Freshman Orientation

Setting Sail

You will be prompted to choose your Setting Sail date through the Admitted Student System. You will also be able to register any parents / guests who want to attend Setting Sail. You can access the Admitted Student System after you receive an acceptance to the University.

Admitted Student System

Our program is designed to help transition you to life at Christopher Newport, and share things you need to know before you begin classes in the fall. You will be placed in a small group led by a current student. You will meet some of the deans, faculty and staff, and get to know members of your class. You also will get your photo taken for your ID and receive your class schedule. Be prepared to learn a lot and have a lot of fun doing it!

We have a separate schedule for our parents and guests at Setting Sail. You will have the opportunity to hear from campus administrators and department representatives, and discuss academic expectations and resources. You'll learn how your student’s schedule was compiled, and more about residential life, student accounts and billing, campus engagement opportunities, and more. Please note that after registration, we separate students and their guests for the two different sessions.

Registration will be set up at the Ferguson Center for the Arts. Please enter campus from the Avenue of the Arts entrance. There will be directional signage to show you where to park. Staff volunteers will be available to assist you from there.

Registration begins at 8 a.m., which allows time for students to drop off their belongings at the residence hall where they will be staying and rejoin us in the Diamonstein Concert Hall for our welcome at 9 a.m. The program will end between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. on day 2.

Yes. The program runs a day and a half and it is very important that you attend the entire program so you can get the things you need for the fall, such as your schedule, student ID picture and much more.

While a more complete packing list will be provided closer to the event, you need to bring bedding (twin XL sheets or a sleeping bag and pillow), clothing and toiletries for one overnight, phone charger, any medication, etc. For both students and guests, we also recommend a water bottle, sunscreen and a warm sweater as the temperatures in the theaters tends to be very cool in the summer.

The enrollment deposit is mandatory for all incoming freshmen and is non-refundable. In addition to confirming your decision to attend Christopher Newport and reserving your spot in the freshman class, the enrollment deposit covers orientation and Welcome Week expenses and serves as your housing deposit. You can pay your enrollment deposit through the Admitted Student System. Remember: your admission offer is only guaranteed until the deposit deadline. Students who submit a deposit late may be put on a waiting list.

If parents or guests will attend Setting Sail, there is a $50 fee per guest. This fee covers program costs and meals. All guests must be registered through the Admitted Student System and will be charged at the time they register. If you have already completed your registration, simply log back into the system and add your guest(s). Modifications can be made to the guest registration. Our program is designed with a student track and a parent/guardian track. We discourage small children from attending.

Yes. PLP students attend both Setting Sail and Summer Leadership Adventure Program. PLP students choose to attend session I or session III. Summer Leadership Adventure will begin immediately following Setting Sail. PLP students are automatically registered for Leadership Adventure based on their Setting Sail registration for sessions I or III. There is no parent program during Leadership Adventure.

No. You will be assigned a core adviser after Setting Sail. He or she will contact you over the summer and meet with you during Welcome Week in August. They will meet with you several times throughout the semester and assist you on your academic journey.

All students, including commuter students, will be housed on campus as part of Setting Sail. You must bring your own bedding and pillows (you will receive a complete “What To Bring” list as your orientation date approaches). We do not offer on-campus accommodations for guests, but there are several hotels nearby.

Yes. All students must stay overnight in the residence halls during Setting Sail.

No. Campus parking is available for visitors during orientation sessions. If you plan to have a car on campus during the academic year, you must purchase a parking decal for your car.

Setting Sail is mandatory. If you are unable to attend you must notify us to receive an exemption from the program. Please email us at orientation@cnu.edu with details about your schedule and conflicts. Exemption requests will be considered on an individual basis.

Our student directors are here to help you! We are current Christopher Newport students and are here to assist you in any way we can. Feel free to contact us at (757) 594–7767 or orientation@cnu.edu.

Welcome Week

Welcome Week activities and programs are designed to help you transition to Christopher Newport, both in and out of the classroom. Students are required to attend events in order to help ensure a successful start to your college career.

Here are some highlights of things you can expect at Welcome Week:


Core Adviser Meetings

All freshmen will meet with their core advisers during Welcome Week, both in a small group setting with other advisees, and in a one-on-one meeting that will allow you more personal time to spend planning your semester.

Academic Meeting and Open Houses

All students will meet the dean of their college in a large group meeting followed by open houses in some departments. It’s a great chance to meet faculty and learn more about academic life at Christopher Newport.

Small Group Workshops with Your Orientation Leader

Through interactive workshops you’ll explore what to expect this first year, study skills, planning for your major, things to do in Newport News, how to get involved on campus and more.

Community of Scholars Convocation

This annual tradition serves as your official welcome into Christopher Newport’s community of honor.

Shop ’til You Drop

In collaboration with Target, spend time shopping for gear and decorations for your new place with your new roommate and suite-mates. Transportation is provided.

CNU’s Got Talent

Bring your most creative talents to audition for a chance to perform in front of your entire class.

There’s also Open Rec Night, Movie on the Lawn, Game night and much more!


Welcome Week is part 2 of your transition to Christopher Newport. We’ve designed programs, speakers and workshops to help you become better prepared for classes and life on campus. In addition, there are several fun events designed to help build community and allow you to get to know your classmates.

All sessions are required unless otherwise noted. The Welcome Week schedule has been designed with you in mind. We want to make sure you are prepared and successful, therefore it is required that you attend. Some evening events are optional, but you are encouraged to attend so you can meet more of your classmates and have some fun!

Work with your coach or program director to see which Welcome Week events you will attend and what practice times you will attend. Coaches and directors are aware of the Welcome Week schedule and will work with you to best meet your needs and their requirements.

Commuter students are required to attend all Welcome Week programs. You will receive a full Welcome Week schedule, your student ID card and a meal card to be used during the week.

All events are casual attire with the exception of Community of Scholars Honors Convocation. This is a formal ceremony that requires business attire.

We have many required events that are important for you to attend. There is free time built into the schedule and we encourage you to use the weekend to explore the area. There are no programs for parents during Welcome Week.

A meal plan is provided for all incoming students for Welcome Week and begins with lunch on the day you move in. This meal plan is encoded on your ID card, which you will receive upon move-in or during your Commuter Connections meeting. Your purchased meal plan for the semester begins at dinner on the Sunday before classes begin.

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