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Why Penn State New Kensington?  Our First-Year Experience

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple… black and grey.

No, we’re not rewriting the rainbow here, we’re just lining our students up for their annual photo in front of the archway on campus.  You see, first-year students at Penn State New Kensington are randomly assigned to a “Pride” – a small group of their fellow Nittany Lions.

Students receive a festive T-shirt and bandanna in their pride’s namesake color, and, led by some of our best upperclassmen (called Orientation Leaders), they navigate orientation as a colorful group.  A variety of info sessions cover things like how to use campus WiFi at the Tech Check, academic integrity and diversity.

While orientation is about adjusting to and preparing for University life, it is also about having fun and meeting new people. Students compete in Pride Olympics on Thursday and then on Friday night, the first-year students from the New Kensington, Greater Allegheny and Beaver campuses head downtown to board the Gateway Clipper for the Three Rivers Boat Cruise. 

We think that a student's introduction to college is so important that we spend all year helping students with their transition.  That includes:

  • A 2-day Orientation -- We hold our fun and informational orientation program the week before classes begin. 
  • An Academic Component -- The First-Year Experience extends into the classroom as well. All incoming first-year students take at least one "Freshman Focus" section of a course in their area of interest. In addition to their core content, these sections emphasize building essential college skills and introduce University resources to help students succeed.
  • Activities and Programming -- Orientation Leaders are encouraged to continue hosting group activities for their prides throughout the year.  Student Affairs and Student Life also offer great opportunities for first-year students to get involved. Rounding out the First Year Experience this year will be a visit by Tony Hawks, the author of the summer reading program book, “Round Ireland with a Fridge.”


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Why Penn State
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