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Pre-Orientation Programs

As our newest community members, you’re invited to connect with peers and upperclass students through one of our immersive Pre-Orientation Programs. 

Pre-Orientation is an optional opportunity open to incoming first-year students (except the International Student Welcome, which is required for F1 students). Programs are designed around a specific focus and serve to connect students with various aspects of the Emory community.

We encourage incoming first-year students to review the different programs, their focus, and registration information below to see if they are interested in signing up for a Pre-Orientation Program. Keep in mind that students may only participate in one Pre-Orientation Program, as the schedules directly overlap.

Registration for Pre-Orientation is now closed. All program-specific questions and requests should be directed to the program contacts listed below. Any questions about registration should be sent to

Please note that the Pre-Orientation Programs listed on this website are only open to first-year students on the Atlanta campus.

If you are interested in participating in a Pre-Orientation program on the Oxford campus, you can learn more about Oxford's Ignite Leadership Program and Oxford's International Student Welcome.

List of Pre-Orientation Programs 2023

An updated list of Pre-O programs for 2024 will be available in early spring, 2024.


Description: Ignite is an immersive and interactive 5-day, optional experience for incoming students dedicated to building community prior to the start of Orientation. Through both large and small group activities, incoming students set goals for the upcoming academic year, explore Atlanta, engage with faculty and staff from different areas on campus, and grow a sense of belonging through social opportunities and peer-to-peer mentorship. 

Ignite Interest-Based Tracks

Overview: Ignite provides opportunities to engage in smaller, interest-based cohorts throughout the week during Pre-Orientation. As an Ignite participant, you will spend a few hours on Tuesday and Thursday in these cohorts learning more about opportunities to engage in interest areas on campus and in Atlanta communities, while other days of the week will provide opportunities to engage in activities with students across all Pre-Orientation programs. While we can’t guarantee you will receive your top choice, we will do our best to place you into an Ignite track you are interested in. 

  • Ignite Intersections: Explore topics such as intersectionality, social identities, and inclusive leadership! Hosted by Belonging Community Justice (BCJ), this track is a great option for students interested in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  • Ignite Community Engagement: Develop and apply your skills to foster a kinder and more socially just world! Hosted by Emory's Center for Civic and Community Engagement (CCE), this track offers ways to learn more about the communities around us, including programs that help members of the Emory community channel their passion for social justice, education, health care, and more into purposeful impact in the metro Atlanta community and beyond.

  • Ignite Leadership: What does it mean to be a leader? Dive into Atlanta’s rich history and culture as we explore off-campus to learn about prominent community and worldwide leaders whose legacies continue to develop our understanding of leadership. Together, we’ll examine where leaders come from, where leaders go, and how leaders can make an impact on their communities. Hosted by the Office of Student Involvement, Leadership, and Transitions, this track is a great option for students looking to reflect on the way they shape and are shaped by their communities to create a roadmap of their journey as a leader at Emory.

  • Ignite Creativity: Explore your creativity as Emory Arts welcomes you into the fold with activities in the visual, performing, and literary arts. Get hands-on experience both on campus and in Atlanta where you will discover all that your new creative community has to offer. Any level of arts and creativity experience welcome. 

  • Ignite Sustainability: Part of what allows us to thrive as humans is the interconnectivity we share with each other and with the natural world. Interconnectivity is also at the root of sustainability, which we will explore in the Ignite Sustainability track. Join us as we dive into life in the Chattahoochee River watershed - experiencing the ways water shapes our region, seeing technologies Emory is employing to preserve this critical resource, meeting some of the local watershed champions, and tracing paths from the Emory Dining facilities to the farmers in our watershed who grow food that nourishes our community.
The following tracks are invite-only and based on eligibility criteria: 
  • Ignite Athletics: A pre-orientation program supporting varsity student-athletes in their transition to Emory. Participants will learn what it means to be a student-athlete at Emory and how the Emory Eagle values can help student-athletes make an impact during their college experience. Student-athletes will explore campus and Atlanta to learn more about how to maximize their athletic experience. Students who qualify will receive an email invitation to participate. For any questions, please reach out to

  • FirstSTEM: A pre-orientation program providing support to natural science and mathematics students who are the first generation in their families to attend college, or are in identity groups underrepresented in STEM fields. Students who qualify will receive an email invitation to participate. For any questions, please reach out to

Total Number of Ignite Participants: 290

Type of Registration: First come, first served (excludes invitation-only tracks)

Cost: $225 (excludes FirstSTEM) Please note: financial aid, including full fee waiver, is available for all Ignite participants.

Program Contact:

(If you are an incoming first-year student on the Oxford campus, you can view more information on the the Oxford Ignite Pre-Orientation Program website.)


International Student Welcome (ISW)

Description: A special pre-orientation program designed for students who have grown up primarily or exclusively outside the United States. Students attending Emory on an F1 visa are required to attend. Learn more including how to register here. 

Number of Participants: 300

Type of Registration: Invite only

Cost: $240

Summer Outdoor Adventure Retreat (SOAR)

Description: A program for incoming first-years dedicated to building community through outdoor adventure immediately before Orientation. To learn more about each trip type, including level of difficulty, please review additional SOAR details here.
SOAR trips include:

  • Land-Based Day Trips
  • Water-Based Day Trips
  • Ziplining and Camping Overnight
  • Whitewater Rafting and Camping Overnight
  • Rock Climbing and Camping Overnight
  • Backpacking Overnight

Number of Participants: 160

Type of Registration: First come, first served

Cost: $275

Program Contact: 


Welcoming Interfaith and Spiritual Exploration (WISE)

Description: A 5-day interfaith experience designed to ease the transition to college while also providing an opportunity to explore Atlanta, build religious and philosophical literacy and interfaith leadership skills, and connect with new friends as you settle into your new home at Emory. One of the highlights is always our learning journeys to 6-8 different spiritual and religious communities on campus, downtown historic Atlanta, and beyond. Join other incoming students and find your community or just come to learn from an amazing team of peer mentors and leaders on campus. We welcome first-year students from diverse religious, non-religious, spiritual, and ethical identities. Click here to learn more about WISE.

Cost: No fee

Number of Participants: 40

Type of Registration: First come, first served

Program Contact: 

Financial aid is available for the Ignite and SOAR Pre-Orientation Programs, which would cover the full cost of either program for eligible participants. If your application fee was waived when you applied to Emory, you automatically qualify for a fee waiver.

Please Note: We will work with each student on a case-by-case basis to ensure all students have equal access to the program – if you did not receive an application fee waiver when applying to Emory, you can still receive a full waiver for the Pre-Orientation program. You can request a waiver when completing the interest form for SOAR or Ignite.

Pre-Orientation Frequently Asked Questions

All Pre-Orientation participants will move into their assigned residence hall on Monday, August 14. SOAR participants will leave campus on Tuesday morning and return Friday afternoon. All other participants will remain on campus and stay in their assigned residence hall for the duration of the program. Pre-Orientation participants are pre-approved for this move-in date and will not need to alert housing or pay additional fees.
Similar to the Orientation Move-in experience on Saturday, August 19, we will offer programming for parents and families on Monday, August 14. Parents and families are encouraged to attend Pre-Orientation Move-in activities on Monday, August 14, but if it works better for traveling or scheduling purposes to attend the Move-in experience on Saturday, August 19, that works, too! There is no need to attend both Move-in experiences, but you are also welcome to do so if you wish.

For traveling ease, some students bring what they need on Monday, August 14 for the week of Pre-Orientation and have their family bring the rest of their belongings on Saturday, August 19. For others, it may be easier to move everything all at once on Monday, August 14.

We encourage you to do what is best for your student and family.

Although the details are still being finalized and individual Pre-Orientation Programs may communicate their own specific plans for the day, the main focus of Monday, August 14 will be Move-in.

A tentative Move-in schedule for Ignite, SOAR, and WISE participants can be found below:

8:00AM – 11:00AM 

Move-In (select time in MyHousing Portal)

9:00AM – 3:00PM 

Pre-Orientation Check-In

12:00PM – 1:00PM

Optional Lunch

11:00AM – 2:00PM

Pre-Orientation Resource Fair

3:00PM – 4:00PM

Family & Student Sendoff

4:00PM – 5:00PM

Pre-O Welcome and Kick-Off Celebration

5:00PM – 6:30PM  

Parent & Family Reception (parents/family only)

5:00PM – 7:00PM

Program-Specific Participant Welcome & Dinner (students only)

7:30PM – 9:30PM

Evening Social (students only)

A tentative Move-in schedule for ISW participants can be found below:

8:00AM – 9:15PM 

Shuttles from Hartsfield-Jackson Airport to Campus

8:00AM – 10:00PM

Move-in and Pre-Orientation Check-In

12:00PM – 2:00PM

Lunch (optional)

12:00PM – 3:00PM

Campus Tours (optional)

1:00PM – 6:30PM

Shopping Shuttle to Target

4:00PM – 6:00PM

Parent/Family Session (for all parents attending Pre-Orientation Programs)

7:00PM – 8:30PM  


8:30PM – 10:00PM

Optional Evening Social with Academic Fellows

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