During August, you are invited to participate in one of six pre-orientation programs.


students playing a card game

About Pre-Orientation

This year, each of the six Pre-Orientation programs will approach meeting first-year student’s transitional needs in an online format. During Pre-Orientation, incoming first-year students build strong relationships with their peers who share similar interests, learn about student life at Harvard from upper-level mentors and connect with faculty and professional staff who are invested in their success.

Program Information

Pre-Orientation programs will take place throughout early to mid-August (mainly Monday-Friday and some weekends) over 1-3 weeks, depending on the program. Programs occur simultaneously therefore participation is limited to one. In addition, all six Pre-Orientation programs will be free of charge.

Registration Process and Timeline

All first-year students are encouraged to register and rank order up to two programs of interest. Please note the following dates if you are interested in participating in a Pre-Orientation program.

  • May 21: Pre-Orientation Registration Goes Live. The form to register will be made available on this webpage. 
  • June 7: Pre-Orientation Registration Closes
  • June 21: Pre-Orientation Decisions Announced by Directors. Students will be asked to confirm their placement. Both the decision announcement and confirmation form will be sent to the registrant's Harvard email address. 
  • June 28: Deadline to Confirm Placement in Pre-Orientation Program
  • Throughout Early/ Mid- August: Pre-Orientation Programs range from 1-3 week duration

Accessibility and Accommodations

We are committed to making our community and our programs accessible to everyone and recognize that not all environments, including online environments, are universally designed this way. While each of our programs have customized our curriculums and community building efforts to meet varying learning differences and preferences, we understand that there may be additional needs.

If you need any accommodations to fully participate in our Pre-Orientation programs, please contact the Accessible Education Office (AEO) before the start of the fall term. Your privacy is important to us and any information you share with AEO is used for program accessibility and/or accommodation purposes only. 

Within the registration, we also request information about time zone preference and technological needs to support your participation.


The Pre-Orientation Registration Form is now LIVE!

Register Now!


Pre-Orientation Programs

students in play

First-Year Arts Program (FAP)

FAP is a multidisciplinary introduction to the arts at Harvard, bringing together students who are passionate about the arts, enthusiastic to share their interests, and eager to learn. Centered around virtual workshops and master classes given by resident and visiting artists in drama, music, theater design, studio arts, film, dance, and creative writing, FAP ends with a pageant, a collaborative presentation of entirely original student work. No formal training is required.

Learn more about FAP


FOP students

First-Year Outdoor Program (FOP)

FOP will be offered virtually this year, and we’re excited to bring you old traditions of community-building and self-discovery, mixed with brand new programming! You’ll have the choice to participate in a trip with one of six themes: Climate and Environmental Justice, Land History and Use, Food Sustainability, Responsible Outdoor Recreation, Flora and Fauna, and History of Harvard. Through games, activities, and discussions tailored to the virtual format, you’ll explore one of these themes and learn about life at Harvard with a trip community of 2-3 current Harvard students and 8-12 other incoming first-years.

Learn more about FOP

FYRE Leaders holding hands to welcome new students

First-Year Retreat and Experience (FYRE)

Get a jump start on making the most of your Harvard experience! Student leaders, faculty, and alumni will virtually share vital information on navigating the transition from home to college life, including relationships with professors, the purpose of office hours, taking advantage of financial resources, and more. Bond with your classmates and make connections with key campus leaders while having fun and socializing. 

Learn more about FYRE

First-Year Urban Program students

First-Year Urban Program (FUP)

FUP fosters a commitment to public service and community advocacy; supports diversity, equity, and social justice work on campus; and introduces first-year students to Boston and Cambridge grassroots community organizations. Virtual discussion groups reflect on issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, and equity, as well as how to create social change. Workshops include sessions with alumni and community leaders who work with Harvard public service programs. 

Learn more about FUP

First-Year International Program Students

First-Year International Program (FIP)

FIP is a Pre-Orientation program for international students and US residents who have lived and studied primarily overseas. Partnering with the Harvard International Office and Office of International Education, 45 upperclassmen leaders mentor approximately 150 incoming first-year students, introducing them to Harvard and helping them adjust to life in the United States. Specifically, participants receive foundational information for a happy, successful start at Harvard, including sessions and discussions about American culture, immigration, and academics in the US and at Harvard. Participants are also able to set up a bank account and cell phone service. Through its emphasis on inclusion and belonging, FIP creates new and lasting friendships, and at the same time cultivates the larger international community at Harvard. 

Learn more about FIP


students eating pizza and talking

Leadership Institute for the First-Year Experience (LIFE)

The newly established LIFE program provides first-year students the opportunity to discover, reflect and exercise what it means to be leaders and change makers at Harvard College, within their communities, and in society at large. Take your leadership skills to the next level and join us virtually as we dig deeper into a variety of leadership styles, engage in dialogue, and put theory into practice during this robust program. No formal leadership training or experience is required.

Learn more about LIFE

Meet the Leaders

Be welcomed and get a taste of each program by hearing directly from the student leaders!