Applications will be released later this spring for the Class of 2023.

(Must have your PennKey to submit an application.  PennKeys are provided to you once you confirm your Penn attendence.  Learn more about PennKeys here.

PennQuest is an outdoor orientation program being offered to 120 first-year students entering the University of Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Platt Student Performing Arts House, with support from the Trustees' Council of Penn Women and the Undergraduate Assembly. The goals of the program are:

  1. to foster positive relationships with other students,

  2. to develop personal skills and self-confidence to meet the challenges of a college career and other life experiences, and

  3. to develop an appreciation for our natural environment.

PennQuest is a four-day outdoor experience which includes activities sponsored by Camp Towanda and a two and one-half day hiking/camping trip. Camp Towanda staff will lead small group initiatives in confidence building, an astronomy night hike, and camping skills training. The next day students will leave Camp Towanda to begin their hiking and camping trip along the Appalachian Trail. The 120 first-year students will be divided into groups of ten with each group led by two team leaders who are upper-class students.

Upon completion of the hiking trip, Camp Towanda and PennQuest staff will meet each group of students at the trail and transport them back to Camp Towanda. The students will then return to campus in order to prepare for the New Student Orientation activities.

Selection Process

Each year, we receive more applications for the program than there are spaces available. Participants will be selected based upon a careful review of the applications.  Each application is reviewed and rated by the staff and student leaders of the program and a consensus is reached.  Those invited to participate will need to promptly complete registration forms and submit payment.  Students may apply to other pre-orientation programs as well and then decide which program to attend based upon their selection status.

Cost of Program

Each participant is required to pay $395.00. This fee covers transportation, meals, overnight stay at Camp Towanda, group initiatives, T-shirt and the two and one-half/two night hiking trip. A scholarship of $100-$350 from the Sarah Gilfillan Scholarship Fund is available for those who receive any aid through the University of Pennsylvania. Please check the bottom of the application to be considered.

Materials Needed

If you have questions, please contact Laurie McCall at 215-898-7038 or LMCCALL@UPENN.EDU.