OrientationBear Beginnings 2020
August 15 – 23, 2020

First Year Students

View the full Bear Beginnings 2019 Full Schedule!

The Bear Beginnings 2020 Schedule will be available in summer 2020.

Bear Beginnings is a nine-day orientation program that assists new students with their academic, personal, social, and cultural transition into the Washington University and St. Louis community.


Fall classes begin on Monday, August 24th, 2020. More details will be provided closer to Bear Beginnings.

International Student Move-In and Orientation

All international undergraduate students are required to arrive on campus early for International Student Orientation. More information can be found on our First-Year International (FYI) Information Page.

Move-In Day and Family Programming

August 15

  • Students move into residence halls during their assigned move-in time between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Students attend a mandatory Residential Community meeting at 5:30 p.m. followed by Convocation, the official academic welcome to the university in the evening.

August 16

  • Students will become more acquainted with their residential college.
  • Parents and families are invited to attend alternate programs designed for them.

Academic Division Orientation

August 17 – 19

Students will connect with their peers in their academic colleges, get oriented with degree requirements and resources, and explore exciting opportunities.  In the evening, all-Class traditions and programs will take place.

Tentative Arts & Sciences Schedule 

Tentative McKelvey Engineering Schedule

Tentative Olin Business Schedule

Tentative Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts Schedule

Immersive Experiences

August 20 – 22

Students will participate in one of several Immersive Experiences with a group of their peers.  Some of the Immersive Experience program topics include arts & culture, civic and community engagement, innovation and entrepreneurship, and leadership.

More information can be found on our Immersive Experiences page.

Get Ready for Classes

August 23

Take time to prepare for classes tomorrow morning!

First Day of Classes

August 24

Kick off your WashU career by heading out to your classes.  Be sure to stop by the Underpass to participate in a First Day tradition.

Accommodation Statement

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events. If you have a disability and require any accommodations in order to fully participate in Bear Beginnings, please list them in your Bear Beginnings Information Form on your WashU Pathways account. After we receive your submission, a member of the First Year Center will contact you for more information. Requests should be made as soon as possible, but at least two weeks prior to your arrival on campus. For any other questions about accessibility during Bear Beginnings, please contact Miranda Kroeger at the First Year Center.