Bear Beginnings 2020 Prioritzes Safety and New Student Success

We recognize that this will not be the same orientation as previous years, but know that we will prioritize safety in addition to finding ways to deliver on the Bear Beginnings Learning Outcomes despite the changes. Our objectives for Bear Beginnings remain the same, that new students:

  • Connect with other new students and begin to identify a peer group
  • Navigate the Washington University campus and the opportunities offered by the St. Louis community
  • Interact with faculty, staff, and an upper-division mentor
  • Discover pride for WashU, their academic division, and their residential college

Class of 2024 Bear Beginnings

We’re developing a re-imagined orientation for first-year students which will include both virtual and in-person programs:

  • Bear Beginnings: Summer Engagement Series 
    • Throughout the summer, students will engage with current students, faculty, and staff through interactive platforms like Wisr (WashU Admitted Students Network) and Zoom. Students will connect with the WashU community, their academic division, and hear from current students about involvement and engagement.
  • Bear Beginnings: Get Your Bearings 
    • Get Your Bearings is an online orientation that will introduce you to key university resources.  You will receive an email with instructions on how to access the online orientation platform.  Make sure you complete Get Your Bearings by September 1st.
  • Bear Beginnings: Fall Welcome 
    • Fall Welcome will begin the morning of Monday, September 7th and conclude the evening of Saturday, September 12th.  During Fall Welcome, you will meet with your WUSA small group, engage in academic experiences, and participate in a long-standing university tradition – Convocation.  Almost all activities will be virtual to ensure safety precautions and physical distancing for COVID-19 can be followed. Students who chose to take their classes remotely will still be able to participate in Fall Welcome.


First Year Student Move-In will take place beginning on Friday, September 4 and continue through Sunday, September 6. Student’s housing assignment, Move-In date, and Move-In time can be found via the WashU Housing Portal in WebSTAC. For more information about Move-In, please visit the Residential Life website.

Virtual Parent & Family Orientation

Parent & Family Orientation will be offered as a virtual experience. More information about Parent & Family Orientation will be available in early September. Families will be mailed a “Convocation kit” to ensure they can participate in our university tradition from their home.