Getting started at CU-Boulder

June 10, 2011
Don’t be shy. I think a lot of new students are afraid to ask questions. They really don’t want to look unknowledgeable about campus, but it’s really okay to ask.

If you’re a new member of our campus community (or you just haven’t been paying enough attention), here’s a checklist that will help you get started on a great semester.

Get connected

Technology is such an important part of being a CU-Boulder student, it’s one of the first things you need to take care of when you arrive on campus.

Through the Office of Information Technology (OIT), the central IT provider on campus, you’ll be able to take advantage of the latest educational technology tools, wireless network access, and innovative information technology through OIT QuickStart.

Q: How do I get started with campus technology like e-mail, wireless, my IdentiKey computing account, and the campus portal? Go to OIT QuickStart will help you with a step-by-step guide called Getting Started with Campus Technology—as well as links to the vast number of technology resources you can take advantage of at CU-Boulder. No laptop? No problem. Computer labs and terminal stations where you can check your e-mail are located conveniently across campus. See map.

Wireless Access at CU-Boulder

CU-Boulder wireless access can be found in nearly every building on campus, in popular campus life locations, and in most residence halls. To access the wireless network:

  • Choose UCB Wireless from the available networks list.
  • Open a web browser and go to
  • Enter your CU Login Name and IdentiKey password and begin the network registration process, including reviewing and accepting the “Uses of CU-Boulder’s Computing and Network Resources” policy.

If these steps are completed properly, you will be prompted to clear your web browser’s cache and restart your computer.

CU-Boulder Guest Wireless

Your guests can get on the campus wireless network during their visits to campus by connecting to UCB Guest Wireless. Learn more at

Get advising and choose your classes

I definitely wish I had known as an incoming freshman to use my academic advisor more officially and more accurately. My first semester I believe one class, 3 credits out of my 15, actually applied to my major.

Your progress at CU-Boulder depends on having a plan for the courses you take as you work toward your degree. Q: How do I know what courses to take?

You talk to your advisor.
It’s the best way to make sure you’re meeting your requirements—and more importantly, it’s required. Your orientation session will get you off on the right foot during your first semester; in future semesters you will sign up for advising by your college or school. Each college and school has its own process for advising, so contact them early to make sure you get the information and guidance you need.

Your academic advisor can help you*. . .

  1. Review your academic records and any Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS) deficiencies.
  2. Review degree requirements. You are responsible for knowing degree requirements.
  3. Review transfer credit issues.
  4. Discuss your goals and interests and develop a strategy for achieving your academic and career goals.
  5. Discuss courses for the upcoming semester. You should come prepared with a list of potential courses.
  6. Discuss your progress and performance.
  7. Discuss academic difficulties, how to prepare for final exams, etc.

*Remember that your primary advisor may have a large number of students. Please plan ahead and schedule your appointment well in advance of your deadlines.

Advising Contacts

College of Architecture and Planning Environmental Design 168 303-492-7711

College of Arts and Sciences Academic Advising Center Woodbury 109 303-492-7885 Preprofessional Advising

Leeds School of Business Undergraduate Student Services Office Business 227 303-492-6515

School of Education Teacher Education Office Education 151 303-492-6555

College of Engineering and Applied Science Engineering Center AD 100 303-492-5071

School of Journalism and Mass Communication Armory 1B12 303-492-0631 College of Music Imig Music C-111 303-492-6354

Graduate Student Advising The Graduate School Regent 308 303-492-7401

Register for classes

If you follow the instructions carefully and complete each phase by the published deadlines, registration is easy!

There’s almost nothing more exciting than deciding what classes you’re going to take. Getting advised and planning your schedule are the first steps in making progress toward your degree, but you can’t go any further without taking the biggest step, registration. During orientation, we will guide you through registering for your first semester of CU-Boulder classes. Moving forward, you will register using the Office of the Registrar and MyCUinfo, our student web portal.

Office of the Registrar 303-492-6970 (press 2 for recorded information) Detailed instructions on how to register for fall and spring semesters is on the registrar’s website and in the Summer Session Catalog for summer sessions. The Office of the Registrar is one of the most important resources you will use as a student. It helps students, faculty, and staff with:

  • registering for classes
  • record keeping
  • requests for transcripts
  • getting your diploma
  • course and classroom management
  • academic support

Learn more at (click “live chat” to speak with a service specialist).

MyCUinfo Through MyCUinfo, the student web portal, you can register for classes, add or drop classes, put yourself on a wait list, verify your registration eligibility, and find out your schedule before the semester starts. The registration system is available Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to midnight, and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to midnight. For registration deadlines and other useful information, visit the Academic Calendar.

Get financial aid and pay your tuition bill

CU-Boulder’s priority deadline for full financial aid consideration is April 1. The Office of Financial Aid scholarship application deadline is March 1.

While the value of your education is measured in more than dollars and cents, there’s nothing wrong with getting the most for your money. From financial aid opportunities to the ins and outs of tuition and fees, here’s some useful information that will help you make the most of your CU-Boulder investment.

Applying for Financial Aid

The process of applying for financial aid starts with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. When FAFSA processes your application, an index number called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be calculated with the information you provide. Keep in mind that the EFC is not a dollar amount, rather an index number used to determine your financial aid award.

Remember that you need to resubmit your FAFSA each year in order to receive financial aid.

Once you’ve applied, you will receive an award offer describing your financial aid award(s), which you must formally accept. Different types of awards have different terms and conditions, so contact the Office of Financial Aid with any questions you have before you accept.


CU-Boulder offers access to a variety of scholarship opportunities. Many scholarships are need based, so you should submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1. Award offers to continuing students are made by July 1. Written notices outlining the conditions of the awards are mailed to recipients. If you apply for scholarships and do not receive them, you will be notified via e-mail at your CU-Boulder e-mail address or the e-mail address on file in the Office of Admissions. Get all of the details about financial aid and scholarships—including loan programs, work-study, applying for scholarships, private scholarships, graduate student aid, and much more—at


Work-study is a need-based financial aid program that provides employment opportunities for eligible students.

Paying Your Tuition

The Bursar’s Office has gone to great lengths to make paying your tuition and fee bill as convenient, secure, and easy as possible.


CUBill&Pay is an electronic billing and payment system for students, parents, and/or other authorized users. Students automatically receive an e-mail notification stating when your tuition bill is available for viewing and payment. You can also give parents and other payers access to CUBill&Pay so they receive an e-mail notification when the bill is available. Parents and authorized users can then log in to CUBill&Pay to view the bill, print it, and/or pay it online in a secure setting.

Payment Methods

We accept a variety of payment methods, including cash (at our Bursar’s window only), e-checks through CUBill&Pay, checks, wire transfers, and the two-payment plan. At this time we DO NOT accept credit or debit cards for payment of tuition and fees.

Direct Deposit Refunds

After all tuition and fees are paid, any extra money is refunded to you through direct deposit. To receive your refunds, you are required to enroll in direct deposit through MyCUInfo. Refunds are then electronically deposited into your designated bank account.

Bill Estimator

You can use the online bill estimator to get an idea of how much you can expect to pay in tuition and fees.

Colorado Opportunity Fund for In-state Undergraduates

Undergraduate in-state students are eligible for direct college funding from the state of Colorado. To receive funding, you must first apply online at and authorize at You apply once in your lifetime AND authorize payment once by selecting lifetime authorization.

Payment Deadlines

The entire balance of your bill is due on the published due date by the end of the business day if paid in person or mailed—and before midnight if paid using the e-check payment method. Failure to pay on time will result in late charges and financial holds, and past-due accounts are referred for collection.

Tuition Classification

You can get information about in-state tuition classification—including requirements, guidelines, and the petitioning process—by calling the Registrar’s Office automated phone service at 303-492-6868. Get complete tuition and fees details—including answers to common questions—at IMPORTANT!! Privacy Information and Parental Access Your written permission is needed to release your account information to your parents. Authorizing a payer on CUBill&Pay grants this release, or you can sign the official FERPA Student Permission for Parental Access release form in the Registrar’s Office.

Buy books and supplies

I totally forgot that I needed school supplies.

Buying books is one those things you might not rate as importantly as things like advising, registration, and tuition—but how do you succeed without it? There are many options available to you for acquiring your books and supplies, each of which can help you get the necessary textbooks and other materials you will need to keep up with your studies—in addition to all the apparel you need to show your CU Buffs pride.

CU Book Store The CU Book Store is proudly owned and operated by the university, with a service and product selection designed with you in mind. Conveniently located on campus in the University Memorial Center, the CU Book Store is ready to support all of your academic and apparel needs—from textbooks and buybacks, to gifts and CU merchandise, to school supplies and general books, to a complete range of computer hardware and software.

Colorado Bookstore (on the hill) The Colorado Bookstore offers a wide selection of textbooks and general interest books. In addition, it sells school supplies, computer software, postage stamps, gifts, and other merchandise.

Make yourself at home

Questions about living on campus? Visit for specific information.

Living on campus? We want you to feel comfortable in what—for most of you—is your first home away from home. With our combination of breathtaking mountain views, stunning architecture, and exciting residential academic programs and living and learning communities, we strive to deliver one of the best on-campus living experiences in the country. Here are some tips to help you make the most of it: Q: Where will I live? Depending on your preferences and room availability, Housing & Dining Services will place you in our central campus residential community, in the Kittredge community, or in Williams Village. If you’re registered for one of our Residential Academic Programs, you will be assigned to the corresponding residence hall. Each residence hall has its own unique character—and all of them include social events and other opportunities for you to make friends and get involved. Q: What will I eat? The CU-Boulder dining experience features variety, great service, and an emphasis on organic, all-natural ingredients. We have dining halls and Grab-n-Go outlets located across campus, and we offer personalized meal plans to meet your needs.

Want to know when and where to grab a bite? Get complete dining center, Grab-n-Go, and convenience store hours at


If you did not indicate a roommate preference on your housing application, occupancy management will make every effort to assign you a roommate who is close to your age and has some common interests. If you requested a specific roommate, the department will make every effort to honor that request provided space is available, the request is mutual, the same hall is requested, and both requests are received early enough.

Room Changes

A happy and compatible roommate situation is an important aspect of college life. We hope that your assigned roommate turns out to be the perfect one. Because there are almost no vacancies early in the semester, no room changes can be made until after two full weeks of class, provided space is available. Changes and moves can only be made with approvals from hall directors and/or occupancy management, and—though a limited number of room changes may be possible during the fall semester—changes and moves are best made at midyear. What if I have housing concerns or problems?

  • Maintenance issues –, 303-735-5555
  • Customer service –
  • Roommate conflicts – either your floor resident assistant or hall director
  • Room changes within a residence hall – your hall director
  • Room changes between residence halls – occupancy management, 303-492-6673

Study hard

My first semester freshman year, I came in having high expectations for myself but plummeted right down into the academic probation area, which is bad news. I would recommend—even though class seems optional—to attend class as often as possible.

The transition to college-level academics is one of the biggest adjustments you will make at CU-Boulder. The combination of managing your own time and performing more challenging work can sneak up on you if you underestimate it. That said, there are plenty of things you can do to perform well in your course work

Manage Your Time

From making sure you attend all of your classes (and get to them on time), to planning study sessions and giving yourself time for meals, exercise, and relaxation, managing your time is probably the single most important skill for your success as a college student.

Get a Tutor and Join a Study Group If you’re an on-campus resident, the Academic Support Assistance Program (ASAP) is dedicated to helping you acheive academic success. ASAP offers a variety of small group tutoring, study sessions, and other support to connect you with the academic resources available to you.

Student Academic Services Center The Student Academic Services Center (SASC) is a multicultural advocacy and academic program designed to help students perform successfully at the university level. We will assist all students in locating qualified and trained tutors in a variety of subjects. SASC’s referral service provides lists of qualified tutors in various subjects for the entire university community.

CU-GOLD CU-GOLD, a leadership group established and operated by CU students, offers free workshops on time management and other professional development skills for students.

The CU-Boulder Honor Code

The CU-Boulder Honor Code serves to secure an environment in which all individuals have responsibility and are appropriately recognized for their individual academic and personal achievements. The Honor Code is dedicated to strengthening the community through trust, respect, and facilitating the intellectual and personal development of all students. Your involvement is vital to the Honor Code process. Find out about volunteering and other opportunities at

Use Campus Resources

Check with your individual academic departments for subject-specific academic support, and explore the many resources available to you through CU-Boulder University Libraries—featuring the largest library collection in the Rocky Mountain region.

University Libraries

You can access more than 12 million books, periodicals, government publications, audio-visual materials, microforms, maps, manuscripts, papers, and computer-based sources in the Norlin Library, including archives and special collections, and in five branches—business, earth sciences, engineering, math/physics, and music. Norlin Commons, a joint project of the University Libraries and Information Technology Services, features 24-hour access, more than 100 laptops for checkout, walk-up Scarpie stations for quick e-mail and Web access, open-group workstations, private team rooms, Teamspot for real-time collaboration, high-definition video conferencing, ITS Bug Busters desktop support service, and a renovated writing center. Want to kick your academic experience up a notch? Explore study abroad, honors, and other enrichment programs at:

Stay healthy

Make sure you select or waive health insurance and provide proof of immunization—which are mandatory requirements of the university.

A successful student is a healthy student—and CU-Boulder provides a wide range of resources to help ensure your ongoing health and wellness while you’re a student here.


Colorado State Law requires new freshman, transfer, and graduate students to submit proof of two doses each of measles (rubeola), rubella (German measles), and mumps (or “MMR”) vaccinations. This is a mandatory requirement for all college students born on or after January 1, 1957. For required forms and deadlines, visit

Wardenburg Health Center Wardenburg Health Center’s convenient on-campus facility specializes in the health care needs of college students. We provide primary care; women’s health; mental health; sports medicine services (including physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic); laboratory and x-ray services; community health education; and a pharmacy. All CU students may use Wardenburg regardless of insurance provider.

Selecting or Waiving Your Health Insurance Plan

Because of the university’s policy of mandatory health insurance coverage, you will “default” into the Student Gold Health Insurance Plan and your tuition bill will be charged the plan premium for the semester if no other selection is made by the deadlines: fall 2011 —August 31, 2011; spring 2012—January 25, 2012. Questions? Visit

Student Recreation Center

Regular exercise is one of the best ways to make friends, relieve stress, and stay healthy. The Student Recreation Center offers a complete range of activities, including aerobics, weight rooms, cardio equipment, handball/raquetball/squash courts, an indoor hockey rink, three indoor basketball courts, a swimming pool with diving well, a sunbathing patio, two multiuse gymnasiums, an indoor running track, a Cybex fitness systems room, a climbing wall, a ropes course, and more. Our popular intramurals and club sports programs also operate out of the rec center, with over 15,000 students participating. Take advantage of all the sports and fitness opportunities available to you at

Counseling and Psychological Services

Being a college student can be incredibly stressful at times. With this in mind, Counseling and Psychological Services offers confidential counseling programs and activities for all CU-Boulder students, including individual counseling and therapy, group counseling, and workshops on issues like stress management, multicultural support, and coping with trauma. Get the details at