You’ll be able to choose your orientation experience by deciding if you want to do OnCyte Orientation, online orientation, or both. You will learn about Iowa State's campus, discover essential resources, and gain access to an academic advisor to register for your first semester of classes.

Contact New Student Programs at 515-294-0801 or and we will be happy to help you.

Yes, both first-year and transfer students are required to complete orientation before scheduling an academic advising appointment for course registration. You can meet this requirement by completing online orientation or attending OnCyte orientation.

You will receive an email from New Student Programs with the link to complete your online orientation experience. You will also need to have your Net-ID handy for login. If you have enabled OKTA, you will log in with that feature.

You will be able to work at your own pace, and we recommend you set aside at least three to four hours to complete online orientation. You can spend as much or as little time as you need learning about the topics that will help you successfully transition to Iowa State University. 

You can work through the information at your own pace. However, we encourage you to dedicate an uninterrupted, appropriate amount of time so you can fully absorb the information and prepare for course registration. Come back at any time to revisit the data or review the checklist to get ready to transition to Iowa State.

You will not be able to register for classes.

Contact New Student Programs with questions at 515-294-0801 or

Academic advisors are preparing to connect with you in person if you are attending OnCyte orientation and virtually if you are completing online orientation. Academic advisors are looking forward to facilitating your personalized academic advising and course registration experience.

For first-year students starting classes in May, June, or August, you will select a virtual advising appointment while making your online orientation reservation. For transfer students starting classes in May, June, or August, instructions for scheduling your virtual advising appointment are included in online orientation in the Academics and Course Registration section. If you are attending OnCyte orientation, you will meet with an advisor and register for classes the day(s) you are on campus.

Online orientation utilizes universal design and is supportive to students with all abilities. If you would like to request accommodations for OnCyte orientation please contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at least two weeks in advance. You can contact SAS by calling 515-294-7220 or email

In addition, you can contact Student Accessibility Services to learn more about how Iowa State supports students' reasonable accommodations.

Student Accessibility Services

International Students and Scholars Office coordinates orientation for international students. Please get in touch with them for more information.

All students, including international students, are invited to Destination Iowa State events.

Some OnCyte orientation dates may fill as time goes by. While there is no deadline to make your orientation reservation, we recommend choosing a date and making your reservation early to ensure a seat on the date that works best for you.

You need to complete online orientation before attending your virtual advising appointment. We recommend beginning online orientation as soon as it becomes available. Online orientation will be open through the first week of classes to assist you at any step of your journey. You must complete online orientation before you can meet with an academic advisor and register for classes. If you are a student starting classes in January, you will want to complete online orientation by December 1 to ensure you can meet with an academic advisor before winter break otherwise you will register for classes in early January.

Please visit the ISUCard Office in 0530 Beardshear Hall when you arrive on campus to get your photo taken and obtain your ISUCard. You will need to know your university ID number and bring a valid state or federal issued photo ID such as a passport or driver’s license with you in order to get your card. You may be eligible to submit a photo online for your ISUCard prior to coming to your orientation or arriving on campus.

Visit the ISUCard Office website for more information.

ISUCard Office

This once-in-a-lifetime, team-based student-only event helps students navigate campus, connect with other new students, and have a lot of fun while preparing for the first day of class.

Destination Iowa State will be held Thursday, August 22–Saturday, August 24, 2024.

Destination Iowa State

Destination Iowa State is an event exclusive to new students at Iowa State University just before the beginning of fall and spring semesters. 

Making connections to the people and places of your new Cyclone Home is an important part of your transition to Iowa State. Destination Iowa State is a once in a lifetime event gives students the chance to meet new people, connect with experienced students, have tons of fun, and explore campus.

Absolutely. Destination Iowa State is beneficial for both transfer and first-year students. There is a designated transfer track that allows transfer students to meet other transfer students and learn information specific to the transfer experience.

First-year students living in the residence halls will be assigned a move in date based on room assignment. The Department of Residence will communicate with you when your assigned move-in date is.

If you are a transfer student living in campus apartments, the Department of Residence will send information to you directly.

Move-in information

Department of Residence

Campus tours are offered at OnCyte Orientation. While Campus Visits are geared more towards students still choosing their university, you can also explore these options.

Schedule a campus visit


Contact New Student Programs