Discover Leadership Pre-Orientation Program

The Discover Leadership Pre-Orientation Program is a 7-day, 6-night program (Tuesday, September 17 - Monday, September 23) held just prior to O-Week 2024. Thirty (30) students will be invited to participate in the program which will include interactions with University administrators, local alumni, community organizations, and their fellow students.

Using the leadership competencies embedded in the UChicago Leads curriculum (Self-Awareness and Skill Development; Working with Others; Adaptability; Governance and Organizational Structures; and, Innovation and Creativity), this Pre-Orientation Program will introduce students to the concept of personal leadership and provide the opportunity for students to explore and develop their own leadership style.

A core purpose and focus of the Pre-Orientation Program is to provide opportunities for student leadership development. This focus has two dimensions: 1) individual leadership development and 2) leadership in the context of a community. Both are important; neither dimension functions in isolation of the other.

Through the lens of “real world” themes, students will begin to understand the complexity of leadership and better understand their own leadership strengths. These “real world” themes will include exploring leadership within the Arts, Athletics, Business, Government, and Non-profits. Students will interact with local alums who can share their stories and offer insight into how leadership may be enacted differently within the varying contexts.

General Schedule Overview:

Interested on what a typical Discover Leadership Pre-O looks like? Click here to view last year's schedule. Please note that this is the schedule for 2023 and not 2024. We cannot gurantee that all activities will stay the same. A final 2024 itinerary will be sent to all participants in early September.


  • Applications Available: Friday, April 5th
  • Applications Deadline: Monday, June 10th at 10:00 AM CDT
  • Decisions Announced: TBD
  • Student Confirmations Due: TBD

To apply, click here!

Questions? Email Karina Pabón at

Participants in the UChicago Leads Pre-Orientation program will be expected to contribute $100 to help defer the program expenses. This expense will be added to your second Autumn Quarter tuition bill.

Financial assistance is available for students; please indicate on your application if the $100 contribution proves a barrier to your participation.

Housing and meals will be provided during the program. 

All students participating in a Pre-Orientation program will stay in one residence hall for the duration of their program. Upon arriving on campus, students will be given a chance to drop their term-time items into a storage room in their residence hall before checking in for their program at the Pre-Orientation residence hall. 

If you are participating in a Pre-O program, you may bring all of your belongings for the academic year with you, though you will be responsible for getting those items into your term-time rooms upon arrival, so we recommend limiting how much you bring with you. All items you bring should be labeled with your name and phone number. Students should pack a separate bag for the week to bring to the Pre-Orientation residence hall.

Students will be responsible for any personal or incidental expenses. 

The Center for Leadership and Involvement is looking for Peer Leaders to welcome our incoming cohort of Discover Leadership participants!


  • Facilitate a small group of 10 students throughout the program
  • Ensure the safety of the students at all times
  • Be present throughout the entirety of the program, including early mornings and late nights
  • Provide support and guidance to students as needed
  • Report any concerns or incidents to Assistant Director of Student Leadership Development
  • Follow University of Chicago guidelines for mandated reporters


  • Previous Discover Leadership participant preferred
  • Experience working with students in a group setting preferred
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Ability to handle confidential information with discretion

All Peer Leaders are required to arrive 2 days prior of the start of the program for mandatory training. Housing & food costs are covered for the duration of the Pre-Orientation. Peer Leaders will also be compensated with a stipend of $500.

If you are interested in applying for this position, please submit your application by Friday, April 12th at 5:00 pm. We will review all applications carefully and invite candidates to interview during the week of April 22nd. 

To apply, please fill out this form:

If you have any questions, please email Karina Pabón at

UChicagoSocial: Center for Leadership and Involvement