Issue 3 of 6 | Orientation
May 14, 2021
Dear ,

Unrelated to my job, I have a son who is a 2021 graduating senior and in the fall, my twin daughters will be freshmen: one here at UT with your student and the other at Texas State. I suspect your incoming freshman, like both of mine, are incredibly excited about their upcoming orientations and the prospect of making new friends and registering for their fall classes. Orientation is that step in the process when mindsets begin to shift. It builds on the excitement that being admitted brought your student and it starts to chip away at that feeling that the fall semester is far away in time and place. Orientation takes the unfamiliar and helps your student clearly begin to see what awaits.

In this issue of Next Steps, our goal is to orientate you to orientation, both New Student Orientation and Online Family Orientation.

While I have an advantage of knowing about a Longhorn's transition, orientation is still going to be important so that I have a better understanding of what the expectations will be in my Longhorn's specific College/School for example. As for my Bobcat, I'm completely clueless on how things work and am starting at square one, just as many of you are with your Longhorn. Believe me, I'll be registering for their Family Orientation!

That said, I want you to know our staff and campus colleagues understand the thought of watching Online Family Orientation modules is not ideal, especially when you are balancing work and home life. Please know we've worked very hard across campus to produce to-the-point, succinct content that you will find valuable. This year, we purposefully did not structure Online Family Orientation sessions with specific attendance dates as we would in a traditional in-person format. In doing so, we felt you could take advantage of the remote situation and determine when it is best for you to get orientated. There is a lot of great content waiting for you and we hope you'll sign up today if you haven't already done so. Let us know if we can answer any questions, we are here for you.

Hook ‘em Horns!

Susie Smith
Director, Texas Parents
New Student Services (NSS)
Introducing Academic Advisors and Orientation Advisors
Academic Advisors
Academic Advisors play an essential role throughout your student’s UT journey. Every College/School has a team of knowledgeable, full-time professional academic advisors who counsel and guide students through their undergraduate careers. Academic advisors can help your student with many different things including:
  • Choosing the right major,
  • Considering minors, certifications and specializations,
  • Answering questions about courses and track to graduation,
  • Adding, dropping and registering for classes,
  • Making decisions about career paths, and,
  • Addressing personal issues that impact their academic process and much more.
During orientation your student will meet with virtually an academic advisor to help them prepare for their fall class registration which will happen virtually on the third day of orientation. Your student will leave the meeting with their advisor prepared and confident to register for their first UT classes.Online Family Orientation offers a presentation that explains the roles and responsibilities of both the student and the advisor as well as tips and suggestions to help you help your student.
The Academic Counselors Association (ACA)
The ACA is the official UT association for academic advisors. The ACA was originally created as a forum for sharing ideas and exchanging information related to advising services at UT. The primary goal is to provide academic advisors with opportunities for professional development and peer support ultimately building resources to enhance your student’s college experience.
Orientation Advisors (OAs)
Each year, NSS interviews and hires a group of talented and diverse students to develop, plan and execute the orientation programs from a student's lens. OAs are connectors for your student to the UT experience. They will be on hand to encourage, advise and guide your student. OAs are enrolled in an academic, credit-earning class to prepare them for the various roles they will play in your student's orientation experience. Please know that great care is being placed on ensuring your student's orientation experience provides multiple touch points to connect with other students including the OAs.
Understanding Your Student's Orientation
Part 1: Pre-Orientation Canvas modules
On Monday, May 24, NSS will email your student a link to an informational video that outlines what your student can expect during orientation. The video will explain details about the two required parts of your student’s orientation experience: 1) Canvas modules and 2) participating in 100% virtual or hybrid orientation program.
Ten days prior to the first day of your student’s orientation session, students will gain access to their Canvas modules and will receive final details about their schedule. These modules will include: Academic Success, Campus Life, Your Resources and Safety at UT. As students complete their modules, they’ll be engaged through brief quizzes and videos helping them become familiar with different aspects of campus life.
Canvas modules must be completed prior to your student’s 100% virtual or hybrid orientation session.
Part 2: Orientation
With campus units making plans to reopen, NSS is able to offer two student orientation program options: 100% virtual and hybrid formats. NSS has strategically designed both orientation formats to offer three-day schedules to meet multiple objectives. Students will participate in the orientation session that they registered for within the orientation registration system.
100% Virtual Orientation
Students will be interacting with their fellow Longhorns in small groups, meeting with academic advisors, exploring campus life and ways to become involved while connecting with UT professional and student staff. The last activity of your student's orientation session will be registering for fall classes. As each phase builds upon the next, your student will feel confident and connected to the Forty Acres and its traditions.

View the schedule overview here.
Hybrid Orientation
On May 4, NSS emailed your student about the hybrid option that offers students the chance to experience the Forty Acres in-person with Day 1 featuring small group interactions, peer activities and an overnight stay. All students will complete Day 2 and Day 3 virtually. Students were given the option beginning May 10 to update their registration to a hybrid model or stay fully virtual based on a first come, first served availability. To learn more about the hybrid model view the FAQs and schedule overview.
How Class Registration Works

The last thing your student will do at orientation is register for their first semester of classes at UT. Students will be able to view their individual access times on their Registration Information Sheet. After meeting with their academic advisor during orientation, the advising bar will clear. All other registration bars will need to be cleared in order for your student to register for classes. At their designated time on the final day of orientation, your student will log into the registration system to select their classes. Students will have access to the registration system until midnight that day, after midnight they will not be able to make changes to their schedule until the add/drop period in August.
Don’t worry if your student is in a later orientation session, they will still be able to get into the classes they need. In some classes, seats will be reserved so that students in each orientation session have a chance to register for those classes. No matter which session your student participates in, there will be classes they can register for that will fulfill the core requirements.
In addition to the guidance they receive from their academic advisor, Orientation Advisors (OAs) will be ready to assist all incoming Longhorns throughout the class registration process.
Fall 2021 Class Modality
On Day 3 of New Student Orientation your student will register for classes for the fall 2021 semester. There are currently three modalities of classes each with a different structure:
A hybrid course is a class that uses both online and in-person experiences. The faculty member determines which elements of the course are online and when students need to attend in person. When activities are planned for in-person instruction, all students will be required to attend in person. When activities are planned to be held online, all students will attend online. This means that students will not have the option of choosing whether to attend virtually or in person. However, when students have health or other concerns that would affect their ability to attend, they should work with the faculty members of their respective classes to find appropriate accommodations.
Part of what makes a UT education unique and world-class is the experiences students share when engaging with faculty in person. The university is currently planning for most classes to be held in person for fall 2021 but will continue to monitor the presence of COVID and follow CDC guidance. Faculty members who are teaching in person will not be required to offer an online option for students. For many courses, dual mode (teaching synchronously in person and online) is not possible, and for others, it diminishes the pedagogical effectiveness. However, faculty members are encouraged to record their lectures, when feasible and appropriate.
Through the pandemic, the university and its faculty learned a great deal about how to facilitate and deliver high-quality online education. While the offering of online-only classes scheduled for fall 2021 is low, UT is leveraging newer technology and best practices to deliver the best online experience for those classes.
Pre and Post Orientation Checklists
NSS has developed a pre-orientation check list to help students get organized before starting their orientation sessions. Encourage your student to check it out here; it will be time well-spent! Also, after completing orientation, remind your student that the post-orientation checklist offers great suggestions on how to take final steps in the transition.

If Your Student Needs Accommodations During Online Orientation
If your student has a disability that requires accommodations for online orientation, go here for information on how your student can request accommodations.
Can I Join My Student's Online Orientation?
The short answer is no. You will not be able to attend the in-person portion of your student’s hybrid orientation, nor should you sit in on your student's virtual orientation sessions. The program is structured with an intentional separation between student and parents/families so that students can better immerse themselves independently, both academically and socially, in their soon-to-be community. Rest assured that 80 student Orientation Advisors (OAs) along with professional NSS staff, campus leadership and academic advisors will all be in place to support and guide your student as well as answer your student's questions.
Please know the university understands, appreciates and respects the important role you have played in preparing your student for this moment. For those reasons, UT has created an orientation program specifically to meet your needs. The intention in having two separate programs is to give both student and parents/families the information needed for a successful transition but with insights and perspectives that address your different roles in the coming months. Check out Online Family Orientation information below!
Online Family Orientation
with Texas Parents
Online Family Orientation is a robust program focused on providing you with the information needed for your student's successful transition in August. You'll receive cross-campus presentations and materials intentionally designed to expand upon information in the Next Steps eNewsletters and the New Parent Guide.  The program content is released over the span of four weeks on Canvas and consists of pre-recorded content that can be watched at any time and at your own pace through Tuesday, August 24. Our intention when structuring Online Family Orientation was to create an environment similar to an online class where you can log in at any time, watch presentations, ask questions and reference handouts. We know your time is valuable and have set this program up to accommodate your scheduling needs. 
Program Highlights
  • Content is released over a span of four weeks offering flexibility with work and home obligations
  • Watching weekly or daily, at any time of the day or night, setting your own pace
  • Previously released content is always accessible through August 24, regardless of your registration date
  • Every Friday, you’ll receive an email introducing the upcoming week’s content

Need-to-Knows & Takeaways
  • Registration is required to access the orientation platform; you will need your student’s UT EID to register
  • Online Family Orientation content is designed and intended only for parents/guardians; it is not intended for your Longhorn or hoping-to-be Longhorn siblings    
  • At the conclusion of each presentation, you have the ability to submit questions
  • With each week, you’ll feel more connected to the university and equipped with conversational topics to discuss with your student about their upcoming college experience
Learn more here.

If you have already registered for Online Family Orientation, THANK YOU. You will receive an email in early June with information on how to login and access your Canvas profiie.
Academic Readiness
Mathematics Readiness Package & the UT Math Assessment (UTMA)
Students planning to take Calculus I (M408C/K/N/R/Q) are required to complete the "UT Math Assessment" before their orientation session but preferably before June 7.  Doing so ensures that students are academically prepared for the rigor of UT math courses by testing their calculus knowledge and abilities. To get started, students must purchase the online Math Readiness Package ($50) that provides online learning modules and a proctored assessment. The UT Math Assessment website includes a wealth of information. Learn more here
Students who are not required to take Calculus but have a degree plan that allows credit for M305G (a pre-calculus course), have the option to take the "UT Math for Credit Exam" and try to earn credit for that course. The test fee is $60 and students do not need to register in advance for the exam. Learn more here
ALEKS Chemistry Package
Encourage your student to wait until they meet with their academic advisor at orientation before purchasing the ALEKS Chemistry Package, as all students will not need to buy the ALEKS for fall semester courses. 
This resource will help students prepare for college-level chemistry courses at UT Austin. The College of Natural Sciences requires those taking CH301 in the fall to purchase and complete the online ALEKS Chemistry assessment and score a minimum of 85. Learn more about guidelines, time commitments and next steps here
Where to Find More Testing Information
Remind your student the pre-orientation checklist includes information about foreign language placement tests, Texas Success Initiative (TSI), Engineering Spatial Visualization Assessments and test accommodations for those needing special assistance.
Core Curriculum and Flag Requirements
In addition to major requirements and electives, every UT Austin student, regardless of major, must also complete a 42-hour core curriculum and earn "Flags" in six areas of study. Flags can only be taken in residence at UT Austin and not at another institution. Learn more here.
What About AP and IB Test Credits?
The university realizes that the timing is such that students may not have the results of AP and IB tests when they attend their New Student Orientation session. Not to worry. 
Please encourage your student to prepare a list of all the tests they have taken and include all scores already known (perhaps some placement tests took place in the junior or sophomore years) and have those accessible when completing orientation. Students don't need an official document at this time, just their list outlined above. The information will help guide the academic advisor when meeting with your student virtually at their orientation.
Students should not claim credit for any courses using AP, IB, or any other credit by exam scores before meeting with an academic advisor at New Student Orientation. Nor should another person attempt to claim credits acting as or on behalf of a student. Claiming credit without the proper academic advising can affect a student’s degree requirements, as well as other academic and financial considerations. 
What Does It Mean to Be A Student Enrolled in UGS? 
The School of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) is home to students who have yet to declare a major. While enrolled in UGS, your student will explore majors and careers so they can confidently choose a field of study to pursue. Check out the video!
First Year Experience (FYE)
The Forty Acres is a big campus, filled with opportunities, resources and new adventures. The FYE office helps make this big campus feel smaller. Every UT Austin student make connections on campus through participation in FYE courses and programs that have been proven to help ensure students are successful in their first year and beyond.
 Signature Courses
Learning will look and feel different in college than it did in high school. Signature Courses introduce students to the skills needed to transform into college scholars while participating in classes with expert faculty who are leaders in their fields. 
All incoming first-time college students will participate in a small learning community, called a 360 Connection, in their first semester. Whether it is a First-year Interest Group (FIG), a Student Success program, an honors program or other small group, the knowledge students gain in these communities will be critical to their success at UT, and will give them the tools they need to become engaged with their fellow Longhorns. Students will learn more about 360 options during orientation. Each 360 Connection is unique if what it offers students but they all have the same foundation:
  • Approximately 20 students
  • Routine meetings, typically once a week
  • A peer mentor and a staff or faculty member connected to the group
  • A particular topic and curriculum
360 Connection
First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs)
Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA)
Student Accounts Receivable (SAR)
Financial Hardship
If your student has already completed the FAFSA and your family has experienced recent job loss, increased medical expenses or other financial hardship, your student can complete the Reduction in Income Appeal form, which allows UT to assess your student's financial aid and make any adjustments to their financial aid package given the current situation. Additional documentation may be required.

Financial Aid Notifications Released for Admitted Freshman Students
Encourage your student to regularly check their "Check Aid Status Here" (CASH) page to make sure there are no outstanding requirements or missing documents that could delay the release of their Financial Aid Notification (FAN). For more Financial Information see Next Steps Issue #2 here.
MyUT Student Portal and App
MyUT is the university’s online student portal that will be used for everything from viewing their class schedule to accessing personalized financial aid and registration information. Encourage your student to log in and visit their customized Texas '25 homepage which includes important information about preparing for orientation. Your student also can download the MyUT mobile app for quick access to a map of campus and much more.
Important Information if Your Student Graduated as Valedictorian
from a Texas High School
Per the Texas Education Code (Chapter 54, Section 54.301), the highest ranking graduate of any accredited Texas high school is eligible for an exemption which covers tuition during the first two long-session semesters following graduation. The "Tuition Waiver to Public Colleges and Universities" certificate, issued by the high school, may be scanned and submitted to Please include the student's EID and indicate the first semester of use.
How We Will Keep You Informed
The Texas Parents office will introduce you to resources and campus information through multiple communication tools:

Next Steps eNewsletters
This is the second in a series of six eNewsletters you’ll receive, breaking this journey into "what you need to know now" and "what you'll need to know later" segments. Issues sent March-June introduce topics leading up to Orientation and July-August issues prepare you for Mooov-in. Issues will also include reminders and action items for both you and your student. See issue themes and distribution timeline below:
Next Steps Issue #1 | Introduction | March 19
Next Steps Issue #2 | Acclimation| April 16
Next Steps Issue #3 | Orientation | May 14
Next Steps Issue #4 | Preparation | June 11
Next Steps Issue #5 | Anticipation | July 9
Next Steps Issue #6 | Transition | August 13
The New Parent Guide
In late-May the New Parent Guide will be delivered to the permanent address provided by your student. This print magazine builds upon the Next Steps messages and acts as a "Guide" helping you to better understand the resources available to you and your student. Additionally, an electronic version will be posted to the Parents and Families website.  

Parents and Families Website
UT Austin has multiple websites that house an incredible array of content, making it sometimes hard to know where to begin looking for something. The website was created to be a starting point for you to more easily find information by topics. It showcases campus-wide information specific to the needs of prospective, incoming, transfer and all undergraduate families and is designed to be an ongoing resource throughout the undergraduate years. If you don't find what you need, call the Texas Parents office!
The Texas Parents Association
Everyone belongs.

Established in 1948 and still going strong! All parents and families of undergraduate students belong, but you need to sign up for the membership that best fits your family's needs. 

Memberships are set up per household, allowing one or two parents in the same household to enjoy benefits no matter how many students you have at UT Austin. 

You will need your student’s UT EID to sign up.

There are two types of membership: complimentary and supporting. Choose the level that is best for your family and sign up today!

A complimentary level of membership that keeps you "in touch" with the university. We accomplish this through:
  • Next Steps eNewsletters
  • Texas Parents Association eNewsletters - 12 issues of monthly communication to help you help your student, mailed to all members beginning in August at the conclusion of Next Steps
  • Emails from university administration on timely issues

One-Year supporting and Four-Year supporting
By making a tax deductible gift to the university, your One-Year or Four-Year membership "supports" the operation of the Texas Parents office and is reinvested through multiple outlets within the UT Austin community your student will call home.
Supporting members also receive U-Touch communications as well as additional benefits including access to the Texas Parents closed Facebook group, a pre-sale window to UT Athletics ticket sales, discounts with local and national vendors and many other perks.

Click here to learn more and to sign up.
Need-to-Knows & Updates
Immunization Information Required Before Your Longhorn Can Register For Their Fall Schedule:
The State of Texas requires students entering Texas institutions of higher education who will be under the age of 22 on the first day of the semester they enter that institution to submit proof that they have received the meningococcal vaccine within five years of the first day of the semester that they will enter. Additionally, all students entering UT Austin must provide proof of measles immunity. Students must provide proof that they have completed these requirements before they can register for classes. Incoming international students have additional requirements.
Your student should submit documentation to meet these requirements to University Health Services (UHS) at least two weeks before their New Student Orientation session. Keep a copy of their documents handy in the unlikely event your student needs to resubmit them. Visit Healthyhorns to learn more.
The Campus Computer Store
The Campus Computer Store is UT Austin's official technology store serving Longhorns as a resource for computers, software, accessories and technical services. Located in the Flawn Academic Center (FAC), the Campus Computer Store offers: 
  • A "Shop By Major" guide, developed with UT Austin's Colleges/Schools, allowing students to view computer options for their majors
  • Dell's "Back to School" $100 Rebate offer paid via a check or PayPal payment on select Dell models purchased from May-October 2021
  • Discounts on Apple, Dell, HP, MSI, Lenovo, Acer, Microsoft Surface products & other brands
  • Education pricing on AppleCare+, Dell Premium Support Plus and Microsoft Surface accidental damage/extended service programs
  • Apple Authorized Service Provider & Dell Authorized Service Center as well as out-of-warranty repair services on all other major computer brands
  • Trade-in Credit towards a new purchase when trading-in an eligible computer, tablet or phone
  • No-Credit-Required financing from Acima Credit (Lease-to-own)
  • Traditional financing from Synchrony with flexible payment plans with deferred interest for 6, 12, 18 and 24 months or 24, 36 and 48 months with equal payment
Learn more here. Call 512-475-6550 or email for a custom quote.
Student Have Access to Certain Software at No Additional Cost
Before purchasing software or subscriptions to cloud-based services, students should check the IT@UT website first. As UT Austin students, there are many softwares and systems they have access to for no additional cost. Students are eligible for the Microsoft Office and also have access to Office 365 which includes Outlook for email. Learn more here.

Duo for Multi-factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication provides an additional level of security when using university online services. At UT Austin, Duo will be used for this purpose. Students will be prompted to authenticate through Duo when logging into UT services. It is important for students to set up their Duo option in advance of logging into UT systems. Students will receive emails prior to their orientation session with instructions for setting up Duo before they begin logging into UT online services. Learn more here or watch a short video about duo here.
Sorority and Fraternity Life
Panhellenic Primary Recruitment:
The Panhellenic chapters at UT Austin are excited to welcome new members into their organizations this August through the Primary Recruitment structured process that occurs the week before classes begin each fall semester. At this time the following details are confirmed for Panhellenic Recruitment 2021:
  • Recruitment will take place between Wednesday-Monday, August 18-23
  • Recruitment will be a hybrid event, with both in-person and virtual events. Any element of recruitment scheduled to be in-person will also be available as a virtual experience
  • Online registration for Panhellenic Primary Recruitment will open Tuesday, June 1 and close Sunday, August 8
  • Your student can register here beginning on Tuesday, June 1 at 9:00 a.m. (CT)

Sorority and Fraternity Life at Orientation
  • Encourage your student to attend the Sorority and Fraternity Life presentation at Discover UT on the Tuesday of their orientation session to learn more about the Sorority and Fraternity Life community
  • Be on the lookout for the Online Family Orientation presentation during Module 3: Breakouts
  • Encourage your student to connect with councils and chapters during their Virtual Organization Fair Day 1 or 2 of orientation
Learn more here.
Mooov-In Packing List
August will be here before you and your student know it. Your student can start thinking about what to bring and what to leave at home using this page as a guide to prepare for Mooov-In.
Camp Texas
Camp Texas registration opens Monday, May 17! Camp Texas is hosted by the Texas Exes, UT Austin's official alumni association. This optional, overnight, off-campus social event is the perfect place for incoming freshmen, PACE and transfer students to connect with other students, professors, administrators and UT traditions. Outstanding counselors provide peer-to-peer guidance that works.  Learn more here
The Longhorn Band
Is your student interested in auditioning for a position within the Winds, Percussion, or Color Guard? Encourage them to follow the steps below:

  • Step 1: Fill out the Prospective Member Audition Form
  • Step 2: Complete an audition video submission. Deadline: Friday, May 28
  • Audition video requirements: Woodwinds/Brass, Percussion and Color Guard
  • The Longhorn Band will hold auditions for the position of Feature Twirler as the position is vacated (the position is already currently filled)
  • Step 3: Attend a summer clinic. The Longhorn Band is currently monitoring COVID-19 as it relates to location and availability for upcoming summer marching, color guard and percussion clinics. If in-person clinics are not available, they will communicate with students about virtual opportunities for all prospective students
  • Step 4: Band Week. If your student successfully completes steps 1-3, they are a member of the Longhorn Band and will be invited to Band Week, where they will prepare and complete their final playing and marching assessment for field placement
Learn more here.
What's Next
Next Steps Issue #4 | Preparation | June 11
Next Steps Issue #4 will offer insights about health and safety areas of campus life.
In the Mail: The New Parent Guide
In May, the New Parent Guide will be delivered to the permanent address provided by your student. This print magazine builds upon the Next Steps messages and puts you closer to a better understanding of the resources available to you and your student. Friday, June 4, you can also access a digital copy of the New Parent Guide in the "to get you started" box here.
Unsubscribing from the Next Steps eNewsletter
Please note that if you unsubscribe by clicking the unsubscribe link below, you will no longer receive any messages from Texas Parents.

512-471-2353 | Toll Free 888-690-0012 |
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (Central)