Instagram Combined Shape quotation Created with Sketch. 69
Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Transfer Student Orientation

Congratulations on becoming a part of the SUNY Potsdam family!

About Orientation

Orientation is your opportunity to become a part of the Potsdam community. You will speak with an academic advisor that will help you choose and register for fall classes. The class scheduling portion of orientation will take place before you arrive on campus. Once on campus, you will meet other transfer students and get to know campus programs and services.

When is Orientation?
Students participate in orientation activities in a full-day program which will take place on Friday, August 27. Before you arrive on campus for the required in-person portion of the orientation program, you will complete a number of steps to make sure you’re ready for your first semester at SUNY Potsdam. 

Once you commit to attending SUNY Potsdam, you will need to complete a series of steps to get you ready to arrive in late August.  These steps will give you important information about academic advising and class scheduling, financial aid and billing, and more.  These steps can be accessed on the New Student Services section of BearPAWS.

Orientation Fees:
Transfer Student Orientation Fee: $40 and includes all activities and transitional support programs throughout the first year on campus for new transfer students.

Do families and guests come to Orientation?
On new student move-in day (Thursday, August 26), there will be opportunities for families and guests to learn more about the college, visit campus offices, and get answers to their questions. Families leave on Thursday afternoon and students will begin their participation in Orientation and Welcome Weekend activities that run Thursday through Sunday.

Important Dates

View Academic Calendar

Payment Deadlines:

  • August 15, 2021 - Fall Semester Payment Deadline
  • January 15, 2022 - Spring Semester Payment Deadline

Get started on your checklist today!

Set Up Your Potsdam Outlook Email Account

All official College communication is sent to your Potsdam email. It is very important to check your Potsdam Outlook email account often for orientation information and other important updates regarding your transition to SUNY Potsdam such as financial aid, health requirements, billing, etc.

Microsoft Outlook is a free app available in the Apple and Android App stores. Or, it can be accessed online at Login using your email address and campus computer account (CCA) password that you set up when you received your admission information email. Your SUNY Potsdam Outlook Email account is your Potsdam Your email password is the same as your BearPAWS password.

Microsoft Logo Icon

More information about Microsoft Outlook is available on the College website.

BearPAWS Login Instructions

BearPAWS is the portal to all of your important student information.  You’ll use the site to register for classes, pay your bill, sign up for housing and meal plans, check your grades, track your degree progress, and much more.  It’s essential that you begin familiarizing yourself with the site this summer as you will use it throughout your time as a student.

The New Student Services portal in BearPAWS is the place where you will fill out your mandatory health forms and sign up for housing and meal plans.  The portal’s New Student Checklist also allows you to track that you’ve completed all of the steps required before you start your first semester at Potsdam.

Access BearPAWS

  • Use your Campus Computer Account (CCA) username and password
  • Go to the “New Student Services” link; follow the New Student Checklist and complete all steps.

Apply For Financial Aid

Make Sure To:

  • If you have not already submitted your 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at, you should do so immediately. The FAFSA needs to be completed before July 1st in order to have financial aid show on your fall billing statement.
  • Once the FAFSA is completed, New York State residents should apply for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and the Excelsior Scholarship at (Higher Education Services Corporation website). The TAP application can be completed immediately after filing the FAFSA and should be done by July 1st as well. The Excelsior application becomes available later in the spring- please watch the HESC website for more information.
  • Go into BearPAWS to check what you still need to complete or submit to confirm your financial aid

Payment Deadlines:

  • August 15, 2021 - Fall Semester Payment Deadline
  • January 15, 2022 - Spring Semester Payment Deadline Payments received after these dates may be subject to late fees.

Send in Health Information

This information is due right away if you want to register for classes! Complete the health requirements for attending SUNY Potsdam online at BearPAWS:

  • Go to the “New Student Services” link
  • Click on “Student Health and Counseling Services” Portal
  • Click on “Forms” (complete the Health Information #3, Meningitis Response, and Tuberculosis Questionnaire)
  • Mail or email to your immunization records to or fax your immunization records to (315) 267-3260.

    Student Health Services
    119 Van Housen Hall
    Potsdam, NY 13676
    Fax: (315) 267-3260

Student Health Services must ensure all new, readmitted, and transfer students meet state and local health requirements. Failing to comply with the health requirements will result in your inability to register for classes. See important details here.

Questions about health forms/requirements? 
Call Student Health Services at (315) 267-2377 or email

Complete your Orientation Moodle Modules


What is Moodle?

Moodle is an LMS (Learning Management System) that allows users to deliver content and instruction through a private website. Faculty can create individual Moodle courses for both their on-site classes and for their online courses. Among other things, Moodle allows faculty to post lectures, videos, assignments, discussion forums, quizzes, and questionnaires. Additionally, faculty and staff may use Moodle courses for various non-class related activities such as committees, project management, feedback, polling, and application submission.

  1. To access your Moodle Modules- you must log in to Moodle directly:

    Moodle Login Screen Screenshot
  1. Once logged in, choose Orientation Modules to begin the process of completing:
    Moodle Screenshot

Academic Advising and Course Registration

Once you have completed the steps necessary to be set up your advising appointment, a link will be sent to your campus email address to create an appointment with an academic advisor.  

Appointments will begin April 15, 2021.

This link will not be sent until you have:

  • set up your CCA
  • watched the required Modules in Moodle 
  • completed the TWO requirements for Student Health Services

NOTE:  It may take up to 48 hours from the time you have completed these steps until you have received the email to set up your appointment.  

If you have any questions about advising or your advising meeting, please contact Kristin Jordan at


Register for Housing

Save the Date: April 15, 2021

After April 15, please refer to our webpage for more detailed information. All students must indicate their housing preferences and/or apply for an exemption to live off campus (available online through BearPAWS).

We know that deciding where you want to live and who you might want to live with is a big decision.

June 15: Housing Deadline
We will make every effort fulfill the requests of students who sign up for housing by this date. In addition, students who complete by the deadline will receive advance notification of their housing assignment on August 1. Students can make changes to their request in BearPAWS until June 15.  Please note that we cannot process any changes once a student submits their request.

Note: If you have any physical conditions or concerns that impact your housing needs, please see our website for information on how we can accommodate your needs.

Live On Campus:

  • Log in to BearPAWS
  • Go to the “New Student Services” link
  • Go to the “New Student Housing Registration” link
  • Read/agree to Housing License and submit
  • Indicate your housing preference from the dropdown menu
  • If you have a roommate request, provide their information. (Note: You are not required to have a roommate request.)
  • Submit your preferences

Live Off Campus:

  • Apply for a housing exemption
  • Log in to BearPAWS
  • Go to the “New Student Services” link
  • Go to the “New Student Housing Registration” link
  • Indicate that you will not be residing on campus and continue on to complete the exemption form and submit.
  • You will receive an email with the decision of your request for exemption.

Sign Up for Meal Plan & Bear Express Account

Students are responsible for making meal plan selections and opting into BearExpress on BearPAWS before the start of the semester.

Students living on campus must have a meal plan; this is college policy. Meal Plans have three parts: weekly meal swipes, a semester’s worth of FLEX and a number of Guest Passes. Campus Meal Plan choices are based on how long students have lived on campus.  If you are required to have a plan and do not sign up for one, you will be assigned one. Your Meal Plan is accessed through your Campus Card. 

Meal Plans expire at the end of the semester; they are non-refundable, have no cash value and do not rollover into the next semester. Meal Plans are contracts and are valid for the academic year, billed in the fall and spring semesters.  Changes to Meal Plans must be made within a week of the start of classes on BearPAWS, or between semesters.

Bear Express is an optional spending account accessed through the Campus Card. Students must opt into Bear Express: the amount of money selected will be billed in both the fall and spring semesters. Changes or cancellation to the account must be made within a week of the start of classes on BearPAWS, or between semesters.

Bear Express can be used at the College Store, Dining Services, vending machines and campus locations. Bear Express can be used at participating off-campus businesses.

Money can be added to the account online through BearPAWS with a credit card, at the PACES Business Office or campus Dining Service locations with cash, check, credit, or debit cards.

Unused Bear Express account balances roll over from Fall to Spring semester and balances in excess of $20 at the end of the academic year will be credited to the student account.

Log in to BearPAWS

  • Go to the “New Student Services” link
  • Go to the “Meal Plan & Bear Express Registration”
  • Read/agree to Meal Plan License & click submit
  • Select your resident status
  • Select your Meal Plan
  • Select Bear Express amount for the semester
  • Click save

For details about how meal plans work, their costs, and commuter options, go online.

Campus Card

The campus ID card, also known as the Campus Card, provides access to your meal plan, residence hall, Bear Express account, fitness center and other campus services. All Potsdam students are required to have a Campus Card. Cards are issued at the PACES business office in Merritt Hall. Submit a photo and proof of identification to receive your card.
Photo requirements:

  • Must be in JPG file format
  • Must be in color
  • Must be taken within the last 6 months
  • There must be space above the top of your head and the bottom of your face
  • The photo must be on a plain white or light background
  • No hats, sunglasses or gestures

***Proof of ID Required:

  • Passport
  • Learner Permit
  • Driver License
  • State ID

To Submit your photo and Proof of ID online:

  • Go to:
  • Log in using your CCA (campus computer account – this is the account used when logging in to BearPAWS, or campus email)
  • Click on Submit ID Photo
  • Click on Upload ID- you must upload your ID before you can submit a photo
  • Click on Upload a Photo
  • Click on the Browse button to find the location of the photo you wish to upload
  • Select the desired photo, then click submit
  • Click on the browse button to find the location of the saved or scanned proof of ID then click submit.

***Proof of ID is required.   Photo submission without proof of ID will not be processed and will remain in a pending state all required documents have been submitted.

Submitting your photo and proof of ID will ensure your card will processed prior to your arrival on campus. 

View Campus Card FAQs

Order Textbooks

The College Store has partnered with MBS Direct to provide a customized online bookstore. This bookstore is built around a course-driven system that ensures you order and receive the right book, right on time. Your textbooks and course materials are shipped directly from a state of the art warehouse that is open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. Our books are covered by a flexible and concise common sense return policy.

As you purchase course materials, keep your eyes open for Guaranteed Buyback title. When you select these in-demand items, you will see a minimum amount you can expect when you sell your books back to MBS Direct. This lets you take into account the actual cost of owning a Guaranteed Buyback title.

At this time credit card is the only form of payment accepted. We hope to have Bear Express as a form of payment in the near future.

If you are using Access / VR, VA, or EOP students you will receive an email from with the subject line: you have funds available. This email will give you instructions on how to log in, your voucher number and how to process your order.

If you do not receive this email about using our voucher system please contact us at (315) 267-2995

Ordering Your Books:

  • Click here: Order Books (
  • Select your courses from your academic class schedule
  • View your course materials and select your preferred format
  • Check Out
  • Select Guaranteed Buyback titles and save up to 70% off your course materials

Important Deadlines:

  • July 19, 2021: Fall textbooks are available to order
  • August 12, 2021: Deadline for free shipping of Fall textbooks
  • August 25, 2021: Pre-ordered textbooks available for pick up