New Students

Pre-Orientation Programs

Learn more about our Pre-Orientation Programs

New Student Programs supports and oversees all but one of Duke’s Pre-Orientation Programs. There are currently 7 programs: see below for dates and links for more information on each program.

Project BUILD

  • Project BUILD is a one-week program where students engage in service projects that familiarize them with the Duke and Durham community.  

Project WILD

  • Project WILD is a 12-day program during which students travel to Pisgah National Forest and participate in a back-country adventure.  

Project Waves

  • Project Waves is a one-week program where students participate in water activities at Duke’s marine lab in Beaufort, NC. 

Project Search

  • Project Search is a two-week program designed to provide research opportunities to students who have not had substantial lab experiences and/or science courses prior to admissions. 

Project Change

  • Project Change focuses on ethical leadership and social change sponsored by The Kenan Institute for Ethics. 

Project Arts

  • Project Arts allows students to engage in a variety of artistic mediums while focusing on the impact of the arts in the surrounding community. 

Project Edge

  • Project EDGE is a brand new, week-long journey into the world of creative and practical design in which students will work on teams and participate in design thinking, rapid prototyping, and problem solving.


Application Information: 

  • The 2019 Pre-Orientation Application will open on May 1, 2019 and close on June 1, 2019. Specific dates, deadlines, and program information will be included in your Blue Book, which you will receive in May. 
  • Applications are not first-come, first served. All applications that are received by the June 1 deadline will be eligible for consideration.
  • In the application, students can indicate up to three programs for which to be considered; however, students can only be offered one spot in a program or on a program's wait list. It is not possible for a student to receive offers for multiple programs. Once a spot in a program or on a program's wait list is offered, the student will no longer be considered for any other programs.
  • Students should only preference programs in which they have an interest. If a student is only interested in one or two program(s), they should list that/those program(s) two/three times. Please note that in doing so does not give a student an advantage.

Selection Process: 

Please note that Project Arts, Change, Edge, and Search have additional application questions. Selections for these programs will, in part, be based on these questions. Project BUILD, Waves and WILD will be selected at random based on space in the program and your program choice. Selection is not granted on a rolling basis. All applications that are received by the June 1 deadline will be eligible for consideration. 


Students will be notified of their application status during the week of June 24. Students will have until July 12 to accept or decline your offer for a spot in a program or on a program's wait list. The latest a student will be offered a spot from a wait list would be August 2. 

Application Question Information:

Project Arts

  1. Please rank the program in preference order.
  2. As part of your application you strongly encouraged (but not required) to submit ANY supplement(s) to compliment the art(s) discipline(s) you ranked above. Any submissions should be emailed to and the subject line should be “First Name Last Name - Portfolio Submission” and supplement materials can be links to files hosted on line, files directly attached to the email, links to Youtube or Vimeo, links Flickr, 500PX, or a personal website.  Examples of acceptable supplements for each arts disciplines can be found below.
  3. Will you be submitting any supplemental materials? (Yes/No)

Examples of acceptable supplements:


A video recording of you performing alone or as part of a group (if a group please specify which dancer you are)

And/or a resume of your training and history dancing


A video or audio recording of you performing, ideally alone but band or group performances are acceptable as well

And/or a resume of your musical history

Creative Writing

Sample pieces of any type of creative writing including poems, essays, short stories, or plays.

And/or a list of any awards or special recognition you’ve received for your artwork


A video recording of you performing in any sort of theatrical or musical production (be sure to specify which actor you are if the recording involves more than just yourself)

And/or a resume of any theatrical performances you’ve been a part of

Visual Arts

Pictures of your artwork

And/or a list of any awards or special recognition you’ve received for your artwork

Visual Media

Any photographs you have taken or videos you have shot and/or edited

For large video files we ask that you provide a Youtube or Vimeo link to the video.

And/or a list of any awards or special recognition you’ve received for your artwork


Project Change

  1. Identify your race
  2. What is the occupation of parent 1?
  3. What is the occupation of parent 2?
  4. Please state your intended occupation.
  5. Please indicate any languages you speak fluently.
  6. Please indicate your favorite free time activity.
  7. Describe one thing you would change about the world and why.
  8. Describe your biggest failure.
  9. Describe how your closest friend would describe you, how your parents would describe you, and how someone who you just met and spent 15 minutes talking to you would describe you. Explain the difference.

Project Edge

  1. What excites you the most about Project Edge? How do you think you would benefit from it? (Max: 250 words)
  2. Please describe a time you faced an unexpected challenge. How did you change directions to find a new solution? Did you learn anything new? (Max: 250 words)
  3. What does innovation mean to you? (Max: 50 words)
  4. What are your areas of academic or entrepreneurial interest? (Max: 50 words)
  5. What do you like to do outside of schoolwork? Why? (Max: 100 words)
  6. Get creative! Give us three alternate uses for a kitchen trash can? (Max: 100 words)

Project Search

  1. Please indicate which track(s) you are applying for (I.e. Humanities/Social Sciences or Biological Sciences). If you are interested in both biological sciences and humanities/social sciences, please state your preference. 
  2. Would you be interested in the other track that you did not already select above? (Yes or No)
  3. Please indicate your primary academic intellectual interest(s); for example, history, biology, psychology, etc.
  4. Have you had any prior experience doing research in the humanities, social sciences or biological sciences? Remember, it’s perfectly okay if you don’t have any research experience! (limit 150 words)
  5. Have you ever participated in a summer research or enrichment program? (Yes or No)
  6. Name a Duke professor with which you would be interested in conducting research. 
  7. Please share 1-3 sentences that explain what aspects of this professor's research interest you. 

Pricing and Financial Aid Information:

Below is the pricing information associated with each pre-orientation program. Students who receive need-based financial aid from Duke may be eligible for assistance to attend pre-orientation programs. Please make note of this request on the online registration form when you apply. You will be notified of the status of your request for financial assistance in July. While we will make every effort to accommodate each request, please understand that we have limited funds available for this purpose.   

  • Projects WILD, Waves, Search, BUILD, Arts, Edge: $525 
  • Project Change: $75 (application fee only; program sponsored by the Kenan Institute for Ethics) 

Please note: All above pricing includes the $75 registration fee due upon submission of your application. If you are not accepted into a pre-orientation program, you will be refunded the $75 registration fee required to apply. All participants will be notified in June of their application status. We strongly encourage you not to make any non-refundable travel arrangements until you are notified of your acceptance into a pre-orientation program. 


Housing arrangements differ from program to program. We encourage all students to only bring belongings needed for the duration of the program. We recommend that other belongings are either shipped or brought with family members on move-in day (Tuesday, August 20). If there are extenuating reasons for which a student would need to bring more belongings to campus, please contact the Office of New Students Programs to discuss options.

Students participating in these programs will not have access to their on-campus residence halls until the end of their programs.

  • Project WILD and Change: Students will have access to their on-campus residence halls on Monday, August 19. Please note that housing for Project Change is arranged by the Kenan Institute for Ethics in Durham.
  • Project Waves: Since P-Waves returns to campus on move-in day (Tuesday, August 20), students will be able to access their residence hall with the rest of the first-year class on that day.

Students participating in these programs will have access to their on-campus residence halls at the start of the program.

For the first week or Project Search, students will live together in West Campus residence hall spaces. For the second week of the program, students will move to their permanent residents halls on East Campus.

Questions? Please contact staff in the Office of New Student Programs!

For more information or questions about registration, please call our office at 919-684-3511 or email

Staff List:

  • Jordan Hale: Director
  • Nicole Ponticorvo: Assistant Director
  • Casey Terrell: Student Development Coordinator
  • Sharon Logan: Staff Assistant