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The transition to campus life can be both exciting and overwhelming. By now, you’ve likely started thinking about your to-do list. To help you get off on the right foot, we’ve compiled a checklist to help you plan your arrival to campus.

Before you arrive

Pay your admissions deposit

The $200 admission deposit is your commitment to joining the Dalhousie student body and guarantees your spot in your program. While non-refundable, your deposit will be credited towards your tuition fees when you register. Space is limited in some programs, so we encourage you to pay as early as possible.

When to pay

When you pay your deposit depends on when you are beginning school:

Fall/September In order to hold your space in your program of choice, you need to pay your admission deposit by May 15 (or by the date indicated in your acceptance letter).
Winter/January Your acceptance letter will indicate when/if an admission deposit is required.
Summer/May Your acceptance letter will indicate when/if an admission deposit is required.

How to pay

Payments should be made to Dalhousie Student Accounts. One of the easiest ways to pay your admission deposit is online using a Visa, Mastercard or American Express. Payments generally require 1-2 days to be credited before you proceed to the next step.

Set up and check your Dal email account

Your Dal email is where all official university information is sent, including details about orientation, residence, tuition fees, health plan, and more! Your profs will likely use it a fair bit for class info as well. It is important that you use it and make sure you check it regularly! 

After you pay your admissions deposit, you can set up your email (allow one or two days for your payment to be received). 

How to set-up your Dal email account:

Step 1: Know your Banner number  

Your Dal ID begins with B00 and appears in the top right hand corner of your acceptance letter. It is the primary way we identify you as a student.

Step 2: Activate your Net ID

Your Net ID is a unique username that you will use to login to Dalhousie’s online services.

To activate your Net ID:

  • Go to my.dal.ca. Click ‘New User?’ and follow the instructions.
  • Click ‘Activate my NetID’ and follow the instructions.

Register a password reset email:

  • This will help you recover your password if you forget it during your time at Dalhousie.
  • Click ‘New User?’ and follow the instructions.

Step 3: Use your Dal email

Now that you have your Net ID and password, you can access your Dalhousie email account by logging into MyDal and clicking on "Outlook" in the top menu.

To learn more about your Dal email and how to set-up Office Outlook 365, visit the Email webpage.

Also, learn how to create a personalized dal.ca email address (with your name instead of a bunch of numbers!). 

Activate your Dal Online account

Your NetID and password will also be used to login to Dal Online—a web portal where you can apply for scholarships and residence, register for classes, check your grades and much more. Log in and get familiar with the system.

Upload your photo for your DalCard

If you've registered for classes and want to save time lining up at the DalCard Office when you arrive, then submit your DalCard photo in advance! 

Upload your photo to the DalCard Online website before 11:59pm AST on August 26 and your DalCard will be ready to pick up by the time you get to campus.

Have questions or need help with the process? Contact the DalCard Office at 902-494-2334 (toll free: 1-855-376-0330) or dalcard@dal.ca

Learn about financing your education

Funding sources to consider:

  • Scholarships – You can be considered for all general entrance awards at Dal by completing one application. The awards range from $500-41,900 and the application is due on March 15.
  • Bursaries – Dal offers a variety of bursaries that you can apply to beginning in your first year.  
  • Canadian Student Loans - Government loan programs are intended to supplement the financial resources of students and their families. These loans come from both the federal government and the provincial or territorial governments. Fill out an application for your home province/territory for each year that you are studying.
  • U.S. Student Loans - Financial Assistance is available for Citizens and Permanent Residents of the United States. Dalhousie is recognized as a participant by the US Department of Education for the Direct Loan Programs.

Apply for a study permit (international students)

International students must apply for a Study Permit, and possibly a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) in order to enter and study in Canada. The Dalhousie International Centre's Visas & Permits section outlines the steps on how to apply.

Apply as soon as possible. Study permits and visas can take 2-3 months to process.

Decide where to live


University is more than a learning experience – it’s a living experience! Residence is a great way to make friends and get involved in the Dal student community. In the fall, Dalhousie offers guaranteed residence to all new undergraduate students who have completed the residence application and paid the housing deposit. 

Students choose from a variety of different styles of residence – all are conveniently located and offer meal plans. Learn more about Dalhousie residences.

Applying to residence

  • Pay your admission deposit
  • Have your Net ID and password ready
  • Log in to Dal Online. Click on ‘Web for Students’
  • Complete the online ‘Residence Application’
  • Room assignments will be emailed to your Dal email as they are processed.

NOTE: If you are coming to Dalhousie on exchange for the fall term only (September–December), unfortunately there is no space available in residence during this period - see off-campus housing options. Students who come to Dalhousie for the winter term only (January–April) or for a full academic year (September–April) may inquire with the Residence office directly about availability.

Off-campus housing

Find your home away from home. There are many off-campus housing options within walking distance or along bus routes and meal plans are also available to non-residence students if you choose to live off-campus. View listings on Dalhousie's Off-Campus Living website, which can also help with your search and provide tips to prepare you for off-campus living.

Student with Families

Students with families may wish to live in Peter Green Hall, a family housing cooperative in Halifax. For more information, visit petergreenhall.dal.ca

Select and register for your courses (opened June 10)

With more than 4,000 classes, Dalhousie students have plenty of choice and resources to help you pick your courses, plan your program and navigate the registration process.

Need help or advice? Contact an advisor in First Year Advising.

Graduate Students

Need help or advice? Contact your program's Graduate Coordinator.

TIP: You'll also want to visit the Graduate Student Information System (GSIS) on DalOnline—a tool that gives you access to your program requirements and progress reports. 

FASS or Science student? Consider a FIG!

First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) are a mix of tutorials, study groups, and social get-togethers. Led by senior undergraduate or graduate students, they're free, informal, interactive groups that will help you make the most out of your first year at Dal. Learn more >>

Accept your residence room offer (if applicable)

After you've been offered a residence room, be sure to accept your room offer online and pay your $500 confirmation deposit to confirm acceptance of your room!

Select and register for your orientation(s)

Attending orientation events is a great way to:

  • meet other students and meet new friends
  • explore the campus
  • learn about Dal's services and resources
  • learn how to get involved on campus
  • take part in a faculty session

July 15 or 28

Start on Track is a one-day summer orientation program for new Dalhousie students and their families and friends! Learn more and register.

Halifax – August 28
Truro – Information coming soon

International Student Orientation on the Halifax campus begins Monday, August 28. Learn more and register. On the Truro campus (Agricultural Campus), international students will attend a welcome session during the regular on-campus orientation (see below).

August 31

Able@Dal is an orientation program created exclusively for Dalhousie students (and their families) who will be receiving accommodations due to a permanent disability. It focuses on skill development and learning strategies that are essential to your success at Dalhousie. Learn more and register.

Halifax – Information coming soon
Truro – Information coming soon

Complete the online orientation modules

Start On Track - Online is a great way to for you to get a head start and prepare yourself for September. By completing the modules within this course, you will: 

  • Learn tips and tricks to be successful in your first year at Dal
  • Identify on-campus resources that are available to you as a student 
  • Navigate various university systems and processes (like Brightspace - did you know class information will be in here too?)
  • Connect your values to Dal (integrity, fairness, excellence, and all that fun stuff)
  • Reflect on why you're in university and consider steps around career exploration (trust us, you don't need to know the answers just yet) 

How to access the modules

  1. Log into Brightspace using your NetID and password 
  2. Search under My Courses (right hand column) for Ongoing
  3. Click Online Community - Online Orientation
  4. Click Content in the top navigation

Questions about Brightspace? Check out the Brightspace Student Guides

Topics you will explore 

This course includes eight modules that cover a wide variety of topics you should explore to get the most out of your time at university, including: 

  • Getting off to an A+ start
  • Investing in your future - money matters!
  • Taking care of your health
  • Alcohol & substance use safety
  • Creating a consent culture on campus
  • Your new Dalhousie community
  • Using the libraries
  • About academic integrity

If you complete all 8 modules ($$$)

If you complete ALL 8 modules, you will receive your first co-curricular record accreditation (a document that records your extracurricular and volunteer activities from Dal to have when you graduate). 


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Arriving in Nova Scotia

When to arrive

Local students

You're already here! Keep an eye out for orientation dates and remember that the first day of classes is September 5, 2017. 

Out of province (outside Nova Scotia) 

We recommend waiting to make your travel plans until the residence move-in date is announced. If you're living off-campus, you can likely arrive and move in anytime after September 1. Keep an eye on dal.ca/dates for residence move-in and orientation dates, and remember that the first day of classes is September 5, 2017. 

International students (Halifax campus)

We recommend arriving before the first day of International Student Arrival Week (Halifax) on Monday, August 28, 2017. Email international.centre@dal.ca for recommendations on temporary accomodations and/or about moving into residence early. 

International Students (Truro campus)

We recommend arriving before International Welcome Day (date to be announced). If you have specific questions regarding arrival please email ssdalac@dal.ca.

Getting to campus (transportation options & directions)

When you arrive

Pay your tuition & fees

For information about your current balance:

  1. Log into Dal Online
  2. Select "Web for Students" 
  3. Select "Student Records"
  4. Select "Account detail by term"

For information on making a payment, visit the Money Matters website.

Visit our Helpful Tips page to learn how you can authorize your parents to have access to your account information. 


Get your DalCard and UPass

Your DalCard is more than your official Student ID Card—it’s a debit card, library card, gym pass, key to residence and bus pass! You can go to pick up your DalCard at the DalCard Office

Note: You must present one piece of government issued photo ID such as a driver's license or passport to pick-up your DalCard.

UPass (transit)

If you’re a full-time student in Halifax, a Metro Transit UPass is included in your tuition. The UPass is a sticker placed on your DalCard and will act as your bus pass until the end of the year (April 30). For more information about the UPass, visit dal.ca/upass.

Accept or waive your health insurance

Health and Dental Plan

The DSU Health and Dental Plan provides coverage for medical, dental, travel, accident, vision and many other services and perks. All full-time students who begin their studies in September are automatically enrolled in the DSU Health Plan and the cost of the plan is included in your student fees. If you are beginning in January, on co-op, taking distance classes, or on exchange you must opt-in to the DSU Health Plan. 

Already have health insurance?

If you have equivalent coverage through another plan, such as one carried by your parents, you may be able to opt out. Please visit the StudentVIP website for more information. 

International Student Health Plan

The DSU International Student Health Plan provides international students with basic health insurance coverage such as doctor and hospital visits. This plan is different from the DSU Health and Dental Plan above. International students are billed and enrolled for both plans (if you are a full-time student enrolling in September). The DSU International Student Health Plan is required unless you carry MSI or equivalent insurance.

For more information about the plan, opting out, or how to enroll your family, please visit the International Student VIP site

Pick up your DSU health insurance card

All students who are covered under the DSU Health Plan and DSU International Health Plan should pick-up their health insurance card when they arrive in September from the DSU Health Plan Office, located on the 3rd floor of the Student Union Building. 

Download Dal's mobile apps

DalSAFE Promo2

DalSAFE provides quick and easy access to Security Services, Tiger Patrol, interactive maps, campus notices, parking info, and many other resources to enhance personal safety.


Download the DSU mobile app to find events, student societies, campus services, and connect with students in your classes and around campus. 

Download the New Student Success Guide
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Make your first year a success with our handbook of resources, tools, and information for new Halifax and Truro students. 


Wondering what's next?
-> Helpful tips for Halifax and Truro students.