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  • Writer's pictureAlison Merzel

School Spotlight: Pennsylvania State University

As a two-time alumna from Big 10 universities and someone from a family of Big 10 graduates, I happen to have a soft spot for schools in the Big 10 conference. Just as The Ohio State Buckeyes know to shout "I-O" if they hear an "O-H," "Penn State!" is what you will hear in response to a loud "We are!"

Here are 5 fun facts about Penn State, the school that claims the largest living alumni network.

1) While the Penn State system has 20 unique campuses, many students have their eye on University Park campus. When you apply to Penn State, you will indicate your first and second campus preferences. If you are not immediately eligible for fall enrollment at University Park, you may be considered for the Summer Session. Summer session is a great way to ease into the transition to college. Students come to campus for 6 weeks over the summer, live in dorms, learn about the various buildings and resources offered on campus, take two classes and then join the rest of the incoming students in the fall after a one week return home in between sessions. A majority of summer students participate in the Learning Edge Academic Program (LEAP), giving them access to small classes, mentoring, and other support to facilitate the move to college.

2) The Schreyer Honors College at Penn State has been long recognized as one of the best honors programs at a public university. Schreyer students have access to 300+ small honors specific classes, more personalized advising, special grants and scholarships, and priority course registration among many other benefits. While you can apply as a prospective freshman, there are opportunities to apply to Schreyer at the end of your freshman and sophomore year as well.

3) Penn State hosts the world's largest student-run philanthropic event with their annual Dance Marathon, affectionately referred to as THON. Penn state students have raised millions of dollars to support pediatric cancer research at Four Diamonds at Penn State's Children's Hospital.

4) Penn State has been recognized as 5th in the country for the largest number of students who study abroad. Students can choose from over 300 programs in 50+ countries and there are options for students from all majors. Let's hope that future students can resume their international learning opportunities soon!

5) Penn State has sixteen academic colleges, 275 majors, 200 minors and 100 certificate programs. Students apply with a preferred program of study and "undecided" is a completely acceptance option. You remain in a pre-major status until the end of your sophomore year. There are some majors that are called direct-admit majors, meaning that you will be directly admitted to the major with your application to Penn State. Acting, Architecture, Musical Theatre and Nursing are examples of some of the direct admit majors.

Penn State has announced a continuation of test optional admissions through 2023. Check out the different ways to learn more about Penn State here.

We Are Penn State

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