Penn State is Everywhere

Did you know there are 24 Penn State campuses? That’s right, State College is not the only place you can find a home within the University. These campuses come in all different sizes, and are spread throughout Pennsylvania.

Penn State lives across Pennsylvania

 

There is University Park, the largest, most well-known Penn State campus. The campus you probably think of when you hear “Penn State University”. However, there are other options spread throughout the state where you could start, or even finish, your Penn State degree. In fact, there are more than 30,000 students at Penn State Commonwealth Campuses.

 

Some of these students have the ability, depending on the campus and their major, to spend all four years at their Commonwealth campus. Others are enrolled in the 2+2 plan.

What this means is, you can start your degree at one Penn State campus, spend two years there, then finish your journey at any Penn State campus with the degree you wish to complete. For example, I am a Marketing major. I started at Penn State Beaver, a small campus located north of Pittsburgh. Penn State Beaver offers a four year business degree I could have completed there, but I chose to major in Marketing. So, I spent two years there and I will finish my degree at University Park.

Some students choose to enroll in the “2+2 Program”, while others spend all four years at a Commonwealth Camupus

 

So, which campus is best for you? Well, that depends on your preferences. When deciding what campus to go to, think of a few major points:

  1. Financial Situation
    • If you would like to attend Penn State, but save money, a Commonwealth campus may be the choice for you. Even spending two years at a Commonwealth, then transferring to UP can save you thousands of dollars
  2. Class Size
    • Class sizes at University Park can be over 500 students. During my time at Penn State Beaver, my largest class was around 40 people. Consider what setting you see yourself performing and learning the best in.
  3. Location
    • State College is a college town surrounded by farmland and mountains. Many students enjoy this setting. Other students may want to be near a big city, and can consider campuses near Pittsburgh (Beaver, Fayette, Greater Allegheny) or Philadelphia (Abington, Brandywine).

This is just the beginning of the decision making process with the Penn State options available. Just know, whether you make the choice to spend all four years of your degree at University Park, or start at a different campus and transfer, you are not alone. Over 7,000 first-year students begin their journey at University Park, and over 9,000 begin at another campus.

Penn State has a fit for everyone.

One of the best parts about Penn State’s options?

No matter where you start or finish, your degree will say “The Pennsylvania State University.

Learn more about our campuses at a Penn State Day open house. Events are happening all around the state this month!

Penn State Social Media

Wondering whether you should apply to Penn State and need an idea of what life is like as a student? Maybe you want to read articles current students read and write to get an idea of what you may be interested in as a student. Never been to a football game, but want to see behind the scenes of a Penn State game day?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may find the following resources helpful!

 

Penn State Admissions

Twitter: @PSU_Admissions       Snapchat: @psuadmissions       Instagram: @psuadmissions

 

Starting off with the biggest “given” on this list that is a must follow across all social media! The Penn State Admissions’ accounts feature posts both from the professional Admissions staff and current students! Each week, the social media interns (those of us who write for these blogs) have a different theme which we use for our Snapchats. Themes have included best spots to eat on campus, residence halls, and where to study! We are always open to new ideas on what perspective students would like to see, so just reach out to us and let us know!

 

Penn State (Official)

Twitter: @penn_state                    Snapchat: @penn_state               Instagram: @pennstate

 

Much like the Admissions’ accounts, the official Penn State University accounts feature daily pictures and videos of the events going on at University Park!  These accounts were some of the first that I followed when beginning my college search. They are helpful when it comes to figuring out if you would be interested in what is going on at University Park! If you see Instagram pictures from a football game or a tweet about what students are up to and wish you were a part of it, there is a good sign you applied to the right University. The Twitter account also tweets links to news and stories of what is going on, which can give you an even more in depth look at what is happening at Penn State!

 

Onward State

Twitter: @OnwardState                               Website: http://onwardstate.com/

 

Stories about THON, sports, student-life, events on campus, and so much more. Onward State provides a student-written news outlet for Penn State students. It is a phenomenal resource for perspective students as well, though. These stories delve deep into student-life and culture at University Park. There are so many interesting and unique stories written by students at Onward State, and I definitely wish I would have read more while I was still in high school trying to figure out what college to attend! I would highly recommend students considering Penn State to read some of these articles. It truly is a great way to learn about what current Penn State students are up to!

 

Penn State Athletics

Twitter: @GoPSUsports                                 Instagram: @gopsusports

 

Even if you are not currently excited about athletics, these are fantastic accounts to follow. Sporting events at Penn State are prime examples of how students come together and show their Penn State pride. If you would like a look into the pride, passion, and support students have for the University, take a look at these accounts. From score updates, to pictures of the pure joy on students’ faces at sporting events, the @GoPSUsports accounts will not let you down.

 

The Nittany Lion

Twitter: @NittanyLion

 

Penn State’s beloved mascot, The Nittany Lion. Easily the most diverse of the accounts listed, the Nittany Lion has its own tweets along with sharing the tweets of the countless other Penn State social media accounts. From humorous tweets, to displaying Penn State pride, the Nittany Lion account is a must-follow and a great resource for perspective students!

 

 

These accounts are fun, exciting, and informative ways to gather more information on Penn State! As always, continue reading our Lion Life blog for more insight written by current students!

Making a Big Campus Feel Small

From online classes, to a universities with over 50,000 students, and everything in between, no two campuses are exactly alike; or exactly the same size.

If you are looking into a big campus, you may be excited about the size, the excitement, the energy, and all the new people that come with it. However, you may also find yourself worrying about making friends in college, being just another number in the crowd, not being able to professors, or just simply not finding your fit.

Take a deep breath, these concerns are very valid.

Take these two ideas into consideration:

  1. You are not alone. There are thousands of students with these concerns.
  2. There are ways to make a big campus feel small.

For starters, living on campus practically places you into a group of friends. Every day, you will see tons of people traveling in and out of your residence hall and walking around the floor you live on. Often times, the floors of the residence halls have group messages together that your resident assistant (or RA) organizes. A resident assistant is an upper class student who works for the University in the residence halls. RAs are there to help you, and will even arrange events for people of your hall to get to know each other and hang out.

Clubs, clubs, clubs

If that does not already relax your nerves a little bit, this will. Penn State offers over 1,000 student-run clubs and organizations. That is not a typo- there are clubs for practically everything. If there is somehow still a club you are interested in that Penn State does not already offer, grab seven of your friends, find an advisor, and you can actually work on creating a club of your own.

From professional organizations, philanthropy groups, club sports, and intramural sports, you will find a way to become involved. There are countless amounts of students who will tell you they met their best friends or have had their best college moments from joining a club or organization.

I can definitely say this is true for me. From being involved in working new student orientations and with THON, I have made some of my best friends. From working and spending time together, we have grown close and made a countless amount of memories.

When you find the right fit for you, it will easily be one of the most enjoyable, rewarding, and enriching experiences of your college career.

So, you have people in your residence hall in the same situation as you. You have clubs which will introduce you to wide ranges of people and experiences. From other freshmen looking to become involved, to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who once were in your shoes (and maybe can give you a tip or two on life at Penn State) you will find friends.

Connecting with faculty

Still worried about the whole “just another face in the crowd” idea? Worry no more! Professors love students to come talk to them, especially during their “office hours”. Office hours are when faculty/professors/whoever is teaching your class is in their office waiting to talk to students.

They may answer your questions about homework, projects or exams, take a look at your resume and provide tips, or even talk to you about career opportunities in a certain field. Professors are there to help, and they love it.

I have talked with many of my business professors to ask for advice on real-world situations, such as searching for internships and career fair tips. On a more casual side, a science professor I had my freshmen year would always talk football with me, as we were fans of rival teams. Professors are there for you, and can be great resources to connect with.

Again, take a deep breath. This is just skimming the surface of the ways to make a big campus feel small.

And if your worries hold you back from applying to Penn State – University Park, begin to consider your other Penn State campus options!

5 tips to ace your college applications

High school seniors, the time has finally come; after years of thinking about where you want to go to college, this fall is when you complete your applications and seriously think about where you want to end up. The whole process can seem very overwhelming, especially when you consider that this is the biggest step towards your future that you’ve taken so far (no pressure!) Here are my tips for surviving college application season:

1. Narrow down your list

By this point in the process, you should have already researched schools that you want to visit and eventually apply to (if you haven’t done this yet, College Board’s Big Future search is a great resource to quickly find information about colleges). If your research has left you with a long list, now is the time to narrow that list down to about five or eight schools, according to the College Board. It might seem tempting to just apply to a bunch of schools and see what happens, but the less applications you have to complete is the less time you have to spend writing essays and the less money you have to spend on application fees and visits. Personally, I only applied to three schools (all of which I considered match schools). When I was narrowing down my list, I asked myself one question that really helped me focus only on schools I was seriously interested in: “If I got in to this school, would I actually go?” Applying to colleges “just because” or “just to see what happens” is a waste of time and money.

2. The thing about safety schools

When narrowing down your list, it’s good to have a mix of reach schools (schools that you’re not entirely sure you can get in to), match schools (schools that you’re pretty sure you can get in to), and safety schools. It can be easy to not take your safety schools seriously, but remember my question from above: “If I got in to this school, would I actually go?” You have a safety school for a reason: if, for some reason, you don’t get in to any of the other schools you apply to, this will be the school you are going to. Remember, in a year you will be going to college and starting a new life. You don’t want to waste years of your life in a place you don’t want to be just because you wanted to get a surefire acceptance letter. Most importantly, make sure that you have financial safety schools; schools that you can afford without a large amount of financial aid. Financial aid is difficult to predict, and you don’t want to find out that you can’t afford to go to any of the colleges you got accepted to.

3. Really think about your essays

In English class, you’ve probably had to write essays of about 2,000 or so words. So a 500-word application essay should be easy, right? Wrong. Having such limited space means that every word you use has to matter. That can be stressful, so make sure that you take the time to truly think about what message you want to get across before you start writing. Whether you want to describe your love of the color red or how a speech impediment has affected your life, really think about what the best way to convey your story is. A good rule of thumb is always to show, not tell; describe specific instances that illustrate your point, paying close attention to feelings and setting.Read sample application essays online so you have an idea of what you should be writing. Have your English teacher and your friends proofread your essay and take their ideas and criticism into consideration so you can submit the best essay possible.

4. Penn State-specific advice

Penn State’s application is available through MyPennState (you will need to create an account to apply). The application opens on September 1st every year and operates on a rolling deadline, meaning that there’s not one specific deadline that your application must be in by. However, it

’s best to apply by November 30th for your best chance at getting in to the campus and major you want. Once your application is in, you will hear back anywhere from within days to months. If your application is in by the November 30th deadline, you will receive an offer of admission no later than January 31st. Again, the best choice you can make when applying to Penn State is to apply by the November 30th deadline.

New this year in the application is the system of self-reported grades, meaning that you will manually enter your high school grades into the application and you do not have to send in your official transcript until the end of your senior year. Make sure that you have a copy of your transcript in front of you when you fill out the application. Obviously, entering wrong information as part of your self-reported grades can have serious consequences down the line, so make sure to double check that you are entering the correct information.

Another part of the application that you will notice is the part where you have to select an alternate campus and a starting semester. There are 19 campuses other than University Park to start at, all with their own unique atmosphere and advantages. Take the time to research Commonwealth Campuses so that you fully know your options when you apply. Unless you note otherwise (and there are many reasons why you may choose to start at another campus), Penn State will assume that your first choice of campus is University Park (also referred to as Main Campus). Your application will first be reviewed for University Park and you will only be considered for an alternate campus if your application is not accepted for University Park. Another option is the choice to start during summer session. As with alternate campuses, your application will be reviewed for fall first (unless you choose to apply directly to summer) and will only be considered for summer if it is not accepted for fall.

5. Don’t stress!

One of my high school teachers gave me great advice when I was applying to colleges: “You are going to be happy at whatever school you end up at because you are going to choose to be happy wherever you go.” Even if you don’t end up at your first choice, the decisions you make once you’re in college (such as what major you choose and the clubs you decide to join) will give you a lot of things to enjoy. Going to college (and especially going away to college) is a great experience that not everybody gets to enjoy, so take a step back and think about all of the support from teachers, parents, and friends you’ve enjoyed that have allowed you the privilege of sitting down and choosing your own future.

Take the Stress Out of Scheduling with These Tips

As  I was scheduling my classes for fall semester, I started to think about how I wish someone gave me some advice on scheduling before I did it at New Student Orientation. Here are a few of my tips for you:

  1. Do Your Research– Ask around. That’s the best way to get a feel for what you should and shouldn’t be scheduling. I had one or two friends from my hometown who go to Penn State, but I wished that I had did some research previously about what classes are easiest, the most intriguing, and which ones I need to graduate.
  2. Consider Travel Time– Although you will hear that you can make it to any class in 15 minutes, that’s not always true. It’s so much easier when you don’t have to walk across campus at 8:30 a.m. Especially if you’re choosing to live in East, you will want classes that are closer to your dorm.
  3. Take Your AP Exams SeriouslyAP credits can be used in place of general education courses, so make sure you study up. Also, in the long term, the more credits that you have completed, the earlier you will be able to schedule in future semesters.
  4. Attend NSO As Soon as Possible – I know this isn’t possible for everybody depending on graduation, prom, or whatever you have going on. But, I went in May and I didn’t have a problem getting any of the classes that I needed.

Scheduling is no easy by any means. And you will hear it thoroughly explained during your New Student Orientation. However, if you keep these things above in mind, you’ll be an ace at scheduling in no time.

Top 5 Spots to See on a Campus Tour

College tours are pretty inclusive- they try to show you everything they can. However, with a school as big as Penn State, it’s hard to show you all the campus has to offer. While you’re sure to pass all of these spots on your tour, revisit them when it’s over and spend some extra time here. Chances are, you’ll spend most of your time at these places once you’re an official Nittany Lion.

  1. Old Main

Old Main was the first building at Penn State. With its bell tower and beautiful view of the lawn, Old Main really gives you that old college campus feel. If you haven’t taken a picture of Old Main, did you really ever visit Penn State University Park?

2. The HUB

Students spend tons and tons of time at the HUB. I was told this on my first tour, but didn’t really believe it. Now, I spend virtually all my free time in my club’s office in the HUB, or grabbing food at Starbucks, Burger King, or Mixed Greens. Take a walk around the HUB, or grab food there on your tour. You can also grab a souvenir in the Bookstore.

3. The Lion Shrine

I know I said you had to take a picture of Old Main, but the Lion Shrine is really the best picture spot on campus. Lots of students take a picture the first time they visit, and then another one at graduation. If nothing else, it makes for a cool #TransformationTuesday.

4. The Library

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You might not think you’re going to spend all that much time at the Libraries, but sooner or later, you will. It’s a pretty big building, so start to get to know it as soon as you can. One of the prettiest views on campus is from standing at the top of the library, and looking out at the mall. The landscape changes every season, and it’s really beautiful.

5. The Creamery

You haven’t tasted ice cream until you’ve visited the Berkey Creamery. Penn Staters have perfected plenty of different flavors, but our one rule is no mixing. I recommend the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough with blue and white sprinkles.

My Accepted Student Program Experience

Now that most of you have received an offer from Penn State, the next step is to plan your Accepted Student visit to campus! Accepted Student Programs vary by your choice of academic college.

Because I’m studying Journalism, I attended the College of Communications’ Accepted Student day. I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was almost a year ago.

It was my first visit to campus as an officially accepted student. It was no longer a dream; it was a reality. When I boarded those blue Penn State buses at the Bryce Jordan Center, it started to hit me that this was real life.

Walking into Schwab Auditorium, I picked up my name tag that read “Brittany Krugel: College of Communications.” To add to that, I received my first of many Penn State shirts, this one read #psu2020 on the back.

Throughout the next hour and a half the next steps were explained. Everything was laid out from housing to meal plans to New Student Orientation. After the presentation ended, the Lion Scouts took us on a tour of campus. Frankly, by that time I didn’t need another tour or information session because my mind was made up. After the tour, we enjoyed lunch in Warnock Commons in North Halls, and yes, ice cream from the Creamery was included.

Finally, we went to the Carnegie Building where the College of Communications was holding their own information session. After hearing again all of the tremendous opportunities that were waiting for me, I was 150% sold.

As my parents and I drove out of town, (after stopping at Sheetz of course), I looked out of the window and imagined how amazing my new life at my new home was going to be. From that day on, I’ve been a Nittany Lion at heart.

Keep Holding On

This time of the year can be the most exciting, but also the most nerve-racking. You’ve completed most of, if not all of your applications; you’ve sent in your transcripts; you’ve asked your teachers for recommendations. Now it’s out of your hands. But the hard part is just getting started. That’s right, waiting is the hardest part of this entire process.

I’m guessing if you’re anything like I was, you know every date that you’re supposed to hear back from every school. For Penn State, the priority deadline applicants are guaranteed to hear back by January 31st. While most of you have probably heard news, whether it’s negative or positive, I’m sure there’s some of you out there who haven’t heard yet.

I’m here to tell you that everything is going to be okay. Trust the process, because you will end up where you’re supposed to be. Obviously, I hope that place is Penn State, but if it’s not that’s okay too. Remember, to just keep swimming.

Major Change isn’t such a Major Change

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I came into college knowing I had absolutely everything planned out. I was going to graduate in 4 years (or less) with a degree in Advertising and a minor or two. I’d move on to work an amazing job right after graduation. My freshman year consisted of almost all communications classes sprinkled by a couple of general courses. My schedule was stacked and moving toward finishing required courses ahead of time. I 100% loved my classes, all of the professors I met, and even got an awesome internship where I get to share my experiences with all of you!

Penn State’s general education classes gave me a sense of jobs and opportunities outside of my major. As I grew through my college experiences, I learned that I might not be fit for this route. The more and more I thought about it, the more I though about how difficult it would be to change my major. 

I at least needed to see if it was even possible to change my plans. I assumed it would be complicated for me and my advisors, my parents, and more importantly, affect my graduation time and finances. I scheduled an appointment with an advisor and told her about my ideas and why I felt I needed a change…and just like that she whipped out my new academic plan and laid it all out for me. She told me what classes easily transferred over into my new major and what didn’t, how hard I would have to work in the remaining semesters, but that that I would graduate on time.  

I was still very hesitant about making a final decision until she told me about how she came to become a teacher and then an advisor soon after having a great job in a whole other field. She showed me the support I needed when I was most hesitant. I realized I wasn’t the only one that would change their mind in college and I was definitely not alone. 

It’s really hard to make a change when you never knew it was possible, but with the help of PSU, it is possible. Penn State has made it very easy for me to feel supported as a student and a person. I came into Penn State hoping to create advertising for large companies, but I’m leaving as an elementary school teacher! Two totally different things and we are still going to make it happen. We are given the opportunities to discover ourselves here at Penn State, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Not everybody knows what they want to do and some people know exactly what they want to do. Penn State empowers both. They encourage change and growth. So if you’re coming into PSU undecided or uneasy or even completely positive on your future path, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. The staff and your fellow classmates are going to stand by you and help you find your way.

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