Above: Orientation interns with CofC President Andrew T. Hsu in 2019. 

The time is almost here for the newest generation of Cougars to join the College of Charleston family. But before they arrive on campus this fall, there’s a lot that incoming students need to know. Running from June 14 to Aug. 18, 2021, a total of 22 virtual orientation sessions will be held for students to learn more about campus resources, academic programs and student life.

On the day of orientation, new students, in a series of online sessions via Zoom, will meet with orientation interns, get to know other new students and work with an academic advisor before registering for fall classes.

“Our number one goal for orientation is to help incoming students build relationships with other new students, current students, orientation interns, and faculty and staff,” says Stephanie Auwaerter, director of orientation.

In addition to the required virtual orientation sessions, the College is offering a series of optional on-campus visit days June 22-July 23. Registration for campus visits is open now.

Orientation is an exciting time, but it can also be a little overwhelming. Here are answers to some common questions to help the members of the Class of 2025 begin their next chapter as College of Charleston students.

What do incoming students need to do before attending orientation?

One week prior to your virtual orientation, your online orientation module in OAKS will open in MyCharleston. Students must complete this module in order to participate in orientation. It should take about an hour to complete.

If you receive an email about an advising module in OAKS, you must also complete that module before you can participate in orientation. It will take two hours to complete that module. Please note that not all students have to complete that module.

How will online orientation be structured?

One day before your virtual orientation day, you will receive two emails to your CofC email address outlining what to expect:

  • The first email will include your schedule for your virtual orientation day and the Zoom links for each session. Students are expected to be online from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The second email will be from your orientation intern. The intern will be your guide through your virtual orientation day. The email will contain their contact information and tips to prepare for your orientation day.

On orientation day, students will meet with their orientation intern in the morning from 9 – 10:15 a.m. in Zoom. After the meeting, they will work with academic advisors for the remainder of the morning to learn about general education requirements, find out how to use the course registration section of MyCharleston and review Degree Works. After a lunch break, students will meet with the Division of Student Affairs from 1-1:30 p.m. to learn about expectations for residential living, student health and well-being, and opportunities to get involved on campus.

Later in the afternoon, students will register for their fall courses with their academic advisor and orientation intern on Zoom to assist them. Note: All students have a course registration hold, listed as an orientation hold, in their file until they attend orientation.

What other new-student activities will be offered as part of orientation?

A series of small group meetings lead by orientation interns will be held throughout each orientation session. The interns will offer guidance at the start of the day for how to get the most out of virtual orientation, highlight campus services, introduce new students to each other and answer questions.

Two afternoon sessions will focus on students’ role in campus diversity and offer new students a chance to ask questions of the orientation intern team about life as CofC students. Each of these sessions will also give incoming students a chance to connect.

students at a table in stern student center

Are there other opportunities for students to learn about academic programs and majors? 

Yes: Schools and departments are hosting a series of virtual academic major meetings throughout the summer for incoming students, both those who have and who have not decided on a major, to meet representatives from various academic disciplines. Students will learn about different majors at the College – their courses, their structure and their sequencing – and how to declare a major when they’re ready.

These sessions are offered throughout the summer and students can attend as many as they would like as they are exploring majors. Dates and times for the academic major meetings vary. Visit the academic major meeting webpage for more information.

There will be a majors and minors fair on campus in the fall sponsored by the Academic Advising and Planning Center that will provide students another opportunity to explore majors and connect with faculty.

Will there be online orientation sessions that family members can attend?

There are a variety of resources available to support families and answer questions, including the  family website, which offers information on academics, financial resources, student life, and health and safety.

There will also be virtual orientation activities hosted on Zoom for families of new students. Structured as chats for general questions, nine online events will take place between June 15 and Aug. 10. A video series from offices and departments across campus addressing an array of topics will be available for families to view prior to the chats. Family members are encouraged to watch the videos that interest them and bring their questions to the chats.

The chats will also be recorded and posted to the family members webpage within two days of the live chat.

Virtual chats for families will take place on the following dates and times:

Coffee Chat, Tuesday, June 15 – 10 am EST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 884 4663 8967
Passcode: 597517

Student Chat, Thursday, June 17 – 4 pm EST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 824 0610 6445

Student Chat, Monday, June 21 – 12 pm EST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 815 5567 6375

Cola or Cocktails Chat, Wednesday, June 23 – 3 pm EST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 899 5999 9052
Passcode: 370552

Cola or Cocktails Chat, Wednesday, June 30 – 7 pm EST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 861 0635 6559
Passcode: 325435

Student Chat, Thursday, July 8 – 4 pm EST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 873 3028 3945

Cola or Cocktails Chat, Wednesday, July 14 – 3 pm EST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 814 3467 9296
Passcode: 575891

Student Chat, Thursday, July 22 – 4 pm EST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 869 2802 0865

Cola or Cocktails Chat, Tuesday, Aug. 10 – 3 pm EST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 826 4946 0756
Passcode: 529941

clyde in zoom

How can I show my Cougar Pride during orientation?

Want to show your Cougar spirit during online orientation? No problem! We have a variety of CofC-themed Zoom backgrounds to help you share your excitement about joining the College. Use this link to download your CofC-inspired Zoom backgrounds before orientation.

Are on-campus visit days required?

Visit days are optional, one-day sessions (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) offered throughout the summer for incoming students and one family member. During these sessions, students will have an opportunity to tour campus and view model residence halls rooms. There will also be sessions and events to help new students learn about how and where to get involved on campus, meet other students (current and new), get tips on how to be a successful student and where to go on campus to get support, and ask additional questions about life at CofC.

Can I share my orientation experience on social media?

Absolutely! Connect with your Cougar community by tagging @CollegofCharleston on Instagram, @CofC on Twitter and don’t forget to use #CofC and #CofCNext in your caption. In addition to following the flagship CofC accounts, we also recommend checking “follow” for @CofCOrientation, @CofCHsu, @CofCStudentLife, @CofCResLife, @ClydetheCougar and @CofCAdmissions on Twitter and Instagram for more Cougar pride! Did we mention we’re also on TikTok?

And be on the lookout for your orientation intern on Instagram, too, so you can connect, ask questions and learn about life at CofC directly from students.