Graduate Orientation and Welcome (GROW) is open to all newly admitted graduate students and held  in January for those admitted for the spring semester and in August for those admitted for summer or fall.  Admitted students will receive an e-mail invitation to register at least one month prior to GROW. A Zoom link will be provided to our UA Online students to join us virtually if needed, but are welcome to attend in person if they’d like.

Summer/Fall 2023 Graduate Orientation and Welcome

Save the date! GROW will be held on Friday, August 18th and Saturday, August 19th.
Students admitted before July 3rd will receive an email on Monday, July 3rd with a link to register for GROW. Students admitted after July 3rd will receive a link to register 1-3 business days after admission. Registration closes on Thursday, August 17th at 11:59 a.m.

Friday August 18th 6-8 p.m.: Tuscaloosa River Market
This is a social event where you will have the opportunity to meet other new students, current students, and faculty. There will be university and community resource tables, appetizers, and great conversation. Transportation will be provided from the university to the River Market. We will also provide maps for those who prefer to walk, drive, or cycle. 

Saturday August 19th 12:30-5:00 pm: North Lawn Hall
12:30pm: Check in table opens for international students
1pm: New international student information session
1:30pm: Check in table opens for domestic students 
2pm: Welcome to UA!
2:30pm: Break out sessions with current UA graduate students. Learn more about life at UA in a small group setting. 
3:30pm: Break
3:45pm: Faculty panel: student expectations
4:30pm: Wrap up

Spring 2024 Graduate Orientation and Welcome

More details and registration information will be sent to admitted students via e-mail no later than December 1st, 2023.

You deserve to be here.

You were accepted into the program, so believe in your abilities.

You are not alone.

Graduate school can be a very challenging process. It helps to know that you are going to experience many of the same ups and downs as your classmates. Challenges are to be expected. Keep going!

It’s a process.

Developing good research skills and understanding the jargon takes time, so be patient. You WILL get it!

Seek help and ask many questions.

Keep asking questions and don’t give up. Seek advice from trusted colleagues, professors, and professionals in your field of study.

Write every day.

It can really make a difference. Working out your “writing muscles” on a consistent basis will pay off.

Find your passion.

Your writing is YOUR voice, so find something you can live with for a long time. Don’t be afraid to stand behind your passion and beliefs.


Do not be afraid to say “no” to people. You have to focus on what is best for YOU.

Develop friendships and study groups in your classes.

Your classmates may become like family members by the end of this process. Becoming a part of a study group or cohort can be extremely helpful. It can help you stay on track. Take time out to recharge your batteries. Do something you enjoy!

Work as though you are already a professional in your desired field.

Try to do things that will make you a viable candidate for your desired job. If you want to be a professor, find out what first year professors are expected to do and attempt to do these things. At the graduate level, you are considered to be more than just a student. You are a professional, future scholar, and potential colleague. The way you present yourself inside and outside of the classroom is important.

Think ahead.

Consider ahead of time what you might say when others ask what you do or what you are studying. Though you don’t want to sound as if you are following a script, you want to practice this so it will flow naturally.


You are there to meet new people. If you arrive with a few friends, remember that splitting up to mingle might be the best way to meet others.

Stand proud.

Be positive and smile. Stand straight, but be relaxed.

Greet people

Shake hands firmly (but not too firmly). If you are unable to shake hands for cultural or medical reasons, briefly explain. A smile is always a nice greeting.


Listen closely to each person you meet. Maintain eye contact and contribute to the conversation. • If initiating conversation, avoid topics typically considered to be inappropriate for small talk. Focus on topics that are upbeat and not too personal.

Dive in.

Don’t be shy about approaching a group of people who are already talking. When someone in the group makes eye contact, smile and introduce yourself.

Be inclusive.

Include others in conversation and introduce them to the people you have just met. • Repeat a person’s name once introduced to make sure you heard correctly and to help you remember it. Include the person’s name when ending the conversation.

Be observant

Be aware of body language—if someone’s eyes are wandering, they may be ready to end the conversation and move on or they may want to say something if you have been talking for a while.

Don’t be a salesman

Never try to sell yourself. Try to make a connection through friendly conversation and professional behavior. • Depending on the connection made, consider following up with the contact soon after you meet. You might email to say that you enjoyed the conversation and hope to touch base again soon or that you simply enjoyed meeting them and wish them a great semester.

Be helpful

For the contacts you want to maintain, find ways to do something for them. You might send them the link to an article they would find interesting or offer to assist them with something.   Please visit the New Graduate Student Checklist.