Ascent Pre-Orientation Program

Ease the college transition, build skills, make friends

Ascent is for incoming students interested in learning skills and connecting with peers in a novel and dynamic environment. Experiences are led by trained student facilitators, and students often end the experience feeling capable, connected and more prepared to begin their time at Gettysburg.

Ascent Experiences

Blue tent outdoors in a wooded area

The purpose of the Ascent Outdoor Pre-Orientation is to make the transition to college easier. Students build friendships, leadership skills, and self awareness by living and working together in novel and dynamic environments. Ascent experiences are led by trained student facilitators, giving first year students insight into Gettysburg life from current students.

Trips are designed for all levels of experience and ability, and take place either in the local region or in state and national forests near Gettysburg.

Ascent Experiences 2024


A four-night, five-day backpacking trip designed to offer first-year students the opportunity for connection, mentorship, and a smooth transition to college. Students will depart campus to backpack in the backcountry of the Blue Ridge Mountains with well-trained upperclassmen facilitators. The program is designed to encourage deep connections, engage meaningfully with the outdoors and their peers, support self-reflection, strengthen leadership skills and embrace confidence in the outdoors.
Price: $550

Adventure Basecamp

This cabin-based pre-orientation experience is a four-night, five-day program. Participants will stay at Camp Thomson in Michaux State Forest with fellow first years led by upperclassman facilitators. Together the group will learn and practice leadership skills through experiential education opportunities like kayaking, outdoor rock climbing, and a day hike. This is an opportunity to explore and engage with the outdoors, peers, and leadership development.
Price: $550

Important Information

Registration Opens: May 1
Registration Closes: July 18
Program Dates: August 15-20
Program Price: $550

To express interest in registering for Ascent, please complete this interest form.

Financial Aid

We offer need-based financial aid. To apply for financial assistance, you may contact us using our email at

Where is Ascent?

The Backpacking trip will take place in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Cabin-Based trip will take place in Camp Thomson in Michaux State Forest.

When is Ascent?

Ascent will be August 15-20, 2024. We will conclude before the College's full orientation begins.

Can I move in prior to Ascent?

Yes! Folks participating in a variety of the College’s pre-orientation programming move in early. You will be able to move-in the morning of August 15th prior to our welcome lunch. If you are traveling from greater than 300 miles please reachout to request an earlier move-in. We will send more information about this soon as we are working with campus partners in the process.

How much does Ascent cost?

Ascent will cost $550. We have financial assistance available, and encourage you to reach out to us ( if you need financial assistance.

What does that cost include?

The cost includes food, transportation, group gear, and knowledge provided by our trained student facilitators. We ask that students bring personal clothing and toiletries; the Ascent program can provide activity specific items such as backpacking backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, stoves/cooksets. More details regarding pack lists are available upon request.

This sounds awesome, how do I register?

For now, please express interest by completing this form.