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Potsdam Prepared: Spring 2022 Updates

Transfer Student Orientation

Congratulations on becoming a part of the SUNY Potsdam family!

About Orientation

What is Orientation?
Orientation is your time to become a part of the Potsdam community. You’ll have an opportunity to meet other first-year students, get to know campus programs and services, and speak with an academic advisor to choose your fall classes.

When is Orientation?
Students participate in orientation activities online throughout the summer and a full-day orientation program will take place on August 26. Once you’ve deposited, you will be moved through a series of steps to get you ready to arrive in late August. These steps will give you important information about academic advising and scheduling your classes, walk you through financial aid and billing, and help you meet and interact with current and incoming SUNY Potsdam students.
Keep scrolling down for instructions on how to complete these steps that begin with setting up your SUNY Potsdam email account.

Orientation Fees:
First-Year Orientation Fee: The $200 fee includes all activities and transitional support programs throughout your first year. This fee will be included in your first College bill. There is no need to pre-pay.

Do families and guests come to Orientation?
On new student move-in day (Thursday, August 25th), there will be opportunities for families and guests to learn more about the college, visit campus offices, and get answers to their questions. Families and guests leave on Thursday afternoon and students will begin their participation in Orientation and Welcome Weekend activities that run Thursday through Sunday.

Questions About Orientation?  Contact Us:
Student Success Center
128 Sisson Hall
(315) 267-2580 or

Important Dates

See the Fall 2022 section of the Academic Calendar below.

View Academic Calendar

Next Steps Tutorial

Are you a deposited freshman or transfer student for the fall 2022 semester? Are you looking for assistance completing your enrollment with us? Our virtual Next Steps tutorial will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to complete these tasks so that you can cross them off your to-do list.

  • Wednesday, July 13

Learn More & Register

Get Started On Your Checklist Today!

In preparation for your new academic path at SUNY Potsdam, we wanted to provide you with important information about setting up your email account and the security steps to protect it. As an incoming student, you will now have an official SUNY Potsdam email address that you can use to access a variety of useful software and web portals including Microsoft Office365, BearPAWS, and TheQuad.

 Email Account Set-up Instructions (PDF)

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
    Note: You will find your Potsdam ID information, including CCA username (Campus Computer Account) and your P number on your student portal (also referred to as your Slate Dashboard).
    Slate Dashboard Screenshot
  • Go to the “New Student Services” link in BearPAWS, click on New Student Checklist and complete the steps.

Make Sure To:

  • If you have not already submitted your 2022-2023 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) 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, 2022 - Fall Semester Payment Deadline
  *   January 15, 2023 - Spring Semester Payment Deadline

Payments received after these dates may be subject to late fees.

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)
  • Please upload your immunization records using this secure link or fax your records to (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

Once you have completed the steps necessary to 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 25, 2022.

This link will not be sent until you have:

  • set up your CCA
  • 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


Save the Date: April 15

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. 

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. 

First-year students must live on campus for 2 years/4 semesters. 

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.

Students are responsible for making meal plan selections and opting into Bear Express 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.

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/JPEG/PNG file format at least 310 x 370 pixels in dimension, maximum size of 6MB
  • Must be in color with a plain, white or solid background without people or objects
  • Must be taken within the last 6 months 
  • No hats, sunglasses or gestures 
  • Head shot of you facing the camera, with eyes open and visible

View Photo Example (PDF)

Photos that do not meet the specified criteria may be rejected.

***Proof of ID Required: 

  • Passport 
  • Learner Permit 
  • Driver License 
  • State ID 

To Upload your Identification and Photo 

  • 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
  • Click on the Browse button to find location and select a photo of your Proof of ID (JPG/JPEG, PNG file format)
  • Click Submit
  • Click on Upload Photo
  • Click on the Browse button to find location and select your ID (JPG/JPEG, PNG file format)
  • Click Submit

***Proof of ID is required.   Photo submission without proof of ID will not be processed. Submitting your photo and proof of ID will ensure your Campus Card will be processed and active prior to your arrival on campus.  Check your emails prior to the start of the semester for instructions on receiving your card. You must bring a government photo ID to pick up your campus card: Passport, NYS driver's license or original birth certificate.

Payment is due in full prior to the start of the semester!

  • Students view and pay toward the e-bill through their BearPAWS account. (Student Services Tab/Student Records)
  • Family members/friends assisting with student finances access the e-bill through the CASHNet portal if the student adds them as an authorized user on the e-bill homepage.
  • Overpayment of funds (in other words, more financial aid than needed to pay the semester bill) are issued to the student directly through BankMobile. Look for a refund selection kit in the mail prior to the start of the semester!
  • A Payment Plan is available and is accessible through the e-bill CASHNet portal. This should be set up prior to the start of the semester!
  • Late fees will be applied to any unpaid balances after 30-days.

A few tips:

  • Look for your first e-bill in mid-July! You will get an email reminder. (See instructions above.)
    No paper bills will be sent.
  • Financial Aid will appear in the “credits” column of the e-bill.
  • If you are expecting an award and it is not showing on the e-bill:
    1. Please check your BearPAWS (under Student Requirements) for any outstanding issues, or contact us as soon as possible.
    2. Subtract your anticipated aid from your balance due and pay the difference.
      This may help avoid incurring a late fee.

Additional Resources you may find helpful:

  • Video tutorials are available to assist you.
  • Student Accounts will present information about e-bills during Orientation.
  • Tuition Insurance is available should you wish to protect your College investment!
  • One Stop

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 for the Spring Semester- we will inform you when it becomes available as a form of payment.

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 or

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


Questions about vouchers: (315) 267-2995 |
After placing your order: 1-800-325-3252 |