Frequently Asked Questions

Do we have to register in advance to attend an SAO Day?

Yes. Only those students and parents who have registered online or by phone can be accommodated. Due to the number of students and their guests attending SAO, we are NOT able to accept drop-in arrivals.

What if I am unable to come to campus for an orientation day?

Telephone counselling and e-advising are available for students following the in-person program (July 9 to August 23). Follow the steps on our Account Activation page, and complete all of the modules in your OWL “Academic Orientation” site. Have your Course Selection Sheet ready before your counselling appointment, and ensure you have access to a computer with internet. Allow 30 minutes for your appointment. As a follow-up, you will use Western’s online registration program to register for your courses. You can create a mock timetable before or after your appointment to see what schedule is best for you.

**International and Out of Province Students are eligible to book phone appointments from June 20 – August 23

Can parents and other guests attend?

Parents and interested guests are welcome and encouraged to attend. We offer a concurrent parent program to provide parents with more information about Western’s programs and services available to first-year students. As spaces are limited, we can only allow two guests per student and we ask that all guests register for the program. Parent/guest registration is done on the same page as student registration.

What is the deadline for course selection?

You are not required to wait for your SAO day before registering for courses, however we do suggest that your courses be reviewed at SAO. We will provide you assistance to make any required changes during your SAO day. The last day for online web registration is September 13*. Once SAO ends, you must obtain any academic counselling you may need through the Dean's Office of your Faculty of registration.

*Dates may change, visit for official sessional dates.

How do I prepare for SAO?

Learn more about how to prepare.

Why do I need a student card and how do I obtain one?

The Western ONECard is both your campus identification card (required for all final exams) and a convenient, easy, and safe way to make purchases and use services on campus including: libraries, meal purchases, parking, door access, and vending machines. To avoid the September rush, you are strongly encouraged to upload a photo through our easy to use photo upload feature available in late June. Please ensure that your selected photo meets the following guidelines:

  • A neutral or smiling facial expression that is looking straight at the camera.
  • Open and clearly visible eyes. Glasses, including tinted prescription glasses, are acceptable provided that the eyes are clearly visible. Sunglasses are unacceptable. Nothing on your head, unless it is worn for religious beliefs.
  • Nothing obstructing the view of your face. (Veiled students, please contact our office to make special arrangements to have your picture taken.)

Alternatively, you are welcome to visit Student Central in the Western Student Services Building, Room 1120 to have your photo taken. Please note that the Western ONECard will be distributed during Orientation Week. If you are living in residence, you will be provided with your Western ONECard on move in day. If you are living off campus, you can pick up your card when you come to pick up your orientation package from the Off Campus Sophs. For students that are attending an affiliate college, please contact your college directly for further instructions.

Can I stay overnight?

We have two styles of accommodation to suit your preferences.

Western Summer Accommodations are offered in Western's newest residence, Ontario Hall.   This state-of-the-art new facility is conveniently located at the corner of Western and Sarnia Road, and offers complimentary wireless internet and plenty of free parking.  It is approximately a 10 minute walk from the SAO program, leaving plenty of time to grab a morning coffee. Western Summer Accommodations provides you with convenient and affordable semi-private suites and an opportunity to experience residence before beginning your time at Western.  Visit us online to make your reservation and indicate that you are attending SAO to receive a 15% discount on suites or rooms.



Phone: 519-661-3476

Windermere Manor: offers 48 spacious suites and rooms,  full hot breakfast included in the room rate, ample free parking, free wireless internet service, 100% smoke free facility, on site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, fully licenced outdoor patio and a beautiful setting. Windermere is a 15 minute walk from Western’s main campus. SAO participants get a 10% discount on suites and rooms. For reservations or accommodation inquiries, please contact:

Telephone: 1-800-997-4477



SAO Overnight Experience

If you are planning on attending Western University’s Summer Academic Orientation on July 5 or 6th, consider staying overnight in Residence to experience what Residence Life at Western is all about.  Sign-up for your SAO day first and then sign-up with Residence here:

Beginning the evening before your SAO session, incoming first-year students will take part in a selection of what Residence at Western has to offer. Included in the SAO Overnight Stay, participants will be provided with a 1-night stay in a traditional-style double unit in Ontario Hall, 2 meals in our dining hall (dinner and breakfast) and the opportunity to meet other incoming first-year students by engaging in community-based activities & events. You can sign-up for the overnight experience starting early June.

Parents/Guests interested in attending the overnight experience can sign up and will receive the same rate however, guests will be located in a different part of the residence to allow for students to make connections with other Western students.

Is lunch available?

Lunch is available to purchase in the University Community Centre at multiple locations (Tim Horton's, Subway, Starbuck's). The Spoke Cafe and Kitchen and The Wave Restaurant are also open for participants of SAO.

Check summer hours: 

Are there services for students with disabilities?

Yes, Western provides services for students who have disabilities. If you require any special arrangements in order to participate in orientation, please contact the coordinator at or 519-661-2111 ext. 85183.  

Academic accommodation must be requested during the summer, as soon as possible after students register for courses. Later requests will be considered, however accommodation may not be arranged in time for first term examinations. Please note that academic accommodation and related assistance provided at Western may differ from that provided by an individual’s previous educational institution. Individuals contemplating attending Western are encouraged to consult with Accessible Education regarding accommodations that the University would provide for them prior to making a final decision about attending Western.

What options are available to me over the summer to improve my writing skills or English language skills?

Summer Academic Writing Clinic

Created in 2003 and primarily intended for incoming first-year students (although any student may register), our annual Summer Academic Writing Clinic (SAWC) is a three-day program in which students learn about all aspects of writing at the university level: subject-specific writing, academic writing styles, professor expectations, research, sourcing, thesis statements, critical thinking skills, and more are addressed.

Writing ability is a major reason for academic success. Although students develop sound writing skills in high school, many need to improve in order to excel at university. The SAWC offers you the opportunity to learn how to write at the university level before you write your first paper.

Do I have to register in advance for a campus tour?

Yes. If you would like to participate in a full campus tour you will need to register prior to attending SAO. Summer campus and residence tours last about 2.5-hours and include a visit to at least two Faculties (depending on the most requested academic areas of the group), a library, the University Community Centre, the Western Student Recreation Centre and a hybrid-style residence (Ontario Hall). Unfortunately, no other first-year residence buildings are open in the summer. You MUST select the 1:30pm tour option only if you plan on attending Summer Academic Orientation as the morning will include course advising and registration help.

At SAO we will offer an express residence tour (45 minutes in length) of two residences (Ontario Hall and Essex Hall only). No prior registration is required for this tour.

Can I register for my courses in advance?

Yes.  Our advisors can discuss the courses that you've already selected and make any changes as necessary. You can change your schedule as much as needed between then and the add/drop date (about a week after classes start in September)

I am a mature student. Why are all the SAO appointment dates appearing as full?

We have a separate SAO for mature and transfer students, so standard SAO appointments will appear as unavailable. For more information about Mature Student SAO, visit Western Career Central

My friend and I want to register together but we are not seeing the same options available as signup dates. Why?

Not all faculties run on the same day. If you and your friend are in different programs try checking for a different day that you both can attend.

I need to change or cancel my SAO appointment. Should I send an email?

No! You can change your appointment through the same registration portal you used to sign up for your original appointment. Please make sure you change or cancel your SAO appointment at least one day in advance of your scheduled time slot.