Welcome Week & Orientation FAQs

three students sit on the grass at an outdoor orientation event smiling and raising their hands

We know Welcome Week and Orientation is an exciting time, but can also bring up questions about what's available, safety concerns, types of activities, and more. If any of your questions aren't answered on this page, feel free to firstyear [at] mcgill.ca (reach out to us directly) for any additional information. 

General FAQ

What is Welcome Week and Orientation?

Orientation includes many activities for new students in the days leading up to the beginning of classes. It is an opportunity for you to get to know the University, the city of Montreal, other new students, and upper-year students.

Welcome Back to Campus Day: This year, we have also added a special day for returning students who started at McGill during the pandemic on Tuesday August 30th

Who can (and cannot) participate in Orientation? 

Orientation events listed on this website are for all new undergraduate students at McGill University. “New students” includes students entering their first year of university at McGill in the Fall, transfer students new to McGill, and exchange students new to McGill.  

How much does it cost to participate in Orientation? 

McGill University-run Orientation activities are free. Student-run Froshes have a registration fee.  

Who is hosting events during Welcome Week and Orientation? 

Orientation events involve campus-wide collaborations with organizations including Campus Life & Engagement (CL&E), Student Services, Faculties, academic departments, Faculty student associations, and different student clubs and associations. Frosh activities are student-run activities. 

If the event has reached its capacity, what can I do? 

The Discover McGill Service Fair does not require registration. If an event requires that you register, and you see that its registration has been capped/sold out, check back frequently to see if spots have opened up.  Some events do not have caps and will allow you to add the event to your calendar; however, the event will still be first-come-first-served, and the room capacity will dictate how many can attend. 

Can I attend an event if I do not register for it? 

Please register for all events you intend on attending that require registration. Event organizers will receive a list of all registered students. If you come to an event without having pre-registered, the organizer may turn you away, especially if the event capacity has been reached. Registering will help you track your schedule, provide organizers with attendance information, and secure your spot in a limited registration event. You also have to register and pay if you want to participate in any Frosh event. 

Is alcohol being served during Orientation Week? 

Events organized by the University during Orientation will not be serving alcohol. However, some events during the week (mostly Froshes) may include the option to purchase alcoholic beverages. Please note that the legal drinking age in Quebec is 18 and all establishments and stores will require government-issued proof of age to purchase alcohol. Carrying open containers of alcohol in non-designated areas, such as Montreal streets, is illegal and may result in a substantial fine. 

I missed an event, how can I still receive some of the information provided? 

We do not record all the in-person sessions. That being said, you can reach out to the firstyear [at] mcgill.ca (Campus Life & Engagement team) to see if we can provide alternate information. The CL&E team is a part of McGill Student Services and specializes, in part, in the transition into your first year of university. They help you settle in and find the people and services you need to start your university career. Find us here.  

Can my parents participate in Orientation? 

Orientation activities are for student participation only. If your parents want to learn more about McGill, we encourage them to check out our McGill Parents' Tent and Top Parents’ Questions Parent Information Sessions held on August 20 &21.  

Who are the Orientation Leaders?

Orientation Leaders are upper-year students who support Orientation activities, namely Discover McGill and Frosh. Discover McGill Leaders are upper-year students in your Faculty who will help guide you through the day’s activities.  

Leaders are extensively trained by the University on topics such as consent and responding to disclosures, safety, equity and diversity, accessibility, community-building, communications, and conflict management. 

Frosh FAQs

All Frosh information can be found on the CVENT registration website. Frosh is primarily run by student organizations and are for undergraduate students only.  

What is the difference between Orientation and Frosh? 

Orientation is a multi-day period encompassing all the different events for incoming students hosted by a number of groups. Frosh is student-run, coordinated by either a club, group, or Faculty/School student association and is primarily comprised of social activities. 

What if my School/Faculty/program doesn’t have a Frosh? 

Every School/Faculty at McGill technically belongs to a Frosh, although your program name may not appear in the title of your Frosh. Here are some of the most common examples we see of this: 

  • Architecture students participate in Engineering Frosh. 

  • Kinesiology (BSc) students participate in Education Frosh. 

  • Nursing students participate in Science Frosh. 

  • Pre-Med or Pre-Dent students participate in Science Frosh. 

  • Social Work and Religious Studies students participate in Arts Frosh. 

Parent & Family FAQs

Can I/my family participate in Orientation activities and events along with my child? 

All Orientation activities, except for Parents’ Tent-related activities, are for new McGill student undergraduate participants only. 

What else should my child do during Orientation to prepare for the semester? 

In addition to social activities, Orientation is a great opportunity to get organized for the semester. Here are our top to-do items during the week:  

  • Attend Discover McGill and Faculty orientation

  • Get a student ID  

  • Get a Canadian cell phone number and bank account for your child, if they do not already have one. Information about service providers can be found on the Get Ready site.  

  • Head to the Le James McGill Bookstore to stock up on stationery and McGill gear. Note that most course material and textbook lists are given out on the first day of class 

Are Orientation and Frosh just a week-long party? 

While there are social activities and events during Orientation, this is also a valuable time for new students to learn about important services and resources at McGill, as well as prepare for the semester and their academic and extracurricular success. 

Campus Life & Engagement’s Discover McGill Services Fair will help students start their semester on the right foot. Discover McGill will also include time dedicated to having new students learn about on campus resources as well as get oriented within their particular faculty. 

Faculty and Alternative Frosh events are all opt-in, and participants can choose whichever activities they want to join. Frosh coordinators and leaders are here to create an inclusive week of activities for everyone, and there is a range of alternative programming that participants can choose to engage in, not just partying. 

Ask McGill staff are available in tents all around campus throughout the week and start of the semester to answer additional questions.  

I have a concern about something I’ve heard about Orientation. Who can I contact? 

For university-run orientation activities, it's best to contact firstyear [at] mcgill.ca (Campus Life & Engagement) or the organizer of the event. For Frosh activities, serious concerns about student behaviour can be directed to the Office of the Dean of Students. Above all, however, we encourage you, where possible, to have your child initiate the communication. We may be legally unable to provide you with any specific information if your child has not given their express consent. 

Will Frosh be supervised? 

During Frosh, students are grouped with and accompanied by Frosh Leaders (upper-year students) thoroughly trained to promote, above all, a safe and inclusive environment for participants. All students will be given the contact information for their Frosh Leaders, and students are encouraged to contact them when needed. 

In addition to Frosh Leaders, Frosh Coordinators (student organizers) are on hand and clearly identifiable to ensure the smooth running of the event. McGill University staff train all students who are involved in Frosh coordination and its execution. 

What are the rules about alcohol during Frosh? 

Alcohol will be available at select Frosh events and will be available only for students who are above the age of 18, the legal drinking age in Quebec. Frosh Leaders are well equipped to accommodate students who do not wish to consume alcohol (regardless of age), and an overconsumption of alcohol is not encouraged. In addition, all servers of alcohol on campus have been trained prior to Frosh, being granted the responsibility to serve alcohol by a university education program, Server Training

Students under the age of 18 should not feel that their age would hinder their Frosh experience. Because of the hard work of event coordinators, the large majority of events during Welcome Week and Frosh are all-ages and there is usually an event that underage participants can attend at any given time. If your child drinks when they are underage, it can have consequences (legal and otherwise), not only for them, but for the entirety of Frosh. 

I am concerned about safety during Frosh events. 

In order to ensure safety during Frosh events and throughout the year, a number of services are available for the McGill community: 

  • Volunteer members of the student-run WalkSafe program are available to escort anyone home, anywhere on the island of Montreal.  

  • The free DriveSafe program is available to take students home from campus events and during scheduled patrols. 

Although Montreal is known as a relatively safe city, all normal safety precautions should be taken. 

Why did my child get condoms in their Frosh bag? 

On our campus, all incoming residence students and Frosh participants are given condoms in their orientation bags/kits. These are provided by Healthier McGill, our University health promotion group, and ensure that relevant health materials are available to all students, regardless of their level of sexual activity. Whether students choose to use these for their own needs or are able to help out a friend in need, accessibility to safer sex supplies encourages students to make healthier choices and promotes well-being. 

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