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Information for

New Student Orientation and Transitions

Welcome to Howard University!

New Student Orientation (NSO) is designed for all incoming first-year and transfer students. It introduces you to Howard University, where students and their families will have the opportunity to learn more about Howards’ academic and student support services and technology tools for academic success.

All new students are expected to participate and complete New Student Orientation.  New Student Orientation includes Bison PReP (Virtual Summer Orientation) and Bison Week (Fall Orientation).  Our hope is that you and your family have a seamless transition to Howard University and becoming a part of the Bison family! If you have any further questions or concerns pertaining to New Student Orientation, please email us at

NSO Bison Week Fall 2020 - Save the Date.jpg

We are currently experiencing technical issues with Virtual Orientation and are working with our support team to fix this issue. We apologize in advance for any issues this may have caused.

New Student Resources

Fall 2020 NSO Booklet


This booklet will help navigate new students through orientation by providing important dates, information and list of activities to be completed before arriving in the fall.

First-Year StudentsTransfer Students

Fall 2020 NSO Booklet


This booklet will help navigate parents and families through orientation by providing important dates and information needed for you and your child to have a seamless transition to HU.

Parents and Families



The Student Health Center is committed to creating a seamless transition through meeting your medical requirements, so please review the information on our page very carefully.  

Click here to visit Student Health Website!

Placement Exams & Transcripts


All New students are required to take our placement testing. These tests help the university assure you are enrolled in your correct classes! 

TranscriptsHU Placement Exams Advanced Placement Exam and Credit Equivalencies

Howard University Virtual Tour

Campus Tour

Explore the Campus Virtual Tour as you please, choosing the subjects and points that interest you. You may proceed systematically; or browse the site, entering the Tour at any point, leaving, then returning at your convenience.

Get Access, Here!

Hotel Accommodations


We encourage visitors to use the CTM Visitor Travel Portal to book their hotel reservations with our hotel partners to save money and support Howard University.

Need Accommodations? Click Here

Office of Residence Life - HU Housing & Residence Life will provide safe, inclusive, and secure residential communities where a diverse and innovative team of professionals encourages students to pursue academic excellence, personal growth, civic leadership, and responsibility.

Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) - ETS provides IT resources to support exceptional educational experiences for Howard students, faculty and staff.

Financial Aid - We offer a wide variety of methods of payment and financial assistance programs to students who, without such assistance, would not be able to attend a university.

Office of Student Life & Activities - We strive to create a student-centered environment that supports the achievement of academic, professional and personal goals while promoting civility, respect, integrity and equity.

Office of Student Services - We create an academic and socially accessible environment in three critical areas: Disability Services, Veteran Affairs and Judicial Affairs.

Department of Public Safety - The primary duties of the officers of HU-DPS are to ensure compliance with Howard University regulations and policies adopted by the Howard University Board of Trustees, as well as the enforcement of applicable District of Columbia Codes and Municipal Regulations within its jurisdiction.

University Counseling Service The University Counseling Service (UCS) provides a full range of psychological and training services that appropriately addresses the varying levels of need for our student community.

Office of Off-Campus Housing & Community Engagement - The OCHCE provides rewarding, experiential learning and growth experiences reflective of the University's core values of Truth, Excellence, Leadership and Service.


1. What is New Student Orientation?​

  • New Student Orientation is comprised of two main components: Bison PReP and Bison Week.  Bison PReP is our Online Summer Orientation where students and their families will have the opportunity to learn more about Howards’ academic and student support services and tools for academic success.

  • Bison Week begins the week prior to the start of your fall 2020 semester for all new students. You will actively participate in a wide array of activities virtually and in-person to ensure you have a seamless and successful transition into Howard and the greater Washington, DC area.

2. Do I have to take the Math Placement Exam (MPE)?

  • Yes, all incoming first-year students will take the Math Placement Exam either in the summer or in the fall based upon their School/College and major.  All students in School of Business College of Engineering and Architecture, College of Nursing and Allied Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences (Natural Sciences, HHPL and Math majors only) will take their math placement exam in the summer.  These Colleges and majors require the completion of a math course in your first semester at the University.  All other students will take their math placement exam in the fall and complete a math course in their second or third semester at the University.

3. How will New Student Orientation programs be impacted by the response to COVID-19?

  • The University continues to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus.  In response to the COVID-19, the University transitioned to a distant learning environment for the duration of the spring 2020 semester and will continue throughout the summer.  Bison PreP, our summer online orientation will be offered through our New Student Orientation website.

4. What do I need complete Bison PReP?

  • Students will need access to the internet and access to a computer, tablet or cell phone to complete Bison Prep and other orientation task by July 31, 2020.​​

5. Can I change my major?

  • No. The University policy does not permit incoming first-year students to change their major until Spring 2020 semester

6. When will I know what classes I will be taking in the fall?  How many classes will I take in my first semester?

  • Students will be able to view and print their fall 2020 semester course schedule from Bison Web starting June 1, 2020.  All first-year students will take a minimum of 15 credit hours (5 or 6 courses).  A typical first-year first semester course schedule will consist of the following:  Freshmen Seminar course, English course, Introductory Major course, Afro-Cluster course, and Elective courses (2).

7. Who do I contact if I am having technical difficulties?

8. Have additional questions relating to Orientation?



NSO Fee - All new undergraduate students are assessed a one-time, mandatory New Student Fee of $200 for their first semester of enrollment. It is nonrefundable and charged to your tuition bill. You are not required to pay this fee upfront in order to attend Bison Prep.

This fee includes student attendance to Bison Prep, programming for new students, Bison Week activities, resources, placement exams and university publications.