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How To Get Into Pennsylvania State University


Can you imagine yourself at a huge public state university? Would you like to spend your weekends going to basketball games and cheering on the Nittany Lions? If so, you might really love Pennsylvania State University.

Penn State is known across the country as a sports team powerhouse. In fact, the university’s athletic program ranks among the top ten programs in the United States.

This creates a fun environment for students, who get to tailgate before football games, cheer their team on, and celebrate those big wins. 

So, what do you need to do to get into Penn State? How does the application process work? And what kinds of grades do you need to get in? Read on to learn everything that you need to know about applying to Penn State.

Why Should I Apply to Pennsylvania State University?

Penn State University is one of the largest universities in the country. With over 40,000 undergraduate students, you will be in a graduating class with thousands of other people.

While some students find this intimidating, others enjoy the excitement of attending a huge school. More people mean more fans at university sports games. It means bigger Greek Life. And it means bigger name professors.

In terms of extracurriculars, more people also means more activities to choose from. Would you like to try your hand at archery? Or, sailing? What about joining a blogging club or editing videos for the school TV station?

Because of Penn State’s vast size, you can experience any of these things on the university’s campus. And while these activities may seem fun at first, you can put them on your CV later to help you apply for jobs.

But, with all of these cool activities, how is the graduation rate at Penn State? Do students get so distracted by the fun that they forget to study?

The answer to your question, for the most part, is: no. Penn State boasts an impressive 94% retention rate and a 76% graduation rate. This means that the majority of students who go to Penn State earn their diplomas.

You should consider applying to Penn State because the school has so much to offer. With its fun sports culture, thriving student life, and wide range of activities, Penn State is a great place to study.

What Kinds of Test Scores & Grades Do I Need to Get into Pennsylvania State University?

Even though Penn State has great professors and a high retention rate, the university has a fairly high admissions rate. Penn State accepts 76% of the students who apply there. 

This means that of every 4 students who apply to Penn State, 3 students are accepted.

While you may think that your odds of admission are good, do not rest on your laurels. In order to guarantee your spot at this school, you must study for your SATs and ACTs. You also must get good grades in high school.

Penn State Test Scores

Most students who enroll at Penn State’s main campus earn between 1280 and 1540 on their SATs. Students who take the ACT score between 29 and 33.

If you are at the lower end of this scale, you would do well to study. Those with lower scores are more likely to face rejection come decision day. By increasing your score, you will also increase your chances of admission significantly.

That being said, if you are a top student with great grades and a low SAT score, you should consider Penn State’s Test Optional application program.

Test Optional means that you can apply to Penn State without submitting your SAT or ACT scores. However, keep in mind that this program is only meant to benefit a certain caliber of students.

Students with bad grades who omit their test scores from their applications will not benefit from this program. On the contrary, the program is intended for great students with high GPAs who aren’t necessarily good test-takers.

Penn State Grades

Every school system evaluates a student’s progress on a different scale. Some districts allow students to earn a 5.0 GPA for taking a lot of AP classes, while others allow GPAs to go even higher.

However, Penn State evaluates candidates on a traditional grading scale where an A average is a 4.0. With this method in mind, the average Penn State main campus student graduates high school with a GPA between 3.56 and 3.91.

This means that if you want to go to Penn State, you have to earn As and Bs. And your average should include more As than Bs. If about 75% of your grades are As, you probably have a good enough GPA to guarantee your spot.

What if My Test Scores & Grades Are Below These Averages?

Penn State may be your dream school. But, if your stats aren’t high, you might not get into Penn State’s main campus at University Park. The good news is that University Park isn’t the only Penn State campus where you can apply.

In fact, Penn State has twenty undergraduate campuses scattered across the state of Pennsylvania. These alternative campuses have much lower entrance requirements than University Park.

This means that you can still take part in sports games and school pride. However, you can do so without earning the highest grades in your class.

The average test scores for Penn State’s outer campuses are way lower than at University Park. SAT scores range from 1090 to 1300, while ACT scores range from 23 to 30.

Keep in mind that Penn State SAT requirements are flexible. Thanks to the Test Optional program, students are not obligated to submit their test scores.

However, if your scores are within the range above, you shouldn’t hesitate to submit them. Testing Optional programs mostly benefit students with good grades who don’t tend to do well on standardized tests.

In terms of grade point averages, the outer campuses also accept much lower scores than does the University Park Campus. On an unweighted 4.0 scale, outer campus students tend to earn between 3.06 and 3.65.

This means that Penn State outer campus students got As and Bs in high school, with slightly more Bs than As.

If these grades and test scores seem a little bit more within your range, you might consider applying to one of Penn State’s outer campuses. You will have a higher chance of admissions at a Big Ten school.

Do I Have to Fulfill Certain Course Requirements Before Applying to Penn State?

Yes. All students admitted into Penn State are expected to fulfill certain course requirements before applying. Students who do not fulfill these requirements will not be accepted into the undergraduate program.

All students who intend to do a four-year undergraduate degree at Penn State must take four full years of high school English.

At least one of these English classes should be a year-long literature course. Another one of these English classes must be a year-long composition, or writing course.

Students must also take a total of three years of social studies, arts, or humanities. These classes can include a vast array of subjects, like American history, government and politics, or even pottery.

In terms of science, Penn State requires three full years of high school science classes. However, there are no requirements about what type of science class you must take.

All students must have at least three years of math classes, including a minimum level of algebra 1, algebra 2, and geometry. Engineering, math, and business students must also do pre-calc and a semester of trigonometry.

The foreign language requirement is the easiest one to fulfill. Students only need two years of foreign language classes. American Sign Language credits are accepted.

How Do I Apply to Penn State?

Once you have decided that you want to apply to Penn State, you will have to start your Penn State application. This can be a daunting process for many students. 

Luckily, you can apply via the Common App, which is now accepted by over 900 different colleges. This is by far the easiest way to apply to Penn State, as the Common App lets you use one system to apply to many schools.

Using the Common App

Simply create your Common App account. Make sure that you do so with an email that you check frequently. Also, avoid using an email with a wild handle, like daisypowergirl4900. Instead, try to use an email handle with your name.

The reason for this is that Penn State and other schools might later use that email to get in touch with you about special opportunities, like scholarships. You want to seem as professional as possible, so use a simple email address.

After creating your account, you can begin filling out your personal information. This should include your address, your school information, and facts about your parents or legal guardians.

You will also see a section where you can upload information about your extracurricular activities. These can be sports, after-school jobs, or family responsibilities.

Be honest, but don’t be afraid to brag about your accomplishments. Whether you are a varsity swimmer or the amazing sibling who watched their little sister during a parent’s shift, you should be proud of yourself!

You will also notice a section titled the “Common App Essay.” This is perhaps the most famous part of the college application process. Here, you need to write an essay to let Penn State know more about who you are.

Adding Penn State to Your List on the Common App

Only once you are finished completing the preliminary information application will you finally be able to find Penn State in the Common App database. Type “Penn State” in the search bar, then click “add to My Colleges.”

Penn State’s name will then appear in your My Colleges tab. This is where you will see which specific application requirements the university expects from applicants.

It is important to keep in mind that application requirements vary from year to year. Historically, Penn State has not accepted teacher recommendation letters. The school has had a tendency to focus more on your grades.

Since this is subject to change, pay close attention to the requirements listed under Penn State’s specific school requirements. Fill out any additional information that the school expects, including additional essays.

If you intend to submit your test scores, be sure to share all of the correct information, including test date, time, and location. 

It’s also best to keep an eye on deadlines. Penn State does consider Early Action applications. If you already know that you are interested in Penn State, you can apply early and hear back from them in December.

Remember to Send in Your Documents

Once you submit your Penn State application, you will need to send in additional documents. This may seem bureaucratic. However, it is an important part of making sure that the school gets your information.

The first document to send in is your high school transcript. Your school counselor (or college counselor) should be able to take care of this for you.

Stop by their office, or send them a nice letter requesting that they send your transcripts to Penn State. It can be a good idea to follow up afterward to make sure that they don’t forget to send these important documents.

Next, you can send your test scores to Penn State. If you took the SATs, you can achieve this via your online College Board account. If you took the ACTs, you can send your super score via your ACT online account.

Consider Applying for Scholarships

Paying for college is not always easy. And Pennsylvania State University is not cheap. However, the Honor Society provides plenty of scholarships for students who are truly excellent.

Whether you are a science fair wizard or a hilarious blogger, we have a scholarship for you. Don’t be afraid to browse our vast selection of scholarship opportunities.

Click here to learn more about the Honor Society and how the organization could help you pay for college.



Source: HonorSociety.org Member Articles
How To Get Into Pennsylvania State University

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