Check-In and Arrival

To find out what needs to be completed before your Bobcat Student Orientation program, visit our Prepare page. This page includes information about major changes, Pre-BSO Modules, placement tests, orientation schedules, and other essential tasks to complete before BSO.


The Arrival to Athens section is intended to provide you with all the necessary information for planning your trip to Athens, OH. It will include details about early arrivals, airport and rental car options, bus and train information, parking details, and suggestions for places to stay in Athens.

Arrival to Athens

Early Arrival

Early arrival stays on-campus will be the night before an orientation program begins and will be in Jefferson Hall. Early arrival check-in typically takes place in the evening for a set duration of time. However, if you are unable to make the set check-in time, Conference and Event Services have an on-call number that can be used to connect with their staff after hours.

Airport and Rental Car Information

John Glenn International Airport (CMH)

Address: 4600 International Gateway, Columbus, OH 43219

Minutes to Campus: Around 1 Hour and 18 Minutes

Rickenbacker International Airport

Address: 2241 John Cir Dr, Columbus, OH 43217

Minutes to Campus: Around 1 Hour and 17 Minutes

West Virginia International Yeager Airport

Address: 100 Airport Rd #175 Charleston, WV 25311

Minutes to Campus: Around 1 Hour and 36 Minutes

Bus and Train Information

GoBus provides transportation between cities and rural areas in the state of Ohio. GoBus makes stops at the John Glenn International Airport and drops off in Athens at Baker University Center. Purchasing tickets and more information can be found on the GoBus website. They can be reached at 888.954.6287.

Places to Stay in Athens

Students are expected to stay in the residence halls during their time at Bobcat Student Orientation, but guests have the option to stay on-campus or off. Go to the Visit Athens County website to search places to stay in Athens.

Forgot Something at Home?

Athens has a variety of options if you forgot something at home like a toothbrush or if you need to get something last minute. Below is a list of retail stores close to campus and in the Athens area.

Explore Athens, OH

Athens, OH is a beautiful place to explore. With many local options for food, shopping, and things to do it can be overwhelming where to begin. Visit Athens County has created a guide to Athens and all the wonderful things Athens has to offer. View the 2024 Athens County Visitors Guide for travel information, tips and inspiration for your trip to Athens.

Things to Bring to In-Person BSO - Students

Bring the following with you for your in-person BSO program:

  • Photo ID (needed for check-in)
  • Laptop or tablet for course registration, if possible
    • We will have limited computers available during course registration at orientation. If you can bring your laptop, iPad, or Tablet with internet access, please do so for a quicker registration process.  This does not need to be the technology you will have as a new student, so you do not need to worry about getting that at this time. If possible, consider borrowing technology from someone to bring with you. Given the format of the advising sessions, a smartphone is difficult to use for registration purposes. We recommend bringing different technology, if possible.
    • Don't forget chargers for your devices.
  • Items for the Overnight Stay (1.5-day programs in summer only)
    • Linens are not provided for students staying overnight. Students should bring towels, pillows, and sheets/blankets for a Twin XL (or a sleeping bag if that is preferred). If a student is traveling from out-of-state and is unable to bring linens or if a student forgets to bring theirs, we will have linens available as needed.
    • Bring any additional items to make the overnight stay more comfortable, as well as toiletries, personal hygiene items, and medications.
    • Please note the residence hall is a traditional style hall and does include community bathrooms.
    • You may also want to bring snacks for during the program and board games/cards to use during the evening social programming.
  • Attire
    • Bring an umbrella and wear comfy shoes. It is a long (but fun!) program and we want you to be prepared. We also recommend bringing a jacket for use in some of our indoor session locations, as they tend to be very cold during the summer months. We also travel around campus during the program, so be prepared for cold weather during the winter months.
  • Unofficial college transcripts and test scores
    • If your official transcripts (indicating any college credit you may receive) and test scores have not been received or processed in time for your orientation, you’re welcome (but not required) to bring an unofficial copy for academic advising and course registration purposes.
  • Refillable water bottle
    • Most water fountains on campus have been converted to bottle refilling stations. You will be traveling around campus a lot, so it will be important to stay hydrated!

Things to Bring to In-Person BSO - Families and Guests

A linens package (including 2 flat sheets, 1 blanket, 1 pillow, 1 pillowcase, 1 body towel, 1 hand towel and 1 washcloth) will be included for each guest for the overnight stay, but you’re welcome to bring anything to make your stay more comfortable. This may include a pillow, blanket or other comfort items. Students are expected to bring their own linens.

Other suggested items to bring:

  • Phone charger
  • Computer/tablet charger
  • Toiletries and personal hygiene items
  • Medications
  • Snacks

Please note the residence hall is a traditional style hall and does include community bathrooms.


Parking for summer orientation programs (May, June, July) will be in Lots 127 and 128 (around the Convocation Center), which can be found on the Campus Parking Map. Participants can use the entrances on West Green Drive and South Shafer Street. Accessible parking will be available near the parking lot entrance via West Green Drive. If you are using a GPS or other map service, please use the following address to find this parking location: 95 Richland Avenue, Athens, OH 45701. When you arrive at the lot, our staff will give you a permit for you to place on your dashboard. This parking permit will only be valid for the duration of your program.

Parking for January and August programs will be in Lot 132 (next to Peden Stadium), which can be found on the Campus Parking Map. Participants can use the entrance on South Green Drive and accessible parking will be available near the parking lot entrance. If you are using a GPS or other map service, please use the following address to find this parking location: 100 Richland Avenue, Athens, OH 45701. When you arrive at the lot, our staff will give you a permit for you to place on your dashboard. This parking permit will only be valid for the duration of your program.

Program Check-In

Check-in for programs in May, June, and July will be held in Baker University Center. We advise students and their guests to follow the recommended arrival times based on their last name. If a student plans to travel with another student to Athens, we suggest arriving at the time designated for the person whose last name comes first in the alphabet. The recommended times are listed below.

Last NameRecommended Check-In Time
A - E7:30 - 7:45 a.m.
F - P7:50 - 8:05 a.m.
Q - Z8:10 - 8:25 a.m.

Additional information about our check-in process can be found below.

Step 1: Confirm Overnight Stay Details

The first stop in our check-in process will have students and guests connect with the Conference & Event Services team to finalize the details of their overnight stay on-campus. If a student has a roommate identified for their overnight stay, it's recommended to arrive with them to check-in.

Students attending a first-year, 1.5-day BSO program in the summer are expected to stay on campus overnight during the program. The program runs late into the night and begins early the next morning, so staying on campus prevents students from travelling during late or early hours. This also creates more opportunities for students to build connections with other students as part of the orientation program.

With that said, we understand that staying on campus overnight may not be for everyone and we allow exemptions for students who do not want to stay on campus during their BSO program. However, students are still expected to participate in all required sessions that are part of the BSO schedule.

Please fill out the BSO Student Overnight Stay Exemption form if you do not wish to stay on-campus during your time at Bobcat Student Orientation.

Step 2: Check-In with BSO Staff

After students and their guests connect with Conference & Event Services, they will then connect with BSO staff to confirm the information provided during sign-up for their BSO program. If you need to make any changes, you can do so at check-in, but if you know about these changes beforehand (such as guest count), please email before your program.

Step 3: Take your OHIO ID card photo & visit the Resource Fair!

Finally, students will have their OHIO ID card photo taken. After this, both students and guests are encouraged to attend the BSO Resource Fair before our morning session begins. If they can't make it to the Resource Fair before the first session, there will also be an opportunity on day two of the program.

Step 4: Attend the Welcome Session!

After checking in and attending the Resource Fair, students and guests will head to the first session of the day. Before the session begins, there will be optional ribbons and buttons available for students and guests to share more about themselves, promoting connections with other participants. Among these options are ribbons such as "Out-Of-State", "OHIO Alumni", "Empty Nester", or "Commuter" and pronoun pins.

Students can update their preferred names and/or pronouns in MyOHIO Student Center. The preferred name you enter will be displayed in most University systems and services, such as your ID card, Catmail, the online directory, Blackboard, grading rosters, etc. Visit the preferred names FAQ page for more information.