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An evening gala at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the main events of the first-ever Second Year Orientation. 

Credit: Kylie Cooper

Sophomores will participate in the first-ever second-year orientation program, after missing in-person New Student Orientation due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

Starting Aug. 29, members of the Class of 2024 will be able to participate in specialized programming called Second-Year Orientation overseen by the office of New Student Orientation & Academic Initiatives, which plans first-year NSO each year. 

First-year students and sophomores will participate in separate NSO programming this year. All SYO events are optional, while certain NSO events are required for first years.

NSO is normally designed for new students and comprises five days of programming at the beginning of the semester. But due to the pandemic, the Class of 2024 attended NSO virtually through a series of online preceptorials and workshops.

Programming like second-year preceptorials and the Late Night Activities Fair have been designed to help students explore different opportunities at Penn. Second-Year Orientation will also include tours of campus and Philadelphia neighborhoods to help sophomores acclimate to living in the city. These tours will introduce students to different modes of transportation including SEPTA and the LUCY shuttle, which loops through University City and is free to Penn students.

Students will be able to partake in a Class of 2024 photo, dinners, social events, a gala event at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the second-year reading experience. 

Second-Year Orientation costs $115 per student, which includes the cost of all meals available during orientation. This year's NSO fee is $355.

“Our primary goal this year is to introduce the Class of 2024 to the academic, cultural, emotional and social life at Penn," Class of 2024 Vice President of Internal Affairs and College sophomore Summer Maher said. "Our priority is to serve students of all different backgrounds and interests, especially because we know there are so many of us who haven’t even seen campus yet.”

Both first years and sophomores said they are excited for the upcoming in-person events and a return to a more traditional Penn experience.

“Events like the Art Museum gala are exactly what students need after a year of [COVID-19] and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to them,” Wharton first year Jarod Rejonis said.

Rejonis said he is excited to participate in NSO programming and meet new people in person after taking a gap year.

“I spent much of my gap year at home, so moving somewhere new is very exciting,” Rejonis said. “The biggest thing is going from being isolated at home to this campus full of people I can’t wait to meet.” 

In addition to the SYO programming, Penn will host optional events throughout the semester as part of the Second-Year Experience, which is designed to address the specific needs of Penn sophomores. On Sept. 2, Second-Year Day will offer connections to campus resources and programs for second-year students.