First-Year Retreat and Experience (FYRE)

Why Start Harvard with the First-Year Retreat and Experience?

Joining FYRE means building a stable foundation for your life at Harvard before Opening Days. You'll interface with leading faculty and professors, hear talks from upperclassmen who were unsure how to navigate college life when they first arrived, create a tight-knit network of over 100 other first-years and student leaders to guide you through Harvard, and learn your way around Harvard both physically and through the resources you'll be taught how to access. FYRE strives to bolster the strengths and tools you already possess to prepare you for the days, months, and semesters ahead. Our goal is for you to feel comfortable starting college, knowing that you have a special community of friends and advisers to support and mentor you throughout your first-year.

Program Details

FYRE is completely FREE! There is no cost to participate. All meals will be provided and participants will stay together in a Harvard dormitory. Students should plan to bring their own sheets, pillow, towels, and basic necessities for the four days of the program.

Participants must arrive on Friday, August 23, 2019. Programming will begin that day and will run through Monday, August 26, 2019. On Monday, August 26, participants will move-out of their pre-orientation rooms and will move into their permanent rooms where they will stay for the rest of the year. Tuesday, August 27, 2019, is the official move-in day for members of the Class of 2023, when students who did not participate in pre-orientation will arrive and Opening Days will begin.

Connect with our Community!

The best thing about Harvard is its people—the students, faculty, staff, and alums who make living and studying at this institution so remarkable. Everyone here is unique, with their own stories, interests, and talents. You are unique, too!

You have special qualities and characteristics that make you perfect for Harvard. We really hope you choose to come here. As you’re thinking about joining this community, and making Harvard your home away from home, you may want to connect with some of the folks who will be your peers, your mentors, your teachers and advisers:

Who is Eligible?

All students are eligible. Students who are the first-generation in their family to go to college, those from low- to modest-income backgrounds, and those whose high schools are typically under-represented in the Ivy League are particularly encouraged to participate in FYRE. We are very proud of the diversity of our student body and we are excited to welcome you to our family. Whatever your background, you are eligible to attend this program and we hope you will consider participating. Harvard is full of amazing resources for you to use to your advantage and we want to show you how!

Can I Attend FYRE and Another Pre-Orientation Program?

The majority of incoming Harvard students choose to participate in pre-orientation to build a social support network before the year begins. Descriptions of all pre-orientation programs are included in your admissions packet and onlineYou are welcome to sign-up for any and all pre-orientation programs that interest you. Because FYRE happens at the same time as the First-Year Arts Program (FAP), the First-Year International Program (FIP), the First-Year Outdoor Program (FOP), and the First-Year Urban Program (FUP), you cannot attend FYRE alongside any of those programs.

Some of you may be interested in participating in Fall Clean-Up (FCU), which is a chance to earn money while working for Harvard’s “Dorm Crew.” We have made special arrangements with FCU so that approximately 30 FYRE participants may join FCU for three days and then FYRE for three days.  In this case, you would arrive at Harvard on August 20, work with FCU August 21-23 and then join FYRE on the evening of August 23.  If you are interested in this option, you must separately apply and be accepted to both programs.

How Do I Register?

FYRE registration is now open and will close on Friday, May 10, 2019. Students can register online and will be notified by May 31 if they have been selected for the program.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about FYRE, please e-mail us or call the Dean of Students Office at 617-495-1574.

  • FYRE
  • Making Friends

    Connect socially with your classmates

  • Advising Network

    Make the most of your advising network

  • Meet Professors

    Learn how to engage with faculty

  • Office Hours

    Gain confidence to attend office hours

  • Harvard Community

    Enjoy social life on campus and off

  • Meet Dean Khurana

    Interact with Dean Khurana and other Harvard leaders