freshman learning about what USC Upstate has to offer on campus

First Time in College Orientation

First Time in College (age 20 or younger)

All new freshman students under the age of 20 are required to attend one of the two-day programs. Dates are offered according to your intended major. Day one of the two-day program includes a full day of information sessions for students and parents, lunch, advisement and activities. Day two includes breakfast, sessions for students and registration. All freshmen age 20 and under are required to stay overnight during OAR. For more information, check out the Freshman OAR FAQ below.

First Time in College - Non-Traditional (age 21 and older)

Non-traditional freshmen will attend transfer orientation, advisement, and registration. These events are designed specifically for students transferring to USC Upstate from other institutions and for non-traditional freshmen. You will meet with an academic advisor who will help you choose the best courses for you to meet your educational goals. You will also register for your first semester at USC Upstate. OAR is also an opportunity to learn everything you will need to prepare yourself for your first semester at USC Upstate, including information about campus services and organizations, financial aid and fee payment.


2020 Freshman Summer OAR Dates (held at the Spartanburg campus)

Professional Majors and Undeclared

If you see your major in the list below, select the date you would like to attend orientation to reserve your spot. Check in begins at 8:30 a.m.

Monday & Tuesday June 8-9
Monday & Tuesday July 13-14
Thursday & Friday July 23-24
Monday & Tuesday August 17-18

Professional and Undeclared Majors

Business - Accounting
Business - Economics/Finance
Business - General Business
Business - Logistics & Supply Chain Management
Business - Management
Business - Marketing
Child Development & Family Studies
Early Childhood Education
Elementary Education
Exercise & Sport Science
Middle Level Education
Physical Ed - Teacher Education
Pre-Occupational Therapy
Pre-Physical Therapy
Secondary Ed - Biology
Secondary Ed - Chemistry
Secondary Ed - English
Secondary Ed - Mathematics
Secondary Ed - Social Studies/History
Secondary Education - Spanish
Special Ed - Learning Disabilities
Undeclared Major

Science/Technology, Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Undeclared

If you see your major in the list below, select the date you would like to attend orientation to reserve your spot. Check in begins at 8:30 a.m.

Thursday & Friday

June 11-12

Thursday & Friday

July 16-17

Thursday & Friday

July 23-24

Monday & Tuesday

August 17-18


Art Education
Art Studio - Graphic Design
Biology – Pre Dental
Biology – Pre Med
Biology – Pre- Optometry
Biology – Pre- Pharmacy
Biology – Pre- Physician Assistant
Biology – Pre- Veterinarian
CIS Networking and Information Security
Commercial Music
Communication - Communication Studies
Communication - Mass Media
Communication - Public Relations
Computer Information Systems
Computer Science
Criminal Justice
Health Informatics
Information Management & Systems
Interdisciplinary Studies BA
Interdisciplinary Studies BS
Political Science
Undeclared Major

Freshman OAR FAQ

Freshman OAR Frequently Asked Questions

What will I do at Orientation?
During Orientation you will:

  • Plan your academic program with the help of an advisor
  • Register for classes
  • Discover a wide variety of student activities and services
  • Tour the campus
  • Receive training needed to register for classes online
  • Meet with representatives from financial aid
  • Receive advisement testing results
  • Meet other incoming students and continuing students

Is there a fee for OAR?
$25 will be added to bill

When should I arrive?
Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. on day one in the URC (University Readiness Center). Students must stay the entire time and all freshmen (under the age of 20) are required to stay overnight. Day two usually ends around 1 p.m.

Do my parents need to attend Orientation?
Parents are always welcome at OAR. Day one will include information sessions for parents and students, lunch, advisement and activities. A list of local area accommodations can be found on the Parents FAQ tab.

Will I need to pay my fees while on campus?
Fall bills will be posted at the end of July. All fees must be paid in August to secure your class schedule, so those attending August Orientation will need to pay their fees at Orientation. The fee payment process will be explained thoroughly during Orientation.

What do I need to bring?
You must bring proper identification in order to verify your citizenship status (acceptable documents include: SC Driver's license if you began driving after Jan. 1, 2002; valid passport; birth certificate. If you are a married female student, you must present both a marriage license and a birth certificate). For more information, visit the Citizenship Verification PDF Document Download information page. All immunization forms PDF Document Download should also be brought to campus if you have not submitted them to Health Services prior to Orientation. Also make sure to refer to the overnight checklist for everything you'll need to stay overnight.

Are any tests required prior to Orientation?
All entering freshmen who have not completed a college-level math course or scored at least a 3 on a math Advanced Placement test must take advisement tests online prior to attending OAR. Results of the tests are used during academic advisement, which is an important part of the OAR program. Foreign language tests will be given during Orientation if you wish to place in a course beyond the 101 entry level.

Orientation Overnight Checklist

Freshmen under the age of 20 are required to stay overnight during OAR. Make sure you remember to bring these things for your stay at the Palmetto or Magnolia House.

  • Pillow(s)
  • Twin sheets or sleeping bag and blanket
  • Towels for shower
  • Toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothbrush/paste, etc.)
  • Bathing suit and towel (in case you feel like taking a dip in the indoor swimming pool)
  • Tennis shoes, shorts, T-shirt, etc. (if you plan on participating in the outdoor activities or want to try out the Wellness Center)
  • Change of clothes for Day Two of OAR
  • Extra cash in case you want to purchase snacks, T-shirts, or other Upstate stuff!
Orientation FAQ for Parents

The best way to discover where and how your son or daughter will spend the next few years of his or her life is to attend USC Upstate’s Parent Orientation, a program designed to help parents learn what to expect from the freshman year of college. If you have any additional questions, you can email us at We’ll be glad to help you. 

During orientation you will:

  • discover the variety of student services that will help your student be successful in college
  • meet faculty, staff and administrators
  • tour the campus and various support facilities
  • discuss the developmental transitions that occur during the freshman year

Schedule of events
Orientation begins for parents and students with check-in starting at 8:30 a.m. in the University Readiness Center. Parents and students will split up around 10:30 a.m. Parents will then meet with academic deans and hear presentations on financial aid/fee payment, housing, health services, student development, academic support, and career services. Lunch will be served for students and parents together.

After lunch, parents and students are invited to attend the University Fair from 3 to 5 p.m., and proceed to check-in at the Palmetto House and Magnolia House (all freshman are required to stay on campus overnight). A list of local accommodations is provided below for parents planning to travel to USC Upstate for Orientation.

Although there is no program scheduled for parents on day two of Orientation, students are required to attend. Day two includes registration for fall classes and will wrap up around 1 p.m.

Note: Students are required to take Math advisement testing before attending orientation.

Hey, parents! Do you have plans?
Looking for something to do in the Upstate while the soon-to-be freshmen are getting acquainted with USC Upstate? With all the great things to do in and around Spartanburg, it might be hard to know where to start. Here’s just a sampling:


  • Haywood Mall
    I-385 at Haywood Rd., Greenville, SC
  • Prime Factory Outlet, 1-888-545-7194
    I-85, Exit 90, Gaffney, SC
  • WestGate Mall
    U.S. 29 @ I-26, Spartanburg
  • Morgan Square, Downtown Spartanburg
    Various boutiques and shops


  • Carolina Panthers Training Camp
  • Cowpens National Battlefield, (864) 461-2828
    and Cowpens Depot, Museum & Civic Center
  • Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve
    (864) 574-7724 or
  • Chapman Cultural Center
    (864) 542-2787 or


  • Beacon Drive-In, 255 Reidville Road, (864) 585-9387
  • Fatz Cafe, 1925 Boiling Springs Road, (864) 599-7909
  • Olive Garden, 1498 W.O. Ezell Blvd, (864) 595-4885


  • Courtyard Marriott
    110 Mobile Drive, (864) 585-2400 21
  • Hampton Inn
    121 Traveller Drive, (864) 577-9080
  • Spartanburg Marriott at Renaissance Park
    299 North Church Street, (864) 596-1211
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites at WestGate Mall
    895 Spartan Blvd, (864) 699-7777

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