First-Year Students (Freshmen) Orientation

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. Students who attend all orientation session are more likely to return to UIS their sophomore year and have higher grades than students who miss sessions.

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 to your personal email.  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.

Young Abe the Orientation Leader
Young Abe the Orientation Leader

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 information on how to prepare for Orientation. 

May 1, 2020 Orientation Update

UIS cares about the health and safety of incoming students, family members and our faculty and staff. We are following the guidance of experts and have moved our Fall 2020 programs online.  There will be no overnight or on-campus programming for the June or July sessions. 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, online orientation at their own pace in Canvas which will be emailed shortly after they register for KickStart. There will be synchronous, live programming through Zoom on the KickStart dates.  The links will be emailed about 2 days before the KickStart dates. Attendance will be taken at the Live Zoom sessions.

Parents will have an opportunity to participate in both a Parent Online Orientation and Live Zoom sessions on the dates of the KickStart session your student registered. Family members will be able to meet with Orientation Leaders (OL) and ask questions of faculty who presented sessions during the online program.

We will keep students informed of any changes to our programming format as the situation continues to unfold.


Step 1: Review the KickStart Asynchronous Online Orientation (pdf) and the August KickStart Zoom sessions (pdf). The schedule will give you the content that will be covered during the online orientation and Live Zoom sessions on your KickStart date.


Step 2: Register for KickStart Orientation.  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 July 8):  

  • F1: Tuesday, June 9 – Wednesday, June 10 (ended).
  • F2: Friday, June 12 – Saturday, June 13 (ended)
  • F3: Tuesday, June 16 – Wednesday, June 17 (ended)
  • F4: Thursday, June 18 – Friday, June 19 (ended)
  • F5: Tuesday, June 23 – Wednesday, June 24 (ended)
  • F6: Friday, June 26 – Saturday, June 27 (closed)
  • F7: Monday, July 13 – Tuesday, July 14 (10 reservations, 30 seats remaining)
  • F8: Monday, August 17 – Tuesday, August 18.  This is the last KickStart sessions before fall semester classes begin.  This is a Freshmen Honors designated session.  At this time, students living on-campus and participating in this KickStart will move in on Monday, August 17.  The Office Residence Life will send information about the check-in process.  


Select the session for your student admission description: Freshmen or Freshmen Honors.  If you need to cancel or change your reservation contact our office.  


  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.


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 your choice of Zoom Video Chat or through Examity (there is a $20 charge for Examity’s 24/7 service). Placement Tests should be completed at least 2 weeks before your advising appointment. Please note, Students must have a computer with webcam and audio. Students cannot take test on tablets or smart phones. 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: Prepare for your KickStart and Semester Launch 

Request off work so you are able to attend and fully participate in the mandatory sessions.

Step 7: Read Your Email.
Students will receive email messages from our office to their personal account after they have accepted their admission. Check this inbox for emails from and Mark emails from as a safe sender to prevent them from going to your Junk folder.  Information about accessing the online orientation in Canvas and links to the Live Zoom session on your KickStart date will be sent to your email about 2 days before your event. Please read all emails carefully.

If your high school doesn’t allow you to access your school email after graduation, please email and change it to your UIS email or another personal email so you won’t miss important information.  

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.


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