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Learn about 2021–22 Golden Bear Orientation.

What is Golden Bear Orientation?

Golden Bear Orientation is the third phase of the Golden Bear Experience which begins August 18 and ends August 22, 2022.  During Golden Bear Orientation (GBO), new students are placed in groups with two Orientation Leaders, continuing UC Berkeley students, who guide their group through all kinds of programming throughout the week. Some example events include community bonding, learning about affinity spaces, becoming familiar with resources on campus, and exploring the Bay Area. In these groups, new students are placed with other students who have a similar housing experience (I.e., being placed in the same group as those dorming in the same building, those who commute to campus, those living off-campus, etc). This gives students the chance to meet other new incoming students, build connections, and find community. 

 

To ensure we are able to serve all students, some of the large-scale components of Golden Bear Orientation will be available to view online after orientation. Golden Bear Advising and Golden Bear Prep have always been online components, and will continue as planned. All of the FAQs below are specific to Fall 2022 Golden Bear Orientation. 

Updated on June 29, 2022. For archived FAQs related to Spring 2022 GBO or Fall 2021 GBO, scroll to the bottom of this page. 

Q: Is Golden Bear Orientation (GBO) in person? (updated June 29, 2022)

A: Yes- as of June 29, 2022, Fall GBO 2022 will be done in a fully in person format. There may be limited  virtual access to programming such as livestreams and recordings of events, but there is no overall virtual orientation experience. Those who are unable to attend orientation in-person or have extenuating circumstances are encouraged to check out our Policies page of our website and fill out the Golden Bear Orientation Fall 2022: Exemption and Accommodations form by Sunday, July 17. You can reference the emails from New Student Services for details and the GBO Sample Schedule page for updated schedules.

 

Q: I don’t know where I am living this fall/spring, what does that mean for me and GBO?

A: Regardless of where you choose to live, New Student Services is committed to facilitating your transition to UC Berkeley. GBO programming is not based solely on where you chose to live and/or if you live in University Residence Halls. Incoming students will have the ability to connect with their small group, as well as other communities (academic, identity, interest, etc.). 

Q: I have unique circumstances that may limit how I am able to engage in GBO programs and/or other experiences. What can NSS do?

A:  If you believe you will not be able to engage with GBO or may need unique accommodations to participate in the program due to your circumstances, reach out to New Student Services as soon as possible. More information about this process can be found on the Policies page of our website.

Q: How will I find community as a new student?

A: We know that building community is essential to success at Berkeley and new students’ first couple semesters are extremely important for building their community. In addition to offering a fun array of community-building activities as part of GBO, we are actively exploring different ways to help connect students with their peers and engage with their co-curricular interests. Please visit Student Affairs’ Find Your Place article for ideas on how to find community.

Q: How will I be connected to current UC Berkeley students? How will I be connected to other new students?

A: During GBO, we plan to have multiple opportunities for you to learn from the experiences of current UC Berkeley students. A key component of GBO is the small group experience led by Orientation Leaders (OLs). OLs are continuing students who are volunteering their time to help make your transition to Berkeley smooth. They will guide you and a small group of fellow incoming students through programs during GBO. Your small group will consist of other incoming students, either first years or transfers depending on your incoming status.

Q: I have questions about housing, course enrollment, financial aid, etc. Who do I talk to and how?

A: While our Office Representatives are more than happy to connect you with other campus resources, unfortunately they are not able to answer certain questions that fall out of our office’s function. Here is a list of other departments that may provide a more direct answer for your questions:

  • For questions related to financial aid, fees and tuition, billing, payments, and disbursements, registration and enrollment, and student records, contact Cal Student Central.
  • For questions regarding registration, transferring credits, transcripts, residency requirements, veterans benefits, and other related issues, contact the Office of the Registrar.
  • For questions about issues that relate to your Conditions of Admission (I.e., sending in transcripts/exam scores by a certain deadline, status updates on receiving student records), contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions
  • For questions related to housing (move-in, contracts, deadlines, offers, etc.), please contact Cal Housing.

You are always welcome to contact our office at (510) 642-7733 or through email at nss@berkeley.edu if you may be unsure about which office would be appropriate to contact for your concerns.

Q: Is there a cost associated with Golden Bear Orientation? (updated June 29, 2022)

A: Yes, all new students are required to pay the New Student Programming Fee. You will be assessed a fee on your first semester CalCentral bill. The New Student Programming Fee is $475 for incoming Fall 2022 undergraduates ($320 for UCEAP students).  If applicable, look at your financial aid package to see if this fee will be covered by financial aid in the form of the “New Student Grant.” If you have financial concerns related to the New Student Programming Fee, please complete the Golden Bear Orientation Fall 2022: Exemption and Accommodations  form (Those who receive a full exemption will have the New Student Programming Fee removed). Please refer to our Office of the Registrar Tuition & Fees page for more details on student fees.

These are the critical dates for the Golden Bear Experience, including Golden Bear Orientation (GBO). This page is updated often so please refresh your web browser each time you visit.

 

For any specific questions you have, feel free to email nss@berkeley.edu. Our NSS Representatives will be happy to refer you to the right resources based on your needs! While we may not be the main point of contact, we focus on helping students connect with resources that they will utilize throughout their entire Berkeley career.

ARCHIVE: Spring 2022 Golden Bear Orientation FAQs

Q: Is Golden Bear Orientation (GBO) in person? (updated January 6, 2022)

A: No- as of January 6, 2022, January GBO 2022 will be transitioning to a fully virtual format. See email from New Student Services sent January 6th for details and the GBO Sample Schedule page for update schedules. 

Q: What health and safety guidelines are being followed to allow for an in person GBO? (updated January 6, 2022)

A: There are three major requirements for students, staff, and faculty to participate in person activities, including Golden Bear Orientation and classes: compliance with the COVID-19 vaccine policy, submission of at least one COVID-19 surveillance test with University Health Services (UHS), and daily symptom screener. Regardless of GBO’s virtual nature, the following are all required to access campus services, like in person classes. 

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Policy: requires all students, staff, and faculty to either submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination  or receipt of  an exemption.
  • COVID-19 Surveillance Test
  • Daily Symptom Screener: you will complete this each day in the BK App.

The Campus Access Badge within the Berkeley (Bk) Mobile App will turn green once you have completed all three of the above requirements. A green Campus Access Badge will be presented at GBO Check-In and throughout GBO at various venues, e.g., Dining Halls, in an effort to create a safe and healthy environment for the Berkeley community.

Q: I don’t know where I am living this fall/spring, what does that mean for me and GBO?

A: Regardless of where you choose to live, New Student Services is committed to facilitating your transition to UC Berkeley. GBO programming is not based solely on where you chose to live and/or if you live in University Residence Halls. Incoming students will have the ability to connect with their small group, as well as other communities (academic, identity, interest, etc.). 

Q: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted me/my family/my community- I don’t know how I will be able to engage in GBO programs and/or other experiences?

A:  If you believe you will not be able to engage with GBO due to your circumstances, reach out to New Student Services as soon as possible. More information about this process can be found on the Policies page of our website.

Q: How will I find community as a new student?

A: We know that building community is essential to success at Berkeley and new students’ first couple semesters are extremely important for building their community. In addition to offering a fun array of community-building activities as part of GBO, we are actively exploring different ways to help connect students with their peers and engage with their co-curricular interests. Please visit Student Affairs’ Find Your Place article for ideas on how to find community.

Q: How will I be connected to current UC Berkeley students? How will I be connected to other new students?

A: During GBO, we plan to have multiple opportunities for you to learn from the experiences of current UC Berkeley students. A key component of GBO is the small group experience led by Orientation Leaders (OLs). OLs are continuing students who are volunteering their time to help make your transition to Berkeley smooth. They will guide you and a small group of fellow incoming students through programs during GBO. Your small group will consist of other incoming students, either first years or transfers depending on your incoming status.

Q: I have questions about housing, course enrollment, financial aid, etc. Who do I talk to and how?

A: For any specific questions you have, feel free to email nss@berkeley.edu. Our NSS Representatives will be happy to refer you to the right resources based on your needs! While we may not be the main point of contact, we focus on helping students connect with resources that they will utilize throughout their entire Berkeley career.

Q: Is there a cost associated with Golden Bear Orientation? (updated January 6, 2022)

A: Yes, all new students are required to pay the New Student Programming Fee. The New Student Programming Fee covers expenses related to Golden Bear Advising, Golden Bear Prep, Golden Bear Orientation, and Getting your Bearings. You will be assessed a fee on your first semester CalCentral bill. The New Student Programming Fee is $475 for incoming Fall 2021 undergraduates ($320 for UCEAP students). The Spring 2022 undergraduate New Student Programming Fee will be reduced to $380 to reflect the fully virtual format of the program ($255 for UCEAP students). These are the critical dates for the Golden Bear Experience, including Golden Bear Orientation (GBO). This page is updated often so please refresh your web browser each time you visit.

 

 

ARCHIVE: FAQS for Fall 2021 Golden Bear Orientation

Q: Is Golden Bear Orientation (GBO) in person?

A: GBO 2021 will be a hybrid experience, with the majority of programming being virtual as well as some in-person small-group activities. Most virtual programs will be recorded and accessible in bCourses for students to review after GBO, or in case you missed something you were hoping to attend. Visit the GBO Sample Schedule page for more details. 

Q: Do I have to participate in programs in person?

A: No! Majority of GBO events in August will take place online. It is possible that some in-person events will be held, depending on public health conditions. Any in person programming offered during GBO will be optional.

Q: Do I have to participate in programs in person?

A: No! Majority of GBO events in August will take place online. It is possible that some in-person events will be held, depending on public health conditions. Any in person programming offered during GBO will be optional.

Q: What technology do I need to participate in GBO/UC Berkeley resources? If I don’t have those resources, how can I engage?

A: Participating in GBO will not require any technology or tools other than a computer and internet access. Our goal is to set you up for success beyond GBO. UC Berkeley has frequently used Zoom conferencing to host classes. The Student Technology Equity Program (STEP) will lend and mail technology to eligible students at no cost. Students are invited to apply for STEP on a rolling basis and as long as inventory allows; to learn more, please visit the STEP website for more information.

Q: Will I be expected to be on a computer/my phone all day?

A: No, we recognize that being in an online setting is not the same as being in person. There are challenges with being in an online setting for long periods of time, so we are building Golden Bear Orientation with that in mind. There will be a meeting with your small group led by an Orientation Leader each day at a specific time, but the majority of all other content will either be available to view at your leisure and/or optional based on your interests. If you were to participate in all online programs in one day (including small group meetings, key programs and optional events), it would last for no more than five to six hours per day.

Q: How will I be connected to resources if some programs are online?

A: You will be introduced to resources at Berkeley through Golden Bear Prep and most campus departments have adopted their services to be accessible online. We plan to display as many resources as possible during the week of GBO as campus departments continue to figure out how they can accommodate all students. As campus departments open and adjust their services, we will work to provide updated information about how to access support.

Q: If I decide not to live in Berkeley, how will GBO programs meet my needs (especially in different time zones)?

A: We will make all programming and discussion accessible, regardless of where you are. There may be some live discussions or events that occur during the week of GBO, but we will choose timings that accommodate the most time zones for these events and will share recordings of programming so you can watch them on your own time. It is important to make note that majority of classes will be in person for Fall 2021 and therefore students should plan to be able to physically access the campus. With the exception of international students who are unable to secure a visa and students with high risk concerns. 

Q: Based on the campus plans, I am interested in deferring my enrollment. Can I do that?

A:. Any requests to defer your enrollment must be submitted and approved by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Approvals could come with additional conditions of admissions and/or steps to take in order to secure your enrollment. Be sure to check both your Berkeley email and the email you used when applying.

The Office of Undergraduate Admission rarely approves requests to defer admission to a future term or academic year. However, students who would like to request a deferral of enrollment may submit the Request for Deferment form. The Request for Deferment form will be available from April 15 to June 15, 2021. You will receive a response to your request for deferment by July 31, 2021.