I spent part of my spring break in Cincinnati last week where I got to see Wicked (it was hilarious and amazing), do some shopping. I also went to the accepted student program for the Cincinnati area and spoke to more potential Penn State students.
You’ve probably heard about these programs and maybe even went to one. If you haven’t had the chance to go, I’ll give you a recap and highlights. There are still some programs left so if there is one in your area, I encourage you to go and talk to an admissions counselor and other alumni volunteers about Penn State. You can find the locations and dates here. There are also receptions at University Park if you want another chance to get back on campus. These programs will be more specifically towards your major or academic path and are a great resource to use when making the final decisions. You can find dates and register for the programs here.
The regional program provides a guide for what you and your family need to do in taking the next steps towards you becoming a Penn State student. The counselor will go over everything from financial aid information, placement tests, new student orientation, and housing. Having an acceptance to Penn State is a pretty big deal and you should be proud of yourself for receiving one! It can be daunting to figure out what you need to do next and this program guides you and your family through what is going to take place over the next few months.
I had a lot of fun talking to future students and their families. As the only current student there, they had a lot of questions for me about academic life, social life, advice, and even what to bring to campus! Here are some of the questions I was asked:
Q: How much stuff did you bring with you?
A: Well, I brought too much stuff. Let’s face it, a dorm room is a smaller shared environment and you don’t want to overcrowd it with stuff. I had an entire bin of backups and random things that I didn’t even touch. Take enough clothes for a couple months and worry about bringing heavy sweaters and coats once you go home for Thanksgiving. Bring some light cleaning supplies and decorations to make the place your own- just not too much. Don’t bring figurines or something that is going to take up shelf space. Think vertical and bring a cork board to put pictures on, small lights, and make sure you talk to your roommate before you do anything drastic! I lived with a random roommate my freshman year and we talked on Facebook once we had been assigned to the same room. That way we got to divide things up and no one came with duplicates. For example, I brought the rug, she had the TV, etc. Just bring less than you think- those drawers will fill up quickly and you’re about to enter an abundance of free tee shirts!
Q: Are the classes really hard?
A: Yes and no. Of course there are going to be challenging classes and there are going to be some easier classes throughout your time at Penn State. What I told the girl who asked me this was that you got into Penn State for a reason- you’re already a good student. College is a learning experience in time management. There will be times when you feel like you’re struggling with exams, papers, and projects but it’s all to prepare you for the real world.
Q: Is campus really that big? How long does it take you to get to your classes?
A: The campus is big. But not in an overwhelming way. I have never had a walk further than 20 minutes to get to class. Even now, I live downtown and it takes me under ten minutes to get to my first class.
Q: What’s your best advice for someone about to go to Penn State?
A: Find what you love and stick with it. If you’re going into college with an idea of what you want to major in or if you already have your career path planned out, that’s great. Just don’t be surprised when it changes. I have changed my mind, major, and plan more than once while I’ve been in school. My grades are better and I’m happier when I’m learning about things I really care about or enjoy doing. When I bounced around taking a bunch of classes, I didn’t stick with the ones I had planned on taking because I just didn’t like them. Don’t worry about what everyone is telling you- take the classes you want because you’re going to get so much more out of college that way.
Hopefully you can make it to one of these sessions or come over to campus and take the next steps in becoming a Penn Stater!