Prior to move-in day and orientation in the fall, incoming first-year students are invited to participate in one of six pre-orientation programs. These programs provide incoming students with the opportunity to meet their fellow classmates, become better acquainted with student life at Harvard, receive invaluable advice from upperclassmen, and, most importantly, have fun. Housing and meals are provided for all programs. Programs occur simultaneously; students typically participate in one program.
Some programs are free for participants, while others have fees. Significant financial aid is available for program fees, and is based on the student's relative level of need. Cost should not be a barrier to participation! See program websites for specific costs.
Fall Clean-Up (FCU) is a week-long program run by
Dorm Crew that employs 300 incoming first-years and
50 student leaders to clean the dorms and Houses for move-in. Students get to know the campus and Harvard Square while talking with their leaders about life at Harvard, classes, and the transition to college. In addition to earning their first paycheck at Harvard ($13.50/hr, 38 hours of work), participants leave FCU with a strong sense of community created from working closely with their peers. Meals, advising sessions, workshops, and social events provide opportunities for students to get to know one another before move-in.
The First-Year Arts Program (FAP) is a week-long, multidisciplinary introduction to the arts at Harvard, bringing together 70 incoming first-year students and 16 upperclass proctors who are passionately involved in various aspects of art, enthusiastic to share their interests, and eager to learn about the experiences of their peers. 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 culminates in the Pageant, a collaborative presentation of entirely original student work. No formal training required.
The First-Year International Program (FIP) is for international students and US citizens who have lived and studied primarily overseas. In FIP, 35 upperclass leaders mentor 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 friendships at the same time it cultivates the larger international community at Harvard. By invitation only.
The First-Year Outdoor Program (FOP) is Harvard’s largest and oldest pre-orientation program. 400+ participants explore New England’s finest forests, mountains, and lakes in small groups. But FOP is not just a six-day outdoors trip; it is an opportunity to build a sense of community, reflect on your hopes for college, and enter with both confidence and a network of close friends. No outdoor experience required. Trips are designed for all levels of experience and fitness, and are led by trained and experienced students.
Join a vibrant community of 100 incoming first-year students and get a jump start on making the most of Harvard. 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 classmates and make connections with key campus leaders while having fun and socializing. 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 encouraged to apply.
The First-Year Urban Program (FUP) catalyzes a commitment to public service and community advocacy; supports diversity, equity, and social justice work on campus; and introduces students to Boston and Cambridge. 110 participants divide into worksite groups led by 35 returning undergraduates to assist 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. FUP is an opportunity to build community amongst new and returning students!