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This page includes basic policies for the Golden Bear Experience, which includes Golden Bear Advising, Golden Bear Prep, Golden Bear Orientation, and Getting Your Bearings.

Participation Requirements

  • Participation for all newly admitted undergraduate students is required for Golden Bear Advising, Golden Bear Prep, and Golden Bear Orientation. There are elements of each which are mandatory for each student; that is, not completing them can adversely affect your enrollment at UC Berkeley. 
  • You are expected to actively participate each day in programs comprising the on-campus Golden Bear Orientation (GBO), starting with check-in. Note: We do have some exceptions (see Exemptions, below) regarding GBO, and we work with students to adjust schedules and otherwise accommodate different needs. Please reach out to the NSS staff as soon as possible to give us the time to address any special needs or issues you might have.
  • Attending Getting Your Bearings events is encouraged but not mandatory; you choose which of these events you would like to attend.

Exemptions for GBO

Note: This section applies to the on-campus orientation, Golden Bear Orientation, portion only.

Exemption for the Entire GBO Program

There are circumstances in which you may be exempt from the entire GBO program. Examples of potentially warranted exemptions include, but are not limited, to:

  • dependent child care
  • severe illness
  • unexpected family emergencies
  • active military duty 
  • financial hardship, if there is a need to take time away from full-time employment.

Please reach out to our office if you have any questions about what constitutes an exemption.

Fill out the appropriate GBO Exemption Form (links below) if you have extenuating circumstances preventing you from attending GBO. Your application will be reviewed by a committee and you will be notified via email if you have been granted an exemption. You may always reach out to NSS staff about any concerns, issues, or challenges you have.

Fall Start Exemption Form

Deadline to submit Fall GBO Exemption FormJuly 19
Notification via email of your status: August 5

January Start Admits Exemption Form

Deadline to submit January Start GBO Exemption FormDecember 1
Notification via email of your status: December 15

Absences During GBO 

Did you schedule a doctor’s or DMV appointment during Golden Bear Orientation? Do you need to leave at a certain time after dinner to catch the bus to your home? If so, please communicate with your Orientation Leader during your first group meeting any portions of the program that you may be missing.

You are always welcome to reach out to the NSS staff prior to GBO to discuss your situation.

Note: Some programs, such as College Days and Bear Pact, may require you to make up the missed information.

Fees & Payments

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 of $475 on your first semester CalCentral bill. As orientation is mandatory for all new undergraduate students, so is the fee.

If applicable, look to your financial aid package to see if this fee will be covered by financial aid. 

The programming fee covers:

  • all meals during GBO (breakfast, lunch & dinner)
  • Golden Bear Advising, Golden Bear Prep, Getting Your Bearings programming and all program activities
  • transportation and admission fees related to program activities

The programming fee does not include:

  • additional meals, snacks, or drinks other than described above
  • sundries such as toiletries, personal items, souvenirs, parking for those who commute, etc.
  • any additional expenses outside of the program

Please refer to our Office of the Registrar Tuition & Fees page for more details on student fees.