There's a lot to do when you enroll. It starts with First STEP. 

At Southeast, we are committed to making the transition to college life easier. We encourage students and their family members to ask lots of questions, actively participate in sessions, develop friendships and learn everything you can about Southeast.

First STEP Orientation introduces you to the personal support systems in place to set you up for amazing achievements in your time on campus. We give you the time and place to meet with your academic advisor in one of our groundbreaking academic areas that will help you launch an extraordinary career. We can't wait to see what you do!

It takes less than five minutes to register for orientation...what are you waiting for?

Register for First STEP

If you need to reschedule or update your information, please call 573-651-5166.

  • Fall 2017 Starters
    • Friday, August 18, 2017
  • Spring 2018 Starters
    • Friday, November 10, 2017
    • Friday, January 12, 2018

Are you looking for Transfer Orientation? Click here!

Please note: Students cannot complete FirstSTEP Orientation and auditions or tryouts for an academic department, scholarship, or team on the same day. 

  • To assist students in understanding the mission of Southeast Missouri State University.
  • To help students understand Southeast's expectations of them.
  • To provide information concerning academic policies, procedures, requirements and programs.
  • To promote an awareness of co-curricular opportunities.
  • To help students develop familiarity with the physical surroundings.
  • To provide information and exposure to available University services.
  • To identify costs in attending Southeast, both in terms of dollars and personal commitment.
  • To improve the retention rate of new students.
  • To provide opportunities for new students to discuss expectations and perceptions of the campus with returning students.
  • To assist students in determining their purpose in attending Southeast and developing positive relationships with faculty, staff, peers, and other individuals in the campus community.

The First STEP programs are held in the University Center on the corner of Henderson Street and Normal Street. Please park in the lot on Broadway next to Imo's Pizza, the lot across from Vandiver Hall on Henderson or the visitor lot across from the University Center. A parking permit, along with a schedule of the day's events, will be mailed to you approximately two weeks before your reserved First STEP date. If using a GPS device for directions, the following address will set your destination to our visitor parking lot: 373 N. Henderson, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

Orientation Fee

All students will be charged a $65 nonrefundable orientation fee, which covers all Southeast orientation events including meals for the student and their family members at First STEP, materials, and staffing as well as meals, materials, and staffing for Opening Week activities. This fee will be charged to your student account after you attend First STEP orientation, and a bill will be mailed. 

Academic Advising

First STEP will provide highly trained faculty and staff to advise and assist in constructing your first semester schedule. You and a small group of students with similar majors will work with an advisor in your anticipated field of study. If you are undecided (which we refer to as "Exploratory"), you will be advised by an advisor in the School of University Studies.

The Orientation Handbook

As entering Southeast students, information about all the university resources can become overwhelming. To help you along, we have created an Orientation Handbook which lists information on classes, advising and enrollment, campus living, financial aid, and other institutional resources. All students (and parents!) will receive their handbook when they check in at First STEP Orientation.

Click here to view the 2017 Orientation Handbook

Writing Placement Exam

Prior to arrival at First STEP, some students will take the Writing Placement Exam. The exam is taken online, and instructions on how to take the exam will be provided in your confirmation materials. All students must take the Writing Placement Exam unless they meet one of the below conditions:

  • Student has an ACT English subscore of 22 or greater, or equivalent SAT score. 
  • Student has already taken an English composition course and received college credit.
  • Student has spoken with the Director of Writing Assessment, and they have agreed to evaluate the student's writing portfolio.

For more details on the Writing Placement process, click here. For information on the English Equivalency exam, for students with a 25 or above ACT English (or SAT equivalent), click here

If you are looking for a place to stay while you are here for First STEP Orientation, look no farther than the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitor's Bureau or the Jackson Chamber of Commerce for a listing of hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other lodging options. (Select "Stay") (Select "Directory" and "Hotels")


Please note that the Drury Suites – Cape & Jackson, Drury Lodge, or Pear Tree Inn all offer a Southeast family discount. Please provide the following promotional code if you will be staying with one of these hotels: 317573

Don't Forget
  • First STEP is an all day program, so be prepared to be at Southeast until 5 p.m.
  • Be On Time - Checking in late will delay your enrollment process.
  • Display your parking pass as instructed.
  • Bring a copy of any college credit that you have already received or are currently enrolled in.
Things to Remember

Make sure your most current and highest test scores are on file with Admissions. You may wish to bring a copy of your most recent scores in case of any discrepancies.

Be sure to check the deadline for all tuition fees, residence hall room and meal plan charges, and general fees, to be paid in full or to be enrolled in the installment payment plan. If the University does not receive payment by the deadline, you risk having your class schedule, residence hall room assignment, and meal plan cancelled.

If you achieve at least a 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) high school cumulative GPA and a composite ACT score of 27, you are eligible for Southeast's Jane Stephens Honors Program and should attend the Honors Breakfast held in the morning during First STEP.

Every student must return his/her Residence Life Agreement (with $150 deposit) or a request for release from the on-campus residency requirement to the Office of Residence Life.


Academic Hall 100D
New Student Programs
One University Plaza, MS 3550
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701