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What to Expect on Opening Day

Information for New Undergraduate Students

This page gives important information for fall arrivals.  Visit our page for new undergraduate students arriving in January 2019 here

Fall 2018

There are only three things you must do on Opening Day (Friday, August 17).  You’ll have plenty of time to do each, and you do not need to complete numbers 1 and 2 in order. In fact, if you have a 2:00-5:00pm move-in time block, we recommend that you attend New Student Check-In before you move in to your residence. 

Most important … relax, and have fun! Lots of staff members and volunteers will be on hand to help guide you to the right place and answer any questions you have.

Required activities for Opening Day:

Check in to your residence and move in to your room

Move in during your designated time block (exceptions: residents of 112 Edgemoor and Schuyler House may move in at any time between 8:00am and 5:00pm).  Remember to print out your unloading permit ahead of time and display it on your dashboard once you get to campus. Unloading permits will be available to download and print from the New Students To-Do List beginning August 1.

Move-in timeslots are as follows:

If your last name begins with          Move in between the hours of
P-Z                                                    8am-11am
A-G                                                   11am-2pm
H-O                                                   2pm-5pm

You may park temporarily in front of your building for 20 minutes while you unload your car. A licensed driver must stay with the vehicle at all times. Welcome Volunteers will be on hand to help you unload and bring your belongings to your room. 

After you unload your car, you will be directed to a longer term parking area. You may then return to your room to unpack your belongings, attend New Student Check-In, explore campus, or eat in one of Cornell Dining's eateries

Go to New Student Check-In at Barton Hall

You are required to attend New Student Check-In on August 17, any time between 8:00am and 4:00pm, to pick up your Cornell ID card. You may attend Check-In before or after moving in to your residence. If you have been assigned a 2:00-5:00pm move-in time block, please plan to go to Check-In before moving in. 

You may park in A Lot on North Campus and walk down to Barton Hall, or take the free shuttle bus.

In addition to picking up your Cornell ID card at Barton Hall, you can:

    • Sign up for your Cornell Dining meal plan (if you haven’t already)
    • Learn about health insurance coverage and verify that your enrollment/waiver form has been submitted
    • Learn about your commuting privileges and options for getting around – and in and out of – Ithaca
    • Learn about student employment opportunities
    • Learn about the wealth of programs and services offered at Cornell

Attend your Resident Advisor (RA) and Orientation Leader (OL) meetings Friday night

Meetings take place in your building on so you can get to know your residential staff and other students.

Tips for a successful Opening Day:

  • Arrival time: Many families arrive at the very beginning of their assigned arrival timeslot (8:00am, 11:00am, or 2:00pm).  Consider arriving a bit later in your assigned time block to avoid traffic congestion. 
  • Dress:  Ithaca weather can change quickly, and you may be walking to get to dining rooms and to Barton Hall. Please dress for comfort.
  • Dining:  Campus dining rooms and cafés open beginning at 10:30am on August 17, so you and your family will have the opportunity to eat together and relax. Sign up for a meal plan ahead of time so you can start using it on your first day on campus (you will need to pick up your Cornell ID card at Barton Hall before actually using your meal plan). All eateries on campus also accept credit cards.
  • Free shuttle bus service: Numerous free shuttle buses will take you between North and West Campuses and New Student Check-In on Friday, August 17. We strongly encourage you to park your vehicle as directed by Commuter & Parking Services on Move-In Day, and to use the shuttles. For those who prefer to walk, a suggested route will be available at Walking from North Campus to Barton Hall takes about 20 minutes.
  • Red Shirt Resources: Need help? Look for a red shirt! Staff and volunteers will be wearing red shirts to identify themselves as an information source. They can answer your questions about what's going on during Opening Day, how to get from Point A to Point B, where to get a bite to eat, and myriad other inquiries.
  • Shopping for your room, or for text books: Many families spend some time on Opening day, or during Opening weekend, shopping for bedding, organizational units, textbooks, and other essentials. Many items can be bought at The Cornell Store's "Dorm Essentials" tent sale. Visit for information about purchasing textbooks, online or in person.
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