Elon University promotes engaged learning; it wants students to be involved with activities within the university as well as outside of it, in local, ​national and global environments. In fact, in order to graduate from the University, Elon requires all students to complete at least one "Experiential Learning Requirement", which could either be a study abroad program, undergraduate research, an internship, or academic service learning experience. Most students complete more than one of these throughout their four years of undergraduate study, giving them unique opportunities to study outside the classroom setting. Elon understands that some, if not most, high schools did not have this level of involvement so many freshman are hesitant at first. In order to accommodate and help incoming freshman adjust to not only college life, but an engaged environment, Elon University offers several First Year Summer Experiences (FSE). 

There are 5 First Year Summer Experiences available to all incoming freshman. The first one, “Quest”, travels to Georgia to study various religions and traditions. The students would learn about several types of worship and communities. “Adventures in Leadership” is another option. On this trip everyone goes camping, hiking and white water rafting in West Virginia to build friendships and to learn to work together in groups. “Discovery”, similar to “Adventures in Leadership”, brings the group camping and hiking but this involves more sightseeing and interaction serving a community. “Pre-Serve” is a great introduction to the service learning community at Elon; the freshman volunteer in Burlington for a week. Lastly, “Living the Maroon Life” is a program that introduces specific details about Elon University and all the great things the school offers.

 I went on the Adventures in Leadership trip in mid July and found it to be a great experience. I had so much fun meeting so many new people, including sophomores that I would be going to school with in the fall; I didn’t feel so alone entering college. I also felt that the program did a great job of balancing fun activities with helpful, focused activities that made us work together and learn more about each other. Students who get involved in FSE say that they meet some of their closest friends on their trip and really felt like it prepared them for the big adjustment to college. 

For more information about First Year Summer Experiences, contact Katie Hight, Director of New Student Programs, via email (fse@elon.edu) or phone (336.278.5323)