Dickinson College Pre-Orientation Adventure program is a two-and-a-half day, small-group, theme-intensive experience open to incoming first-year and transfer students.

Students will begin their Dickinson experience by participating in one of our many programs designed for 10-15 students. Combining experiential education, team building, early involvement and leadership adventures, each program introduces students to Dickinson through interaction with new and current students, faculty, and staff.

Pre-Orientation Adventures occur before the start of Orientation—August 23-25. Students participating in Pre-Orientation will move in early to campus on August 23 from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. Family Orientation and welcome sessions will take place in the afternoon on August 23 before the program begins in the evening.

The Adventures are fee-based. The fee includes food, accommodations, activities, supplies and transportation to and from campus.

The registration period for the 2015 Pre-Orientation Adventure programs is May 15-July 1. Registration is first-come, first-serve. Many of our programs will fill within days, so don't delay your registration. 

For questions contact Annie Kondas, Director of New Student Programs by email kondasa@dickinson.edu or by phone at (717) 245-1671. 


A limited number of scholarships are available for students with high financial need. The date to indicate interest in a scholarship needs to be made by June 15, 2015 after you have already registered for a program.  If you would like to apply for a pre-orientation program scholarship, simply send your request as an email message to Annie Kondas at kondasa@dickinson.edu with the subject line being Pre-O Scholarship Request. 

In the email please include your name, phone number, email address and the program that you have registered for. Students must register for a pre-orientation program prior to requesting a scholarship. If a student does not qualify for a scholarship a student will have the ability to receive their deposit back in full. 

A list of the 2015 programs will be made available by May 1, 2015. Check out last year's programs listed below. 

2014 Pre-Orientation Adventure Program List

Ropes and RidesAre You Ready For Some R & R?! 
This program does not stand for your typical R&R--rest & relaxation. Get ready for a fun, interactive Pre-Orientation Adventure that involves Ropes & Rides! As a participant, you will stay on campus and get to see what activities and experiences the local community has to offer. You will travel to the nearby Hersheypark, participate in a high ropes course challenge, and have a "Night on the Town" in both Harrisburg and Carlisle. By attending this unique opportunity you will be able to meet other first-years, form close friendships, and learn about the amazing events and programs the Offices of Leadership & Campus Engagement have to offer.

Behind the ScenesBehind the Scenes: Theatre at Dickinson
In Behind the Scenes, students will have the opportunity to learn all about what it takes to make theater at Dickinson-by making it themselves! Participants will meet current Theatre & Dance students and faculty, explore Dickinson's performance spaces, work with lights, costumes, props, and scenery, and collaborate with each other to put on a show! The program is designed to accommodate students who are interested in performances as well as those who prefer the technical/backstage elements.

Activities Include:

  • Theatre Tours
  • Finding and building costumes, sets, and props
  • Designing and hanging lights
  • Acting and improvisation games and exercises
  • Selecting/writing and rehearsing short plays or scenes
  • A cumulative final performance

Social Justice Pre-Orientation ProgramBonD-Building on Diversity
BonD Dickinson is a program for first-year students who are interested in and passionate about diversity and social justice. This Pre-Orientation Adventure seeks to engage Dickinson students in the exploration of their identities and in reflective dialogues about diversity, with the goal of encouraging them to effect positive change on campus and in the community.

BonD Dickinson seeks to foster dialogue and action around complex issues including but not limited to race, ethnicity, social class, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, spirituality, and ability. Students will work closely with peer leaders and Dickinson staff to explore various justice related movements and examine how those movements inform our understandings related to the intersections of identity, the dynamics of power and privilege, and how to best serve as advocates for change.

 BonD Dickinson participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Explore local and national history through various exhibits related to justice movements
  • Converse with leaders from campus and local cultural groups regarding justice related work
  • Ask critical questions of Dickinson faculty and administrators, including staff from diversity offices
  • Initiatives, LGBTQ Services, the Women's & Gender Resource Center, and the Office for Community Service and Religious Life 
  • Participate in small group discussions regarding personal identity
  • Begin defining themselves as student leaders both on and off campus as they begin to take on their own "unique" Dickinsonian identities

Campus MediaCampus Media
Do you love stories? Do you want to learn how to craft your own entertaining news segments by layering music, stories and sound effects? Do you want to learn how to broadcast live on the radio? Great! The Media Center will help you find the story you want to tell and teach your team how to capture interviews with people on campus or in Carlisle. We will work to edit it into a short, fun and informative segment similar to those produced by Radiolab. Your work will have an audience too! These pieces will be played on WDCV-FM during the Orientation drive in broadcast so incoming students will be guided into campus listening to your voice. You will be in the studio broadcasting live with WDCV staff in between the produced segments.

Change the World Through ServiceChange the World through Service!
Have you heard the quote, "Be the Change you wish to see in the world" and thought, "I want to be that person!" Students will begin to explore the Social Change Leadership Model at Dickinson and discover how service can be a means to creating socially responsible and sustainable change.  Students will begin to "change the world" at Dickinson. Students will connect to the Carlisle community, strengthen their leadership skills, challenge themselves through new experiences, begin exploring what it means to be socially responsible leaders and do all this through doing community service.

Diakon Wilderness and Ropes AdventureDiakon
 Join us at the Diakon Wilderness Center for two full days of outdoor adventures. Surrounded by thousands of acres of forest and near the Appalachian Trail, the Center features state-of-the-art challenge courses (high and low), access to excellent hiking, rock-climbing and canoeing. Participants will have a chance to develop team-building skills, get to know one another through challenge by choice activities, and enjoy an overnight camping experience. On day one, you will enjoy high ropes and low ropes courses that may include the alpine tower, zip-lines, the giant swing, the giant teeter-totter, the blind maze or the space shuttle exercise. On day two, you will be able to select from hiking, rock climbing and canoeing.

Food for ThoughtFood for Thought with the Dickinson College Farm
The College Farm offers a unique Pre-Orientation Adventure opportunity for students with an interest in delving deeper into the subject of food. Work on the farm is built around team work, hands-on learning, new friendships and fun! We look forward to sharing our farm experiences with you, from the soil up through field work, interactive projects, cooking and an evening under the stars.

Kick StartKick Start Dickinson
Do you want to be a maker or a do-er? At Dickinson we believe in the power of new innovators; Idea Fund exists to help you. Idea Fund is a student run organization that empowers students to identify and solve problems in the Dickinson community. Kick Start Dickinson is an action packed, hands-on experience where first years, current students, and alumni work in teams to create an on-campus project. Students will create teams, develop an idea, design a project and present the innovation for funding.

BoulderingOutdoor Orientation I: Bouldering and Caving in West Virginia
On this Adventure trip, students will have the opportunity to experience the outdoors while also developing practical skills, and building relationships with their future classmates. This trip will take place in Coopers Rock State Forest, West Virginia and includes a day of bouldering and hiking, and a day of caving. Throughout the duration of the trip, students will learn basic camping and outdoor skills, leadership skills, and knowledge of each other and the Dickinson community itself.

HikingOutdoor Orientation II: Whitewater Rafting and Hiking
On this Adventure trip, students will have the opportunity to experience the outdoors while also developing  practical skills, and building relationships with their future classmates. This trip will take place in Ohiopyle, Pa., and includes one day of guided whitewater rafting on the Lower Youghiogheny River, and a day of hiking in Ohiopyle State Park. The Lower Youghiogheny consists of class III and IV rapids, which are a fun challenge for beginners. Throughout the duration of the trip, students will learn basic camping and outdoor skills, leadership skills, and knowledge of each other and the Dickinson community itself.

Biking and HikingOutdoor Orientation III: Biking and Rafting the Middle Yough
On this Adventure trip, students will have the opportunity to experience the outdoors while also developing practical skills, and building relationships with their future classmates. This trip will take place in Ohiopyle, Pa., and includes one day of rafting on the Middle Youghiogheny River, and a day of biking in Ohiopyle State Park. The Middle Youghiogheny is the calmest of the three sections of the river, and only contains class I and II rapids, providing a fun and easy trip down the river. Throughout the duration of the trip, students will learn basic camping and outdoor skills, leadership skills, and knowledge of each other and the Dickinson community itself.

Red Devil Sports Network student broadcasters standing next to one another and smiling at the camera.

Red Devil Sports Network: On Air
Broadcast. Film. Interview. Write. Edit. Produce. Be engaging. Be bold. Be on-air! Join the RDSN: On-Air Adventure program. RDSN is Dickinson's student sports broadcasting organization. As a member of the College Media Board, RDSN students lead as play-by-play commentators, color analysts, producers, videographers, and editors to produce live broadcasts and features of Dickinson athletics.

RDSN: On-Air provides hands-on experience and challenges you to produce top-notch sports multimedia. Over two days, you are on a deadline. The plan: produce the fall semester's first Red Devil Roundup—a Dickinson "Sportscenter" style show, including footage, interviews, and features from Red Devil training camps to be featured on Dickinson Athletics YouTube Channel and social media accounts.You will interview Dickinson's coaches and student-athletes, learn important live broadcast presentation skills, shoot with video/photo cameras, edit with Final Cut Pro, make yourself at home at Dickinson's Media Center, and see how the pros do it at Camden Yards for a Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays game! Whether your dream is to be the next Jim Nantz, or you thrive on capturing the power of sport through digital pixels, we welcome you to sign up, join our team, and be On-Air!

Why Place MattersWhy Place Matters: A Sustainable Local Adventure
Take part in this unique local adventure that will explore why place matters, demonstrate what sustainability means at Dickinson, and participate in an overnight experience that allows for personal reflection and goal setting in Michaux State Forest. We will sleep indoors at the all-equipped Ironmaster's Mansion nestled in the Pine Grove Furnace State Park, swim in local lakes, hike to a rocky summit vista, kayak on Laurel Lake, and explore the rich history of the Pine Grove Iron Works. Spend time cooking local foods together in a group cooking lesson and sharing stories by a bonfire paired with local ice cream. Upon return, participants will work alongside Dickinson Sustainability staff and students to "Green Move In" for other first year students. No previous experiences required.

Special Notes: This trip also includes an optional 32-mile round trip bike trek to the Ironmaster's Mansion.