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Incredible Opportunities at PSU

April 12, 2016 by Olivia Kathleen Richards   

In my last post, I talked a lot about things that your parents have often done for you throughout your childhood and now you’re responsible to take the lead. Honestly, you will most likely make mistakes. We all do. The most important part is learning from your mistakes without your parents having to yell or teach you the valuable life lessons, over the phone. Try to get to the point where you are deciding what’s best for yourself. You are the one who decided on Penn State or your selected University anyway!

So, I’d like to highlight a few incredible opportunities for Penn State freshmen specifically.

Each college of Penn State, as well as most other Universities, has some type of mentorship program to personally connect with a member of the Alumni base of the specific college. People in the Office of Alumni Engagement for that specific area of the university then match you with an alumni in your desired field. I was personally matched with someone who currently works here at Penn State but used to work in Actuarial Science. While, that is no longer my career destination, my mentor offers to meet with me anytime. Honestly, I loved meeting him. He is an outsider looking in and gave me a lot of great feedback in regards to where I am going and how he can help. He emails me frequently and is a great contact.

Also, for freshmen going into the STEM field, entering one of the five STEM colleges (IST, Engineering, Science, Agricultural Sciences, or Earth and Mineral Sciences) and also hope to pursue research and graduate studies in the field, the Millennium Scholars Program is a fantastic, life-changing opportunity. Beyond the generous financial assistance that the program provides, Millennium is an experience. The program helps to put you on the Ph.D. track while giving you access to resources that you never thought were possible. From personal academic counseling to eating ice cream with the President to assistance when applying to summer research experiences, hard work pays off.

All high-achieving freshmen applying to Penn State should also apply to be in the Schreyer Honors College. Being a part of the honors college not only grants you an academic award before coming to college, but it grants you unbelievable opportunities. Premier housing and priority scheduling (before the rest of the university) are hard to come by. Scholars can apply for summer research grants and go on particular study abroad trips with other scholars. They can take embedded classes  with a study abroad portion too! Some of my friends are spending a week in places like Tanzania, China and Europe at the end of the semester. In addition, the Presidential Leadership Academy provides the opportunity for students to develop leadership fundamentals to thrive in an environment of exploration, diversity, and respect, which lead to action.

The Paterno Fellows Program is an innovative program offered jointly by the College of the Liberal Arts and the Schreyer Honors College that encourages students to challenge themselves academically and find an education in leadership.

There’s so much opportunity for success. Take advantage and enjoy.


  1. Phillip R. Clauer says:

    Great post. I think taking advantage of all the opportunities present at Penn State is crucial given the universities size and number of opportunities. It is crucial to stand out and things such as the Paterno Fellows and the Honors College is certainly part of that process. I am glad you mentioned mentorship, because I too think finding a mentor is paramount to your success early in college. I wish someone would have advised me on the number of opportunities out there for freshmen.

  2. Victor Ariyo says:

    I agree with your descriptions of these very prominent programs. I thought about becoming a Paterno Fellow but decided that the Economics minor would be more feasible. Other than that, I feel that you should share this blog on your facebook so that incoming freshman can actually read all the amazing advice that you post every week.

  3. Amanda Craine says:

    I am in the same position as Ivan, I always look forward to your blog every week! Even though it’s meant for rising freshman, its always interesting to see what you have to say and I love your writing voice! I have thought about being a Paterno Fellow as well, but I find it difficult to find a liberal arts major that I can be passionate about AND relate to my primary major.

  4. Mary Ohara says:

    PSU is incredibly wonderful when it comes to opportunities. I am a Paterno Fellow, and every week there are guest speakers and free lunches. Not to mention that there are hundreds of clubs and organizations which are open to anyone! Also, the professors here are all really good with office hours and TA assistance.

  5. Brandon F Cruz says:

    This is a very interesting post to me as I recently found myself considering the Paterno Fellows Program. I have recently decided to pursue a double major with French and Microbiology and this would make me eligible! Penn State is certainly the place you want to be in order to be afforded such opportunity.

  6. Ivan Yen says:

    I find myself revisiting your blog because I also find the information helpful. This goes to show that while many students have learned about these resources, it takes a simple reminder to stimulate response. Although we are no longer pursuing the same track, I’m glad we share a mutual interest in advertising the amazing qualities and resources offered at Penn State. I’ll be back next week!

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