New students begin final preparations for college life at New Kensington campus

Members of the class of 2018 at Penn State New Kensington conclude the final preparations for their college careers Aug. 20, the third day of the annual program for incoming students.

Known as New Student Orientation, the three-day program is a series of sessions spread over the summer and designed to give first-year students the tools necessary to make a smooth transition into University life. Students meet with staff, faculty and peers, and they participate in activities designed to help them adjust to life at Penn State.

The program provides students with a basic understanding of what will be expected of them at Penn State and how their particular abilities and interests may fit with one or more of the University's majors.

Day One featured five sessions in June and August. Students were required to attend one of the sessions where they planned a course schedule, registered for fall classes and received general campus service information. Families were encouraged to participate to get acquainted with the campus, its policies, procedures and services. Topics of interest for parents were "Partnering with the University" and "Billing and Financial Aid."

Day Two, Wednesday, Aug. 20, brought together all new students for the campus tradition of orientation prides. Each student is assigned to one of six pride groups headed by an orientation leader who is an upperclassman. As a pride, students attend interactive workshops to learn about academic procedures, electronic resources and extracurricular activities. Faculty facilitated discussions on the summer reading assignment, “This I Believe: Life Lessons,” edited by Dan Gediman. The editor will be on campus Sept. 24 to talk about the book. The talk is open to the public.

Day Three, Thursday, Aug. 21, included the Academic Convocation, Pride Olympics and meeting faculty and current students in their chosen fields of study. The convocation is a formal ceremony led by Chancellor Kevin Snider. Faculty and staff, replete in their academic robes, officially welcome students to the campus. Reuniting the six prides, the Olympics gives students the opportunity to compete in a variety of challenges that encourage teamwork and leadership. It also gives the newcomers another opportunity to mingle with fellow freshmen. The final two days of the program were formerly known as Pride Days.

Orientation concludes with a maritime journey of Pittsburgh's three rivers. The annual evening cruise aboard the Gateway Clipper brings together nearly 400 freshmen from the Penn State campuses of Beaver and New Kensington. As the new semester dawns, the freshmen will join upperclassmen Aug. 25 to begin working toward their bachelor's and associate degrees.

For more information on orientation, visit

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Last Updated August 21, 2014