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 New Student Orientation:

  • Virtual Orientation: Aug. 24–30
  • Classes Begin: Aug. 31

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 Aug. 24–30. It will consist of materials we will ask you to read and review in your online Orientation classroom and some live Zoom presentations. If you cannot attend one of the live Zoom sessions, you can view it in your Orientation classroom at your convenience. You’ll also get to know your Orientation group and First Year Guide, and you’ll be invited to participate in our Community Channels—virtual social gatherings for students who hold similar identities or have similar interests. We ask that all virtual orientation materials be completed before the first day of classes on Aug. 31.


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
  • Learn how to navigate the UArts App and earn points for prizes for completing Orientation activities
  • 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!

Community Channel: Students with Disabilities, 1 p.m. est
This Community Channel provides space for students with both invisible and visible disabilities to feel empowered and comfortable before arriving on campus. Join the conversation to meet other students as well as learn about accommodations and accessibility resources.

UArts 101 & Canvas Basics, 3 p.m. est
Get introduced to UArts curriculum, your core requirements and learn how to navigate Canvas, your virtual class platform. 

Community Channel: Asian Pacific American/Asian Pacific Islander Students, 7 p.m. est
This Community Channel provides space for students who are Asian Pacific American and Asian Pacific Islander. Join the conversation to discuss and celebrate racial/ethnic specific experiences while also generating fellowship among others. 

Community Channel: Food, 1 p.m. est
This Community Channel will discuss all things food! Join the conversation to see easy food demonstrations and learn about our Philly favorites while making connections with other foodies!

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

Community Channel: Queer, Trans, and Non-Binary Students, 7 p.m. est
This Community Channel provides space for Queer, Trans, and Non-Binary students. Join the conversation to learn about navigating UArts and LGBTQ+ resources while establishing relationships with peers.

Orientation Group Catch Up, 8 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!

Thursday, Aug 27

Community Channel: First Generation College Students, 1 p.m. est
This Community Channel provides space for students who are the first in their families to attend college. Join the conversation to share your own experiences and goals in an affirming and empowering environment.

Life as a UArtist: Support and Resources for Navigating UArts, 3 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. 

Community Channel: Black Students, 7 p.m. est
This Community Channel provides space specifically for Black students. Join the conversation to share, discuss and celebrate lived experiences while also establishing relationships with peers. 

Community Channel: Fitness, 1 p.m. est
This Community Channel will discuss all things fitness! Join the conversation to learn more about virtual fitness classes, apps and other resources to help you with your fitness goals.

My Playlist: What Music Teaches Us About Equity and Social Justice, 3 p.m est
Music has had a major influence on our speaker, Eva Vega, as a diversity, equity and inclusion advocate and activist. It informs, inspires and motivates her to think deeply, critically and especially continue on in the struggle for social justice. This presentation will take you on a musical and intellectual journey sharing lessons and tips on how you can get into the work of creating equity and justice for all from your role as student and emerging creative.

Community Channel: Astrology, 7 p.m. est
This Community Channel will discuss all things astrology! Join the conversation to learn and discuss more about your signs and how they inform your personality. 

Community Channel: Latinx Students, 1 p.m. est
This Community Channel provides space specifically for Latinx students. Join the conversation to share, discuss and celebrate lived experiences while establishing relationships with peers.

Student Club and Organization Virtual Fair, 3–5 p.m. est
Campus Life will send an email August 14 inviting you to sign up to meet with our student clubs and organizations. You can sign up to meet with up to seven organizations to get to know their leaders, mission, what they do and how you can get involved! This activity will help you find ways that you can get connected on campus and meet other students who are passionate about the same things as you!

Learn more about UArts student clubs and organizations.

Community Channel: Faith-Based/Spirituality, 7 p.m. est
This Community Channel provides space for all faith-based and spiritual identities. Join the conversation to share and learn about others and available resources to affirm your practices.

Ask Us Anything: Question and Answer Session for New Students, 3 p.m. est
Now that virtual Orientation is coming to a close, what questions do you have about navigating UArts or getting involved? This is the perfect time to get all of those questions answered. We'll have First Year Guides and staff members available to answer any questions you might have about life at UArts.

Orientation Group Catch Up, 4 p.m. est
Virtually meet with your orientation group to talk about what to expect with the start of classes and to get excited about the start of the semester!

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 July 30.
  • Complete and return the Medical History, Immunization forms and Health Waiver forms by Aug. 1.
  • Review and pay your fall 2020 tuition bill.
  • Register for classes. Look for an email to your UArts account in late-July or early August from the Registrar’s Office for instructions on registration.
  • Complete Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Online Education. The online course will become available on Aug. 3 and instructions will be emailed to you on that day. For more information, check out this website
  • 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 Aug. 24. 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.
  • Get excited to be a part of UArts!

Have questions about any of these items? Contact

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

Director of Campus Life

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 throughout their first semester at UArts. During Virtual Orientation, each new student is assigned to an Orientation group of 10 to 15 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)
Alessandra Martinez ’23 (Dance)
Alessandra Martinez


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)
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 Aug. 31. 
Do I have to attend a Community Channel during Virtual Orientation?
While you are not required to attend a Community Channel during Virtual Orientation, you are encouraged to find one to join. Community Channels are a great way to get to know other UArts students that hold similar identities or have similar interests. They’ll meet throughout the semester, so it’s a great way to create community and build connections with other UArts students. 
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.
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 late July to early August 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.

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: Aug. 22, 11 a.m. 
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. It will be recorded and posted to this website after the session for you to review in case you cannot attend the live session. 

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 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.