EmBark Orientation: August 14-18, 2024 

a new student speaking to some orientation leaders

At EmBark Orientation, you’ll get better acquainted with academic and campus resources. You will meet fellow new Bulldogs and connect with faculty and current students, including your Orientation Assistant.

EmBark Orientation is required for all incoming first-year students. Transfer students can participate in an abbreviated version of EmBark or attend one of our modified programs for transfer students outlined below. Post-baccalaureate students are welcome to join us for any of our New Student Programs, including EmBark Orientation, but are not required to attend. 

  • EmBark Orientation will occur August 14-18
  • Students living on campus will move into their residence hall on August 13 or August 14.
  • Orientation programming will start mid-day on August 14 and span the full day from August 15-17
  • Students will have a break after programming wraps up on August 18 to prepare for the first day of classes on August 19

Information for Incoming Transfer Students  

incoming student speaking with a faculty member at a November Open House

We recognize that transfer students come to UNC Asheville with many different previous college experiences and current needs. Because of this, we are offering a variety of options to transfer students joining us for Fall 2024. You are welcome to attend any of our New Students Programs listed on this page, but you are only required to attend one of the following experiences:

  1. Summer Welcome Days were held on June 17, 24, and 29.
  2. Transfer Student Summer Welcome Day was held on July 15. New Transfer students came to campus for a half-day of intentional programming where they learned about important resources and connected with faculty and staff.
  3. EmBark Orientation: transfer students are welcome to attend an abbreviated version of our new student orientation on August 15-16. This is a great opportunity for an in-depth introduction to life at UNC Asheville. Register for EmBark as normal and we will contact you closer to August with details.

Summer Welcome Days

Students in from of the doors to Ramsey Library

Summer Welcome Days are day-long programs that will allow students and their supporters to get to know the campus before move-in and the first day of classes in August.  You will learn about campus resources and buildings, and get assistance in navigating various processes such as class registration and housing selection.

Summer Welcome Days were offered during Summer 2024 on June 17, June 24, and June 29. We will also offered a Transfer Student Summer Welcome Day on July 15

Summer Welcome Day FAQs

  • Wear comfortable shoes! You will be walking to various locations around campus throughout your time at EmBark, so it’s important to keep comfort in mind when deciding what to pack.
  • Bring an umbrella. We will have ponchos available for you to use, but with the heavy rains experienced throughout Western North Carolina in the summertime, it is a good idea to bring an umbrella with you just in case. 
  • Have a pen and something to take notes on throughout the day. You will receive a folder at check-in with all of the corresponding handouts, but it’s best to be prepared to take additional notes as well.
  • A tote bag will come in handy to help carry your check-in info, materials, and SWAG you will relieve throughout the day. You will be responsible for keeping up with your orientation packet. 

Please notify us at orient@unca.edu prior to attending a Summer Welcome Day to inform us of any accommodation needs. We will be happy to work with you individually to ensure you are able to participate in our programs and get the most from the experience. 


Incoming first-year and first-semester transfer students are invited to get a head start on their UNC Asheville education by participating in week-long special-interest programs that showcase our campus, the city of Asheville, and Western North Carolina. During Pre-Orientation, students live in the residence halls and meet fellow students and staff who share their interests. 

Pre-Orientation programs will be offered June 24-29July 14-19, and August 10-14. The cost of each program ($250 for June and July; $300 for August) covers housing, meals, transportation during the program, and workshop fees. These programs keep students active and engaged throughout the week. Please be prepared for moderate physical activity including walking, sitting, and participating in group activities. See more information below about registration, scholarships, and FAQs.

Pre-Orientation Programs

The following Summer 2024 have reached full registration capacity and we will not be accepting any more participants.

June 24-29 & July 14-19

students drawing in an art gallery in owen hall

Asheville, a Work of Art 

See first-hand the successful arts scene of Asheville and explore how you can become involved! From on-campus activities to workshops at local studios, you will explore the many facets of art that Asheville embraces.

Two students walking in downtown asheville

The Honors Asheville Sampler

Join us on campus early and explore the City of Asheville while getting to know some of your new peers in the Honors Program. You will also get a chance to meet and interact with Graham Reynolds, the Director of the University Honors Program.

UNC ashevile's Jazz ensemble performing outside Lipinsky Hall

All That Jazz 

Experience Asheville’s vibrant music scene both on and off campus! Visit some of Asheville’s most popular music venues and explore various aspects of music at UNC Asheville.

drone image of Unc asheville's campus and downtown asheville skyline

The Asheville Sampler 

Can’t pick just one interest to explore? This is the program for you! Participants will get a taste of many different aspects of Asheville including art, music, community service, and the beautiful landscape surrounding campus. This program will allow participants to meet other incoming students and get a taste of a bit of everything!

Outdoor Program Embark - incoming students at DuPont National Forest Fawn Lake & Falls

The Outdoor Asheville Sampler

Stretch your legs and explore the breathtaking landscape of Asheville with Campus Recreation. Participants will get the opportunity to explore the bustling urban areas of Asheville along with the beautiful nature through hikes, rafting trips, and much more!

August 10-14

These programs are planned and facilitated in collaboration with our Outdoor Programs team through Campus Recreation. Students will lodge in camp-style rustic cabins and spend time cooking, eating, and living as a community throughout the 5-day trip, with the guidance of highly-trained peer leaders. Participants of the Wilderness Experience will spend two nights sleeping in the cabins, with three full days of backpacking in between. All instruction, equipment, food, and transportation are provided throughout the trip. No experience is necessary to participate. Outdoor beginners are welcome and encouraged to register! Students who participate in these programs will move into their Fall 2024 on-campus housing early on August 10. 

four students wearing rockclimbing gear in the woods

Blue Ridge Experience 

On this “adventure sampler” trip, students will participate in a variety of outdoor activities like canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, and rafting. Students will sleep each night in summer camp-style cabins. 

a group of students hiking down.a hiking trail

Wilderness Experience 

This “wilderness living” style trip allows students to experience the peacefulness and exciting challenges of outdoor living on a 3-day backpack, and try their hand at rock climbing in a beautiful location. Students will spend the first and last night sleeping in the cabins along with the Blue Ridge Experience participants. 

Pre-Orientation Registration 

You will register for Pre-Orientation in our CampDoc system here.  This secure system allows you to submit your payment and health and information forms in one place. See detailed step-by-step instructions for how to register here. If you experience any issues with registration or have any questions, please email us at preorient@unca.edu

Limited scholarships are available for eligible students to participate in the Wilderness Experience Pre-Orientation program. Incoming new students can apply based on financial need or service leadership. To apply, please complete either the 2024 Need-Based Karpinos Scholarship Application OR the 2024 Service-Based Karpinos Scholarship Application by July 1, 2024

Scholarships are provided by the James Karpinos Endowment Fund in memory of James Karpinos, a UNC Asheville student known as an accomplished outdoorsman and passionate environmentalist dedicated to global service. James was an active Outdoors Programs Trip Leader, Resident Advisor, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps Member, and an outstanding student in the Sociology and Environmental Science departments. James was tragically lost in an accident during his senior year in April of 2008. The friends and family of James Karpinos joined Campus Recreation to establish the endowment fund to provide scholarships and training opportunities in the Outdoor Program for UNC Asheville students who demonstrate a financial need or have experienced a unique service opportunity that greatly impacted their lives. 

If you have any questions about the Karpinos Scholarship, please contact preorient@unca.edu

If at any point you need to cancel your registration, you can do so through the CampDoc system. The amount you are refunded is based on when you make the request in the registration system.

  • April: 100% of what you paid minus a $25 registration fee
    • You will be refunded $225 of the $250 cost for the June and July programs
    • You will be refunded $275 of the $300 cost of the August programs
  • May: 50% of what you paid minus a $25 registration fee
  • June-August: no refund will be provided

Pre-Orientation FAQs

Registration for Summer 2024 Pre-Orientaton programs has closed. Registration for Pre-Orientation is done in our CampDoc system here.  Please see this document for step-by-step instructions for registering in our CampDoc system. If you experience any issues with registration or have any questions, please email us at preorient@unca.edu

You will receive an email at least a week prior to your program detailing important things to know and what you should bring. For the June and July programs, you will be staying in the residence halls, so you’ll need bedding (for twin XL bed), towels, and shower supplies. It’s also a good idea to bring comfortable walking shoes, a bag (backpack or tote bag), sunscreen, sunglasses, a rain jacket, and any snacks that you enjoy. 

For the Blue Ridge and Wilderness Experience Programs: Keep an eye on your UNC Asheville email for a detailed packing list for Wilderness and Blue Ridge Experience.  For both programs, plan to bring a pair of mid-weight hiking boots or closed-toe hiking shoes. When considering clothing, think about layers. A good layering system allows you to efficiently and effectively adjust what you are wearing to accommodate your activity level and current weather conditions.  Layers are made up of a thin shirt and shorts against the skin, followed by a thicker, insulating layer that traps air next to you – keeping you warm (think fleece jacket), followed by an outer layer or shell (rain jacket) – blocking the wind and rain.  

When thinking about clothing materials, it is best to stay away from cotton. Cotton is comfortable when dry, but easily soaks up sweat and rain, becoming slow to dry, uncomfortable, and even dangerous if temperatures drop. Synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester, or polypropylene are good alternatives.

For the June and July programs, you will check in on the first day of your program between 1-4 p.m. and check out on the last day between 10 a.m.-12 p.m. If you have any questions about these times, please reach out to preorient@unca.edu.

Each program entails at least a moderate level of physical activity every day throughout the day. Many programs engage in several walking tours through areas of both urban and wooded areas.  These programs are designed to be tightly coupled from activity to activity so that you can experience as many opportunities as possible. Please be prepared to be physically active throughout the day. The outdoor programs engage in hiking through outdoor trails throughout the week, carrying daypacks for the Blue Ridge Experience or backpacks for the Wilderness Experience. Both programs require at least moderate physical activity, so be sure to get physically and mentally prepared for an engaging and fun week!

Please be sure to indicate on your health forms if you have any physical limitations.

Please make any updates to your health form in your registration form before the registration deadline. Any changes made within 4 weeks of the program might not be accommodated, so make sure to let us know as soon as possible of any changes.

Because we must coordinate with restaurants, stores, and our trips, meals are planned well in advance of the program. If you change your meal preferences or restrictions after you’ve filled out the health forms, we might not be able to accommodate the changes requested after August 1. Additionally, if you do not indicate that you have a meal preference or restriction, we will not have specific meals for you and your preferences or restrictions will not be accommodated. Please indicate vegan, vegetarian, etc. on your health forms and please indicate any physical accommodations including any consideration that might impact your group (slow walker, back issues, knee surgery, etc.).

The health forms are the most important information you give us in preparation for the program. If you do not indicate a preference, restriction, or consideration in advance, we will be unable to accommodate you.

Please keep in mind that Pre-Orientation programs will introduce you to new experiences, including critically acclaimed local restaurants (possibilities include Indian, American, Southern, Japanese, etc.) You will also be engaging in physically active tours and classes such as downtown walking tours, yoga classes, and service activities. If you do not indicate on your health form that you have a physical restriction, we will be unable to change the planned experiences. 

There are no wait lists for Pre-Orientaiton programs.

Blue Ridge Experience participants will spend the five days traveling around Western North Carolina doing activities each day like canoeing, hiking, rafting, etc. Instead of sleeping outside in tents, the participants will spend every night in a cabin at a local summer camp. On the first and last day of the trip, Blue Ridge Experience participants will be joined by the Wilderness Experience participants at base camp, giving everyone an opportunity to meet other students during a Pre-Orientation picnic, a campfire, a pool party, and more. 

If you’re interested in the outdoors and getting to know the local area of Asheville, but are not too sure how comfortable you’d be backpacking or sleeping outside in a tent, then Blue Ridge Experience is the program for you. This trip allows the participants try a variety of activities and enjoy a rewarding outdoor experience that they can revisit throughout their time at UNC Asheville. Blue Ridge participants will still experience full, adventurous days with memorable hikes in the mountains and paddling on lakes and rivers.

Wilderness Experience participants will spend the first and last day and night at basecamp with Blue Ridge Experience camping in tents, and the middle of the week backpacking in Pisgah National Forest. Before returning to basecamp for grand finale events, participants will enjoy rock climbing with their group.

Both of these outdoor programs are designed to disconnect to connect, meaning this week will be a break from cell phones and technology which can be tough, but students always enjoy their digital detox time.

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