Honors Orientation and Student Development

One substantial benefit to being a student in The Honors College is participating in our comprehensive orientation and development program. Through this program, honors students learn many of the skills that will make them successful students and developing scholars at UAlbany. It also provides the initial opportunity for honors students to begin forming a community with their roommates, suitemates, and hallmates in honors housing.

Honors students attend two orientations during the summer--a university-wide freshmen orientation (in June or July) and our own Honors College orientation (in August, just before the semester starts).  

University-wide Freshman Orientation

Orientation and Transition Programs facilitates the transition of new students by encouraging the exploration of opportunities, supporting connections to University resources, promoting a sense of pride in the University and partnering with parents and families. These dates are posted on the UAlbany website (https://www.albany.edu/orientation/78021.php). This program is designed to help students as they transition to the social, cultural and academic aspects of the university. UAlbany partners with family members during this exciting time in their student's life to assist them in understanding the experience their students are embarking upon. Entering a new community of scholars can be stressful and we're excited to connect students with resources that will aid in their success at the University at Albany.

During Summer Orientation, you will:
•   Meet with your Academic Advisor, finalize your class schedule, and receive academic information that will assist you at the start of classes.
•   Attend informational sessions to learn about involvement on campus, applied learning opportunities, healthy behaviors, how to succeed academically at UAlbany, and much more!
•   Become familiar with classrooms and facilities.
•   Receive your SUNYCard student ID.
•   Meet new classmates, faculty and staff.
•   Connect with an Orientation Leader and learn what it means to be a Great Dane!
•   A special program for honors students and their parents is held at the two-day Summer Orientation. Incoming honors freshmen are housed together, giving them the opportunity to start making friends with other honors students. At the end of the first day, the Dean meets with the parents of the honors students and holds a question-and-answer session. This gives parents a chance to get to know each other and helps to relieve their anxiety - all questions will be answered!

Honors College Orientation

Incoming honors students move into their residence halls two days before other first-year students arrive on campus. Students are assigned to orientation groups, with each group led by a third-year honors student (a Person of Extraordinary Talent (POET)).  POETs help the new honors students learn about UAlbany and the Honors College, and many POETs have ongoing contact with the honors students in their group throughout the academic year.


After students move into their residence halls the first day, and parents and students attend the inaugural honors lecture, delivered by the Dean in the afternoon. The orientation groups gather for the first time after the lecture. Students and parents have dinner together and parents leave at 8:00PM. Each orientation group meets with their POET for “ice breaker” activities during the evening.

The second day involves a series of activities designed to introduce the new honors students to each other, to the UAlbany campus, and the the city of Albany. During a scavenger hunt in the morning, groups are given pictures of locations around campus and a hint to help them identify each place. They then wander around campus looking for these places. POETs are stationed at each location and each has a question about the UAlbany campus (more bonus points) and some have snacks. After lunch, groups rotate through three activities: a low-ropes course, a session on using technology at UAlbany, and a session with the Dean. Students eat dinner with their suitemates and are on their own after dinner.


The third day begins with bus tours to downtown Albany, led by the POETs. Students will either tour the Capitol, the NYS Museum, or the Corning Tower and Farmer's Market. In the afternoon, students will meet with their RAs in preparation for Convocation.