College Programming and Orientation

Pre-Orientation Programs & Summer Experiences

All incoming first year and transfer students are invited to participate in one of our Summer Experience or Pre-Orientation programs, a series of optional opportunities that will help you make the most of your time at UChicago. Each summer program provides a unique experience that will allow you to meet other members of your class, help you become more familiar with student and community life, and begin your exploring areas of interest before the academic year begins.

Below are descriptions of each Summer Experience and Pre-Orientation program. Please visit the individual program’s website for information on applications and the timeline for responses. Students may apply for and participate in both a Summer Experience and a Pre-Orientation Program, but only one in each category. Additionally, you may apply to as many programs as you would like and see which ones you get accepted to before making a final decision.

If you have general questions about any of our summer experience or pre-orientation programs, please feel free to contact the College Programming Office at college-programming@uchicago.edu.

If you have questions about your application to a particular program, please contact that program directly. You will find contact information on the website for each individual program, which are linked in the descriptions below.

Summer Experiences

The programs below take place prior to September.

    Career Exploration Week programs are an opportunity for incoming students to do a deep dive into their field of interest before arriving on campus. These programs connect students with UChicago alumni, employer partners, and Career Advancement staff in a particular city, and help build community among incoming students through fun group activities – all while safely exploring a new, exciting city! We have exciting programs for you to choose from:

    • Biological Sciences Explorer Program - Seattle, WA
    • Physical Sciences Explorer Program - Seattle, WA
    • Business & Entrepreneurship Explorer Program - San Francisco, CA
    • Computer Science & Data Science Explorer Program - San Francisco, CA
    • Engineering Explorer Program - Boston, MA
    • Exploring the Legal Profession Program - New York, NY
    • Business & Finance Explorer Program - New York, NY
    • Green Careers Explorer Program - Denver, CO
    • Humanities Explorer Program: Cinematic Arts, Media and Entertainment - Los Angeles, CA
    • Policy & Social Impact Explorer Program - Washington, D.C.
    • Education Policy Explorer Program - Albuquerque, NM (September 6-8, 2022)
    • Humanities Explorer Program: Journalism, Writing, and Culture - Washington, D.C.

    Applications are NOW OPEN through June 12, 2022. Please contact Elise Gruneisen at egruneisen@uchicago.edu with any questions.

Pre-Orientation Programs

The programs below take place during September, before Orientation week.

    Campus Crew is an opportunity for incoming students to begin engaging with the UChicago campus while helping to prepare the campus for Orientation Week. During this week-long program, Campus Crew members will work in small groups alongside other first-year students and upperclassman captains to complete a variety of tasks across campus. When you’re not working, Crew members will have the opportunity to explore Chicago, participate in a variety of fun activities, and learn more about all that UChicago has to offer. Those participating in Campus Crew will receive room, board, admissions to all activities offered by the program, and a $300 stipend at the end of the week. This program is open to all incoming students, both domestic and international, who want to begin making an impact in the UChicago community right away while building long-lasting friendships in the process.

    We encourage incoming students of color and LGBTQ+ students to join our affinity-based cohort programs – sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) and LGBTQ Student Life – which are designed to help foster a strong sense of community and belonging. These are exciting opportunities to start building peer networks, engage in conversation with student leaders and key administrators, learn about all that our offices have to offer…and have some fun! Please email inclusion@uchicago.edu or text 773.702.5710 with any questions.

    • Learn more about the program and apply on the CI+I website.

    This program brings students into a deep, community-based understanding of the challenges and opportunities that characterize Chicago. Students spend a week learning about and exploring many of the 77 neighborhoods in Chicago, learning about urban issues, social justice theory and Chicago’s history of social change, and meeting with community residents and leaders. Through Chicago Bound, students become more informed about Chicago and methods of effecting social change, including direct service, research and evaluation, advocacy and activism, community organizing, public policy, urban planning, cultural humility, political office, social entrepreneurship, and philanthropy.

    Following Chicago Bound participation, students can expect to begin their studies at UChicago with a significantly deeper understanding of Chicago, how it came to be what it is, how social injustices happens, and how they can work to change our world for the better. 

    Chicago Urban Explorers (CUE) is a 6-day pre-orientation program sponsored by College Programming and Orientation (CPO) and the Office of the Dean of Students in the College for 80 incoming first-year students. This program seeks to introduce students to the culture and history of the city of Chicago while also providing a venue for students to build strong personal networks with other members of their incoming class. Through CUE, students find unique opportunities to engage with civic leaders and UChicago faculty, visit important city landmarks and cultural institutions, and partake in the diversity of the city of Chicago. Along the way, students get to know other students in the College, while having fun exploring this world-class city. 

    • Learn more about the program and apply on the CUE website.

    Your potential as a leader isn’t dependent on the positions you hold, the skills you’ve developed, or the goals you’ve set: all that matters is who YOU are! As a participant in UChicago Lead’s “Discover Leadership” program, students will be introduced to a variety of perspectives and experiences of “leadership.” Students will reflect together in small groups as they use everything, they have learned from program sessions to craft your unique Leadership Story.

    International Pre-Orientation (IPO) is a 5-day program sponsored by College Programming and Orientation. IPO provides international students with a space to adjust to their new college environment while learning more about the resources, services, and expectations of the University. In addition to presentations and group discussions, participants will have the opportunity to tour campus, set up a bank account, procure a mobile phone, and get to know other international first-year and upper-class students in the College. For international students with little or no experience in an American classroom, this program proves extremely worthwhile.

    • Learn more about the program and apply on the IPO website.

    This outdoor adventure program will allow participants to experience the great outdoors and create lasting bonds in the process. With three trip options, two involving backpacking and one at an established campground, the Phoenix Outdoor Program (POP) offers unique experiences for students regardless of their level of camping or hiking experience. All participants will be placed in a small group with eight to ten first-year students and two experienced upperclass student leaders. Along the way, you'll make some new friends, hone your wilderness skills, and learn useful information to aid in your transition into UChicago.