Of the 20 campuses comprising the Penn State college system, main campus Penn State University Park has by far the largest student population, with nearly 40,000 attending in 2010. It also boasts higher grade point averages (GPAs) and test scores for newly admitted students, with fewer than 60 percent of applicants accepted. Penn State does not set minimum admission requirements for high school grade point average and test scores, but these factors weigh heavily in determining whether a student is admitted to Penn State and to which campus.
Grade Point Average
Although no minimum standard is set, high school GPA weighs more heavily than any other factor considered on a student's application to Penn State. It accounts for about two thirds of the admitting body's decision. According to Penn State statistics for fall 2010 admissions, the middle 50 percent of students accepted to Penn State University Park maintained high school grade point averages between 3.52 and 3.97, based on a 4.0 scale. The range for the middle 50 percent of students admitted to all other Penn State schools in fall 2010 was 2.96 to 3.46, again based on the 4.0 scale.
Factors besides GPA affecting a student's acceptance to Penn State include high school class rank, extracurricular activities, work experience, recommendations, application essay and test scores. Combined SAT scores for the middle 50 percent of students admitted to Penn State University Park for the fall 2010 semester ranged from 1750 to 1990. For all other Penn State campuses, the scores of the middle 50 percent ranged from 1470 to 1720. The range of combined ACT scores for that middle 50 percent admitted to Penn State University Park was 26 to 30; for all other Penn State campuses, scores of the middle 50 percent ranged from 21 to 25.
Bachelor's Degree Prerequisites
To be eligible to begin a bachelor's (four-year) degree at Penn State, a student must have taken in high school at least four units of English; five units of social studies, arts, foreign language and humanities; three units of science; and three units of math. Usually one unit means one year of study. Note, however, that these listed requirements represent the average; different degree programs may entail more specific or additional requirements. Also, students must show proof of high school graduation or a GED.
Associate's Degree Prerequisites
To be eligible for the associate's (two-year) program, a student must have taken in high school at least four units of English; five units of social studies, arts, foreign language and humanities; two units of science; and two units of math. Again, requirements may vary from program to program.
- College Board: College QuickFinder: Results
- College Board: Penn State University Park
- Penn State Undergraduate Admissions: Middle 50% GPA and SAT Range
- Penn State Undergraduate Admissions: High School Course Requirements for 4-Year Degrees
- Penn State Undergraduate Admissions: High School Course Requirements for 2-Year Degrees
- College Data: College Profile: Penn State University Park