August Pre-Orientation Programs

Female student installing glass art piece

Brandeis' Department of Orientation offers 4 pre-orientation programs: Outdoor Leadership, Social Justice, Sustainability, and Creative Arts. Space is limited and fee waivers are available. The University Counseling Center also offers a RISE (Resilience, Information, Skills, and Experience) pre-orientation program. The RISE application can be found at the bottom of the page. Applications for all pre-orientation programs are open and are due by June, 1, 2019.


Most programs begin Friday, Aug. 23 and continue through Saturday, Aug. 24. 

Note: Students participating in International Student Pre-Orientation, the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program, the Student Support Services Program, as well as fall scholar-athletes, are not able to participate in pre-orientation programs due to time conflicts.

Pre-orientation Programs:

Outdoor Leadership

Be part of a small group of your peers that participate in a fun-filled and thoughtful experience in the woods of Massachusetts. Through different activities, you will explore group and personal process using the outdoors as a medium for learning. Ranging from orienteering and a ropes course to cooking shared meals and making a campfire, this program will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone to enhance the skills that you will need for a successful transition to college. You do not need to have any previous experience in the outdoors to apply.

International Pre-orientation

All new international undergraduate students are required to attend the International Pre-Orientation. You are automatically enrolled in the program as an international student, which means you do not need to apply. During the International Pre-Orientation, you will be able to explore the academic culture at Brandeis, get to know campus resources, and discuss topics surrounding student life beyond the classroom. 

Contact International Office at or  781-736-3480 with questions.
Cost: Free
Visit for more information.

Social Justice

Are you passionate or curious about social justice issues and how to make meaningful change? Explore Brandeis University’s founding principle with the Social Justice Preorientation Program! Over the course of 2 days we will unpack social justice issues through discussion, proactive planning, and civic engagement. You will get the opportunity to explore how to incorporate social justice into not only your personal life, but also in the surrounding community and across the nation. Alongside faculty and staff you will decipher social justice in academia and the world around you. In addition to investigating what social justice means, you will have the opportunity to create your own project to advocate for social justice. Join us to start making a change!.

Creative Arts

The Arts Pre-Orientation program is for the student looking to learn about and expand their definition of art, explore their creativity and discover the rich history and community of the arts at Brandeis. Through a series of speakers, master classes, hands-on art and more, participants will find a space to grow as artists, meet new students with similar interests and find their place in the arts at Brandeis.


This Sustainability Pre-Orientation program will push students to think about their impact on the environment. Students will engage with staff and faculty at Brandeis to think critically about how they can be more sustainable, specifically related to their transition to college. Students will also get to know more about sustainability efforts at Brandeis and in the Greater Boston area, including a trip to a nearby farm to learn about food insecurity and food waste.

RISE (Resilience, Information, Skills, & Experience)

RISE is a pre-orientation program for students who would benefit from learning skills to help them thrive in college, supporting their mental wellbeing and academic success. This program is designed for students who have previously experienced depression and/or anxiety. Students will work in small groups with faculty and clinicians from the counseling center. Learning is primarily experiential with discussions and hands on opportunities to practice skills. In the evenings during pre-orientation, the group will participate in fun, relaxing activities, such as a picnic along the Charles River, mindfulness practices, making stress kits and watching a movie.

We will focus on skills for coping with and bouncing back from stress, and strategies for preventing stress by using effective study, test taking, time management and goal setting techniques. We will also work on strategies to navigate the social side of college life, connect with resources throughout the university, and develop strategies to support your own wellbeing. Unique to this program, students will continue meeting as a group once a week throughout the semester to support each other, continue to learn new skills, and practice the skills they learned in the pre-orientation program.