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msmu campus aerial view toward terrace and bradley

First Ascent: A Pre-College Summer Program at Mount St. Mary’s University

First Ascent logo
Experience what it’s like to be in college as you challenge yourself academically by exploring the heart of a Catholic liberal arts education. Deepen your spirituality and make new friends who share your love of Christ while enjoying the beauty of one of the oldest and most historical Catholic universities in the country.

For more information about First Ascent at Mount St. Mary's University contact:
Phone: 301-447-5672

students hiking near msmu campus
What is First Ascent?

A five-day, residential summer camp for high school students to experience college life at Mount St. Mary’s University by attending academic classes in the liberal arts and participating in spiritually formative activities, as well as engaging in social outings.

outdoor class at peace plaza
Who can attend?

Open to rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors who are serious learners that enjoy exploring their faith and having fun in a Catholic environment.

students talking in front of msmu sign
When and where is it?

First Ascent will take place June 23-28, 2024, at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland – rated one of the country’s most beautiful campuses and home to National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Programs and Activities

Throughout the day, the spiritually motivated can participate in daily mass, adoration, Bible studies and prayer groups.

In the morning, students rotate through five academic areas taught by the Mount’s extraordinary faculty who are experts in literature, theology, history, art and philosophy.

After lunch, students participate in hands-on activities also taught by faculty experts who ignite students’ curiosity about various topics including:

  • The ethical uses of AI
  • The chemistry of ice cream
  • A hiking tour of the Mount
  • Hands-on arts and crafts in the Maker’s House
  • Participating in Bible study/prayer groups
  • Examining business ethics
  • Exploring the Catholic traditions of the Emmitsburg area

student sculpting with art professor in makers house

Evening activities include a movie night, a music event and trips to local attractions. Watch for more details!

msmu cupola on top of the terrace

Mount St. Mary's University holds an unparalleled position in American Catholic higher education. It is not only the oldest independent Catholic university in the country, it is also the only one from America's founding generation to remain faithfully committed to Christ and Our Lady.

Jeremy Tate Chief Executive Officer, Classic Learning Test


The cost to attend First Ascent at the Mount is $700. This includes room and board on campus for the week, plus all program materials and excursion fees. Register in full by March 1, 2024, and save $100. Space is limited but a $100 deposit will hold your spot.

Students who attend First Ascent will receive a renewable $2,000 scholarship to attend Mount St. Mary’s University, for a total of $8,000 over four years.

Registration opening soon!

Contact Us

For more information contact:
Phone: 301-447-5672

Request More Information