Get Ready for College!
Incoming first-year students for fall 2020 need to complete our Commit form to sign up for an orientation date.
Living on campus? You'll also need to complete the First-Year Housing Contract and submit your deposit..
And, make sure you've checked off the remaining items on our Admitted Student Checklist.
Two-day orientations begin with check-in from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the first day and send by noon on the second day.
One-day orientations begin at 8 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.
Detailed schedules will be posted here in the spring.
Do any hotels give a discount when visiting SAU?
Mention SAU for possible discounts. The majority of hotels are within 10-15 minutes of campus. See our location page for more details.
Will my parents be with me during class selection?
Parents and students are not together during this time. However, parents will have the opportunity to meet with an advisor and ask questions.
Do I need pens, pencils, or notepad?
Pens and notepads are provided.
I'll plan to work on campus, what do I need to bring for my meeting with the Career Center?
You must bring your driver's license and social security card with you to orientation. Before you are allowed to start your work study or temporary job, we must have your documents scanned into our system. If your driver's license is expired, it will not be accepted. A certified birth certificate (from the courthouse) can be used in place of the social security card. A current passport can take the place of a driver's license and social security card/birth certificate. Only original ID forms will be accepted (no copies, faxes or scans).
Can parents come to some, but not all, of the sessions?
Yes. Parents and guests are welcome and encouraged to attend all sessions, except for the one on one advising session.
If I find a roommate, how can I let the Residence Life Office know?
There are forms to complete in the Dean of Students and Residence Life offices at orientation (both offices are in the Rogalski Center).
Can guests other than my parents attend orientation?
We ask that you limit it to three guests (in addition to the student).
What should I wear?
Dress is casual. We recommend a light jacket and umbrella if the weather calls for rain.
Where do we park?
Parking is available in the Rogalski Center lot and no permit is needed (campus map).
When do I get my student ID?
You'll have your ID photo taken and receive your student ID card at Orientation.
Will I be able to go over Financial Aid and set up a payment plan?
Each student and parent has an individual appointment with a financial aid representative. This is a scheduled part of the day, and separate appointments do not need to be made. Payment plan options also will be covered. Financial Aid assistance is located in our Bee Central office on the first floor of Ambrose Hall.
Advising and registering for classes are hot topics at orientation. Here are some answers to the questions we get asked the most.
1. What will happen during my Orientation?
Our primary goal for Orientation is to help you understand SAU's curriculum requirements, and with the assistance of an academic advisor, help you select an appropriate course schedule based on your expected major, general education requirements, as well as your other interests.
You will be assigned an academic advisor who will lead you step-by-step through the decision-making process of selecting courses for the upcoming semester.
2. Will my parents/guests be allowed to help me register for classes?
Students will meet one-on-one with an academic advisor for their registration session, and their parents/guests will be engaged in a separate activity during that time. We feel that this is in the students' best interest so that they can begin to take ownership of their plan of study and class schedule early in their college career. This also allows students to begin forming a relationship with faculty members and/or professional advising staff before ever stepping into a classroom at SAU!
3. How will I know what classes to register for?
During your registration session, your assigned advisor will help you to understand the general education requirements at SAU, as well as the appropriate classes to get you started on your major. As far as selecting classes, your academic advisor will gather information from you about your interests and goals, and provide you with direction in deciding which classes to take. Academic advisors are well prepared to advise students in all areas of study at SAU.
4. Will I be able to change my schedule after orientation?
Absolutely! If for any reason you want to change your schedule, you will have access to SAU's online registration system to drop/add classes. You will also be given the name and contact information for the Academic Advising Office if you need assistance after your registration day.
5. Do I have to know what my Major is before I come to orientation?
Absolutely not! If you do, that's fine. If you don't, that's fine too. You will be encouraged to explore SAU's majors during your freshman year. You may have an area of study in mind, but you may not be familiar with some of the majors SAU offers. We want you to take time during your freshman year to discover what we offer and determine which program best suits your academic goals. You won't do this alone; the Freshman Advising Program is designed to provide you with structure and support throughout this process.
6. What are General Education requirements?
The General Education curriculum is required of all students who graduate from SAU, regardless of their major. At a liberal arts college, General Education promotes the knowledge, skills, habits of mind, and commitments needed to lead a life of personal fulfillment, professional achievement, and public service. SAU's General Education curriculum gives you a high degree of freedom, innovation, and choice to select courses of interest. General Education courses are taken throughout your four years at SAU. These requirements will be explained in more detail at Orientation.
7. Do I need to fulfill a foreign language requirement?
YES! There are two ways to fulfill SAU's foreign language requirement:
a. Complete a minimum of three years of the same foreign language in high school.
b. Take a two-semester sequence in college (for example, Spanish 101 and 102).
If you have completed the requirement and wish to continue your study in Spanish, French, or German, you will be required to complete a placement exam prior to your orientation. You will be given the opportunity to indicate your interest at the end of the exam.
8. Do I have to take English and Math placement exams?
SAU places students into appropriate level English and math courses using their ACT or SAT scores. You will receive your placements during Orientation.
9. What are course prerequisites?
A course prerequisite is any class you need to complete before taking another course. This ensures you have a solid base of knowledge and skills in certain classes prior to registering for them.
For example, SPAN 101: First Semester Spanish is the prerequisite for SPAN 102: Second Semester Spanish.
Not all courses have prerequisites; your advisor at Orientation will assist you identifying which courses do. Additionally, the Course Catalog specifies in the course description which courses have prerequisites.
10. What can I do to ease my transition from high school to college?
Regardless of high school preparation, the transition to college presents challenges for all new students. SAU provides you with the opportunity to make that adjustment easier by enrolling in a New Student Seminar (NSS) course which blends academic study, transition activities, and personal attention from a faculty/staff mentor. NSS is a 1-credit course – recommended for all freshmen in their first semester – that integrates the learning, experiences, and resources that will provide a sound foundation for success at SAU.
NSS gives you the opportunity to:
• Participate in a community of learners intentionally designed to support your successful transition to college
• Make links between your learning in and out of the classroom
• Develop an awareness of the academic expectations and support resources at SAU
• Discuss issues related to your first-year experience with your peers, a peer leader, and a faculty mentor
• Become familiar with opportunities for involvement on campus and in the community
11. What does a typical First Year schedule look like?
All class schedules vary depending on the individual needs and goals of each student. A freshman schedule usually consists of 14-16 credits (typically 4-5 classes). Generally, students take Written/Oral Communication (3 cr.), Philosophy/Theology (3 cr.), Information Literacy (1 cr.), Wellness Concepts (1 cr.), New Student Seminar (1 cr.), Quantitative Reasoning (3 cr.) and another class (possibly another general education requirement, or the introductory course in a major that you're considering) as determined by the student and the advisor.
A good rule of thumb is that for each credit hour a student registers for, that is approximately how many hours the student will spend in a classroom in a given week. So, you will only be in class for approximately 14-16 hours each week. Don't let that number fool you, though! Students typically need to study 3 hours for each hour in class, so your schedule will fill up quickly. Of course, it is important to still set aside time for things such as athletics, campus clubs/organizations, and outside interests so you experience the full richness of college life here at St. Ambrose!
12. What is the Honors Program and am I eligible to apply?
If you're seeking academic challenge beyond normal course offerings, as well as service opportunities and social activities, you'll want to participate in the Honors Program!
The Honors Program is open to students who have been accepted to St. Ambrose University pursuing any major. Core courses in the Honors Program fulfill general education requirements. Students are admitted to Honors I before Orientation and must fulfill certain eligibility requirements.
13. What do new students need to know about technology on the St. Ambrose Campus?
The Information Technology Department provides support and service for all faculty, staff, and student computing. IT maintains the integrity of the campus network by providing setup, troubleshooting, maintenance of student computer labs, and general network and desktop support. Service desk personnel are trained to help with network and Beeline password problems, as well as many other tasks related to everyday computer use. You can get help via the Service Desk at 563-333-6368.
14. What do I need to know about buying my textbooks once I register for classes?
Once you are registered for classes, you can view and purchase the textbooks that you need on the SAU Bookstore website. Or, you can stop by the Bookstore (located in the Rogalski Center) while you are on campus!