New Student Orientation Fall 2020

Your transition to UArts will be one of the most exciting and thought-provoking times of your life. We have created Orientation for new students around one simple idea—to help you transition so you will be more likely to succeed as a student-artist.

NSO will be a fun-filled and informative time for you and your fellow incoming students. At NSO, you'll learn about the university resources available that'll help you be a successful student-artist, learn strategies for navigating virtual learning and get to know your new classmates and faculty.

The UArts NSO experience is particularly exciting for students thanks to the wisdom and enthusiasm of our student staff. The First Year Guides (FYGs) are a group of our best and brightest upperclassmen who work around the clock to make the NSO experience stress-free, fun and full of useful insider information.

Be sure to save the following dates for Spring 2021 New Student Orientation:

  • Virtual Orientation: Jan. 19-24
  • Classes Begin: Jan. 25

Make sure to check your UArts email for the most up-to-date information about New Student Orientation. 

If you have any questions about the New Student Orientation schedule, please contact the Office of Campus Life at 215-717-6144 or

All newly enrolled graduate students will attend the New Graduate Student Orientation. Learn more about New Graduate Student Orientation.

New Student Orientation Fall 2020


Virtual Orientation Schedule

Virtual Orientation is scheduled for Jan. 19-24. It will consist of materials we will ask you to read and review in your online Orientation classroom and some live Zoom presentations as well as small group meetings with your Orientation group and opportunities to get to know other new students. If you cannot attend one of the live Zoom sessions, you can view it in your Orientation classroom at your convenience.  We ask that all virtual orientation materials be completed before the first day of classes on Jan. 24.


Virtual Orientation Live Zoom Presentation Schedule

Welcome and Overview of New Student Orientation, 3 p.m. EST
During this session, new students will be welcomed to UArts and will: 

  • Get an overview of the virtual Orientation schedule
  • Get to know your First Year Guide (FYG) and meet your Orientation group!

Opening Act, 7 p.m. EST
Opening Act is a unique welcome convocation for all new and incoming students in celebration of joining our UArts community of artists, faculty and staff. Featured welcomes include President David Yager and your school's Dean. Highlighted are student performances and artwork as well as faculty welcomes, all of which make your UArts Opening Act a tradition not to be missed! 

UArts 101 & Canvas Basics, 1 p.m. EST
Get introduced to UArts curriculum, your core requirements and learn how to navigate Canvas, your virtual class platform. 

Program Welcome Meetings, 3 p.m. EST
Get to know the faculty and administrators in your program, become familiar with the curriculum for your major and get questions answered about your major or your classes.

Meet and Mingle, 7 p.m. EST
Meet some of your fellow UArtists during this Meet & Mingle! Everyone will be randomly paired with someone in a breakroom and they will have a limited amount of time to answer a question broadcasted to all participants by the moderators.

Thursday, Jan. 21

Life as a UArtist: Support and Resources for Navigating UArts, 1 p.m. EST
Learn about the services and resources available to support you throughout your time at UArts. Hear stories about how others have utilized these resources and how they've positively impacted their experience on campus. 

Orientation Group Catch Up, 4:30 p.m. EST
Get to know the folx in your Orientation group, play virtual games, and build bonds that will last throughout your time at UArts!

Quizzo, 7:00 p.m. EST
Do you know a lot of fun facts? Do you have a competitive side? Come join us for Quizzo and work with fellow UArtists to answer questions about UArts, Philly and other intriguing topics.

Orientation Group Catch Up, 12:00 p.m. EST
Get to know the folx in your Orientation group, play virtual games, and build bonds that will last throughout your time at UArts!

Game Night, 7 p.m. EST
Get to know some other UArtists at this virtual game night. 



Get ready to begin your time at UArts by completing these items before Orientation.

  • Set up your UArts email account and check it frequently for Orientation updates.
  • Upload a current photo for your Student ID by Jan 15.
  • Complete and return the Medical History, Immunization forms and Health Waiver forms by Dec. 15.
  • Review and pay your spring 2021 tuition bill.
  • Register for classes. Look for an email to your UArts account in from the Registrar’s Office for instructions on registration.
  • Create your UArts CONNECT profile so you can start to network with and get to know the rest of the UArts community.
  • Participate in Virtual Orientation starting Jan. 19. Check your UArts email for details.
  • Download the UArts app on your phone.
  • Review your program's web page to learn about your major and its academic requirements so you can be prepared for your academic advising meeting at NSO.
  • Review the JumpStart resource guide to learn about resources at UArts!
  • Get excited to be a part of UArts!

Have questions about any of these items? Contact

Review the JumpStart resource guide to get familiar with resources and support at UArts. Use this guide throughout your first year to learn what's available to you at UArts, who to contact for support, and ways you can get involved. 

Download JumpStart 2020–2021

Meet the Orientation Team

Get to know the people who are organizing Orientation. If you have questions about Orientation, resources or getting involved on campus, reach out to this team and they will help!

Kristen Burkett

Senior Director for Student Engagement

Meet Kristen

Kaitlin Manion

New Student Programming Coordinator

Meet Kaitlin

Jheri Wills

Diversity and Inclusion Programming Coordinator

Meet Jheri

Ryan Hopely

Campus & Commuter Life Coordinator

Meet Ryan

Get to know the First Year Guides (FYGs) 

FYGs welcome new students during Orientation and serve as a resource for new students while they transition to UArts. During Virtual Orientation, each new student is assigned to an Orientation group with a few other new UArts students led by a FYG. New students get to know their FYG throughout Orientation and their FYG will be there to answer questions, host virtual events and help everyone in their FYG group get connected at UArts. Get to know all of our FYGs by looking through their profiles below!

Emilia Amador '21 (Acting)
Emilia Amador


Theater - Acting (BFA)
Jenna Cohen ’21 (Photo & Film Media)
Jenna Cohen

'21 (Photo & Film Media)

Raychel Curry '22 (Graphic Design)
Raychel Curry


Graphic Design (BFA)
Natalie Devlin '22 (Dance)
Natalie Devlin


Dance (BFA)
Gianna DiMatteo ’23 (Game Art)
Gianna DiMatteo


Game Art (BFA)
Ada Fujita '22 (Dance)
Ada Fujita


Dance (BFA)
Paris Gray ’23 (Dance)
Paris Gray


Dance (BFA)
Hailey Jackson ’23 (Photography)
Hailey Jackson


Photography (BFA)
Mattea Jones-Lloyd ’22 (Vocal Performance)
Mattea Jones-Lloyd


Music - Vocal Performance (BM)
Sofia Marchese ’23 (Musical Theater)
Sofia Marchese


Theater - Musical Theater (BFA)
A headshot of Shaurice McCaster
Shaurice McCaster


Dance (BFA)
Kashaun McGhee ’23 (Acting)
Kashaun McGhee


Theater - Acting (BFA)
Rachel Orji ’23 (Dance)
Rachel Orji


Dance (BFA)
Mik Phillips ’21 (Dance)
Mik Phillips


Dance (BFA)
A headshot of Kashmire Autumn Reed '22 (Musical Theater)
Kashmir Autumn Reed


Theater - Musical Theater (BFA)
Sophie Smyczek ’22 (Theater Design & Technology)
Sophie Smyczek


Theater Design & Technology (BFA)
A headshot of Kyle Solomon
Kyle Solomon


Illustration (BFA)
Gracie Spina ’21 (Dance)
Gracie Spina


Dance (BFA)
Madison Stephens ’23 (Musical Theater)
Madison Stephens


Theater - Musical Theater (BFA)
Katie Szykman '23 (Dance)
Katie Szykman


Dance (BFA)
Bailee Varner ’23 (Dance)
Bailee Varner


Dance (BFA)
Lex Vautrin ’22 (Dance)
Lex Vautrin


Dance (BFA)

Orientation Coordinators

Christina Carelli ’21 (Acting)
Christina Carelli


Theater - Acting (BFA)
Alexia Correa ’21 (Musical Theater)
Alexia Correa


Theater - Musical Theater (BFA)
Chae Harris ’22 (Vocal Performance and MBET)
Chae Harris

'22 (Vocal Performance & MBET)

Cianon Jones ’21 (Acting)
Cianon Jones


Theater - Acting (BFA)

Do I have to complete Virtual Orientation?
Yes! Virtual Orientation is mandatory. Students are required to review all Virtual Orientation materials. If you cannot attend one of the live Zoom sessions, you can view it in your Orientation Canvas classroom at your convenience. We ask that all virtual orientation materials be completed before the first day of classes on Jan. 25. 
Is there an Orientation for parents, family or support systems? 
Yes, we are hosting a virtual orientation for parents, families and support systems. This virtual Zoom session is designed for parents, families, and student support systems to learn about campus resources that are available to students. We'll discuss the best ways they can support their students in their transition to UArts. This event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 16 at 11 a.m. EST. Links will be provided via email. 
Do I need to sign up for Orientation or pay a fee?
No. As Orientation is mandatory for everyone, you are already "signed up." There is no additional fee for Orientation.
When will I receive my class schedule?
New students register for classes at different times depending on the program of the student and their enrollment status. Although some new students may not register until Orientation, all new students can expect to receive information from the Office of the Registrar by December or early January about registering for classes. The Office of the Registrar sends all registration information to UArts email accounts only. Be sure to check your University email account regularly.

How do I get involved with the UArts community?
Learn more about how to get involved with the UArts community by visiting the student activities and organizations page.

We believe that student support systems are vital partners to UArts in helping our students navigate their college experience, and we are excited to welcome you to our UArts community. On this page you’ll find information about our virtual orientation session designed for student support systems and you’ll learn how to stay connected to everything that’s happening at UArts.

New students check in with a First Year Guide at Orientation.

Supporting Your UArtist: Jan. 16 11 a.m. EST 
This virtual Zoom session is designed for parents, families, and student support systems to learn about university resources that are available to your students. We'll discuss the best ways you can support your student in their transition to UArts.

Your student will receive a link for the Zoom session via email, so ask them to share it with you if you’d like to attend. If you miss it, email to get a copy of a recording of the presentation.

Stay connected
Sign up to receive updates from UArts through our email newsletter for student support systems, Generations. Here, we’ll share important dates, University news, campus resource information, and advice and insight from other current UArts parents and families. 

Get to Know University Resources
Get to know the university resources available to your student by reviewing the JumpStart resource guide. In addition to listing the various offices and resources that are available to your student, there is also a helpful parent and family section with FAQs and information on supporting your student.

Get involved
Consider becoming a member of the Parent Council, a group of current and past UArts parents dedicated to advancing the University’s educational mission through fundraising and fostering awareness among all parents of the needs and programs of the school. The Council is also dedicated to expanding the career network available to UArts students and alumni.