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What to Expect & What to Bring

Overview: Golden Bear Orientation (GBO) is a mandatory program for new undergraduates that helps you: make connections with your peers, faculty, and staff; learn more about available resources and experience campus traditions; broaden your understanding of this diverse and dynamic community; and create a sense of community with your own orientation group and a trained Golden Bear Orientation Leader.

When It Happens: GBO starts on campus in August for fall and January for spring. All important GBO dates and deadlines will be updated on an ongoing basis to help you with your planning.

What’s Required: You are expected to actively participate in each part of GBO, starting with Check-In.

Your Schedule:

  • GBO activities typically begin at 9 a.m. and last through the evening, every day, during GBO.
  • While every student will participate in a large variety of programs throughout GBO, each individual small-group schedule will be unique. You’ll receive your complete, individual schedule from your Orientation Leader at grouping.
  • To get an idea of our programs, take a look at our Sample GBO Schedule for January. (One for fall here: Sample GBO Schedule.)
  • In addition to required GBO events, you will see a number of optional events. You may choose among these optional events throughout the week. 

Guests: Your parents/supporters and family may accompany you to campus, but the orientation events are for admitted students only. We hold an orientation just for parents/supporters; you can find more details, including accommodations, on our Parents/Supporters web page.

Meals: During GBO, you’ll be provided three daily meals: a grab-and-go breakfast and scheduled times for lunch and dinner. Meals will automatically include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Kosher and Halaal meals can be provided by asking any Cal Dining staff member at the dining hall. If at any time you do not see food out that meets your needs, please feel free to reach out to any member of the Cal Dining staff.

What to Bring:

  • Government-issued ID (such as a driver’s license, passport, or visa)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Jacket/sweater (Bay Area weather can turn foggy or chilly even in the summer)
  • Water bottle
  • Your Cal ID (you’ll receive on your first day)
  • Extra cash is not required (but if you want additional snacks outside of the three provided meals, you’ll need to purchase them on your own)

Arrival & Check-In

Move-In: If you are moving into a campus Residential Hall, move-in day is typically the day prior to the start of orientation.

Check-In: During GBO check-in, which is required for all new students, you’ll learn where and when to meet your Orientation Leaders and your group. You must check in on Check-In day! Times, places, and hours are listed on the GBO Dates and Deadlines page.

GBO Help Desk: The GBO Help Desk is available to you throughout Golden Bear Orientation. Come by if you have questions, need direction, or want to learn more about New Student Services. The GBO Help Desk will be located on Upper Sproul from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you are not on campus, you can call the New Student Services office from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 510-642-7733 or email

Name Tags & Wristbands: You will be provided a name tag and wristband when you check in to Golden Bear Orientation. Name tags and wristbands must be worn at all times throughout the program. You will only be allowed entrance into programs, including all meals, if name tags and wristbands are visible. Lost your name tag or broke your wristband? Stop by the GBO Help Desk.