These programs offer a variety of advantages to incoming freshmen students, allowing them to meet new friends before the school year starts and get outside of their comfort zones before moving away completely.
The most common programs revolve around outdoor activities and adventures and usually take place in the summer, between June and August. According to a recent study, about 11% of colleges offer outdoor adventure programs for incoming freshmen. Although there are programs based around the arts, community service and future careers.
Here are 5 schools with exceptionally interesting or extensive pre-orientation options:
Colby pretty much invented the outdoor pre-orientation program, where it goes by the name COOTS. Participation is required of all freshmen students and they offer sessions in the summer and during the January/Winter term. Each program costs $275 and lasts for 3 or 4 days. This year's options include:
Cooking with Local, Sustainable Foods
Mindfulness and Meditation
Cross Country Skiing
Primitive Skills (We're not sure what this entails but it sounds pretty hard-core).
Dartmouth offers a ton of outdoor trips for incoming freshmen. Each program costs $200 and lasts 5 days. This year's programs include:**
Hiking and Yoga
Hiking (there are 4 different programs for varying levels of experience and intensity)
Nature Writing and Art
WashU's programs are primarily related to possible career or extracurricular interests. Most cost $200-$300 and take place on-campus in St. Louis. This year's options:
As Seen on WUTV
EnDesign (Focuses on engineering problems)
Freshmen Press (An introduction to college journalism)
Habitat for Humanity
Hot Lasers and Fast Atoms (Focuses on cutting edge chemistry and physics research)
IDEA: Innovation, Discovery, Experience, Action (A program for budding entrepreneurs)
KWUR: Adventures in Radioland
LAUNCH (Group activities and team building at a lakeside summer camp)
Leading Your Way: Exploring Leadership for Women
Leadership Through Service
Louder than a Grenada (Focuses on Poetry and spoken word)
Medicine and Research Connections
Student Union: Leading Wash U Style
The Wilderness Project (Outdoor activities such as climbing and hiking)
The Burning Kumquat (Organic farming)
World of Politics
Pomona's programs are free and last for 4 days. They take advantage of the surrounding nature and nearby National Parks such as Sequoia and Yosemite. Programs include:**
Camp Outdoor Activities
Sequoia National Park
Yosemite National Park
William and Mary is one of the only public colleges to offer pre-orientation programs. At William and Mary, the program is called 7 Generations and offerings are focused on community service throughout Virginia. This year's options include:**
Heritage (Students volunteer at the Humane Society)
Hunger (Students volunteer at soup kitchens)
Access to Housing and Healthcare (Students look at access to affordable housing and healthcare)
You can find a complete list of schools that offer outdoor pre-orientation programs here.
Previously: Has Online Learning Become Mainstream?