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Learn about 2021–22 Golden Bear Orientation.

GBO 2020 Online Zoom Event

New incoming Fall 2020 students participating in Golden Bear Orientation online events.


To ensure we are able to serve all students, most of the in-person components of Golden Bear Orientation will be online events. Golden Bear Advising and Golden Bear Prep have always been online components, and will continue as planned.

Updated on June 11, 2021.

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: 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: 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: 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 in the fall semester?

A: We are designing GBO with the intention that most programming can be completed on your own time according to your schedule. 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 through videos and online panels. 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 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: 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.

Q: I don’t have reliable access to technology. Will I still be able to participate in GBO?

A: Please email and we will work with you to meet your specific needs. Campus resources, like the Student Technology Fund, are committed to connecting students to their technology needs. Students are invited to apply for STEP on a rolling basis; to learn more, please visit the STEP website.

Q: Is there a cost associated with Golden Bear Orientation?

A: Yes, all new students are required to pay the New Student Programming Fee. The NSPF is currently being reviewed for entering 2021-2022 undergraduates. Please check back at a later time for an update on the Policies page. 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.