Student Life

Pre-Orientation Programs & Summer Experiences

We know you are excited to begin your time at The College, and we look forward to welcoming you as the newest members of our vibrant campus community. As you prepare for your arrival, there are steps you can take now to start exploring the UChicago way of life.

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 the Class of 2023, help you become more familiar with student life and begin your intellectual development before the academic year begins. Applications for all programs are now open and are available on each program's website. Look through your options below and be aware of program application deadlines as they do vary.

A program fee may be assessed for participation in a Summer Experience or Pre-Orientation program. These fees do vary so please 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 to students who require it to participate. Financial assistance 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. All programs end prior to the start of Orientation Week.

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

Career Exploration Week programs give students the opportunity to begin thinking about career interests and exploration right away. While tapping into the UChicago alumni network across the country, students will engage with industry leaders and learn about the ways in which different careers and communities work. All programs are well-suited for students interested in exploring careers, regardless of their industry experience. Through cohort-based activities led by a Career Advancement staff member, students will also explore the city and have a chance to connect with other members of the incoming class before the start of the school year. Each career-focused program will conclude prior to the start of O-Week, allowing students to travel back home before moving to campus. Applications are due by June 14.

The Business Explorer Programs offer incoming students the chance to explore a variety of business career options through on-site experiences with top industry firms, business leaders, and young professionals in the UChicago network. 

Students interested in exploring the multifaceted world of digital media will gain insight into careers through visits with employers, industry experts, and members of the UChicago community.

On this career exploration trek to the San Francisco Bay Area, students will explore Silicon Valley’s unique culture of innovation while engaging with UChicago alumni entrepreneurs. 

Students eager to gain early exposure to careers in law will experience the practice of law in New York and will be able to explore their interests by engaging with UChicago alumni who are judges, prosecutors, and corporate and nonprofit attorneys among others and gaining insight into the law school experience. 

This career exploration program will give students the opportunity to learn about the journalism, cinematic arts, and media sectors in Los Angeles through visits to a variety of organizations and meetings with industry professionals and UChicago alumni. 

This experience offers students a unique opportunity to engage with leading scientists and learn at a cutting-edge marine biological laboratory, all while enjoying the culture and natural environment of the New England coast.

Through on-site visits at nonprofits, government agencies, and other policy organizations in Washington, DC, students will gain firsthand exposure to public interest careers and connect with members of the UChicago community.

This immersive program will offer students the chance to explore careers in technology, software engineering, and data analytics, in several areas including startups, fintech and, healthcare. The program will leverage visits with industry professionals, employers, and UChicago alumni.

This immersive program in Hong Kong will offer students the chance to explore careers in technology, entrepreneurship, software engineering, and data analytics in several areas, including startups, fintech, and healthcare. The program will leverage visits with industry professionals, employers, and UChicago alumni in the Hong Kong region. Learn more about this program and apply on the Technology and Entrepreneurship Explorer Program website.

Pre-Orientation Programs

As a central feature of all pre-orientation programs, each program will take place during the week immediately prior to Orientation. All participants will have the chance to interact with fellow members of their class while exploring exciting destinations and learning more about the UChicago community. Each pre-orientation program will conclude at the start of Orientation Week, which means that all participants will move to campus the weekend prior to O-Week. The application deadline for all campus-based programs is June 14. Students selected to participate will be notified via email in early July.

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.

Chicago Bound is a 7-day student-led, staff-supported, pre-orientation program sponsored by the University Community Service Center (UCSC) and the Institute of Politics (IOP) for 40 incoming first-year students to promote community awareness and civic engagement. This program brings students into a deep, experience-based understanding of the headlines, challenges and opportunities Chicago provides. Students spend a week 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 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. 

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.

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 backingpacking through the woods of Manistee National Forest in Michigan, 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.

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

UChicago LEADS is a 7-day pre-orientation program that provides students with the opportunity to hone their leadership skills and explore the many ways to become a leader both on campus and within the Chicago community. Through the lens of “real world” themes such as the Arts, Athletics, Business, and Government, students begin to understand the complexity of leadership and better understand their own leadership strengths. Students have the unique opportunity to meet and connect with important University administrators, as well as, alumni and community leaders in a fun and energetic atmosphere. During this program, students learn how to further explore their personal interests and passions while at UChicago, learn about opportunities for leadership within the Chicago community, and also have a lot of fun exploring great Chicago attractions. 

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. 

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

Incoming students who graduated from high schools outside of the United States are invited to apply to be a part of a new course offering prior to the beginning of the fall quarter. Methods of Argument and Discourse(“Methods”) is an intensive workshop in the techniques of thinking and reading, speaking and writing, that are at the heart of the University’s mission.  The workshop will immerse students in the experiences and practices that characterize intellectual work throughout Chicago’s curriculum.  The workshop will speed students’ transition from high school to college, and will deepen their command of the methods that are essential for successful study on this campus. Students who complete the course will receive one credit toward graduation requirements. 

Global Exploration Programs

Our summer Global Exploration Programs all revolve around travel to UChicago Centers abroad. Each of the programs below conclude prior to the start of Orientation and will allow students to return home before traveling to campus. The application deadline for all travel-based programs will is May 31. Students selected to participate will be notified via email in mid-June.

The 2019 Beijing Exploration Program is an opportunity for a small group of students from the Class of 2023 to gain exposure to the University of Chicago Center in Beijing and UChicago-style study abroad before coming to campus for Orientation Week. This two-week program will situate China, with Beijing as its capital, both as a center of ancient East Asian civilization and culture, as well as a modern global superpower with the Chinese Communist Party at its helm. The program will introduce students to aspects of Chinese culture, society, domestic and foreign policy, and history from the late imperial era through present day. 

Students participating in the 2019 Paris Exploration Program will study with Professor Nadine Moeller of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Professor Peggy Mason of the Department of Neurobiology, both recipients of the University’s Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. The two-week course is titled “Science and the City: Exploring Paris through the achievements of early scientists and inventors.” Students will discuss Napoleon Bonaparte’s academic expedition to Egypt, which served as the launching pad for scientists and inventors who went on to establish Paris as an intellectual center. Subjects of note include Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Jean-Martin Charcot, and Marie Curie.