Ascent Pre-Orientation Program

Ease the college transition, build skills, make friends

Ascent is for any student interested in learning skills and connecting with peers in a novel and dynamic environment. Trips are led by trained student facilitators, and students often return feeling capable, connected and resilient.

Ascent Trips

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 trips are led by trained student facilitators, giving first years insight into Gettysburg life from current students. Students often return from the field feeling capable, connected and resilient.

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

Ascent 2022 Options

Stay tuned for more information about our Ascent 2022 offerings

Ascent 2021 Options (August 19-24)

  • Backpacking: You and your Ascent group will experience traveling through Michaux State Forest with everything you need in a backpack on your back. Learn how to cook meals, set up a tent, and what it’s like to be a first-year student from your Ascent leaders.

Click here to register

Ascent 2021 Trip Fee: $450.00

Financial Assistance is available. Please click this link to apply.

Where is Ascent?

Ascent takes place in state forests and national parks near Gettysburg, PA. We are fortunate to have locations such as Shenandoah National Park (~2 hours away) and Michaux State Forest (~30-45 minutes away) within our local region. These areas offer great outdoor recreation opportunities.

We are offering a backpacking option and a basecamp multi-sport option.

When is Ascent?
Ascent will be August 19-24, 2021.
Can I move in prior to Ascent?
Yes! Folks participating in a variety of the College’s pre-orientation programming move in early. 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 $450. We have financial assistance available, and encourage you to reach out to Anna ( if you need financial assistance.

What does that cost include?
The cost includes food, transportation, group gear, and knowledge provided by our trained student leaders. We ask that students bring personal clothing and toiletries, and 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.
How does COVID impact Ascent?
Great question - we are excited to be planning to offer a field-based Ascent for 2021. Due to covid, there is a degree of uncertainty and there may still be some restrictions in place. We will be following CDC guidelines, as well as Gettysburg College guidelines. This will likely include wearing a mask for the majority of the experience, and apply to sleeping arrangements. Individuals may be sleeping in their own tent/tarp shelter to avoid prolonged air exchange that comes with sharing a tent. Again, we will be providing updates as we get more information regarding the state of the covid-19 pandemic.
This sounds awesome, how do I find more information about Ascent, including how to register?

Enter your contact info into this Google form and we will be in touch soon!