Student Life

Pre-Orientation Programs & Summer Experiences

We invite you 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 introduce you to other members of your class, help you become more familiar with student life, and begin your intellectual development before the academic year begins.

While no decisions have been made for the 2021 Pre-Orientation and Summer Experience programs, please take everything below and on the individual program pages as general information until specifics for 2021 are decided upon.

Participation fees vary by program, so be sure to review each program's website to determine the cost and exactly what is included with the program fee. Additionally, many of the on-campus and career exploration programs offer financial assistance, but availability and eligibility does vary by program. Please check with the program directly to determine whether aid may be available.

Below are descriptions of each Summer Experience and Pre-Orientation program. Please visit each program’s website for information on applications and the timeline for responses. Students may apply for and participate in multiple programs, as long as the timing does not overlap. 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

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.

Career Exploration Week Programs

Check back for information on Career Exploration Week 2021. If you have any immediate questions, please contact Nelida Garcia at

Pre-Orientation Programs

Each of the programs below take place during the week immediately prior to Orientation, concluding on the Friday before move-in day. All participants will have the chance to interact with fellow members of their class, as well as upperclassmen leaders, while exploring exciting destinations and learning more about the UChicago community. 

Campus Crew is an opportunity for incoming students to give back to the College 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 in impact in the UChicago community right away while building long-lasting friendships in the process.

Check back for updates on Campus Crew 2021.

This program brings students into a deep, community-based understanding of the headlines, 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, 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 appreciation, 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 happen, and how they can work to change our world for the better. 

Check back for updates on Chicago Bound 2021.

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 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. 

Check back for updates on Chicago Urban Explorers (CUE) 2021.

Are you ready to carry everything you need on your back and sleep outside under the stars for a week? If so, then the Phoenix Outdoor Program (POP) may be for you! POP is an exciting new week-long program that will offer incoming students the opportunity to spend five days backpacking through the woods in a midwestern National Forest, experiencing the great outdoors and creating lasting bonds in the process. This program offers unique experiences for students regardless of your level of camping or hiking experience. All students will travel in a small group with eight first-year students and two experienced upperclassmen leaders. Along the way, you will be able make some new friends, hone your wilderness skills, and learn useful information to aid in your transition into UChicago.

Check back for updates on the Phoenix Outdoor Program (POP) 2021.

Check back for updates on UChicago LEADS 2021.

Programs for International Students

UChicago is dedicated to helping all students maximize their potential and achieve their goals. To that end, the College has developed summer programs specifically for international students beginning study at UChicago. A central feature of both programs is an emphasis on easing the transition of students into the American collegiate classroom and introducing students to the resources, people, and programs designed to support your academic and social success at this university.

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. Space is limited. 

Check back for updates on International Pre-Orientation (IPO) 2021.

This course has been suspended for 2021. We hope to be able to offer it again in the future.