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AURORA Penn State Outdoor Orientation Programs

Not Sure How to Start College? Earn Credit Outside!

Hey, we get it. You’re new to Penn State and wondering where to begin. Luckily, Penn State’s AURORA program offers you the chance to ease your transition through one of our unique backpacking expeditions. Each expedition gives you the opportunity to meet other incoming students, get outside, earn 3 GHW credits, and learn about life at Penn State from upperclassmen — all while having fun on an unforgettable adventure! Our fall expeditions run before the semester begins, so you’ll have a huge head start before classes begin! Even better, there’s no outdoor experience required. For more than two decades, thousands of students have taken their first step toward collegiate success with AURORA… will you?

Information and Registration

Registration will open in February.

Have questions? Find answers in our FAQ

Learn about AURORA’s Expeditions:

  • Orion Backpackers ORION Expedition - Our longest-running program, ORION is based at Penn State’s University Park campus and offers trips for all first-year students — regardless of campus. Explore the wilderness surrounding University Park in central Pennsylvania!
  • POLARIS Backpacker POLARIS Expedition - Offered only to first-year students starting at University Park, POLARIS is a rugged backpacking expedition in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Explore the peaks of the Crawford Notch area and find rewarding beauty!
  • RIGEL Expedition RIGEL Expedition - Offered only to students transferring into University Park, RIGEL is a backpacking expedition modeled after our award-winning ORION trip. Explore the wilderness surrounding your new home at Penn State in central Pennsylvania!

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