During August, first-year students are invited to participate in one of six pre-orientation programs!


students playing a card game

The Pre-Orientation application is now closed.

Deadline to apply is Monday, May 23.

About Pre-Orientation Programs

The Pre-Orientation Programs are designed to provide new students with additional support and resources to ease into college. Through each of these six programs, 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. Typically, two-thirds of the incoming class participate in one of these optional programs. We encourage you to review the Pre-Orientation Program offerings and choose the one that is right for you!

Program Information

The Pre-Orientation Programs will take place throughout mid to late August. Programs occur simultaneously therefore participation is limited to one. All programs with the exception of the First-Year Arts Program (FAP) and the First-Year Outdoor Program (FOP) are free. FAP and FOP have a participant fee of $475, but fees may be subsidized in alignment with financial aid determined by the College. We encourage incoming first-year students to connect with the Pre-Orientation Directors if there are any questions or concerns about any of the programs.  

Application Process and Timeline

All first-year students are encouraged to apply 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.

5/9: Pre-Orientation Application Goes Live

5/23: Pre-Orientation Application Closes

6/6: Pre-Orientation Decisions Announced by Directors. Students will be asked to confirm their placement

6/13: Deadline to Confirm Placement in Pre-Orientation Program


Move-In and Program Timeline

8/17: FOP First-Year Student Move-In Day
8/19: All Other Pre-Orientation Programs First-Year Student Move-In Day
8/19-8/25: FOP
8/20-8/25: FAP, FIP, FUP, FYRE and LIFE

Accessibility and Accommodations

We are committed to making our community and our programs accessible to everyone and recognize that not all environments are universally designed this way. While each of our Pre-Orientation Programs have customized our curriculums and community building efforts to meet varying learning differences, needs and preferences, we understand that there may be additional accomodations. If you need any accommodations to fully participate in our Pre-Orientation Programs, please contact the Disability Access Office (DAO) prior to move-in. Your privacy is important to us and any information you share with DAO is used for program accessibility and/or accommodation purposes only.


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 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 is a great way to meet new classmates and to ease the adjustment from high school to college. The variety of week-long hiking, service, switch (part hiking, part canoeing), and cabin trips we offer provide an excellent learning environment where cooperation, initiative, and reflection lead to the development of a strong community. No outdoor experience is necessary to participate. 

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 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. 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 tremendous 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 upper-level leaders mentor approximately 150 incoming first-year students, introducing them to Harvard and helping them adjust to life in the United States. 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!