Penn State’s holiday break is upon us, which means almost a week and a half of vacation from the office for the Undergraduate Admissions staff. Since the office is closed over the break, we will not be reviewing applications, updating students’ information, or changing any application status.
So, what does this mean for you, the Penn State applicant?
While we are out, you can login to your MyPennState profile to check the status of your application. And while the status message in MyPennState will remain the same until after the New Year and you won’t be able to call us to discuss it, you can still learn quite a bit about where your application stands through our message to you. To help you understand the message that you are seeing, we wanted to share some of the more common ones and what they mean, so you’ll know if you need to contact us at the beginning of the year.
- Status #1. “Your application has been received. Please check back here for updates. Thank you for applying to Penn State.”
This is the message students see upon submitting the application to Penn State. It means that we have the application that you completed online, but we have not had the opportunity to review the application details and match the application to any transcripts or test scores that we may have already received. Typically, this message is only visible for a few days because we are either able to match the other application materials right away, or we do not have the materials yet, and we update the message with information about what is missing (See #2).
- Status #2. “Our records show that your application is currently incomplete. Your application will be complete upon receipt of the following required materials: XXXXXXXX.”
This message means that we still need required components for your application (most commonly, your test scores or your transcripts), and we will let you know what materials are missing. If you just sent your transcripts to Penn State earlier this month, it is likely they are here and we have not gone through the process of acknowledging and evaluating them yet. The status will still indicate that they are missing until we are able to complete those tasks and, this time of year, we have many transcripts to verify. Additionally, since we are not working with transcripts over our holiday break, this message will not change until January.
- Status #3. “Your application and high school transcript have been received. Please continue to check your status.”
Good news! Penn State has received everything, but we are still validating your application items, specifically your transcript. We have to evaluate your transcript to determine if you have met the admission requirements for your desired program, which is why we tell you to “continue to check your status” – your application may not be considered complete after review of the transcript. Sometimes, we have to change a student’s desired program based on the fact he or she may not have completed all of the required coursework in high school, and we don’t know that until we thoroughly check the transcript.
- Status #4. “Your application is complete and all of your required materials are here.”
Even better news! When a student sees this message, it means that we have verified all of the application materials and everything with the application is in order. Typically, this message is only visible for a short time, because it is ready to proceed to the next step (See #5).
- Status #5. “We are reviewing your credentials. A decision will be available here as soon as one is made.”
And now, you wait. This message appears when your application enters the review process. There is no exact timeframe for how long you will see this message – some of you already know, it can be weeks, even months. If you see this message currently in MyPennState, you should not expect it to change until January, as we are not making any admissions decisions over the holiday break. For those of you that applied before November 30, don’t worry – you should get your decision in January.
I hope this post helps you understand where your application stands at this stage of the process – and allows you to enjoy your holiday break without continually checking MyPennState for any changes in your application status. We will be back on January 2 to answer any of your outstanding questions. Until then, Happy Holidays!