Starting your adventure? We'll help map it out

Orientation is designed to welcome you to campus and help you get familiar with Iowa State.

You will be able to register for your first semester classes, get to know Iowa State and important policies and procedures. It is also a great way to ease yourself into university life.  

Orientation your way

Orientation is required for all new students, but you decide which option works best for you. Lost your notes or want a preview? The orientation publications and presentations summarize the resources and frequently asked questions that will help you transition to Iowa State.

This event allows you to experience campus in person and get to know Ames. During OnCyte Orientation, you will be able to:

  • Take tours and get to know your way around
  • Connect with other Cyclones in person
  • Attend helpful sessions on campus resources, housing and dining, and financial aid
  • Get your ISUCard
  • Learn about your academic college, major and how to succeed academically
  • Meet with an advisor face-to-face to plan your class schedule


First-year students will choose a 1.5 day orientation session held in the month of June.

Transfer students will choose a 1-day orientation session held in April, May, or July.

Your academic major will determine options available to you. Guests are welcome to attend with you! Once you register for OnCyte Orientation, you will receive an email with helpful information and steps to complete before orientation. 

Much of what is shared during OnCyte Orientation is available via the online orientation website. It will help you:

  • Learn about Iowa State’s campus, academics, and clubs
  • Discover essential resources to succeed
  • Learn about living and dining on campus
  • Prepare for academic advising and meeting virtually with an academic advisor

Online orientation opens April 4 for transfer students. The steps to schedule your advising appointment are included in online orientation. 

Online orientation opens May 23 for first-year students. Plan to complete online orientation at least a week before you meet with your advisor for class registration. Expect to receive an email from your academic college about five days before your pre-selected advising slot with details on how to meet with your academic advisor.

You will receive an email with instructions for how to login and complete online orientation once online orientation opens.  

  • Once you receive your orientation invitation, select which style of orientation is best for you. Register for either an OnCyte Orientation session or online orientation. If you are a first-year student choosing online orientation, you will also choose a date for your virtual academic advising appointment.
  • Take the ALEKS math placement assessment at least two weeks prior to your academic advising appointment.
  • Attend OnCyte Orientation or complete required online orientation.
  • Sign up for Destination Iowa State, a student-only kickoff experience held the Thursday through Sunday before classes begin.

Complete ALEKS placement assessment.

Register for Destination Iowa State.

Before you arrive


Contact New Student Programs