First Year Orientation

First-Year Orientation

Bringing you an unforgettable orientation experience!

Welcoming new Marauder’s is our favourite time of the year. The weather’s warm and student excitement is building. We know that starting university can be just as nerve-wracking as it is exciting, especially if you’re nervous about academic expectations or even just leaving home for the very first time. Don’t worry, though. We’ve got you covered with our McMaster Orientation programs and services.

Welcome Week

Welcome Week takes place Saturday, August 25, 2018 to Saturday, September 1, 2018.

Welcome Week offers more than concerts and activities. It is an opportunity for incoming students to make friends, explore campus, get academic and emotional support from our staff and programs, grow as a Mac Marauder, and most importantly, an opportunity to make McMaster a home away from home.

To learn more, visit the Welcome Week website.


SSC Academics: First-Year Orientation

Photo of McMaster students in a classroom.

Prepare for university academics

Wednesday, August 1, 2018 OR Thursday, August 2, 2018

How do I take notes? What’s the best way to manage my time? How is university different from high school? Most students have questions about starting university academics. This academic preparation program is designed to give you the information you need to successfully transition into university studies.

Registration opens on Tuesday, July 3, 2018.

SSC Academics: Online (formerly called SOAR)

Have questions about University?

Monday, July 16, 2018 to Friday, August 10, 2018

Do you have questions about starting university? SSC Academics: Online will help prepare you for school by answering your questions and introducing you to the skills you will need to be successful. Join us from home as we discuss university academics through videos, short articles, and personal reflections.

Starting Monday, July 16, this program will feature regular content. No registration is required!

Thanks again for all you are doing to help our students! I have heard many positive comments about your workshops and some of our students are already applying some of what they have learned. That's the mark of success!

McMaster University Faculty Member

MOOSE Program

Make Orientation an Adventure

Monday, August 27, 2018 to Thursday, August 30, 2018

Take on the outdoors with other students in your faculty on our four-day trip and orientation program. The McMaster Outdoor Orientation Student Experience (MOOSE) program includes a two-night stay at Camp Arowhon and a one-night camping trip in Algonquin Provincial Park.


To help you succeed at university life through a mentored, outdoor experience.

Registration for 2018 opens on Friday, June 1.

Stay informed about the MOOSE Adventure

We encourage students from every faculty to register for this unique Welcome Week experience. Because the entire Orientation Levy fee that MOOSE participants pay to participate in Welcome Week goes directly towards MOOSE program costs, the cost to participate in MOOSE is only $20, plus an $80 participation bond that is refunded to you once you participate in the trip. Orientation Levy fees, as well as support from the Student Success Centre and McMaster Outdoor Recreation, cover the costs of transportation, meals, and programming costs, including a one-night stay at Camp Arowhon and a two-night camping trip in Algonquin Provincial Park, altogether valued at $435.

A limited number of spaces are available to first-year students at the cost of $20; however, a wait list will also be created for interested students.

Registration opens on Friday, June 1 and is on OSCARplus – Search ‘Special Events’. Activate your OSCARplus account with your MacID username and password.  Questions about MOOSE, contact

Photo from MOOSE Orientation program.

Got into MOOSE? What you need to know.


  • Meals: Please tell us if you have any allergies or dietary restrictions so that we can accommodate your needs. You can provide this information to trip organizers by calling 905.525.9140 extension 26384.
  • Gear: We will supply you with what you need, including packs and camping equipment! We will also send out packing lists, including proper clothing. NOTE: You must make sure to bring clothing, a sleeping bag, and sleeping mat. Don’t have one? Don’t worry. You can borrow from the McMaster University Outdoor club upon request. Contact us for the details.

Duke of Edinburgh Program

Differentiate yourself from the job market by signing up for the Duke of Edinburgh Program, a life-skills program offered in 140 different countries. The MOOSE program will provide you with many opportunities to fulfill the Duke of Edinburgh’s “adventurous journey” requirement. Learn more on the Duke of Edinburgh Award program’s guidelines page.


MOOSE’s activities follow the McMaster University Health and Safety guidelines. We outline all of the potential risks on our waivers, and ensure our staff the review medical forms of our participants. MOOSE leaders are also CPR- and First Aid-certified, and many of our coordinators have Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness Advanced First Aid certifications.

McMaster Outdoor Recreation has been organizing and leading canoe trips of this size for the past fifteen years. Parents/Guardians will receive an emergency contact sheet prior to the trip should they need to make contact with a participant.

Common Reading Program

Students at the Common Reading Program Open House.

Have a Common Experience

The McMaster Common Reading Program is a valuable opportunity to share a common reading experience with future classmates and friends prior to arriving on-campus in the fall. Students registered in this orientation program will participate in online discussions and reflections about the emerging themes related to university life. This year’s selection is to be confirmed.


Get inspired with IRIS

IRIS (Inspiration, Reflection, Integrity, Success) is a drama program that works through challenges you might experience during your first year. From social pressures to academic challenges and issues of self-confidence, IRIS offers on- and off-campus support through a theatre production written, directed, scored and performed by your peers.

Get with the FLOW: Fall Learning and Orientation Weeks

Photo of a student taking a selfie with Senator McMaster.

Orientation Doesn’t End with Welcome Week!

September to October 2018

Continue your orientation and transition during the first 5 weeks on-campus through our Fall Learning and Orientation Weeks (FLOW). Register for our focused workshops and seminars, and participate online through our social media channels.


Get more support by booking a 30-minute advising appointment through OSCARplus. You can also drop-in at the Student Success Centre (GH110) to learn more about your options.