Frequently Asked Questions

What is orientation?
Orientation is registration for all new degree-seeking students at Southern Miss. You’ll meet with an academic adviser to create your class schedule, in addition to learning other essential information about becoming a student at Southern Miss.

Is orientation mandatory?
Yes. Orientation is mandatory for all new degree-seeking students at Southern Miss. You must attend an orientation session in order to register for classes. If you cannot attend orientation due to an extenuating circumstance, please contact the Office of Admissions as soon as possible.

How long will orientation last?
Freshman Orientation is a two-day (overnight) event, and families should plan to be on campus through mid-afternoon of Day 2. Transfer Orientation is a one-day event, and students should plan to be on campus for approximately four hours after their check-in time. 

Will I meet with an academic adviser during orientation?
Due to the large group of students participating in each orientation event, the primary focus during orientation is to create your class schedule for the upcoming semester.  You may be advised as a part  of a group or one-on-one; experiences vary by department.  However, please be reassured that as you continue here at Southern Miss, you will have many opportunities to receive individual attention from faculty in your academic department and obtain advice and guidance on your academics and career plans.

What if I haven’t been admitted yet to Southern Miss? Can I still attend orientation?
While you can certainly register to attend orientation and reserve your spot, you do have to be admitted to Southern Miss prior to attending orientation. The Office of Admissions can assist you with getting admitted to Southern Miss prior to your orientation session. Students who are not admitted on the day of their scheduled orientation will not be allowed to participate in orientation.

What if I can't attend any of the scheduled orientation sessions?
If you are unable to attend any of the scheduled orientation sessions, please contact the Office of Admissions as soon as possible for guidance and instructions.  Please note that students can only be excused from orientation due to an extentuating circumstance.

I have been readmitted to Southern Miss or am seeking my second bachelor’s degree. Do I have to attend orientation?
No.  The Office of Admissions will instruct you on advisement and registration.

I will be an online student. Do I have to attend orientation?
If you plan to be an online student, you do not have to attend orientation. However, you should contact the Office of Admissions at 601.266.5000 for guidance on advisement and registration for classes.

I am transferring from another college, but I am classified as a freshman. Do I attend a freshman orientation session or a transfer orientation session?
Although you may be classified as a freshman, you are transferring from another college and are thus technically considered a transfer student. You should register to attend a transfer orientation session.

Is it possible to change my orientation date?
You may change your orientation date provided that space at another orientation session is still available. There is no charge for making this change. You can change your orientation reservation online by clicking "Sign up for Orientation" and logging back into the orientation reservation form.

I have a disability. What accommodations can be made for me at orientation?
If special assistance or auxiliary aids are needed to accommodate a disability, please contact the Office of Admissions at 601.266.5000 or admissions@usm.edu to discuss accommodations at least one week prior to your orientation session.

I have difficulty walking long distances. Will I be able to fully participate in orientation?
Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions at 601.266.5000 or admissions@usm.edu to discuss accommodations at least one week prior to orientation in order to ensure full participation with no inconvenience.

My parents can’t come with me to orientation. Can I bring a friend?
You should only bring a friend or other family member in place of your parents so long as they plan on participating in parent activities during orientation (while you are engaged in student activities). If a friend attends with you, s/he would have to pay the guest fee and would be expected to attend parent/family activities during orientation. Please also note any parents, family members and friends accompanying you will not be allowed to participate in student activities during orientation.

My friend and I are signed up for the same orientation session. Can we be in the same group?
Each student is assigned to a small group so that you will meet new faces and make new friends. It’s in your best interest to stay with the small group that you are placed in at check-in. Don’t worry – you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see your friend again throughout the event.

I want to change my major. Can I do that at orientation?
You are strongly encouraged to notify us that you want to change your major before orientation.  You can change your major by contacting the Office of Admissions at 601.266.5000.

What can I expect during my academic advisement session?
You will receive individual attention from a faculty or staff member in your major area of study.  Academic advisement will prepare you to choose courses and to create a class schedule that fits into your academic plan at Southern Miss.

Can my parents go with me to academic advisement?
Orientation is meant to be an independent experience for students. It’s important that you understand the requirements of your academic major since your success is ultimately up to you. For that reason, you’ll go to your academic advisement session on your own. Your parents will have opportunities to have any questions about your academics answered during orientation activities.

Will I be able to meet with Financial Aid during orientation?
Yes. Representatives from Financial Aid will be available to answer individual questions at each orientation session.

Can I tour a residence hall during orientation?
Yes, residence hall tours are offered during orientation. If you are unable to take a tour during your orientation session or would like to schedule a separate tour, contact the Office of Admissions at 601.266.5000.

When will I be notified of my housing assignment?
Students generally receive their housing assignments in July prior to the start of the fall semester. You should not assume that you will find out your housing assignment at orientation. If you have any questions or concerns about your housing assignment, you will have an opportunity to speak with representatives from Residence Life during your orientation session. For further information and details about your housing assignment, please contact Residence Life directly at 601.266.4783.

I don’t know my SOAR login or password. Who can help me?
Your SOAR login is a lower-case “w” and your 6-digit Southern Miss ID number (ex: w123456). If you cannot locate the temporary SOAR password that was assigned to you when you applied for admission or if you need to reset your password, click here to reset your password or contact the iTech Help Desk at 601.266.HELP for assistance.