Early Action (FAQ)
I have a deferral decision, can I change my major or campus so that I can get an admission decision immediately?
Applicants can request reconsideration of their application by indicating a change in your major or campus preference. However, we will need time to process the reconsideration of your application and will not be able to make an immediate decision. Therefore, we can only work toward getting you a decision by the end of January.
I have a deferral decision, is there a way to get an admissions decision by December 24?
Unfortunately, we are not able to make a new decision on your application before December 24. Therefore, it will be in your best interest to be patient as we work toward getting you an updated decision by the end of January.
Why did I receive a deferral decision?
Receiving a deferred decision as part of the Early Action review group was always a possibility. While we would have preferred to be able to make a final decision on all our early action applications, we need more time to review your application in the greater context of our entire applicant pool. This additional time will allow us to do further analysis on your application to ensure that we provide each student with the greatest opportunity for admission.
What does a deferral decision mean?
It means that a student's decision timeline has been deferred to our Rolling admission review timeline and the applicant will receive an admissions decision by the end of January.
Will a deferral decision negatively impact my chances of being accepted to Penn State?
Absolutely not. We just need more time to make consistent decisions on all the applications that have been received.
Why did you advertise a decision date by December 24 if you could not deliver a decision to all Early Action applicants by that date?
Like many of our peers, Penn State does consider a deferred decision a decision. Essentially, we promised to take action on all early action applications by December 24. Unfortunately, due to the high number of applications, and a need to further review your application in the context of all applicants, we were not able to admit or deny all applicants by December 24. This additional time will allow us to do further analysis on your application to ensure that we provide each student with the greatest opportunity for admission.
I received a deferral decision. What if I don't have a decision by January 31?
You should have a decision in your MyPennState account by January 31. However, if that is not the case, give it a few more days for your account to update. It could be that we have made the decision, but it has not yet posted in your MyPennState account.
Where will I see my decision?
The first place to look and the best place for your most up to date decision is in your MyPennState account. For those applicants who live in the United States, we will also send you a letter in the mail. You will receive this letter a few days after your MyPennState account has updated.
Will the tuition and fee costs be included in the aid award?
There will be an estimated cost for tuition and fees and other educational costs, but final tuition and fee costs will not be finalized until the Penn State Board of Trustees meet in July.
What if I do not submit my FAFSA by the recommended date?
You will still be considered for federal financial aid. Because some sources of aid have limited funding, the December 1 date is recommended for maximum consideration of all sources of aid.
How will I indicate interest in Early Action?
First-year students who submit an application by Nov 1 will be considered for an Early Action decision, with a few exceptions to specific programs that may have additional application requirements.
Do I stand a greater likelihood of being admitted to my first-choice campus and major by applying Early Action?
Possibly! By applying during the Early Action deadline, you will be among the first students to be considered for admission to Penn State, when we have more flexibility in our decisions.
Can transfer students apply Early Action?
No, Early Action is not available for transfer applicants. Transfer students will be evaluated on the established schedule for review.
How does Early Action differ from Early Decision?
Early Action does not bind the student in any way, whereas colleges with Early Decision obligate students applying Early Decision to attend that college that admits them. Early Action students will have until May 1, the National Decision Day, to accept their offers. Penn State has an obligation to respond by December 24 to students who complete their application for Early Action.
What are the possible decisions through Early Action?
Admit: Applicant receives an offer of admission to Penn State.
Defer: Deferral of the decision to the November review group and applicant will be notified of an admission decision by the end of January.
Deny: Penn State is not able to make an offer of admission.
Is there a disadvantage to not doing Early Action?
With Early Action, you will receive a decision by December 24. For those students choosing not to apply Early Action and for all domestic students, we recommend submission of a complete application, including all required materials, by December 1. Admission to Penn State become more competitive as the year progresses which is why we encourage students to submit a completed application prior to the Early Action deadline
Do I need to submit the high school transcript to be evaluated in Early Action?
No, you will be completing your Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR) as part of your application so transcripts are not required in order to be evaluated. We do suggest that you get a copy of your transcript from your school counselor to complete your SRAR. If you plan on applying before the start of your high school senior year (application becomes available August 1), you should get your transcript before the end of your junior year of high school.
Can I apply to a Commonwealth campus as Early Action?
Yes. Early Action will apply to any of our 20 undergraduate campuses, but not the World Campus.
Are there programs that will not be available for Early Action decisions?
Yes, the Accelerated pre-medical/medical program, music, theater, musical theater, acting, dance, and golf management, require supplemental information, interviews or auditions that preclude the December 24 decision timeline. Likewise, World Campus applicants will not be invited to participate in Early Action.
When will the application be available for first-year students?
The application(s) will become available for students interested in SU/FA 2022 admission on August 1, 2021.
When will I be notified about my aid award for summer?
In order to be considered for summer aid, you will need to submit the 2020-21 FAFSA. If you have submitted your 2020-21 FAFSA and have scheduled at least 6 credits for the summer, you can expect to receive a summer aid notification in April of 2022.
Why should I do Early Action as a first-year, domestic applicant to Penn State?
You will receive a decision by December 24 if you complete the application (complete = application, SRAR and official test scores for students opting to include standardized test results) by November 1. This will allow you until May 1 to commit to Penn State, allowing you more time to determine if Penn State is the right fit for your college career.
Dates & Deadlines for International Students
Application Information for First-Year Students
In order to have the greatest chance of acceptance to your first choice of campus and major, be sure to submit a complete application (including all of the required supplemental materials) by the appropriate dates, as outlined below:
|Fall Semester||August 1||November 1||December 24||February 1||July 1||April 1||May 1|
|Summer Session||August 1||November 1||December 24||February 1||May 1||April 1||May 1|
|Spring Semester||June 1||Early Action is not available||Early Action is not available||October 1||November 1||December 1||Refer to the date on the offer notification.|
International students are able to participate in our Early Action option. Complete and submit your application with all supplemental materials by November 1 and receive an admission decision by December 24
Some of our programs require complete applications by December 1. For more information on specific program deadlines for first-year students, visit Dates & Deadlines for First-Year Students.
To ensure that you have met the priority filing date, continue to check your application status in MyPennState to verify that we have received all of your application materials.
Application Information for Transfer Students
Transfer applicants are reviewed on a rolling basis, but we encourage students to apply by the priority filing dates for their intended session. The important application dates are:
|Fall Semester||August1||February 1*||July 1||April 1||Refer to the date on the offer notification.|
|Summer Session||August1||February 1*||May 1||April 1||Refer to the date on the offer notification.|
|Spring Semester||June 1||October 1*||November 1||December 1||Refer to the date on the offer notification.|
*Some academic programs have limited enrollment, specific application dates, or other requirements. Refer to the Dates & Deadlines for Transfer Students for more information.
Please submit a complete application (including all supplemental materials and transcripts from previous institutions) by the priority filing date, or as soon as possible following that date. To ensure that you have met the priority filing date, continue to check your application status in MyPennState to verify that we have received all of your application materials.
If you have specific questions regarding your intended program, please contact your campus of interest for preferred filing dates and program information.
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Application Review Process for First-Year Students
First-year, domestic students may apply for undergraduate admission to Penn State via Early Action. To apply Early Action, students must submit a complete application including the Self- Reported Academic Record [SRAR] by the deadline of November 1.
Students applying Early Action will receive a decision by December 24 and will be part of the early financial aid awarding process beginning in mid-February if Penn State has received the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by December 1. Possible decisions for Early Action qualified applicants will be 1) admit; 2) deferral of decision to the November review group (see below); or 3) denial of admission.
Early Action is a non-binding commitment by Penn State to respond to applicants earlier in the admissions decision cycle. Applicants will still have until May 1 to pay their enrollment deposit or commit to Penn State. If you tend to stress out more than most and have been dreading the college admissions process, applying early action may be the best way to make your senior year of high school as enjoyable as possible.
For those students choosing not to apply Early Action and for all domestic students, we recommend submission of a complete application, including all required materials, by December 1. While not a deadline, admission becomes more competitive for applications received after December 1.
NOTE: The majority of students that apply by December 1 will receive an admission decision in January, but some students may receive their decisions earlier.
The most important piece of our review is your academic record, which represents your individual four years of academic development. Penn State’s assessment of application materials includes the academic courses, grades and levels of those courses and standardized test scores (optional for summer/fall 2021), plus additional factors that may include an audition, a portfolio review, the geographic and cultural background of the student, the personal statement, and the activities list. We take a hard look at the many roles you serve as a student, sibling, athlete, son or daughter, volunteer, and/or employee. Assembling a class of students with diverse interests and experiences is a task that we take seriously.
Penn State does not have a minimum GPA or standardized test score used for admission. There are no such things as “cut offs.” We review students taking into account a full range of factors.
Please refer to the provided chart of the middle 50% to help determine your competitiveness for admission. Remember, this chart is not a guarantee of admission but a helpful guideline for interested applicants.
Class of 2025 Profile:
Middle 50% GPA and Test Scores Data
The ranges in the chart below represent the middle 50 percent of students offered admission to their first-choice campus for summer/fall 2021—they are not cutoffs or averages. This chart is for estimating purposes only and in no way represents a promise or guarantee of admission.
Placing in the upper end of both ranges increases the likelihood of being offered your first choice of campus and/or major. Placing in the lower end may require you to be more flexible in making your campus (and perhaps major) choices.
|High School GPA (unweighted 4.0 scale )||3.55-3.90||3.07-3.60|
|Evidence-Based Reading and Writing + Math||1280-1450||1090-1300|
To learn more about admission at the University, including the class profile for incoming first-year students, please review our Admissions Statistics.
Review of Additional Application Components
In addition to the main admission criteria outlined above, the Penn State application includes other components that can impact a student’s admission.
Penn State typically reviews applications for admissibility to the chosen campus, rather than a particular program (with the exception of a few majors, like our special programs). As a result, changing the major on your application typically does not change your admission decision–often times, the application review for a different major will lead to the same decision.
When evaluating applications, we look at the standardized test and academic performance in math more closely for admission to our math and science programs. Additionally, some of our programs, due to enrollment limitations, are more competitive for admission than other programs.
Summer Session at University Park
Those students who are interested in University Park and would like to increase their chances of admission to that campus have the option of indicating interest in the summer session. Students can select this option when completing the application.
We review students’ applications for their chosen semester of enrollment first, which is typically the fall semester. If we are unable to offer fall admission, and a student indicates that the summer session is an option, we then review the application for admission to the summer session. Admission to this session is slightly less competitive than fall admission. The summer session is mandatory for students accepted into the summer session at the University Park campus if the student is not admissible to the fall semester start.
Please note: This is not a remedial, transitional or introductory session–students will take two standard Penn State classes during the 6-week session. Students making satisfactory progress will then continue in the fall semester at University Park.
Alternate Campus Selection
First-year students are required to provide an alternate choice campus on their application, regardless of the application method used. Including an alternate choice campus allows us to efficiently review a student’s application for admission to Penn State, should they not meet the qualifications for their first-choice campus.
Please understand that we review a student application for their first-choice campus first. If we are unable to offer admission to that campus, we then review the application for summer (if University Park and if applicants have selected the summer option in their application.) or for admission to the student’s alternate choice campus. If the student receives admission to the alternate choice campus, this decision means we were unable to offer admission to the first campus. Students may then choose to remain at their offered campus for four years if their program is available, or they may opt to participate in our 2+2 plan by completing two years at that campus and their final two years at another campus.
Additional Application Materials for Special Programs
Some of our programs require additional application materials to complete an application. Please review the admissions requirements for those details.
Should you have questions about your application or admission decision, please contact Undergraduate Admissions to discuss your status.
Dates & Deadlines for First-Year Students
Application Deadline and Decision Information
Applicants are evaluated on a modified rolling admissions schedule. Additionally, some academic programs have limited enrollment and specific application dates. The deadline for first-year, domestic students to apply Early Action is November 1. For those students choosing not to apply Early Action and for all domestic students, we recommend submission of a complete application, including all required materials, by December 1.
To meet the application deadlines outlined below, you have to submit a complete application by the provided date. The important application dates are:
Fall and Summer Starting Semesters
|Early Action||August 1||by November 1*||by December 24||May 1|
|Rolling Admission||August 1||by December 1||by January 31||May 1|
|Rolling Admission||August 1||after December 1||Rolling||May 1|
Spring Starting Semester
|Rolling Admission||June 1||December 1||Mid-December||Refer to offer notification|
Those students who submit a complete application, including a Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR), by November 1 will have the best chance of admission to their first-choice campus and/or major and will receive an admission decision no later than December 24. Applying after November 1, while acceptable, may limit your campus and major choices.
The following programs require the receipt of a complete application by specific dates:
|Accelerated Premedical-Medical||November 1|
|Nursing||December 1 for Penn State University Park Applicants|
Penn State Altoona, Behrend (Erie), Fayette, Mont Alto, and Scranton are not held to this deadline
Penn State Campuses
Students are most competitive for their intended campus and/or major if they follow the schedule outlined above. But many of our campuses, with the exception of University Park, accept applications throughout the spring and summer and notify applicants of their admission on a rolling basis. Contact your campus of interest to inquire about applying.
Applying to the Schreyer Honors College
The Schreyer Honors College requires the completion of a supplemental application in addition to the Penn State Undergraduate Admissions application.
The important application and notification dates for applications to the Schreyer Honors College are:
|Fall Semester and Summer Session|
Application Available: Aug 1
|November 1||December 21||December 6||Before March 1|
Applicants who apply by November 1 have the opportunity to participate in an optional interview as part of the selection process. Applications received after November 1 will still be evaluated for the Schreyer Honors College, but those students will not have the opportunity to interview.
For more information on the selection process, please visit the Schreyer Honors College website.
Financial Aid Information
The Office of Student Aid at Penn State is responsible for making all financial aid awards.
Penn State recommends that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) be received by December 1 to receive maximum consideration for all types of student aid. The FAFSA is available online at studentaid.gov beginning October 1. Those students who submit their FAFSA by December 1 will receive their financial aid packages beginning mid-February. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about the student aid process and for specific deadlines.
Students enrolling in the summer session will have to submit the prior year’s FAFSA in order to be considered for financial aid for that session. This FAFSA is due June 30.
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Undergraduate applications open for fall 2022
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Applications open Aug. 1 for undergraduate admission to Penn State in fall 2022. Students can find application information at admissions.psu.edu. In addition to applying through MyPennState (available Aug. 1), prospective students can also apply using the Coalition application or the Common App (both also available Aug. 1).
Those who complete the application by Nov. 1, 2021, will be considered Early Action (EA) applicants. Students selecting EA will receive a decision by Dec. 24. Early Action applicants will receive notice of their student aid package in early February, giving them more time for financial planning. EA does not obligate admitted students to attend Penn State. Early Action applicants still have until May 1, 2022, to make their decision.
The dates and deadlines are:
- Aug. 1, 2021: Applications for undergraduate admission become available
- Oct. 1, 2021: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) becomes available
- Nov. 1, 2021: Penn State’s Early Action filing deadline
- Nov. 1, 2021: Schreyer Honors College early deadline for optional interview
- Dec. 1, 2021: FAFSA recommended filing date
- Dec. 6, 2021: Schreyer Honors College final deadline
- Dec. 24, 2021: Early Action applicants will receive their decision (admit, defer, deny)
- Early February 2022: Early awarding of student aid begins for applicants in Early Action
- May 1, 2022: National Decision Day (enrollment deposits are due)
Test scores on Penn State undergraduate applications will be optional at least through fall 2023. Students will be asked on the application if they want to have SAT or ACT test scores included in their evaluation. Students are able to change the response to the test-optional question as long as the request is submitted prior to receiving an admission decision. More information on test-optional admission is available here.
More information about undergraduate admission to Penn State is available on the Undergraduate Admissions website.
Penn State Undergraduate Admissions is part of the Office of Undergraduate Education, the academic and administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad.psu.edu.
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