Frequently Asked Questions

What is the schedule for Ascent?
Ascent Program Schedule
Dates Activity
Wednesday, August 19 Ascent participants can start to move into their residence halls
Thursday, August 20 9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m. Trip check-ins in the CUB Ballroom
11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Ascent welcome lunch for families, families depart
1:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. Participants prepare on campus for trips in small groups, eat dinner on campus, and stay the night in residence halls
Friday, August 21 – Monday, August 24 Ascent trips in the field
Tuesday, August 25 Ascent participants return to campus for a celebratory cookout
Wednesday, August 26 Orientation begins
What kinds of activities are part of Ascent?

Each Ascent trip is built around a different outdoor activity: Kayaking, climbing, backpacking, or a basecamp option that gives a taste of all three.

How does Ascent help ease the transition to College?

These programs provide a supportive, challenging, and exciting environment for students to share experiences with peers before the full campus orientation begins. A few familiar faces and strong connections can go a long way in the early days back on campus. You will also meet current students, faculty, administrators, and alumni, and get answers to burning questions about academics and student-life at Gettysburg from those who know it best.

Can every first year student go on an Ascent trip?

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. It is important to send your information in as early as possible if you would like to participate.

Is financial assistance available?

Yes! Financial assistance is based on your financial need. Please apply using this application for financial assistance.

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

No. You will move your student into his or her residence hall prior to Ascent, and can depart after our welcome banquet on Thursday, August 20.

If I am trying out for a sports team or involved in another orientation can I still attend Ascent?

The dates of Ascent conflict with fall sports as well as the orientations for international students, the Office of Multicultural Engagement, and several other programs on campus. If you are involved in another orientation or planning to try out for a sport we recommend that you check with the organizers or our office to confirm your eligibility.

When will I know if I have been placed on an Ascent trip?

All completed registrations will be reviewed in 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.

What type of equipment will I need for Ascent?

All group gear is provided by the College, 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 that are kayaking need different gear from those who are backpacking.

Is equipment available to rent?

We have a limited supply of internal frame backpacks, rain gear, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags available for a loan. This gear will be loaned on a first-come, first-served basis and must be reserved prior to your arrival at Gettysburg. We cannot guarantee that each person who desires to borrow equipment will be able to receive it. If we can not meet your need you will be informed prior to arrival for Ascent.

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.

How many first-year students are there on each trip?

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 low to so students are able to interact more openly and to comply with permit regulations and travel policies.

Who will be leading my trip?

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 Garthwait Leadership Center. 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 outdoor student facilitators are certified as Wilderness First Responders (72-hours of training)
  • Ropes Course Programming
  • Backcountry Living Skills
  • Rock Climbing and Top-Rope Anchor Building
  • Kayaking Certifications
  • Risk-Management
  • Driver Certification Training