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!

See all upcoming activities on our Events page

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

Getting Started

Our incoming students' checklist is a list of everything you need to do before you arrive at Penn.

Before you get to campus, be sure to sign up for your PennCard and register your PennKey, which gives you access to Penn email and other essential online services. Once you have a PennKey, you can access and update your student information and records on Penn InTouch and visit Campus Express to order textbooks, buy a new computer, register your property, and purchase discounted transit passes.

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 by clicking the links in the descriptions 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. To view a recording of this session follow this link.

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.To view a recording of a previous Housing Online Session follow this link.

Student Health Insurance 
Student health information sessions are held in July and August. 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. To view a recording of this session follow this link.

Check our Events page for all upcoming sessions

Transitioning to Graduate School

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 expectation and commitments, and enjoy a successful start to your academic career.

On Campus Orientation Activities

Programming for first-year students is planned in the Spring semester. Check back for a full description of events in late Spring and early Summer! If you have questions in the meantime check out our New Student Checklist.

See a full list of upcoming events.

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.

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!