Penn State University Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know
Overview of Penn State University
Penn State University Park is a public research institution situated in State College, Pennsylvania. The institution has a large selection of 275 undergraduate and graduate degree programs for students to choose from. A robust student/faculty ratio backs students, and professors take a personalized approach to the teaching and learning process. Outside of the classroom, students will find plenty of opportunities to engage with the campus community via many clubs and organizations. The Penn State Nittany Lions play in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference.
- Total Enrollment: 46,810 (40,363 undergraduates)
- Gender Breakdown: 53 percent male/47 percent female
- 97 percent full-time
Cost of Attendance Information
- Tuition and Fees: $18,450 (in-state); $35,514 (out-of-state)
- Books: $1,840
- Room and Board: $11,884
- Other Expenses: $4,788
- Total Cost: $36,962 (in-state); $54,026 (out-of-state)
Financial Aid Information
- Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 65 percent
- Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
- Grants: 34 percent
- Loans: 48 percent
- Average Amount of Aid
- Grants: $6,928
- Loans: $6,651
Academic Programs Offered
- Most Popular Majors: Engineering; Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; Social Sciences; and Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs
Retention and Graduation
- First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 93 percent
- 4-Year Graduation Rate: 66 percent
- 6-Year Graduation Rate: 85 percent
NCAA Athletic Programs
- Men’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Fencing, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball, Wrestling
- Women’s Sports: Cross Country, Fencing, Field Hockey, Golf, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball
Overview of Penn State University Admissions
Penn State University accepts over half of applicants and has a selective admissions process. Students whose SAT/ACT scores and GPA are within the institution’s requirements have a good chance of being admitted. Applicants should complete an online application and send test scores from either the SAT or ACT and high school transcripts. Students with unique talents and accomplishments can still receive strong consideration even if their GPAs are outside of the mean range. After applying, students will receive a message from an admissions counselor about the application process’s next steps.
During the 2018-19 admissions phase, Penn State had an acceptance rate of 56%. For every 100 students who submitted applications, 56 students gained admission, making Penn State’s admissions process competitive.
SAT Requirements and Scores
During the 2018-19 admissions phase, 74% of students provided SAT scores. This admissions data reveals that most of Penn State’s students score within the top 35% nationally on the SAT. 50% of students admitted to Penn State scored between 580 and 660 on the evidence-based reading and writing section, while 25% scored under 580, and 25% scored over 660. 50% of students scored between 580 and 700 on the math section, while 25% scored under 580, and 25% scored over 700. Applicants with a cumulative SAT score of 1360 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at Penn State University.
ACT Requirements and Scores
During the 2018-19 admissions phase, 22% of students provided ACT scores. This admissions data reveals that most of Penn State’s students score within the top 22% nationally on the ACT. The median 50% of students admitted to Penn State received a cumulative ACT score between 25 and 30, while 25% scored over 30, and 25% scored under 25.
In 2019, the median 50% of Penn State University Park’s class had high school GPAs between 3.55 and 3.97. 25% had a GPA of over 3.97, and 25% had a GPA under 3.55. Successful applicants have A and B grades primarily.
Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission
If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for Penn State University, it should be easy to gain admissions to the schools below. If Penn State University is currently out of your reach, then you are sure to be a competitive candidate for the schools below.
University of Alabama, Colorado State University, Quinnipiac University, Ohio University, University of North Texas, University of Texas at Arlington, California State University Long Beach
Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission
If you’re a competitive candidate for Penn State University, you should have an equal chance of gaining admissions at these schools.
University of California, Davis, Chapman University, Syracuse University, United States Military Academy, University of Cincinnati, Hofstra University, Texas Christian University
Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will be More of a Challenge
These schools are more challenging to gain admission into than Penn State University. If you improve your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, you’ll be a competitive candidate.
University of California, Santa Barbara, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Washington, Stony Brook University, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, University of Connecticut, University of California, Irvine
Applying to Penn State University
Application Deadline: Rolling
Undergraduate Admissions Website:
Undergraduate Application Link(s):
Graduate Admissions Website:
Graduate Application Link(s):