Summer 2021 New Student Orientation (NSO) Experience

Student-centered experiences and learning are the foundation for New Student Orientation (NSO) at Michigan State University. To provide information to incoming students in a timely and digestible manner, in the most accessible manner, the NSO program is moving from a date-specific program to a virtual, stepped, scaffolded experience over the summer. Incoming students will no longer experience NSO on an assigned date. NSO will look different than ever, and it will be important for the campus community to know and understand the changes. 

Incoming students will be guided through their NSO experience by Spartan Leaders (formerly known as Orientation Leaders) – current students who will provide individual and group connectivity, as well as the wisdom of campus experience. In early May, each incoming student will receive a communication from their Spartan Leader as an introduction to the NSO experience and instructions on how to connect with them and other new students. These Spartan Leaders will be available to incoming students throughout the summerhost social engagement opportunities, webinar breakout spaces, and group activities, as well as a person to whom new students can connect to get their questions answered. 

In mid-May, all incoming students will have access to their NSO D2L community. Unlike last year, students are not being required to enroll in UGS 100, but rather participate in this new NSO D2L community. They must complete the modules in their community in order to schedule their advising and enrollment appointment.  The sooner they complete their D2L work, the earlier they can meet with their advisor! The Spartan Leader will also monitor progress in D2L to encourage the completion of this work. Advising appointments will occur for most students from early June through late July. 

Throughout the months of June, July, and August, students and their families and caregivers will be invited to participate in synchronous webinars based on topics important to the orientation of campus and campus processes. These webinars will be offered at four different times to be as inclusive of student time commitments and time zones. Information about these sessions, including the topics and time offerings, will be available on orientation.msu.edu as it becomes available. 

In late July, students will be placed in new groups, with likely a new Spartan Leader, based on their fall housing assignment or situation. The goal of these new groups will be to meet other incoming students living in a similar area, and to get to know a bit more about campus as it relates to their housing situation. These groups will meet at some point in August. 

Students admitted to MSU after a certain point in the summer will be added to a similar experience for the month of August. Advising and enrollment for these students will take place in late August. 

Families and caregivers of incoming students will be invited to participate in the synchronous webinars with their students and join one of the many Family Fridays being offered throughout the summer. Biweekly newsletters will be sent to both students and families or caregivers to provide information vital to transition as well as to promote upcoming opportunities for these audiences. 

Recognizing students and their families and caregivers with specific identities benefit from additional support and connections, affinity groups will be offered to both students and their families and caregivers to help our new Spartans meet others who identify as they do. This is an opportunity to connect to staff and resources on campus to help them successfully transition to MSU. If you are interested in learning more about these groups, please contact NSO to inquire further. 

The online experience of incoming students from FS20 and SS21, and student development theory, has guided our planning and work, and we look forward to this new experience. We encourage you to email nso@msu.edu or connect with one of the full-time team members if you have questions.