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This page has been updated for Fall 2024 and covers basic policies for the Golden Bear Experience, which includes Golden Bear Advising, Golden Bear Prep, and Golden Bear Orientation. Updates will be made here and communicated via email as plans are solidified for GBO programming.

Updated March 7, 2024

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. Note: Any event that is tied to your enrollment will be clearly identified.
  • Fall 2024 Golden Bear Orientation will occur in person. See below for details on how the program will be adapted to meet unique needs, accommodations, and the exemption process. 
  • See the GBO Sample Schedule for details about the overall schedule, including a breakdown of virtual and in person events.
  • Each component of Golden Bear Orientation is designed to help your transition to Berkeley. 

Student Needs for Fall 2024 Golden Bear Orientation

Participation in GBO is integral to your successful transition to UC Berkeley. However, there are circumstances that could be a barrier to your successful participation — not only in GBO but also in engagement with classes and community building throughout the year. We have identified a variety of barriers but this is not an exhaustive list:

  • dependent/child care
  • illness (yours or others in your household)
  • COVID-19 isolation or quarantine order
  • unexpected family emergencies
  • active military duty
  • financial hardship, if there is a need to take time away from full-time employment
  • accessibility (physical, religious, alternate media, etc.)
  • access to technology
  • international visa concerns
  • COVID-19 vaccine policy compliance 

Important Note: Please reach out to our office if you have any questions about what constitutes a barrier to your participation.

Fall 2024 GBO Student Needs Questionnaire: Accommodations, Exemptions and Unique Experiences 

Please fill out the Golden Bear Orientation Fall 2024: Exemption and Accommodations Form if you have extenuating circumstances preventing you from engaging during GBO in person. Our goal is to help you navigate not only GBO, but also all of Berkeley. We ask that you use this form to notify New Student Services as soon as possible so our team has time to find the best solutions to meet your needs.

Key Deadline: In order to be approved for an exemption from in person GBO programming, you must submit the above form by Sunday, July 21.

Exceptions: There may be exceptional circumstances that arise after that date. In addition, if you test positive for COVID-19 or are instructed by campus to isolate or quarantine after your arrival, it is important that you follow those instructions and not attend GBO in person events. If this is the case, please reach out to New Student Services via email (

Once you’ve submitted the form, our team will work with you individually to work on possible solutions. We recognize that, if there are barriers to your participation in GBO, these barriers will likely impact your entire Berkeley experience.

We often find that UC Berkeley students, while advocates of those around them, do not always advocate for themselves, feel like they can ask for support, and/or know what support may be available. We encourage you to share what you are experiencing (if you feel comfortable), even if other environments have not made adjustments for your circumstances because we are committed to your transition to UC Berkeley. 

Fees & Payments

The New Student Programming Fee (NSPF) 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 2024 undergraduates ($320 for UCEAP students). Those who receive a full exemption will have the New Student Programming Fee removed.

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 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 2024: Exemption and Accommodations form. The programming fee covers:

  • Golden Bear Advising and Golden Bear Prep pre-arrival modules
  • Golden Bear Orientation programming (no additional funds will be needed to participate in any part of the GBO program)
  • Getting Your Bearings programming 
  • Please refer to our Office of the Registrar Tuition & Fees page for more details on student fees.