Freshmen

Welcome To College

Through New Student Enrollment, you’ll go from a prospective student to a current student.

Starting college is an exciting time—we’re here to help you get started on the right foot.

If you’ve had a friend or sibling go through NSE before, you’ll notice that NSE 2021 will look different. Even so, we’re here to help you connect with peers, get enrolled in courses, and start your transition as a Husker, just as we’ve done for decades.

The NSE process has two distinct parts:

  1. Orientation
  2. Academic advising/course enrollment

NSE steps are sequential, and the sooner you complete them, the sooner you’ll get enrolled in your first-semester courses. Your first step will be the orientation reservation.

Orientation reservations open May 3, 2021 for Summer/Fall 2021 admits who’ve paid the enrollment deposit. When you make your reservation, you’ll choose between In-person or Online Orientation. Check out the chart below to help you choose which option is right for you.

In-person vs. Online Orientation
  In-person Orientation Online Orientation
Advising and enrollment Virtual* Virtual*
Timeline June 1–July 9 June 1–July 9
Cost for students Free Free
Cost for parents/guests $15/guest** Free
Location Nebraska Union Online from anywhere via Canvas
Duration Full-day program from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Not hosted live; takes approximately 2 hours to complete
Benefits Experience campus; meet other new students Complete at your convenience within assigned two-week window

*See the Advising and Enrollment section of this page for details on limited in-person advising accommodations.

**Maximum of one guest per student due to capacity limitations.

NSE Details

Orientation Reservation

Your first NSE step is to submit your orientation reservation. Your orientation reservation is your official way of indicating to us that you’d like to move forward with new-student processes. The system opens May 3, 2021 for freshmen admitted for Summer/Fall 2021.


  1. Log in to MyRED, click the “Admissions” tab, “Undergraduate,” and then “Orientation Reservation.”
    • Your $250 enrollment deposit (ED) must be paid before you can access NSE steps. You can pay the ED on the Admissions tab in MyRED. Please direct deposit-related questions to admissions@unl.edu.
  2. On the first page of the reservation, confirm your major. If the major displayed is not your desired major, contact nse@unl.edu to request a change of major.
  3. Choose between in-person or online orientation.
    • If in-person:
      • You will select an available date between June 1 and July 9. The program runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. See the In-Person Orientation information section of this page for details about the in-person schedule. Dates that have reached their maximum capacity will not be displayed when you make your reservation.
        • In-Person Orientation dates: June 1, June 2, June 3, June 4, June 7, June 8, June 9, June 11, June 12 (Saturday), June 15, June 16, June 18 (Power Up Weekend participants only), June 23, June 24, June 29, June 30, July 1, July 6, July 7, July 8, July 9.
      • You can choose to add a parent or guest to your reservation. Due to capacity limitations, there is a limit of one guest per student. You can pay the $15 guest fee via credit card on the registration form, or you can choose not to pay on the registration and have the fee deferred to your first student bill.
    • If online:
      • Your reservation will display a date for Online Orientation. That date is when the Online Orientation will open to you. You are not required to access the orientation on that date specifically, but you should complete it within two weeks of that date. You will receive an email from NSE on that date with access instructions.
  4. Submit your orientation reservation. After submission, you can begin pre-advising tasks.

Pre-advising Tasks

After you’ve submitted your orientation reservation, you can access pre-advising tasks. These must be completed before you’ll be able to schedule your virtual academic advising appointment. During your appointment, you’ll enroll in first-semester classes with your advisor’s help.


Submit the Advising Inventory

The Advising Inventory is a series of questions about your academic experience, incoming credit, interests, goals, and personal characteristics. Your advisor will review your inventory responses before your appointment. You can access the Advising Inventory in MyRED by clicking on the “Admissions” tab, then “Undergraduate” then “New Student Enrollment Advising Inventory.” If the major displayed on the inventory does not reflect your desired major, please contact nse@unl.edu to request a major change.


Take the Math Placement Exam (MPE)

The Math Placement Exam is required for all students, regardless of your previous math experience. Not all students will take a math course in their first semester, but you must have an MPE score on file to be able to set up an academic advising appointment. You will not be able to schedule an appointment if the MPE is not complete. You can take the exam online a maximum of three times (once per 24 hours). Click here to access a practice exam.

Note: Your MPE results must be received by the Math department and uploaded to your student file before you can schedule your appointment. This process may take 1–2 business days. If the advising appointment reservation form displays an “ineligible” message, please be patient while your MPE results are processed.


Take the Modern Language Placement Exam (if applicable)

Complete the Modern Language Placement Exam if you plan to pursue a foreign language at the university or if your college or major is listed on this page. You can access the exam in MyRED.


Advising Appointment Sign-up

After you’ve submitted your orientation reservation and completed pre-advising tasks, you can sign up for a one-hour virtual academic advising appointment. You cannot access the appointment scheduling system unless the pre-advising tasks are complete. Advising appointments begin May 24, 2021 for Summer/Fall 2021 freshman admits.

Your orientation date (whether online or in person) is unrelated to advising/enrollment. You do not have to complete orientation before being advised and enrolled. Similarly, you do not have to be advised/enrolled before orientation.


Follow these steps to make your appointment.

  1. Log in to MyRED, click the “Admissions” tab, “Undergraduate,” and then “Academic Advising Appointment.”
    • Note: Your MPE results must be received by the Math department and uploaded to your student file before you can schedule your appointment. This process may take 1-2 business days. If the reservation form displays an “ineligible” message, please be patient while your MPE results are processed.
  2. On the first page of the reservation, confirm your major. If the major displayed is not your desired major, contact nse@unl.edu to request a change of major. Do not continue with the appointment sign-up until you have received confirmation of the change.
  3. Select a date and time for your virtual academic advising appointment. All times are listed in Central U.S. time.
    • By submitting a reservation, you are committing to the appointment. Please mark your calendar accordingly. Your advisor will prepare for the appointment in advance and will be expecting you on the day and time you select.
    • A limited number of in-person appointments are available on a case-by-case basis for students with extenuating circumstances. If you believe you have a circumstance that warrants an in-person appointment, please email nse@unl.edu to describe your situation and inquire about availability.
  4. Complete remaining fields on the reservation and submit.

Before Your Appointment

Once you’ve scheduled your one-hour advising appointment, keep the following information in mind:

  • Please be at home or at another private location, if possible, where you can focus on your appointment.
  • Please use a computer, if possible, for the best screen-sharing experience. If you indicated on your appointment reservation that you do not have computer or internet access, that information will be shared with your advisor, and they will modify your appointment accordingly.
  • After scheduling your appointment, you’ll receive an email from NSE that contains appointment prep info specific to your college. For most students, that information will be contained in a video that you must watch before your appointment. Information within that video will serve as a starting point for your discussions with your advisor.
  • About 3–4 business days before your appointment, your college will contact you to give you the name of your advisor and appointment access instructions. You do not need to contact your advisor before the appointment.

Advising and Enrollment

Your appointment will last about one hour and will happen virtually, most likely via Zoom, unless alternative arrangements have been made. You will receive the Zoom link (or other appointment access instructions) directly from your college via email approximately 3–4 business days before your appointment.

During your appointment, you and your advisor will get to know each other, discuss degree requirements using the Degree Planner tool, review incoming credit (if applicable), identify course options, build your course schedule, and enroll in first-semester classes.

To build your schedule and enroll, your advisor will help you use the Enrollment Scheduler in MyRED via screenshare. Each course is a piece of the puzzle, and the Scheduler will arrange those pieces into various schedule options from which you can choose. Depending on your major, incoming credit, course availability, personal scheduling considerations, and other factors, you may have lots of schedule options to choose from, or you may just have 1-2. Regardless, your advisor will ensure that your schedule includes whichever courses you need in your first semester.


In-person Orientation

We are excited to offer a safe, comfortable in-person orientation experience. In response to guidance from the CDC and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health department, those who are fully vaccinated from COVID-19 are not required to wear face masks or socially distance—indoors or outdoors—on UNL campuses or in our facilities.

All students, faculty, staff and visitors who are not vaccinated are expected to continue to wear face masks and practice social distancing. If you have not yet been vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to do so. Vaccines are readily available locally through the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department and local pharmacies.

If you choose In-Person Orientation, you will select one of the dates listed below. Dates that have reached their maximum capacity will not be displayed on the reservation. Because of that, some of the dates below may not be available to you.

In-Person Orientation dates: June 1, June 2, June 3, June 4, June 7, June 8, June 9, June 11, June 12 (Saturday), June 15, June 16, June 18 (Power Up Weekend participants only), June 23, June 24, June 29, June 30, July 1, July 6, July 7, July 8, July 9.

The orientation begins at 8 a.m. and ends around 5 p.m. The exact end time depends on optional end-of-day opportunities.


If you sign up for In-person Orientation, here are some day-of tips:

  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. The Nebraska Union air conditioning system makes some rooms very chilly, so you may want to bring a light jacket. You will walk approximately .25 miles from the parking lot to the Union, and you’ll spend part of the day walking around campus.
  • Check the weather forecast and bring an umbrella or rain jacket if the forecast calls for rain.
  • Review the parking page for details.
  • Don’t forget a face covering if you have not been vaccinated. Those who are fully vaccinated from COVID-19 are not required to wear face masks or socially distance.
  • No need to bring a bag—we will provide you with a free drawstring bag at check-in.
  • Don’t forget to submit your NCard application in advance and bring a government-issued ID (typically a driver’s license) to pick up your card.
  • Bring your MMR immunization record if you have not uploaded it already to MyRED.
  • Review the University Health Center’s Power of Attorney information and bring the POA form if it applies to you.

Sample Schedule

This schedule is intended to give you a general idea of what to expect. It is subject to change as circumstances evolve.

Time Activity
Students and parents/guests together
8 a.m. Check-in and Info Fair (Nebraska Union)
8:45–9:20 a.m. Welcome Session
9:25–10:10 a.m.
  • Academic Success session hosted by the Center for Academic Success and Transition
  • On-Campus Living session hosted by University Housing or Commuter session hosted by NSE
10:20–11:10

College sessions

  • College advising leaders and/or deans provide information about college-specific opportunities, expectations, requirements, etc.
Students and parents/guests split at 11:10 a.m.
11:20 a.m.–12:20 p.m. (Students) Lunch (provided)
12:15–2:30 p.m. (Students)

Life of a Husker

  • Students participate in interactive small-group activities and discussions framed around Husker Student POWER. Students will be in groups based on their admit college to get to know their peers. Takes place at various campus locations.
11:20 a.m.–12:20 p.m. (Parents/Guests)

“Life of a Husker: Parent/Guest Edition”

  • Orientation leaders provide personal testimonials and take participants to key places on campus.
12:20–1 p.m. (Parents/Guests) Lunch (provided)
1:15–2:35 p.m. (Parents/Guests)

Conference-style information sessions hosted by campus departments

  • Topic examples: health and fitness, parking, multicultural services and opportunities, campus activities and involvement, career support, mental health support, fraternity/sorority life and more.
Students and parents/guests together for remainder of day.
2:45–3:15 p.m. Closing Session
3:30–5 p.m.

Special program sessions and Quick Connect Advising

  • Students who are part of certain special programs (such as Honors, WHT, Learning Communities, etc.) will attend a session hosted by their program (parents/guests welcome).
  • Quick Connect Advising is for students who have enrollment- or advising-related questions or issues or who would like to visit their college’s advising space (parents/guests welcome).
3:30–5 p.m.

Optional end-of-day opportunities

  • Husker Hub walk-in appointments
  • Complete Power of Attorney form for University Health Center (notary available)
  • University Housing Q&A booth
  • Husker Athletics tickets booth
  • Self-guided campus tour

Online Orientation

If you select Online Orientation, the reservation system will issue you an access date (June 1 is the earliest date). On that date, you will gain access to the Online Orientation in Canvas, which is the university’s learning management system (think of it like an academic portal). You are not required to access the orientation on that date, but you are expected to complete it within two weeks of that date. You do not have to complete Online Orientation before being advised and enrolled in courses.

The orientation is made up of four modules that will introduce you to resources, strategies, and departments related to academic success, life as a Husker, paying for college, and next steps. It is “asynchronous,” meaning it is not hosted live and is available on demand. You’ll navigate through the pages sequentially, and you’ll complete a short quiz to mark completion of the orientation. You have two weeks from your assigned access date to complete all four modules (the whole orientation only takes about two hours to complete, so two weeks is plenty!). You do not have to complete the orientation in one sitting; you can leave and re-enter the orientation. After completion, the orientation will remain accessible to you throughout your first semester so that you can refer to it as needed.

To access Canvas, you’ll first need to configure your password. Follow the steps in this password configuration tutorial to get your Canvas set up. Then, you’ll be able to log in and find the NSE course in your Canvas dashboard. You’ll also receive a direct link to the course via email once it’s accessible to you.


After NSE

After you’ve completed both parts of the NSE process (orientation and advising/enrollment), you’ll be ready for your final preparations as a new Husker. You can find a full freshman to-do checklist here. Some steps are highlighted below.


NCard application (Online Orientation Participants)

The NCard will be your campus ID card. You are required to submit an NCard application and upload a photo. You will need a government-issued ID (typically a driver’s license) to pick up your card on campus in the Nebraska Union, 1400 R Street. After you submit your application, you’ll get an email from the NCard office with pickup instructions. If you’re not in Lincoln, you can pick up your card when you arrive on campus. (In-person Orientation attendees will pick up their NCard during orientation.)


New Student Health Requirement (Online Orientation Participants)

All new students are required to provide immunization records. Learn more about the New Student Health Requirement here.

Students who are 18 should have their parent or guardian complete and notarize the Power of Attorney Form to expedite care at the University Health Center. Please bring the completed form with you when you arrive on campus. Students who are 17 should wait until their eighteenth birthday to have their parent or guardian complete and notarize the Power of Attorney Form. Students who are 19 or older do not need to submit the Power of Attorney form. (In-person Orientation attendees can submit their immunization record and submit the POA form during orientation.)


Duo setup

Register for Two-Factor Authentication to access your university accounts. After you're enrolled in courses, the next time you log in to MyRed, Canvas, or Huskers email, you'll be prompted to protect your accounts. Find a step-by-step guide at go.unl.edu/duoguide.


Huskers email

Log in to your Huskers email at mymail.unl.edu. You’ll use your MyUNL account ID plus @huskers.unl.edu to log in (example: hhusker2@huskers.unl.edu). To find your MyUNL ID, follow these instructions.


Campus parking

Look through the comprehensive UNL parking guide, and access the portal to order your permit.


Academic support

Familiarize yourself with all of the academic support provided by the Center for Academic Success and Transitions (CAST). CAST staff help students with time management, note-taking, free tutoring, study strategies and more. Find a list of subject-specific academic resource centers around campus here.


Campus jobs

Access Handshake, the UNL jobs platform, to start looking for on-campus work opportunities, internships and events.


Frequently Asked Questions

How are orientation and advising/enrollment related?

For the most part, they’re not, except that NSE coordinates both processes. Step 1 is to submit the orientation reservation. After submitting the orientation reservation, the pre-advising tasks will open, and once those are done, the advising appointment can be scheduled. Students do not have to be advised/enrolled before orientation, nor do they need to complete/attend orientation before advising/enrollment. There will be an optional Quick Connect Advising session at the end of In-person Orientation for basic Q&A about advising or enrollment. However, Quick Connect is not a replacement for a virtual advising appointment.

Do I have to sign up for orientation right away?

We highly recommend that you begin NSE processes (first step is the orientation reservation) as close to May 3 as possible for two reasons:

  1. The sooner you complete all of the steps, the sooner you’ll get enrolled in courses.
  2. We have limited in-person capacities, so signing up early increases your chances of getting a spot at In-person Orientation.
What if I choose an orientation type (in-person or online) and then change my mind?

We encourage you to review all of the information on this page before making your orientation reservation so that you can make an informed decision right away regarding what is right for you. However, if you would like to change your orientation reservation, please contact NSE at 402-472-4646 or email us at nse@unl.edu. If you want to switch from Online Orientation to In-person Orientation, dates will be subject to availability. We have limited capacities each day due to social distancing guidelines.

Why come to In-person Orientation if I can do it online?

There’s no wrong choice between In-person and Online orientation. However, In-person Orientation will include interactive activities and engagement that cannot be replicated in Online Orientation. Students will spend more than three hours of the In-person Orientation day with fellow new students. During that time, students will get to know each other, connect through commonalities and differences, actively plan for their first semester, interact with peer leaders, and experience campus. Beyond that, students and guests will be able to communicate in person with university staff and orientation leaders to ask questions and resolve concerns. See the sample schedule on the In-Person Orientation section of this page for more information about what to expect from In-person Orientation.

Is it safe to attend In-person Orientation?

We’ve worked closely with university leadership to determine capacities and create procedures that make our program accessible to as many students as possible while also maintaining safety and comfort. Our detailed event plans have been reviewed and shaped by university leaders with expertise in COVID-19 precautions.

In response to guidance from the CDC and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health department, those who are fully vaccinated from COVID-19 are not required to wear face masks or socially distance—indoors or outdoors—on UNL campuses or in our facilities.

All students, faculty, staff and visitors who are not vaccinated are expected to continue to wear face masks and practice social distancing. If you have not yet been vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to do so. Vaccines are readily available locally through the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department and local pharmacies.

Do I have to be tested or vaccinated to attend In-person Orientation?

At this time, we do not have plans to require attendees to show proof of vaccination nor proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. However, for the safety of all participants and staff, we will expect anyone who has been a recent close contact of a confirmed case or anyone who is symptomatic to reschedule their date and attend a future program. We will inform in-person attendees of COVID-19 guidelines via email before the event.

How can I meet other students or ask questions if I choose Online Orientation?

If you cannot attend In-person Orientation, don’t worry—there will be other opportunities to meet students and get your questions answered before classes begin. We will host lots of in-person events during Big Red Welcome in August, and we’re hosting live informational webinars throughout the summer.

Why is advising and enrollment virtual?

In the past, advising, enrollment, and orientation content were all part of our one-day NSE program. By separating orientation from advising/enrollment and making advising/enrollment a virtual process, we are able to nearly triple the average length of the advising appointment compared to previous years and make the appointment more private. Virtual advising will save you an extra trip to campus without sacrificing a live, quality interaction with your advisor.

Regarding In-Person orientation, we’re now able to start the day later, lengthen the interactive elements, add more informational sessions, and broaden optional end-of-day offerings to ensure that students and guests leave orientation feeling connected and confident.