Undergraduate Orientation FAQ

How do students register for orientation?

All new undergraduate students are required to attend SAIC's Undergraduate New Student Orientation and Welcome Week; therefore, students do not need to RSVP. A $200 orientation fee will automatically be charged to each student's account for this program.

How do parents and families register for orientation?

Parent and family events are free of charge, but some events require an RSVP. The full schedule and information about registration will be posted in June. If you have any questions, please email parents@saic.edu.

How do I get to SAIC?

Directions by car, train, and Chicago airports.

Where can I find a campus map?


Where do I park once I get to SAIC?

Street parking on Wabash Avenue is extremely limited. Garage parking is available nearby at 55 East Monroe Street (travel south from 36 South Wabash Avenue to the intersection, turn left on Monroe, and enter the garage mid-block from the right lane).

What is an ARTICard, and how can I get one?

The ARTICard is SAIC's mandatory identification card. The card is used to access facilities, check out equipment and library books, and provide debit card capabilities across campus.

By simply depositing money onto the card, students can use it to make copies, print projects, do laundry, purchase books or supplies, and buy food all over campus. There is no membership fee, service charge, or minimum balance. The balance carries over from semester to semester, year to year until the account is closed.

Deposit options for the ARTICard can be found here.

For more information, please visit the ARTICard website

Students will have the opportunity to pick up their ARTICard during New Student Orientation.

What is the U-Pass, and how can I get one?

The U-Pass allows full-time students unlimited use of CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) bus and rail transportation each semester. The cost of the U-Pass is $155* each fall and spring semester, $35* for the winter term, and $115* for the summer term. There is also a one-time $5 fee for students receiving their U- Pass for the first time. This is a savings of nearly $200 when compared with regular CTA fares. The U-Pass is distributed throughout the first week of school.

The CTA fall U-Pass will be active from August 26 - December 20 and is available for $155* (plus a $5 card fee for new users). You must be registered as a full-time student during the fall semester to be eligible. If you are eligible for the program by Wednesday, August 23, your CTA U-Pass card will be activated on Saturday, August 26. If you become eligible for the program after August 23, it will take 2-3 business days for your CTA U-Pass card to be activated.

If a student has submitted their picture to the ARTICard office, students should be able to receive their U-Pass at the same time they pick their ARTICard. Contact the ARTICard Office at articard@saic.edu with any questions about the CTA U-Pass program or visit the SAIC U-Pass web page

* Price is subject to change.

What is this I hear about a laptop requirement?

SAIC is committed to providing the best and most innovative art education possible. SAIC believes we have a responsibility as an institution to ensure that, when you graduate, you are fully conversant with the tools that technology can provide. In order to ensure integrated curricular technology and equal access to a wide range of software, technical support, and training, SAIC has instituted a technology requirement consisting of two parts: a school-wide laptop requirement and a technology fee.

Laptop requirement

All incoming undergraduate students, with the exception of second-degree students, are required to own a laptop that meets minimum hardware requirements. To learn more about the requirements, please visit saic.edu/laptop. Students will participate in a software training and downloads through the New Student Orientation course on Canvas.

Technology fee

All students enrolled for six or more degree credit hours are charged a technology fee. This fee helps provide access to wireless and wired networking, curricular software in computer classrooms and labs, and student computing Help Desk support and training. In addition, students with a qualifying laptop computer can access curricular software both on- and off-campus, along with student computing Help Desk support.

Where can I find more information on Contemporary Practices?

SAIC specializes in the complete education of contemporary artists and designers, scholars, and educators, and individuals who envision their professional and personal futures in the broad range of fields relating to art, design, and education. SAIC’s course study matches the breadth of a liberal arts education with the depth and rigor of a discipline-based studio program. The Contemporary Practices program is designed to provide the transitions necessary for students to succeed in the broad and complex arenas that drive contemporary art and design.

For more information, please visit the Department of Contemporary Practices

How do I travel in and around Chicago?

  • Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
  • Chicago Airports
  • Amtrak
  • Chicago Train Stations
  • Metra
  • Cycling in Chicago
  • Greyhound Buses
  • Megabus

How will I/we pay for school?

Financing your education is unique for each student and family. Please visit the Financial Aid website for resources that will be helpful to you.

How do I get involved at SAIC?

Campus Life strives to enhance and complement students' studio and academic experiences through campus activities, events, programs, student groups, and student organizations. Campus activities and events are a great way to build connections and further your development as individuals and artists. For more information on life at SAIC, please visit Campus Life.

Student Groups

Student groups at SAIC reflect the many interests of our diverse population. Our groups are active, often sponsoring events and programming such as: FreeRadio's Silent Disco parties, weekly Yoga Club classes, artist talks, and film screenings. There is a group for any interest, and if it doesn't currently exist, our students are encouraged to start their own groups.

To learn more about joining one of the over 60 registered student groups and student organizations or forming a student group, please visit Engage SAIC for an up to date list of registered groups and upcoming events!