First-Year Students (Freshmen) Orientation

Covid-19 Impact on UIS Admission and Orientation.

We are open and working remotely answering emails and voicemails during regular business hours while following the governor’s stay at home orders.  Please continue to register for a KickStart session. Updates for June Orientation programs are below.  

Welcome to UIS – We are so excited that you have chosen to come to our University! New Student Orientation programming is designed to assist you and your parents/family/guests in making the transition to university life and being a successful Prairie Star. All first-year students (and transfer freshmen with less than 30 transfer credit hours) will attend our mandatory Orientation programs: KickStart and Semester Launch.

Your journey to college begins after accepting your admission by submitting your Intent to Enroll on your Admission Status Page. You will start to receive information about orientation within 24 hours.  UIS Orientation Communications for Students * are sent to your personal email. Keep an eye on your inbox.  Add as a safe sender to make sure you won’t miss anything.


For First-Year Students/Freshmen Enrolling in Summer and Fall 2020 Semesters

Below are steps you need to complete to register and prepare for your Orientation programs: KickStart and Semester Launch.

 Please review this webpage for information on how to prepare for Orientation. 

Email: Students will start receiving email messages to their personal account from our office after they have accepted their admission.   **If your high school doesn’t allow you to access your school email after graduation, and you are using it for your personal email with UIS, please email and change it to your UIS email or another personal email so you won’t miss important information. 

Mail: Students will receive the Summer/Fall 2020 New Student Brochure. It is the only mailing to students. The brochure will start going out at the end of March. It is sent to students about 1 week after they have accepted admission.  If you have moved since submitting your UIS application, please email the Office of Admission to update your mailing address. International Students will receive these documents digitally to their email address.

May 1, 2020 Orientation Update

Due to concerns about COVID-19 and the health and safety of incoming students, family members and our faculty and staff, UIS is following the guidance of experts and will be moving the June KickStart program online.  There will be no overnight or on-campus programming in June.  At this time we are still planning an in-person August KickStart session and August Semester Launch.  We will keep students informed of any changes to our programming format as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold. Students who have been admitted and have completed their Intent to Enroll form accepting their admission, will still need to register for a KickStart session. Although students and family members will not be meeting with faculty and staff face-to-face, they will still be able to build important connections with orientation leaders, faculty and staff, through virtual programs.

Students will complete an asynchronous portion of the KickStart program at their own pace which will be available the first week of June. There will be synchronous, live virtual programming, on the first day of KickStart.  Students are expected to be available between 9 and 5 p.m. on the first day of the KickStart session they registered for. By using the KickStart sessions we will be able to keep the groups more manageable to allow questions and to begin building a community within the cohort of freshmen at the

Parents will have an opportunity to participate in both an asynchronous online orientation at their own pace and a synchronous orientation program on the first date of the KickStart session your student registered. Family members will be able to participate in Live chats, presentations, virtually meet with Orientation Leaders (OL) and ask questions of faculty who presented sessions during the asynchronous program.

Step 1: Review this 2020 KickStart Schedule (pdf). The schedule will give you the content that will be covered during the asynchronous (self-paced) student and parent sessions and synchronous (live) sessions on your KickStart date.  As we finalize our options we will update this schedule with a list of the asynchronous program content and the synchronous schedule of live, virtual events.

Step 2: Register for Orientation.  You will still need to register for a KickStart Orientation date. This will allow us to keep the size of the virtual groups smaller to allow for student interaction. Make sure you are prepared to be available for Orientation both days for synchronous (live, virtual) programming so you are able to attend the required sessions.  You will not be able to register for classes if you do not attend the mandatory sessions.  If you were advised and registered for your classes before your synchronous KickStart session your schedule can be cancelled if you do not attend.

The KickStart registration form uses the same software that the UIS Admissions application does.  You can enter the form from your UIS Status Page. You will need to use the same email and password from your UIS Admissions Status Page to log into the KickStart registration form.  Make sure you have completed step 1 and read the information on the rest of this page before registering.

The 2020 Summer KickStart sessions to choose from are (updated May 25):  

  • F1: Tuesday, June 9 – Wednesday, June 10 (seats remaining: Freshmen Honors 3; Freshmen 0) This is a CAP Honors designated session.
  • F2: Friday, June 12 – Saturday, June 13 (seats remaining: Freshmen Honors 9; Freshmen 19) This is a CAP Honors designated session. 
  • F3: Tuesday, June 16 – Wednesday, June 17 (seats remaining: Freshmen Honors 6; Freshmen 27) This is a CAP Honors designated session. 
  • F4: Thursday, June 18 – Friday, June 19 (seats remaining: Freshmen 25 seats)
  • F5: Tuesday, June 23 – Wednesday, June 24 (seats remaining: Freshmen Honors 16;  Freshmen 33) This is a CAP Honors designated session.  
  • F6: Friday, June 26 – Saturday, June 27 (seats remaining: Freshmen 33)
  • F8: Monday, August 17 – Tuesday, August 18.  We are planning for an in-person program. Students who couldn’t participate in KickStart through a virtual environment and students admitted after June 15 are given priority to register for these dates. This is a Freshmen Honors designated session.  Students living on-campus and participating in this KickStart will move in on Sunday, August 16.  The Office Residence Life will send information about hours for check-in that afternoon.  


You will only be allowed to select the session for your student admission description: Freshmen or Freshmen Honors.  We reserve a specific number of spots for each student type as noted above. If a session reaches that cap, it automatically closes. If someone contacts our office and changes their reservation to another session their previous reservation will automatically open. If you need to cancel or change your reservation contact our office. DO NOT REGISTER FOR ANOTHER SESSION.  Calling our office to change the reservation will ensure that Orientation staff can modify the Orientation Fee assessment.  If you register for more than one session without calling our office to cancel, you will be assessed Orientation Fees for each session.  If you are offered and accept a position in the CAP Honors program after registering for a Freshmen session please email our office. We will verify your admission to the CAP Honors program and move you to one of the Honors seats.  


  1. Freshman Honors Students. Students who have been offered, and have accepted, admission into the Capital Scholars Honors program. Are also called Honors Students or CAP Students. Honors students must register for designated Freshmen Honors sessions.
  2. Freshmen. All students are freshmen unless in the Capital Scholars Honors program. Also called first-years; first-year freshmen; transfer freshmen (if transferring in less than 30 credits). Freshmen can register for any of the Freshmen sessions that are open.
  3. International Freshmen students participate in KickStart and Semester Launch, in addition to new International student requirements. Visit International Student Services for more information. Students who can access the sites for the virtual orientation sessions can sign up for June sessions.


Step 3.  Pay your Orientation Fee any time after you register.  When you complete the KickStart registration form, you will be able to indicate that you will pay the $175 Orientation Fee by credit card, mail a check or money order, or defer the payment to your student account (due September 28). The form will ask you if you are bringing any guests.

Guest Fees. There is a $15 fee per guest covering costs related to materials, orientation staff,  etc.  The guest fee is non-refundable.  You can pay the additional Guest Fees online with the student Orientation Fee. (Updated May 1, 2020. Students who paid $25/guest before May 1 will receive a refund of $10/guest for the lunch. Refunds will be processed in June).


Step 4.  Print Your Confirmation and Put It In Your Calendar.  A confirmation will be sent to the email account you listed in your admission application. Please make sure you read the confirmation and share it with any guests who will be attending with you. You will receive several reminder emails the week before KickStart with details about the Asynchronous and Synchronous programming to that same email address, so make sure to check it often.

Step 5:  Check to see if you are required to take Placement Testing (you will need your NetID and password). 
Entering students may have to take Math, Reading, or Foreign Language Placement Exams. If you are unclear about the major requirements for ACT/SAT scores please contact your advisor:

English and Math Placement Testing – 
will be done through the UIS Testing Center virtually through Zoom Video Chat or through Examity (there is a $20 charge for Examity’s 24/7 service). You will have an option to tell UIS Testing Services which option Zoom or Examity you would like to use). Placement Tests must be completed at least 2 weeks before your advising appointment. Get your testing done by June 1 to ensure you will be able to make your advising appointment after your asynchronous sessions are done.  Please note, Students must have a computer with webcam and audio. Students cannot take test on tablets or smart phone. Additionally, some Chromebooks are not compatible with Zoom and will not work for placement testing. We also recommend connecting to the Internet via an Ethernet cable (which is more stable than WiFi connections), when possible.

Steps to Register A Spot For Placement Testing:

  1.  Fill out the voucher form online.
  2. Check your email for the Testing Voucher
  3. Once you have your voucher, email to request an appointment send them several days and times between Monday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  4. You will receive another email with your Zoom Test Appointment confirmation and a Zoom link to the test.  Put this in your calendar and set a reminder on your phone.

After your test you will see your scores. Your academic advisor will also be able to see your scores and will use them to help you register for the appropriate courses.

Take some sample tests to familiarize yourself with Accuplacer:


Foreign Language Placement Testing

Please contact the Modern Languages department by emailing Dr. Arnaldo Robles-Reyes [] to make arrangements for foreign language proficiency testing in Spanish. In your email include information about the number of years you have studied the language and where (high school/college); have you studied abroad, where you raised in a Spanish-Speaking home? This will help him place you in Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced classes.

Students can test for proficiency in any foreign language. There is a $20 fee that must be paid before taking the tests which will be scheduled on selected dates in July and August. It might be possible to test by a remote proctored test but there is an additional fee. When you contact Dr. Robles-Reyes to make arrangements for testing, he will send you an email with directions.


Step 6: Review the New Student Orientation Checklist for First-Year Students (pdf). 

Step 7: Review the Participant Expectations, Emergency Information, and Housing Guidelines 2020

Step 8: Prepare for your KickStart and Semester Launch 

Request off work so you are able to attend and fully participate in the mandatory sessions each program requires. During Semester Launch, your i-Card will be swiped as you attend each session.  Failure to attend these sessions will result in students not being advised or registered during priority registration for the spring semester.  Students will have to wait until open registration to meet with an advisor and register for the next semester’s classes.

Step 9: Read Your Email.
Several emails will be sent to your personal email over the week prior to your orientation date.  Please read these emails carefully.  Some require you to complete forms or training online.  Please make sure you do this before your Orientation program date.

For Students Enrolling in the Spring 2021 Semester

Please review the information on our Future Orientation Dates page.  This website will be updated in October to reflect information for the Spring 2021 Orientation programs that will be held January 13-16.


Orientation Photo Gallery

UIS is a Tobacco-Free campus as mandated by the State of Illinois.

UIS is now a Tobacco Free Campus
No Smoking on University Grounds

For questions about New Student Orientation
please contact us at (217) 206.8181 or email