So, you’re thinking about applying to Penn State, and you’re curious about your chances of admission. Well, we’re here to help! Of course, there are a lot of factors in the admissions process, and it’s impossible to accurately predict whether you’ll be admitted or not. However, the most important factors in the admissions game are your GPA and test scores. So, using those as a measure, we can give you an estimate of your chances.
With an acceptance rate of 57.6%, admission to Penn State is extremely competitive. Based on our analysis, to have a good chance of being admitted, you need to be at the very top of your class, and have an SAT score of close to 1600, or an ACT score of around 35.
Not quite there? Try taking our SAT prep course and You'll still have a chance of getting in, but it’s in the single digits. Let’s take a closer look at Penn State admission statistics.
Penn State Admissions Statistics
Penn State’s acceptance rate in 2017 was 57.6%. For students applying to the class of 2021, out of 28,007 applicants, Penn State admitted about 16,134. The average GPA of admitted applicants was 3.6, the average ACT score was 27, and the average SAT score was 1270.
For students who took the ACT, the 25th percentile score of successful applicants was 25, and the 75th percentile score was 29.
For students who took the SAT, the 25th percentile score was 1180. The 75th percentile score was 1370.
If you’re somewhere in the middle of these numbers, remember that a high test score can compensate for a slightly lower GPA, and vice versa. If you’re at the lower end, it helps if you’re a diverse applicant, the child of an alum, or have incredible personal achievements. Still, at the 25th percentile, your chances of getting in are in the low single digits.
Other aspects of your application, such as athletics, extracurricular and recommendations, are important, but will likely only make a difference for admission if you’re in the 75th percentile range for your GPA and SAT/ACT scores.
As we said, admission to Penn State is very competitive. Even if Penn State is your dream school, and even if you’re in the 75th percentile, you’ll still want to make sure you apply to a wide variety of schools to ensure you’ll gain admission somewhere.
Generally, you should have at least three safety schools (where you are in the 75th percentile of GPA/test scores), three reach schools (where you are in the 25th percentile of GPA/test scores) and three target schools (where you are near the average for GPA/test scores) on your list.
OK, so you’ve decided to apply. We took at a look at Penn State’s admissions requirements to help you get everything in order.
Penn State Application Requirements
To apply to Penn State, you’ll need to fill out the official Application, submit your transcript via a Self-Reported Academic Record, and finally either your SAT or ACT test scores. Unless requested by a specific program, no letters of recommendation are required. Everything should be submitted by November 30th for the Fall Semester and November 1st for the Spring Semester.
Here’s a full list of application requirements:
- Fill out the Official Application and submit the application fee
- Submit either an ACT score or SAT score
- Submit your high school transcript via a Self-Reported Academic Record
The application deadline is November 30th for Fall Semester and November 1st for Spring Semester. February 15th is the financial aid application deadline. Fall Semester notifications are released January 31st, and Spring Semester applicants find out their fates in mid-December.
Have you been admitted to Penn State? Congratulations! Below is a glimpse of what your classmates will be like.
Penn State Admitted Students Profile
If you matriculate at Penn State, you’ll be joining a diverse class, with students from all over the U.S. and the world, and have a chance to study in dozens of fields.
Here are some interesting facts about the recently admitted class:
- Roughly 53.5% are male and 46.5% are female
- 11.4% of students are international
Penn State has a diverse class, as well, with a large number of people of color. The ethnicities of admitted applicants are:
- International: 11.4%
- Underrepresented minority: 2%
- Two or more races: 3%
- White: 76.1%
What do these admitted students plan to study? Penn State offers dozens of majors, and students matriculating there pursue a wide number of subjects. Here is a list of some of the top programs:
Now, how are you going to pay for this?
Penn State Tuition Figures
At $47,480, Penn State’s cost of attendance is astronomical. But, don’t panic! Most incoming students receive some form of financial aid, and the average award is $6,644.
Here’s a fuller look at Penn State tuition and financial aid in 2017:
- Total budget: $47,480
- Average financial aid package: $6,644
- The average student debt of a Penn State graduate is $37,213
Now, what is life like at Penn State? Let’s take a look.
Penn State Location
Penn State's main campus is located in University Park, Pennsylvania.
Interestingly enough, the location "University Park" was only named as such back in 1953. Why? Because it had been previously been known as "State College" to reflect the school's status as a state college.
In 1953, a formal referendum to change the name failed to pass but the resolution to the issue was to create a new postal address for the location called "University Park."
Remember, you’re going to Penn State for its excellent academics! Below is a look at what academic life will be like.
Penn State Academics
Penn State has dozens of majors. Some of the school’s more interesting majors are:
- Biobehavioral Health
- Civil Engineering
- Digital Multimedia Design
- Industrial Engineering
- Labor and Employment Relations
- Nuclear Engineering
- Organizational Leadership
Now, let’s take a look at life outside the classroom at Penn State.
Student Life at Penn State
Penn State has hundreds of student organizations, covering academic interests, creative and performing arts, cultural and racial initiatives, gender and sexuality affinity groups, government and politics interests, and various media and publications.
Here’s a sampling of Penn State’s student activities:
- 3-D Printing Club
- Advertising Club
- Bee House
- Blooms & Shrooms (PPEM)
- Casino Management Club
- Dear Hero Program
- Eco Action
- Electronic Sports Club
- Field Hockey
- Gamers For Charity
- Happy Valley Music Label
- In Memorian Sketch Club
- LGBTA Student Coalition
- Marketing Association
- Mock Trial Association
Are you an athlete? Penn State’s got plenty of options for you.
Penn State Athletics
Penn State offers a large number of intercollegiate sports, with extensive varsity, as well as club, offerings, for both men and women. So, if you’re not up to varsity level, remember there are plenty of club and intramural sports to try out for, too.
Cal Tech’s sports include:
- Swimming & Diving
- Track & Field
Who might you become with a Penn State degree? Let’s take a look at some well-known and successful alums:
Penn State has produced politicians, business tycoons, entertainers, musicians, media figures, and leaders in dozens of other fields.
Here’s a list of some particularly well-known alums:
- Nike CEO Mark Parker
- Merck & Co. CEO Kenneth Frazier
- Comedian Keegan-Michael Key
- US Senator Kelly Ayotte
- Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Berg
- Computer Scientist Fei-Fei Li
- NBA player Tim Frazier
- NFL quarterback Kerry Collins
- CIA officer Valerie Plame
- Television anchor Lara Spencer
- Sports Illustrated head writer Tom Verducci
And this is only a partial list!
Getting into Penn State is very competitive. Don’t despair if you get a no. If you have a strong GPA and high test scores, you have a great chance of getting into at least one of the more competitive schools. And if you don’t, remember: where you go is NOT who you are. If you work hard, you’ll end up at a school that’s right for you, and still get a great education.
If you need to boost your GPA or test scores before application time rolls around, you should consider signing up for a course with Prep Expert. We offer one-on-one tutoring and classes, both in-person and online, at locations throughout the United States.
Our expert teachers and tutors will not only share with you tried and true methods for improving your score, but also help you correct deficiencies in any subject that you’re having difficulty with—English, Writing, Mathematics or Science.
Additionally, online classes can be watched On Demand, so if you miss a class due to your busy schedule, you can catch it online later. We have helped hundreds of students get the scores they need to attend the school of their dreams.
Best of luck with your applications and go check out Prep Expert!
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