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New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation 2023

Macalester College looks forward to welcoming members of the class of 2027, transfer, and exchange students! All new students are expected to participate in Orientation from August 31 through September 4, 2023.

To learn more about PO4IS, Macalester’s Pre-Orientation for International Students, please visit the International Student Programs website.

For those booking travel, here is some helpful information to inform your planning:

When Does Residence Hall Move-In Take Place?

Residence hall move-in will take place on Thursday, August 31 (between 8am-1pm). Please note, students approved to participate in certain pre-season activities such as PO4IS (Pre-Orientation for International Students), fall athletics, or select Community & Connection Cohort programs should connect with their campus contact for information on relevant pre-season move-in dates/details.

When Should Students and Parents/Families Arrive to St. Paul?

Some new students and families decide to arrive to St. Paul on move-in day (August 31) and others may arrive early to explore the Twin Cities. Students who choose to arrive prior to move-in day must seek local accommodations. Details on local accommodations recommended by Orientation will be available on the Directions & Lodging page in late spring.

When Should Parents/Families Depart from St. Paul?

We invite parents/families who are able to come to campus to participate in optional programing during the afternoon and evening of Thursday, August 31. The last optional on-campus Parent/Family Orientation activity will conclude at approximately 11:45 am on Friday, September 1. We recommend saying farewell at this time; however, there is no formal farewell program so parents/families are welcome to depart from campus whenever works best for their situation.

Key Components of Orientation

The Orientation program will acquaint students with the culture, services, and resources at Macalester as you transition into the campus community.

By the end of Orientation students will:

  • Establish a sense of belonging
  • Familiarize yourself with campus
  • Identify support resources
  • Learn the core values of the Macalester community
  • Understand academic expectations

Signature Elements of Orientation:

  • Scottish House Meetings: New students are divided into orientation groups based on their First Year Courses (FYCs) called Scottish Houses. Each House is made up of 12-18 new students and is led by Orientation Leaders (OLs). Houses will meet over the course of Orientation, offering a variety of ways for you to engage with your peers and returning students. The Scottish House meetings will be interactive and engaging, allowing you to both learn about Macalester and our community, as well as provide an opportunity for you to get to know members of your class. Through guided conversations, facilitated activities, and group dialogue, new students will have a variety of ways to engage with one another.
  • Orientation Leader 1-on-1 Meetings: Orientation Leaders (OLs) will offer 30 minute one-on-one meetings to help build relationships with new students and to make space for individualized questions and concerns to be addressed. These meetings will be established by each Scottish House during the first few days of Orientation.
  • “This Matters at Mac” Series: This program series highlights the values and practices that are most important to our community. Students are required to participate in these sessions as a part of joining our campus community. These sessions are further discussed by OLs in the Scottish House meetings that take place throughout Orientation.
  • Advising Appointments: New students will meet with their FYC professor for a one-on-one advising appointment during Orientation. This appointment will be scheduled during Orientation. Visit the Academic Programs & Advising webpage for more information on First-Year Registration.