First-Year Summer Experience Programs

First-Year Summer Experience (FSE) programs are designed to help incoming students feel confident and prepared as they enroll at Elon. The FSE programs embrace the university’s commitment to experiential learning, and use this guiding philosophy to help students develop self-awareness, enhance relationships, and define community in preparation for their Elon experience.

Want to start your Elon experience before you arrive on campus?  Check back for the 2015 FSE brochure and registration!

Deposit deadline is May 1, 2015; however, we will continue accepting deposits until the programs are full.  To inquire about program status or to ask questions, contact the FSE Coordinator via email ( or phone (336.278.7000) for more information.  Upon trip acceptance, participants will receive further information including the balance deadline.  Some need-based scholarships are available; contact for program-specific information.

Adventures in Leadership  

Adventures in Leadership is an outdoor experience offered jointly by Campus Recreation and the Center for Leadership.  AIL consists of camping, hiking, climbing, rappelling and white-water rafting. The program will aid in your development of leadership skills, understanding of community and your ability to work in teams. Past participants say the most valuable outcome is the lasting friendships they have built.

Accompanied by returning students, faculty and staff, participants will begin the adventure with group initiatives at the Elon Challenge course and conclude in the Appalachian Mountains of scenic West Virginia.

Dates for 2015: July 5-10 (Week 1); July 12-17 (Week 2)

  • Program Cost: $650
  • Deposit: $325

Chapter One: A Creative Writing Workshop

Chapter One is an adventure in creative prose writing and engaged reading for incoming students. Centered in and around Elon's campus and English Department, students will venture outward to explore and discover their surroundings and gain inspiration as writers. Chapter One participants will spend the week completing a short story, poem, or essay and will gain experience discussing ideas, workshopping drafts and sharing final products.

Dates for 2015: July 5-10

  • Program Cost: $300
  • Deposit: $150


Discovery, offered by New Student & Transition Programs, is a week-long adventure in the outdoors that will enable you to discover new friendships while building your teamwork and leadership skills. The trip is designed for students with little to no camping experience and those who have been camping for years.

The program begins by familiarizing you with campus and then moves to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where new friendships begin and outdoor skills are developed. During Discovery, you will hike the Appalachian Trail, spend two days serving the community of Luray, canoe the white water of the Shenandoah River and tour local natural attractions.

Dates for 2015: June 27-July 3

Program Cost: $320
Deposit: $160

Innovation (*new for 2015!)

California has always been an innovation leader.  During this five-day program in Los Angeles, students will look at the ingredients to innovation that will serve them well in their college careers.  The program will include an opening day of orientation followed by three themed days in Balance, Creativity and Effort.  Each day will include team and individual based activities geared towards both personal and community goals while incorporating Elon’s Isabella Cannon Center’s philosophy, “think globally, act locally.”  Evening activities will include video presentations, discussions around the history of Elon University, as well as reflections on the day’s experiences.  Participants will learn about innovation through stories and national examples, explore ways to balance adult life personally and in groups, become familiar with techniques and common practices of creative people, and participate in group service projects.  

Dates for 2015: August 1-5

  • Program Cost: $960
  • Deposit: $480 


Pre-Serve is an immersive service experience offered through the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement. Participants will engage in volunteer opportunities, explore complex social issues, and delve into how service can be used as a tool for personal growth. Pre-Serve will allow you to meet other incoming students who share an enthusiasm for service and a passion for social justice. You will spend a week living on campus, exploring Elon and the nearby Burlington community, and getting to know a variety of faculty, staff, and administrators at Elon. In past years, Pre-Serve participants have worked to build houses with Habitat for Humanity, assisted with therapeutic riding lessons at Kopper Top Life Learning Center, worked with children at the Boys and Girls Club, and served meals at Allied Churches.

Dates for 2015: June 28-July 3

  • Program Cost: $425
  • Deposit: $250



Thrive is a week-long experience that allows participants to explore Elon through the framework of sustainability. With an Elon Residence Hall as a base camp, students become familiar with campus, resources for students, and surrounding sites that provide for some of our basic needs like food, water and more equitable communities.  Participants have the opportunity to meet current students, engage in a local service project (outside) and ultimately feel more comfortable beginning their college experience with new friendships, self-awareness and a sense of living in a way that supports people, the planet and prosperity.  Thrive is sponsored by the Office of Sustainability.

Dates for 2015: July 12-17

  • Program Cost: $325
  • Deposit: $160


For more information on any of the First-Year Summer Experience programs, please e-mail or call (336) 278-7000. To learn more about New Student Orientation, click here.