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Penn First Plus is part of the University's effort to support first-generation and low-income students (Photo from Marc Lo).

Over 100 first generation and low income-identifying first-year students have arrived early at Penn to participate in Penn First Plus’ Pre-First Year Program

Pre-First Year is a four-week academic intensive program prior to New Student Orientation that offers students one free elective credit at the conclusion of the program. The program “is a chance for participating students to get an academic and social edge, while quickly becoming familiar with campus resources and the Penn community,” according to its website.

“[The program] gives an insight as to how it actually feels to take classes at Penn, and the workload is relatively similar to what it actually looks like in the fall,” incoming College first year Tasneem Reza told The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

The courses associated with PFP differ depending on what school students are enrolled in. For example, incoming College first year Avia Weber has been taking a writing seminar, math, and a political science course.

“It’s basically a jumpstart to the school year and just life at Penn, so the program enables us to transition from high school to college,” Weber told the DP. 

Outside of academics, PFP offers an abundance of social opportunities and ways for students to form bonds and communities before the fall semester begins.

“Another great part of [PFP] is that we are acquainted with Philadelphia,” Weber said. “We all went to Center City and got to see the Fashion District, Reading Terminal Market, and some people went to Chinatown. We’re definitely honing in on those social connections.”

Every student in the program also has a Peer Mentor throughout their first year to help them acclimate and learn how to live in Philadelphia and on Penn’s campus.

“Time management is very helpful when adjusting to the area of Philadelphia,” said Reza. “Forming a strong social network before starting the actual fall semester classes is something that is also very unique, because it can be very overwhelming to make friends during the semester.” 

As the rest of the first-year class prepares to move on campus in the coming weeks, PFP students have expressed enthusiasm to help fellow first-year students become more acquainted with the area.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, or even to just have a conversation,” Reza said. “Everyone is in the same boat, and Penn is a very welcoming place.”