Wheaton College Color Logo

New Parent Orientation FAQs

Due to COVID-19 and the need to keep everyone safe, Parent Orientation will look different this fall. You will still receive everything you need to navigate and support your student’s success, but the information will be delivered online rather than in person. There will be no Parent Orientation events on campus, other than Student Drop Off

Online Parent Orientation will be available beginning August 1. 

Wheaton will be welcoming 545 first-year and transfer students to campus in August. Orientation is an important part of any student’s experience. Wheaton’s program will set the tone, direction, and support for beginning an intentional journey in college.  

While this year it will look and feel different than it has in the past in response to the health protocols we have developed, we are committed to creating a relational, spiritual, and formational program. Our primary goal for orientation, particularly at this time, is to support in-person small group engagement much like the small group emphasis of Wheaton Passage.  All new students will experience Orientation closely as a floor community and will be assigned to an O-group (Orientation-group) of eight peers guided by trained upper-class students and a faculty member.  Students will spend all day Friday, August 20th off campus at various local parks as a floor and in their O-groups engaging one another in team-building, developing friendships, and beginning their pursuit of building authentic communities.  On Saturday, August 21st, students will spend the day with faculty discussion leaders learning about life inside and outside the classroom, Wheaton’s commitment to Christ-centered diversity, a vision for vocation, and other helpful support programs that will launch students to land well at Wheaton.  Some of our programming will entail small groups engaging live-streamed and pre-recorded video instruction together and some will be conducted virtually, such as individual academic advising. 

All in all, we plan to create meaningful opportunities for students to begin building friendships and grow together in community, exposing them to the fullness of what Wheaton has to offer in formational engagement around a Christ-centered vision for the liberal arts.   

Here’s a link where you can find out more.

There is a lot you will need to know before you bring your student to campus for Student Drop Off. Online Parent Orientation will provide information on topics like: 

  • Student Drop Off and the protocol for moving your student into their dorm room in a way that cares for the safety and health of your student, and for your student’s roommate and family
  • Campus resources available to your student
  • The integration of faith and liberal arts learning at Wheaton 
  • What student life will look like in fall 2020
  • Student health and safety measures, quarantine parameters, and student behavior requirements unique to the fall 2020 semester 

Please reference the New Parent Orientation FAQ's for answers to many of your “Know Before You Go” questions.  


  • Online Parent Orientation will launch on August 1, and content will be available throughout the fall 2020 semester.
  • Yes! Parents are strongly encouraged to view the content prior to coming to campus. Doing so will provide helpful information to navigate the uniqueness of the fall semester.
  • All resources and videos will be available throughout the Fall 2020 semester.

Online Parent Orientation will provide detailed information about what Student Drop Off will look like, but think in terms of three things: 

  • Stop -- Before arriving to campus, if you need some extra things for your student’s residence, stop at one of the local stores and get what you need. We kindly ask that you only drop off items once, to reduce population density and multiple trips on and off campus. See the Lean and Light Packing List.
  • Drop -- Deliver your student's luggage to their residence and help them settle in. Students are limited to two guests to assist with unpacking. Guests will need to follow CDC face covering protocols and limit their time in the room to three hours. Thank you for your cooperation in helping us adhere to the Illinois regulations for social distancing.
  • Go -- It's time for a final hug and to say farewell. We will take good care of your student and look forward to staying in touch with you.



  • It is best to leave younger siblings and other family members at home. 
  • There will be no gathering places on campus for guests.
  • Discussions about the plans for varsity athletics in 2020-21 are ongoing as we collaborate with the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW), and its leaders to translate Center for Disease Control guidance, American College Health Guidance, state government guidance (i.e. Restore Illinois), local health department guidance and campus decisions into a framework for varsity athletic practice and competition. Once those plans for varsity athletics are finalized we will communicate that information to our student-athletes and their families both directly and here on the Wheaton Athletics website.

Passage has been cancelled for Fall 2020. To read more about the decision, please visit the Passage webpage. All students will now arrive on August 19th and 20th. See the arrival schedule for more information.

New student arrival dates vary depending on each student’s situation. See New Student Arrival Information to determine when you should arrive.


First Year students should arrive before 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 20.


  • Several commercial shuttle companies are available for transportation to and from the airports. Visit Directions and Transportation page for a list of service providers. Mention your connection with Wheaton to qualify for any applicable discounts.


  • Wheaton does not offer shuttle service from the airports during Orientation. If you need a ride, it is best to contact Uber or Lyft.



  • Temporary, short-term parking will be available in the spaces outside your student’s residence hall. After you’ve unloaded your student's belongings, please move your vehicle to one of the parking lots highlighted on this map. Please note that overnight parking of motor homes is not permitted on Wheaton’s campus.


  • The student meal plan begins on Wednesday, August 19 at dinner.
  • Special Note: All on-campus dining options are closed to parents and guests.
  • Buildings are closed to guests. Campus and building tours will be done virtually.
  • Answers to College Post Office (CPO) related questions can be found here.
  • This fall we are encouraging students to pack light and lean and only bring the necessities to allow for an easy and quick move-in process. Packing light is also beneficial in the unfortunate event that the State would ask students to return home in the middle of the semester and need to finish the semester remotely. We are excited to have an excellent year of living and learning in community. Remember, too, that you don’t have to bring everything with you at one time.
  • Mariano's Grocery and Walgreens Pharmacy are within walking distance of campus.  Target and Kohl's are three miles west of campus, and Best Buy and Walmart are five miles north of campus. The closest Bed, Bath & Beyond is in Downers Grove, IL.
  • Because there are no events planned for parents, we strongly urge parents to adhere to the Stop, Drop, and Go procedures.
  • If you are driving a long distance and must stay in the area due to long drive or flight home, there are many hotels in close proximity to campus. Mention you're coming for Wheaton Orientation and you may receive a discount.
  • Yes! Our Wheaton Parent Facebook group is a great place to meet Wheaton parents and ask questions or get advice about student life. To find our group, type Wheaton College (IL) Parents 2020-21 in your Facebook search bar and request to join.
  • New Parents will be invited to a Gather and Pray virtual parent event via Zoom. More details and an invitation will be coming your way soon.

There are many ways to keep in touch with us:

Contact information for many offices can be found here, but for quick access, below are emails for some of the most requested offices:

Student Financial Services – sfs@wheaton.edu

Student Life – student.engagement@wheaton.edu

Academics – Provost@wheaton.edu

Housing – housing.services@wheaton.edu

Student Health – student.health.services@wheaton.edu

Athletics – athletics@wheaton.edu

HoneyRock/Passage – passage@wheaton.edu