Orientation Advising

Orientation Advising occurs during an incoming student’s Orientation & Course Selection (O&CS) Day program. To have the best schedule-building experience possible, students should read and complete CNMS Advising’s “Before Orientation & Course Selection Day” task list prior to their O&CS Day.

During their Orientation Advising session, students meet one-on-one with a trained Orientation Advisor who assists each student with the following:

  • Review of a student’s University, General Education, and Major requirements (if the student has already declared a major).
  • Review of a student’s processed Transfer Credit, including submitted AP/IB/CLEP scores.
  • Course selection for the student’s first semester, based on unfulfilled coursework for their major, unfulfilled University and General Education requirements, student interest, and the student’s fulfillment of course pre-requisites.
  • Course registration for the student’s first semester, based on unfulfilled requirements, the student’s full- or part-time standing needs, and the student’s non-academic responsibilities (work, family, etc.)

An effort is made to have students work with an Orientation Advisor from the department of the student’s major whenever possible. However, due to the number of students pursuing majors in the sciences, and the need to have broad representation of UMBC departments among the Orientation Advising staff, some CNMS departments use mechanisms of Pre-Advising to give students expert advice from their Department without compromising the Orientation Advising experience for students in other disciplines. Pre-Advising activities are extended to students in the following ways:

Students who are pursuing (or self-identify on O&CS Day as) a life science major (Biological Sciences, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Biology Education, Chemistry, or Chemistry Education) and/or are planning to pursue admission to a health professional program post-UMBC, meet one-on-one with a specially-trained advisor for approximately 5-10 minutes. The student’s documented Math skills are noted, as well as any coursework completed in BIOL, CHEM, CMSC, MATH, PHYS, and STAT with a grade of “C” or better. The advisor will recommend math and science coursework appropriate for the student’s first semester (typically fewer than 10 credits-worth), identify follow-up responsibilities and resources for the student, and answer questions regarding their intended major/health profession to the best of the advisor’s ability during the time allotted. Students then proceed to work with an Orientation Advisor for the Course Selection and Registration activities. The Orientation Advisor may consult with the staff in Pre-Advising as the need arises.


Students with officially declared majors in Physics or Physics Education are contacted by the Undergraduate Program Director (UPD) for Physics prior to their Orientation & Course Selection Day. The UPD makes course recommendations for the student’s first semester based on student’s documented Math skills, as well as any coursework completed in CHEM, CMSC, MATH, and PHYS with a grade of “C” or better. The UPD shares these with the student electronically, so that the student – and his/her Orientation Advisor – may use them as a guide for Course Selection and Registration on O&CS Day. Students who self-identify as Physics or Physics Education on Orientation & Course Selection Day (but who do not have either of these programs listed on their records) will be assisted through the Course Selection and Registration process to the best of the Orientation Advisor’s ability, but will be referred to the UPD for Physics to confirm the student’s schedule as appropriate.

Pre-Advising activities are not extended to students pursuing majors in Mathematics or Statistics, because there is typically sufficient representation among the Orientation Advising staff to allow students in those programs to work directly with an Orientation Advisor from his/her department during the Orientation Advising component.

After a student completes his or her O&CS Day, there are a number of responsibilities that a student should follow-up on between O&CS Day and their first day of classes that can make the student’s first semester at UMBC (and the registration process for the next semester) go more smoothly. CNMS Advising’s “After Orientation & Course Selection Day” checklist is designed to help students identify and complete these tasks.