FOP 101

Our Mission and Purpose

Participants on our FOP trips - lovingly referred to as "FOPpers" - are encouraged to ask questions and receive information from their leaders about life at Harvard in a safe environment for all participants. First-years quickly learn that no matter their background, they share many of the same fears about college, and will bond throughout the trip through games, beautiful views, and meaningful conversation. After a week in the woods, FOP trips are usually an emotional and social support system for a first-year's initial weeks at college. Armed with the answers they need, a close group of friends, and guidance from 2-3 upperclassmen, Harvard will seem much less daunting.

Every year, we ask graduating seniors to look back on their FOP trip and tell us how they remember it.

Here's what a few of them thought:

  • "It was the best experience I've probably ever had, and I love my group so much that I can't express it in words. I wish I could do this every single year before school starts."
  • "Spending a week in the woods hiking and camping is probably the best way to get to know people quickly. This bond was very helpful and comforting when facing the many new and unfamiliar faces of Freshman year. It was a great welcoming experience."
  • "I was a little hesitant to go on FOP before I came to Harvard, but it was the absolute best way to start at Harvard. Everyone I have talked to who went on FOP is just as enthusiastic as I am about this program, and everyone who didn't go on FOP now wishes they had!"
  • "FOP allowed me to immerse myself, for a time, in the simplicity of nature and exercise; it took me away from the frantic pace and worries and fears of the modern world and helped me find my own sort of peace before starting school anew. I made friendships that will last a lifetime, laughed completely honestly for the first time in months, appreciated food like I never had, and returned to campus spiritually rejuvenated, cleansed from the inside out."
  • "It was the best beginning possible - my leaders were down-to-earth and made me believe that Harvard was a friendly place after all. Being in the woods, relaxing, and arriving at freshman week with a set of friends was great!"
  • "The unforgettable moments of peace and tranquility we were able to experience made all of the struggles worth it. I had never imagined what the power of a serene lake surrounded by mountains in the quiet of the morning, or the enveloping stars in pitch black night, or the panoramic view from a peak could all be like, and FOP introduced me to these wonders."
  • "I will remember FOP as the trip that gave me some of my best friends at Harvard. Knowing my leaders when I got onto campus gave me a sense of support, too. Our whole team bonded amazingly well over the course of our trip. I can't imagine starting school without having gone on FOP."

We hope four years from now, you will be able to look back on your trip and realize the difference it has made in your college experience.

Think all those quotes sound great, but wondering what you actually do on a FOP trip? Learn more about our wilderness trips and our site-based trips.