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Frequently Asked Questions

What is New Coug Orientation?

All new students (first-year and transfer) are required to attend a New Coug Orientation (NCO) session provided by New Student Programs. NCO provides students the opportunity to learn about Washington State University Pullman’s university’s mission, goals, values, and academic expectations; discuss academic policies, procedures, and programs; review costs, in terms of both dollars and personal commitment; and expose you to valuable resources and campus-support services.

Orientation is a mandatory program for all new students. You’ll take part in learning modules, view college and department presentations, learn about student life, and meet one-on-one with an academic advisor to register for classes. You will be a part of a small group of other New Cougs guided by an orientation counselor (OC) who is a current WSU student. You will have the opportunity to ask questions, make new friends, and fully immerse yourself in New Coug life at WSU Pullman.

Why is New Coug Orientation mandatory?

New Cougs are making a big commitment in time, money, and resources. Research shows that students who participate in orientation are better prepared to succeed by being set up from the beginning on how to navigate a university, learn at the college level, and develop self-agency as a young adult. 

Questions about the Math Placement Assessment?

Please talk with the Math department about any questions regarding the Math Placement.

Math Department Contact Information: Email: Phone: 509-335-3926.

Math Placement Details:

Math Exemptions:

Questions about the Writing Placement Assessment?

Please talk with the Writing department about any questions regarding the Writing Placement.

Writing Department Contact Information: Email: Phone: 509-335-7959.

Writing Placement Details and Exemptions:

Questions about the Language Placement Assessment?

Please talk with SLCR-Foreign Languages about any questions regarding the Language Placement.

SLCR-Foreign Languages Language Placement Contact Information: Foreign Languages advisor:

Foreign Languages – Language Placement Details:

Where do families/supporters stay during New Coug Orientation?

While students have the opportunity to experience the full immersion of the life of a WSU student, it is up to families/supporters to find appropriate accommodations off campus during the New Coug Orientation. We welcome you to explore the diverse options our Pullman area has to offer. For a full list of hotels around the WSU campus, please visit the Pullman Chamber of Commerce site.

Whom do I talk to about advising? 

You will meet with an academic advisor during your orientation session. That is where you can ask your academic advisor specific questions.

What can families/supporters do during orientation?

Families can attend a family and supporter orientation if they would like to learn more about their student’s transition to WSU. More details and updates about this program can be found on our Family and Supporter page.

Do I have to do orientation if I’m a Running Start student?

Orientation is a requirement of all WSU incoming students.

If I’m a Running Start student, do I register for the transfer orientation?

For orientation purposes, transfer students are students who have at least 27 semester or 40 quarter credits at another institution, post-high school. Transfer students can also attend any of the above sessions, not just the transfer-specific sessions. Students with Running Start or College in the High School credit hours need to attend a general orientation program. 

What if I can’t afford New Coug Orientation? 

There are a couple options to navigate the New Coug Orientation (NCO) fee.

Option #1:

The Office of New Student Programs has limited funding available for those who demonstrate financial need. If you have a financial aid award that covers more than tuition and fees, the orientation/matriculation fee for orientation can be paid using your financial aid. If a student would like to defer the $250 matriculation fee, they will need to indicate that when they are registering for a session. On the registration, the student will need to check the box where it states that the student would like to defer to their student account. The fee will not appear in the student’s account until the first day of classes.

Option #2:

Limited NCO fee waivers are available for students who are in financial need and are full federal Pell Grant eligible. Please contact with your full name and WSU ID. Please note that your request is not a guarantee. New Student Programs will determine if a student will receive an NCO fee waiver according to available funds and Pell eligibility.  


While the student may possibly receive a fee waiver, the waiver only covers the student and not the optional Family & Supporter Orientation fee(s).

Optional: – Family & Supporter Orientation (FSO) fee(s)
Family & Supporter Orientation Fees:
Age 13+ – $140
Age 6-12 – $70
Age 0-5 – No Cost

Why does New Coug Orientation cost so much? 

The student matriculation fee is still a mandatory fee associated with completing your Orientation requirement. In light of an unprecedented health crisis, we are maintaining the best possible safety protocols in place with students, so everyone is able to stay safe, healthy, and our students are able to continue their transition to WSU with minimal disruption. As we transition back to our in-person orientations we continue to pay staff and student employees for their good work to help you succeed, and at the same time are making high-quality existing and new services available to students online and investing in new technologies as we do so. Additionally, this fee covers for the student housing, dining, and programming that is set in place for a successful, fun, and engaging experience. The student matriculation fee thus remains integral in continuing our work to provide these needed services. We hope, however, that upon further reflection, you understand we are actually increasing our investment to support student needs.

Whom do I talk to about sending medical records?

You can send medical records to the Cougar Health Services here:

What’s the best route to Pullman?

This depends on where families are coming from. For information on visiting our WSU campus in Pullman, visit our Travel Guide.

Do I have to be vaccinated before New Coug Orientation? 

Students who are attending the NCO programs must be in compliance with the university’s vaccine requirements. For further details, please visit our Required Immunizations website:

Students that are one vaccine away from being becoming fully vaccinated may still attend our NCO. However, the student will not be allowed to stay within WSU Housing unless the student has completed the exemption process.

Do I have to wear a mask at New Coug Orientation? 

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has announced that the state’s general “indoor mask mandate” – with some specific exceptions – will be repealed effective Friday, March 11th. For this reason, we will not be requiring face masks on campus. Any individual has the right to wear a mask for any reason, without explanation, in or on any campus facility or location, free of harassment or questioning, in accordance with State law. This includes any environment where the wearing of masks is considered optional by others.

Can I tour my dorm during New Coug Orientation?

You will not be able to tour your Residence Hall during NCO.

Can I reschedule my New Coug Orientation session?

You can change your orientation date all on your own! Follow these quick, easy steps:

  1. To do this, you must go back on to our website: 
  2. Once you are there, click “Register Here” and log in
  3. Then, click on the session you are currently registered for.
  4. Next, you will click “cancel registration”.
  5. From there, you can go back on to our website and sign up for a different session.

NOTE: Before switching sessions, please check which sessions are still available. You can see these after you select the “Register Here” button. All the available sessions will be on the right hand side of the screen.

Whom do I contact if I have questions?

You can contact us directly at, or we can transfer you to the correct department who has better knowledge on your question.

In your email to WSU’s New Student Programs, please include your full name and WSU ID # (01#######). Thank you!

Is there a place (on campus or off) that we can have items shipped to in advance?

For questions about mail services in Pullman, please contact WSU Mailing Services here:

Approximately how long will the advising/registration take?

Advising appointments usually range from 30-45 minutes. However, students can expect to wait for their appointment time during the day.

How long do I have to stay at New Coug Orientation? 

You will need to attend all of the days of your New Coug Orientation in order to fulfill your orientation requirement. We have 3-day and 2-day programs, depending on which session you are attending you will need to be there for all those days.

Will students be assigned an advisor prior to New Coug Orientation or during?

Based off of the New Coug Orientation schedule, you will meet with an Academic Advisor on Day 3 (of the NCO sessions) and afterwards will register for your Fall classes.

Will students receive a printed copy of the course catalog in the mail prior to their New Coug Orientation session?

Students will not receive a printed course catalog in the mail. Please refer to the Washington State University Catalog website for further information:

What is an “undergraduate advising hold” in a student account?

The “Undergraduate Advising Hold” is to ensure that all new students meet with their academic adviser before registering for classes. The hold will then be removed for students to register. Students will register for classes on their last day of New Coug Orientation.

How will students receive communication from New Coug Orientation?

Emails will be sent to a student’s official WSU email. Please be checking your email on a regular basis. For assistance accessing WSU email please contact CougTech at (509) 335-4357 or visit

How does a WSU student get the Pullman Bus pass paid for with fees?

WSU students do not need a bus pass to use the Pullman bus system. Students only need to show their Cougar Card ID when entering the bus.

I have completed the New Coug Orientation, but my account is showing this statement: “Orientation hold ‘New Student Programs.'” What should I do?

Contact New Student Programs either through email or phone for assistance. We can be reached at 509-335-4242 or at Please be ready to provide your full name as well as your WSU Student ID.

Where do first-year students confirm their major before they attend their New Coug Orientation session?

Students can select their intended major when registering for New Coug Orientation. When students meet with an academic advisor during their orientation session, they can then confirm their intended major with their advisor.

I signed up for the New Coug Orientation session that starts tomorrow. I’m trying to complete the Writing Placement Assessment and it says, “This survey is already expired.” What should I do?

The Writing Placement Assessment is a very important piece for students, however, if you missed your opportunity, know that you can simply take a history class this semester and take the writing placement at a later date for your English class for spring semester. Your advisor will help you with this during your advising session on the last day of orientation.

Please talk with the Writing department about any questions regarding the Writing Placement Assessment.

Writing Department Contact Information: Email: Phone: 509-335-7959.

Writing Placement Details and Exemptions: