New Student Orientation

Welcome to Penn!

The Graduate Student Center is excited to welcome you to Philadelphia and help you transition to graduate life at Penn. 

Our Graduate and Professional Student Orientation activities are intended to supplement required school-specific programs and introduce you to the broader community at Penn and in Philadelphia. All of our orientation activities are optional and open to all incoming graduate & professional students - pick and choose what's most convenient for you!  And please invite your spouse/partner to Grad Center orientation activities!

Please be sure to consult with your academic department for program and school-specific orientation programs. In addition, ISSS holds New Student Check-in and International Student Orientation (ISO) events for new international graduate and professional students. Information about undergraduate orientation can be found at

Before You Arrive: Online Sessions

We hold a series of online webinars for new students during the spring and summer. Check our events page for upcoming sessions or view recordings of previous sessions by clicking the links below. 

Information for New International Students
Online information sessions for incoming international students are held in April and May. These sessions cover information on what students should bring with them, where to shop, transportation, banking information, and more! University staff and international students are on hand to answer students’ questions. 

Housing Information Session
Housing information sessions for accepted students take place in March, April, and May for accepted students. These sessions help students learn about their options for living on-campus or off-campus, housing for students with families, and the resources provided to help them make the right selection.

Student Health Insurance 
Student health information sessions are held in the summer. These sessions help students gain a better understanding of your health insurance options and immunization requirements at Penn. Topics covered include: the University's Health Insurance and Immunization requirements, the process for fulfilling those requirements, how to select your health insurance and an overview of how to use your health insurance at Penn's Student Health Service

Check our Events page for all upcoming sessions

See recordings of previous sessions

Orientation Activities

The Grad Center offers a variety of programs during New Student Orientation and beyond intended to help you integrate into the Penn community, manage your expectations and commitments, and enjoy a successful start to your academic career.

On Campus Orientation Activities
Our on-campus activities for new students begin in July and include a variety of academic, social, and cultural events to help you successfully transition to the University and Philadelphia. Be sure to check our Events page for a full list of all upcoming events! If you have questions in the meantime check out our New Student Checklist.

Additional Programs and Events
We offer programs and events throughout the year designed to help students transition to life at Penn, build community, and gain skills and support needed to be successful during and beyond graduate school. Learn more about our academic and student life programs and see a full list of upcoming events.

Graduate Orientation Resource Hub (available August 17-September 30)

See all resources for new students

Volunteer at New Student Orientation

Remember when you were a new grad student? There was so much to figure out! Now that you know your way around, volunteer to help incoming graduate and professional students discover Penn and Philadelphia during the Graduate Student Center's NSO!