About the Pre-Freshman Program (PFP)

PENNCAP students often begin Penn by joining the Pre-Freshman Program (PFP).  PFP is an academically rigorous and intensive four-week summer residential program preceding New Student Orientation (NSO).  Program participants receive comprehensive support services that begin with PFP and continue throughout the students' undergraduate experience at Penn.  PFP is a chance for participating students to get an academic and social edge, while familiarizing themselves with Philadelphia and Penn's campus. The program, while academic in nature, encourages students to form lasting bonds of friendships through regular social and cultural activities. Students who have participated in the program report that it has made the difference in their life at Penn.


Who can participate in the Pre-Freshman Program?
2013 PFP studentsPFP is by invitation:  select incoming freshmen from all over the country, including internationally, are invited to apply to the program.  Many of the over 100 participants each year are students who are the first in their families to attend college; income-eligible students; students underrepresented in their field of study; from large urban high schools and small rural communities; and/or athletes. But, no matter what their backgrounds, the Pre-Freshman Program draws a unique and talented group of students who are interested in getting a head start on their college careers.

How does the selection process work?
College HallAs there is only a limited amount of space in the Program, the Admissions Office, together with the four undergraduate schools, make decisions on who is invited, based on who they believe can benefit the most from this intensive, four-week experience.

What are the dates of the program?
Calendar imageThe 2020 Pre-Freshman Program dates are Saturday, July 25 to Saturday, August 22.  Program registration begins at 8:30am. Students will then promptly move into their summer residence for the duration of PFP.

Are there any costs associated with PFP?
Admissions brunch 2013Housing and meals are provided.  The only costs associated with PFP are personal expenses and some course supplies. Participants should plan to bring approximately $300.  At the completion of the program, students will be able to move into their Fall residences early, free of cost.

How much academic work will be required?
Faculty presentation 2013Classes are scheduled daily and are comprised of challenging and stimulating coursework, designed by the faculty of the four undergraduate schools specifically for the Pre-Freshman Program, to prepare students for their respective areas of study. Students will take courses common to more than one school, such as writing and math, and courses specific to the student's primary school of enrollment.  Most students spend additional time during the day working on class projects, such as papers, lab assignments, and group presentations and will be required to attend several workshops and meetings, such as an introductory meeting with their PENNCAP counselor. 

 PFP 2020 Course Descriptions TBD 

Will there be free time on weekdays to take care of personal matters?
Yes. Though academic and program responsibilities are the priority, there is limited free time during the week and on weekends in which to take care of personal matters.

Do participants receive college credit for their PFP coursework?
Credit for the PENNCAP Pre-Freshman Program is treated like Advanced Placement (AP) credit.  Those who successfully complete the program receive 1 course unit, applied as a free elective towards their graduation requirements. 

Will adjustments be made to my financial aid since the summer work period will be shortened due to participating in the program?
Student Financial ServicesStudents receiving University grant aid can expect to receive an additional grant that will cover approximately 80% of their summer earnings expectation.  Students receiving need-based financial assistance other than a University grant, who expect to experience a shortfall in their summer savings expectation, may contact the Office of Student Financial Services in September to apply for an additional loan.

Participating Students Receive the Following Benefits:

  • Preparation for the academic rigors of a Penn education
  • One-on-one interaction with world-renowned faculty and advanced-level graduate students in both academic and non-academic settings
  • Workshops on topics of interest to first-year students
  • Training in college study strategies and time management
  • Free tutoring
  • Academic, personal, and career counseling by staff professionals who will work individually with participants throughout their undergraduate careers at Penn
  • A Peer Mentor who, for their entire first year, will help familiarize them with college life and University resources, helping to ease their transition to Penn.
  • Knowledge of campus resources
  • Opportunities to form a strong peer support network
  • Familiarity with the cultural and historical environment of greater Philadelphia
  • Social and cultural activities
  • An opportunity to build new friendships