student orientation image with smiling students

First Year Student Orientation
& Registration (SOAR)

Welcome, new Saints! Student Orientation & Registration (SOAR) is for incoming freshman students who will be starting at the University of St. Francis in August of the next fall semester. SOAR is a way for new students to register for classes, get to know USF better, and begin their lives as new college students at USF!

An additional part of SOAR is Welcome Weekend, which is the major orientation that takes place at the start of each school year during the weekend before classes begin in August. It includes a transfer orientation. This year’s Welcome Weekend will take place August 16-18, 2024. 

New Student Checklist:

    • Complete Online Orientation
      All new students must go through USF’s online orientation, which helps new students learn more about USF. This includes resources about academic services, campus policies, and people who can help you.
    • Mark Your Calendar for Welcome Weekend – August 16-18, 2024 
      You will meet your fellow classmates, faculty and staff, as well as learn more in your transition to becoming a college student before classes begin on Monday, August 19, 2024. See event schedules in “New Student Orientation” section below.
    • Complete the College Student Inventory Survey (Coming Soon)
      The purpose of the inventory is to get your thoughts on your first impressions of the university and what some of your concerns may be as you enter college.  During the first two weeks of the fall semester, you will meet one-on-one with an advisor to discuss ways in which you can prepare yourself to succeed.
    • Order Textbooks for Your Classes
      Each course you take may have a textbook which need to be ordered prior to the start of each semester. The USF bookstore makes the process easy for you.
    • Upload Photo for USF Student ID
      Upload a professional photo. Only white/off-white backgrounds can be used in your photo. Other color backgrounds or obstructions will not be accepted. You can pick up your ID during Welcome Weekend.
    • Submit Your Health and Medical Records
      These records must be turned in through the USF Portal by Friday, August 30, 2024 to avoid any medical holds or fees on your account. For more information, please contact Health Services at
    • Send in Your Final, Official High School Transcripts Confirming Graduation
      Transcripts can be sent in a sealed envelope from the student, emailed from your previous school to, or mailed from your previous school to University of St. Francis, Admission Processing, 500 Wilcox St., Joliet, IL 60435. All transcripts must be received by August 18, 2024.
    • If Applicable: Send Your AP Scores or Dual Credit Transcripts
  • Waive USF Student Health Insurance
    You should waive USF student health insurance if you already have health insurance and do not need it. All students are automatically enrolled in the USF health insurance policy every year. If you already have external health insurance and do NOT require USF insurance, you must complete the online health insurance waiver form through your MyUSF Portal. The deadline to complete the Health Insurance Waiver is Friday August 30, 2024 (reminders will be sent to your USF email prior to the deadline). There is no hard copy of this form. If you need assistance or have questions, please contact USF Health Services at
  • Request your USF Parking Permit
    Please make sure you have your vehicle information available prior to visiting the website or security office (make, model, license plate #). You can pick up your permit during Welcome Weekend and for more details check out the Parking Regulations. This will be available July 15th.
  • First-Year Transition
  • USF’s First-Year Transition Program offers an academic experience designed to smooth your transition to college and the next chapter in your life. The program has 2 options: Session 1: July 11, 18, 25 and August 1 and Session 2: July 29, 30, 31 and August 1 You will earn one college credit for only $30.
  • Apply to Become a Saints Ambassador (Optional)
    Have you taken a campus tour, been to an admissions event, or seen Bernie walking around campus? Chances are, you have interacted with a Saints Ambassador before! Consider joining the Saints Ambassadors Corps family today!
  • On Campus Jobs
    Looking for on campus employment when you arrive. USF departments are looking to connect with students through employment. It is a great opportunity to have a flexible schedule and learn more about USF. 

July: Complete the New Student Check-In Process
In order to start classes, all students are required to complete a final check-in process through the USF portal. Starting in July 2024, when you log into the portal, you will be prompted to complete these steps.


  1. Housing arrangements
    You will be asked to confirm if you are planning to live off campus or on campus. If you are planning to live on-campus, you will be asked to confirm your room assignment. For more information or questions, contact Cedricka Carver at or 815-740-4293.
  2. Class schedule
    Next you will be asked to confirm or change your class schedule. If you need to make changes you can reach out to
  3. Financial Aid
    Then you will review your Financial Aid. The process will show you any unsatisfied requirements in order to complete your file. For questions contact 815-740-3403 or you can schedule an appointment at Also you may need to Complete your Student Loan Entrance Counseling and Loan Agreement (MPN) online, if applicable.
  4. Tuition payments/setting up payment plans
    Finalize your plan to pay tuition, final bill, housing, and fees with these acceptable options:
    1. Tuition payment plan of five equal installments throughout the course of the semester. The Electronic on the MyUSF Portal. A semester payment plan fee of $90 will be added once you complete this required process.
    2. Payment in full for the entire semester’s balance (total costs minus all approved financial assistance).
    3. Down payment of $500 if financial aid is not finalized.

How to complete payment options:

  • Welcome Weekend is a series of informative sessions about USF over the weekend before classes begin in August. It provides an opportunity for new students to meet other students in their class while attending fun events. The next Welcome Weekend will take place  August 16-18, 2024.

    The first day of classes is August 19, 2024 more details about the academic calendar can be found here:  As a new student to keep up to date on what is going on download the Suitable app and see what events are happening on campus Apple Store download Google Play download.

    Welcome Weekend Schedule for First Year Students and Guests (coming soon)

Would you like to be paired with a returning USF student who has the same interests as you? Someone to show you the ropes of being a successful college student… a “go-to” person who can answer questions or attend events with you? Take advantage of our Bernie Buddies Program!

  • Living on campus is an amazing opportunity and it comes with a lot of questions. Use this First Year Student FAQs hand out to answer frequently asked questions or check out each residence halls profile here for more information.
  • Whether you are a resident or commuter learning about dining on campus is key. For information about the dining centers and hours check out the website here. All residents are enrolled in the 175 block meal plan. To change your meal plan email email
  • As a student you will have a flexible schedule with a great deal of time outside of the classroom. The university provides a wide variety of Clubs and organizations to connect with and for you to grow your leadership skills. If you aren’t sure how to connect on campus reach out to Student Life.
  • Wondering if and what type of Technology is best to use for USF students? Check out this great information from IT Technology at USF. For any questions you contact Tech Support at 815-768-8324.
  • Over 50% of our students are first generation college students, meaning you are the first in your family to attend a 4-year institution. A key support for first generation students at USF is University Success Scholars.
  • As you consider your student experience studying abroad can provide a wealth of experiences. Learn more about these opportunities on our website.
  • The Academic Center for Excellence is your one stop shop for academic support. Whether you want help with classes or creating a four year plan to graduation they will be here to help!
  • The Office of Institutional Diversity is responsible for fostering an environment where a variety of cultural systems are acknowledged, respected and valued. USF Diversity office is here to support you!
  • You may have visited campus, but if you need a refresher, check out our Virtual Campus Tour!
  • Mental Health & Wellness is a key support we hope to offer you while you are a student at USF. Please check out our counseling website for more information.

RSVP for SOAR Summer Registration

Use this RSVP to attend a scheduled SOAR registration event or to make an individual appointment. At the scheduled SOAR events, you will register for your fall semester classes with an advisor. Class registration happens on a first come first serve basis, so students benefit from coming early. See you soon!

Welcome Weekend Schedule for First Year Students and Guests (coming soon)

Additional Helpful Information

For your convenience, listed below are several hotels located in the Joliet area and near the University of St. Francis. When making your reservation, please advise them you are with the University of St. Francis to take advantage of and receive the USF discount rate were applicable.
Fairfield Inn & Suite by Marriott – (815) 436-6577
3239 Norman Avenue
Hampton Inn – North – (815) 439-9500
3555 Mall Loop Drive
Hampton Inn – South – (815) 725-2424
1521 Riverboat Center Drive
Wingate Inn – (815) 741-2100
101 McDonald Avenue
Comfort Inn North – (815) 676-5293
3235 Norman Avenue
Home2Suites by Hilton – (815) 727-3310
4095 Hennepin Drive
Parking space on campus is limited. Guests are welcome to park in campus lots and can disregard USF parking permit restriction signs.
For a campus map, visit
Casual, comfortable attire is recommended. You may want to bring a light sweater or jacket as some rooms tend to be on the cool side. USF gear is always a great choice and in style on campus!
usf students smiling
group of smiling students
group of smiling students