. However, we also offer a free shuttle bus to and from Bed, Bath, and Beyond! You can ship packages to your school address starting two weeks before Orientation.
If I shipped items to campus, where do I pick up my packages on Move-in Day?
Only students with photo IDs can pick up their packages from the mail room. The mail room does not deliver packages to the residence halls.
How do I get to campus and where do I park when I arrive on campus?
Public safety will greet you on move-in day with maps to local parking garages.
I have a disability. How will my needs be accomodated during NSOP?
We have an incredible Office of Disability Services here at Columbia. Students are strongly encouraged to self-identify any disabilities to the office prior to NSOP so they may prepare for Orientation week and for the academic year. Please email the office by Friday, July 25.
My parents plan on staying in NYC past Move-in Day. Will I have time to hang out with them?
It is common to have family members stay in NYC for an extended amount of time to sightsee and/or visit family and friends. However, the week of orientation is packed with mandatory and social programs and is a time to learn the Columbia ropes, make connections, and build friendships within your new undergraduate community. Since family members are unable to attend programs after Convocation on Monday, August 25, 2014, please plan accordingly.
Do I need any money during Orientation?
Your orientation fee covers the cost of the program, but there are events for which you may want additional spending money. This money will cover any special events, subway charges, and possible off-campus dining.
I have special dietary needs. Will I be able to eat during orientation week?
Of course! All types of food will be available throughout orientation and on the meal plan. Kosher, vegetarian, and vegan dining options will always be available. Have allergies? Let our dining staff know.
Will there be anyone to answer my questions during orientation week?
The Orientation Leaders (OLs) are a great place to start. They are always available to help you. Your Resident Assistant (RA) will be another invaluable resource for you throughout orientation and the rest of the year. In addition, the NSOP Committee Office will be running a information booth during the week of orientation. You will also meet with your adviser, another great resource.
Will I have time to relax during orientation week?
You have probably heard that orientation can be a bit overwhelming. While most days are packed with manditory programs, we have made a sincere effort to add numerous breaks to the week. We recommend highlighting required programs, events that seem of particular interest to you, and all of the breaks in your schedule book to make the week seem less hectic. Time to relax and just hang out with your new friends is very important!
I heard that I’ll be meeting a lot of new people. How will I remember everyone’s names?
Don’t fret! Everyone will be wearing durable name badges throughout the entire week. They are required for all NSOP events, so people’s names will always be accessible.
I’ve never been on public transportation. Will we learn how to navigate the mass transit system during NSOP?
One of the best parts of living in New York City is the ability to explore everything the city has to offer simply by having a MetroCard and understanding how the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) works. Our OLs can teach you how to use a MetroCard machine, which is a simple touch screen method. They can also help you understand how the buses and the subway operate in terms of lines and directions by looking at a map. We have plenty of programs throughout the city during NSOP, and travel during these will help you practice getting around. You’ll soon become a pro at navigating the city! Also, HopStop is a useful website and app to help you get from point A to point B.
What if I’m having a hard time adjusting during NSOP? Who can I talk to?
Our NSOP staff and volunteers have all been in your shoes at one point. Being anxious or nervous is completely normal, and we’re here to help you in any way we can. We recommend speaking to your OL or RA about your concerns, but if you would like guidance from a full-time administrator, staff are easy to locate and approach. If you email NSOP, a handful of individuals will receive your inquiry, and someone will follow up with you. We’re here to support you!
I'm worried about my classes. What should I be doing?
Throughout orientation, you will be introduced to academic life through a variety of programs. This is a week to become familiar with academics while having fun. You will have time to meet with your advising dean to discuss your classes. It's best to be prepared for that meeting by having a list of classes you are interested in and some prepared questions because the Center for Student Advising will be advising many students that week. No matter what, don't stress and enjoy the week!