Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How does Ascent help ease the transition to College?
A. We have two primary ways in which we attempt to assist students transition to Gettysburg:
By providing a forum in which first-year students may meet and interact with other first-year students in a supportive, challenging, and exciting environment. In this way, students have an opportunity to share experiences with peers before the full college orientation program begins. A few familiar faces can go a long way in the early days back on campus!
Interactions with current students, faculty, administrators, or alumni of the college, help give students a good idea of what the college has to offer. While on Ascent, first-year students will have a great opportunity to learn about academics, student-life, and life after Gettysburg from those who know it best!

Q. Can every first year student go on an Ascent trip?
A. All first year and transfer students are eligible for Ascent, but registration for these trips is first-come, first-served. Space is limited and this program is very popular, so it's important to send your information in as early as possible if you would like to participate!

Q. Will I have to return to Gettysburg after dropping my student off for Ascent?

A. No. You will completely move your student into his or her residence hall prior to Ascent, and after our welcome banquet on Thursday, August 21 everything will be taken care of. Although some families choose to return for the first day of regular orientation on Wednesday, August 27th, it is not mandatory or expected.

Q. If I am trying out for a sports team, can I still attend Ascent?
A. The dates of Ascent usually conflict with tryouts for fall sports such as football, field hockey, and soccer. Ascent does not often conflict with tryouts for winter and spring sports, but the best thing to do if you are planning on trying out for ANY sport is to check with the coach to confirm the date(s) of tryouts.

Q. When will I know if I have been placed on an Ascent trip?
A. All completed registrations will be forwarded to our office by late June and we will inform you of your status via email. As we receive registrations, we will do our best to match you with one of your top three choices.

Q. What type of equipment will I need for Ascent?
A. All group gear is provided by the Office of Experiential Education, and we do our best to limit the need for extra expenses for our participants. Some gear is required and will vary by location and activity; Ascent participants going kayaking will need different gear from those who are backpacking.

Once you are confirmed on a trip, we will send you a mailing that you will receive by the end of June that will detail the equipment you will need for your specific trip.

Q. Is equipment available to rent?
A. If you are interested in renting equipment from our office, we do have a limited supply of internal frame backpacks, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags available for a rental fee of $5 per item. This gear will be rented on a first-come, first-served basis and must be reserved prior to your arrival at Gettysburg. Due to limited supplies, we cannot guarantee that each person who desires to rent equipment will be able to receive it. When you make arrangements to rent gear from the program, you will receive a confirmation number.

It is important to note that if a participant arrives on the day of Ascent and is in need of a piece of equipment (i.e. sleeping bag), but did not reserve the item with our office prior to arrival, we reserve the right to charge full retail price of that item if we have to purchase it in order to properly outfit that participant.

Q. How many first-year students are there on each trip?
A. On average, there are 6-8 first-year students on each trip, depending upon the trip and the location. We keep the number of students on each trip small for a few reasons: First, students are able to interact more openly with one another in smaller groups. Secondly, backcountry permit regulations and travel policies limit our total number of people allowed on each trip to 10.

Q. Who will be leading my trip?
A. Each trip will be led by two or three of our qualified trip leaders 

Each Ascent trip leader is either a sophomore, junior, or senior student at Gettysburg. Each leader is currently an active member of the Office of Experiential Education or the Center for Public Service. Facilitators have received between 350 and 1,000 hours of both field and classroom training in the following areas.
Group Facilitation and management
Wilderness Medicine - All of our student facilitators are certified as either Wilderness First Responders (72-hours of training), or EMTs (126-hours of training)
Ropes Course Programming
Backcountry Living Skills
Rock Climbing and Top-Rope Anchor Building
Kayaking Certifications
Driver Certification Training