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Pre-orientation Service Experience
Leadership program

Cardinal Service Pre-orientation Experience

One-time event
Arts & Media, 
Education & Youth Development, 
Environmental Sustainability, 
Human Rights, 
Law, Policy & Justice, 
Socio-Economic Prosperity, 
Technology & Engineering

The Cardinal Service Pre-orientation Experience is a new pre-orientation opportunity that gives students the chance to get to know one another, learn more about Stanford’s neighboring communities, and better understand how students can do community service in their time at Stanford. The experience focuses on visits to local nonprofits and community organizations and activities designed to help students reflect on what service, community partner, and issue might be right for them to pursue. Students participating in this inaugural year will help give the program its permanent name.  

Registration is open through June 28. If more students register than spaces available, placement will be decided by a random lottery in early July. Those not selected in the lottery will be placed on a waitlist. The participation fee is $450. Financial aid is available, so those with the greatest need will be able to participate at no cost. 

Register by June 28

Program Dates and Schedule

(subject to change)

The program will begin on September 11 and end on the night of September 13. Participants will participate in move-in and registration by 5:00 pm on the first day, and then partake in orientation activities. On the second day, participants will explore public service and the Stanford community. On the last day, participants will meet Bay Area community partners and reflect on their upcoming public service practices at Stanford.


Open to all incoming first-year students.

Frequently Asked Questions


How much does the Cardinal Service Pre-orientation Experience cost?
The program fee for the Cardinal Service Pre-orientation Experience is $450, which includes all accommodations, meals, and activity expenses for the program. 

Is there financial aid available?
Yes! If you have a financial need, assessed by the Office of Financial Aid, you will be awarded financial help to pay part of the fee. 

You can indicate you want to be considered for financial aid in the lottery registration process. If you win a spot or if you get a spot through the waitlist, the program will work with the Office of Financial Aid to determine the level of support we can offer. 

Securing a spot in the program is need-blind. Your financial situation has no bearing on whether you receive a space in the Cardinal Service Pre-orientation Experience.

How do I register for the Cardinal Service Pre-orientation Experience?
Register by 11:59 pm PST on Monday, June 28.

Does registration ensure I get a spot in the program?
Not necessarily. The program has only 30 spots for participants. If more than 30 students register, which we expect to happen, we will run a lottery to award spots. 

We will run the lottery on July 6 and inform the winners on July 7. Lottery winners have until Wednesday, July 14 at 11:59 PM PST to secure their spot with payment. For students who requested financial aid, we will contact them with further instructions on how to secure their spot. Students who do not receive a spot in the lottery will be put on a waitlist. On July 15, we'll start awarding spots to those on the waitlist, if any spots become available.

If I win the lottery for a spot in the program, how do I secure my spot?
You secure your spot by paying the program fee. Once we receive your payment, your spot is secure. Securing a spot for those receiving financial aid from the program will be managed on a case-by-case basis.   

How does the waitlist work?
If you do not receive a space through the lottery, by default you’ll be placed on the waitlist and be notified when a space has opened up on or after July 7. Whoever from the waitlist secures their space with their payment first, will be awarded the spot.


What activities can I expect to partake in? 
You will get the opportunity to experience fun orientation activities and Stanford traditions, engage in conversations about public service, get to know Stanford faculty and staff, and meet Bay Area public service community partners. 

Where will I sleep and what will I eat?
The program will provide housing and food and respect dietary restrictions. Participants will move into their permanent housing, where they'll stay for the rest of the year. Move-in dates are set for the Experience program and participants do not have to worry about getting a specific move-in slot. Once we finalize our list of participants, Housing will adjust the move-in dates for these students and participants will check in at their designated Housing Front Desks.

Will there be free time for participants?
You will get some free time, but not much. We want this program to be a fully immersive experience, and you can expect to have more free time during NSO.




Bay Area


June 28, 2021 | 11:59 PM
* This Application Deadline has passed

Open To



Offered By

Haas Center for Public Service
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