First-Year Summer Experience Programs

Want to start your Elon experience before you arrive on campus?  

Click here to register for a First-Year Summer Experience program!

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.

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)

When booking flights please use these guidelines:
• Arrivals- July 5th or July 12th between 8am-12pm at RDU 
• Departures- July 10th or July 17th  after 2pm at RDU or GSO. 
• Shuttle service will be provided, flight information will be collected via email to the registered participants.

  • Program Cost: $650
  • Deposit: $325

Chapter One: A Creative Writing Workshop

Creativity. Imagination. Expression. Chapter One is an adventure in writing for incoming students that is centered in and around Elon’s campus and the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. Participants will venture outward to explore their surroundings and to gain inspiration as writers while hiking, writing, and reflecting in some of the South's most beautiful places.

Dates for 2015: July 5-10

When booking flights, arrive by 1pm on July 5 at either the RDU (Raleigh) or GSO (Greensboro) airport and depart on July 10 after noon. Shuttle service will be provided both dates.

  • 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

When bookinig flights, arrive at either RDU (Raleigh) or GSO (Greensboro) airport by 11am on June 27, and depart from either airport on July 3 no sooner than noon.

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

For booking flights, arrive on August 1 at either LAX or Burbank airport between noon-5pm. Check-in will begin at 2pm. Book return flights no sooner than 2pm on August 5. Shuttle service will be provided both dates.

  • 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

When booking flights, arrive on June 28 by 11am at either GSO (Greensboro) or RSU (Raleigh) airport and depart on July 3 after 2pm. Shuttle service will be provided both dates.  If driving, arrive and depart by noon.

  • 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

When booking flights, arrive by 1:30pm on July 12 at either the RDU (Raleigh) or GSO (Greensboro) airport and book departure flights no sooner than 12:30pm on July 17. Shuttle service will be provided both dates.

  • 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.