Bearkat Kickoff - FAQ

  Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to Bearkat Kickoff. If you do not see your question answered below, please reach out to Student Affairs at 936.294.1828 or

  • What is Bearkat Kickoff?

    Bearkat Kickoff is SHSU’s official freshmen welcome week program and matriculation into academic and campus life at Sam Houston State University. This week is intentionally designed to aid new students with their transition into the college experience. New students will learn how to be successful in academics, adopt best practices for self-care, learn SHSU (Sam Houston State University) traditions, and meet new friends. Fall 2024 Bearkat Kickoff starts during freshman move-in weekend on Sunday, August 18, 2024. 

  • Who is required to attend?

    Bearkat Kickoff is a required program for all new first-time freshmen students regardless of the number of dual credit hours earned.  Freshmen will be assigned a Bearkat Kickoff Leader who will guide them through this initial week of pre-class preparation while conducting small group meetings and being a resource for questions.

  • What if I am unable to attend?

    We understand that some students may have conflicts during Bearkat Kickoff and may wish to be excused from some or all programming. On extreme occasions, Bearkat Kickoff may grant exemptions to students who demonstrate conflicts deemed sufficient to warrant exemption or alternate arrangements to learn the information. To apply for a waiver, please fill out the Bearkat Kickoff Alternate Arrangements Request Form.

  • Can parents attend Bearkat Kickoff?

    Yes! Parents are an essential part of student success and attending New Student Convocation on Sunday, August 18, 2024, is recommended. Parent programming is offered in-person and online. Details can be found in the Bearkat Kickoff Program Guide - Parents, which will be available later this spring semester.

  • How much does Bearkat Kickoff cost?

    There is no additional charge for attending Bearkat Kickoff.

  • Will arriving a week early affect my housing and dining package?

    Students, you are arriving right on time! Move-in weekend for freshman is August 16 - 18, 2024. All freshman begin the school year in the residence halls or commute as normal, and students can begin using meal plans during Bearkat Kickoff week.

  • Do I have to attend if I live off-campus?

    Yes! Bearkat Kickoff is a required program for all new first-time freshmen students regardless of where you live. If parking on campus, or commuting, be sure to park in areas authorized for your parking permit. Commuter students will meet in the Academic Success Center.

  • Do I have to attend if I already attended orientation?

    Yes! Bearkat Kickoff is a required program for all new first-time freshmen students. Developing preparedness, comprehension, and knowledge of the necessary tools to create academic excellence and emersion into Bearkat culture is essential to the beginning of a successful experience.

  • What can I expect at Bearkat Kickoff?

    A week filled with fun, learning, and preparation for the first day of classes. Details can be found in the Bearkat Kickoff Program Guide which will be available later this spring semester.

  • Will the dining halls be open during Bearkat Kickoff?

    Yes. You will be assigned dining times and locations based on your unique Bearkat Kickoff small group schedule for the week.

  • Does anything need to be completed before I attend? Do I have to register?

    No registration is required for Bearkat Kickoff. You will receive your Bearkat Kickoff schedule when you check in to your residence hall. Meet your Bearkat Kickoff Leader again each day to be guided to scheduled events designed especially for your small group. 

    Commuter students will check in with Bearkat Kickoff Leaders on Sunday, August 18, 2024, at the New Gresham Library (NGL) to receive their Bearkat Kickoff schedule before attending New Student Convocation in Johnson Coliseum. Commuter students will meet their Bearkat Kickoff Leader again each morning to be guided to scheduled events designed especially for your small group.

  • Who can I contact if I have other questions?

    Please email the Bearkat Kickoff Team at

  • What if I am a 100% online student, how can I attend?

    Select Bearkat Kickoff sessions will be available via livestream and other sessions will be prerecorded and available online. Details can be found in the Bearkat Kickoff Program Guide - Online Students, which will be available later this spring semester.

  • Who do I need to contact if I need learning and/or physical accommodation?

    It is the policy of Sam Houston State University that no otherwise qualified disabled individuals shall, solely by reason of their disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any academic program or activity. To apply for SSD (Services for Students with Disabilities) services, complete and submit the Online Intake Form, available from the Student Portal. In accessing the form, you will be prompted to enter your SHSU username and password. If you do not have an SHSU username and password or if you are otherwise unable to complete the form, please contact the SSD Office at 936-294-3512 or

  • Do I need to register for fall classes before I can register for Bearkat Kickoff?

    It is highly recommended, but not required. There will be designated times and locations during Bearkat Kickoff for students to take care of advising, registration, financial aid, and other services if needed.

  • How do I access Parent Engagement Platform (CampusESP)?

    Log in

    1. If you have previously created a parent profile, log-in to Parent Engagement Platform


    1. Go to Parent Engagement Platform
    2. Click "sign up" and complete form.
      • You will need to know your student’s username, as an onboarding question.
        • abc123, this is also the original prefix of their SHSU e-mail.
  • What is Parent Engagement Platform (CampusESP)?

    Beyond Bearkat Kickoff, the Parent Engagement Platform will be a vital resource to you while your student is at Sam Houston State University.

    The Parent Engagement Platform is your one-stop shop as a parent or supporter of an SHSU student.  Inside the platform you will find: an embedded academic calendar, a linked resource list of departments most pertinent to parents, at least five articles and University highlights weekly, timely announcements, Parent & Family Relations office contact information, and direct links to additional parent items such as SHSU Parents’ Association, Bearkat Family Weekend, and Care Packages.  You may choose to receive periodic e-mails of platform content or access all items straight from your dashboard.  You can edit or delete your account at any time.