Here's what's next before classes begin!
Congratulations on your offer of admission to Penn State Altoona! This is the first step in a journey that leads to you becoming a Penn State graduate and joining Penn State alumni currently numbering 557,331 worldwide.
The following summarizes actions you will complete before beginning your Penn State classes. Be sure to check your email regularly and let Penn State know if you change your email address. Penn State primarily uses email from this point forward to communicate news, updates, deadlines, and other important information to you.
Don't forget to regularly check your MyPennState account at www.admissions.psu.edu as well. Our Future Students page serves as a hub of information about Penn State Altoona and provides links to informative University-wide Web sites.
Accept Your Offer of Admission
Paying the nonrefundable $200 acceptance fee informs Penn State that you accept the offer of admission. Your fee payment also notifies various Penn State offices to add your name to the list of new students they'll be contacting about programs or deadlines (some in addition to those included in this overview) that require your attention/action prior to the start of classes.
Carefully review the documents accompanying your offer of admission, and the equally-important on-line publications and web sites, before paying your acceptance fee. And be sure to complete all required actions by identified deadlines.
Important On-Campus Housing Reminders
If you are interested in living on-campus, pay particular attention to the insert in your offer of admission packet. On-campus housing spaces at Penn State Altoona are limited and requests for housing historically exceed the number of available first-year student spaces.
When you go on-line to pay your acceptance fee, a message indicates whether on-campus housing is available and identify your options before paying the nonrefundable acceptance fee.
First-year students are not required to live on-campus at Penn State Altoona. If you choose to live off-campus, you may want to begin investigating Altoona-area housing options. You will receive a refund of student aid exceeding your direct Penn State charges. The refund may be used to pay for off-campus living expenses.
Visit our Future Students page to learn more about your on- and off-campus housing options.
Apply for Student Aid
Check out Penn State Altoona's Office of Student Aid Web site to familiarize yourself with state, federal, and Penn State student aid information and application deadlines.
Notification dates for your student aid awards are determined by the awarding agency. For example, in late March, Penn State begins emailing student aid award notifications to students who were offered admission, and who completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by Penn State's March 1 preferred filing deadline. The FAFSA form can be submitted beginning January 1, even if you have not accepted your offer of admission.
Penn State Altoona is strongly committed to providing equal access to its academic programs and services to all students with disabilities that are otherwise qualified. A summary of disability services provided through our Health and Wellness Center is available at the center's Web site. Documentation Requirements identifies Penn State’s testing requirements for disability services review.
On-line Placement Testing
All incoming Penn State first-year students are required to complete on-line placement tests in math and chemistry, which takes approximately two hours. Your scores are used as an academic advising tool when you schedule classes. All associate and baccalaureate majors include a math requirement. Your chemistry placement scores are used only if chemistry is required in your major. Near the end of March, a postcard with placement testing instructions is mailed to applicants who paid the $200 acceptance fee. International students will be notified via the email address reported on the application for admission.
Your SAT or ACT writing score will be used for English composition placement advising. An academic advisor works with adult learners who may not have an SAT or ACT writing score to identify the appropriate English composition course.
New Student Orientation Phase One: SOAR
Penn State Altoona's Wilbur K. Kraybill Academic Information and Advising Center is notified when your placement test scores are received. The Center then contacts you with instructions on how to register for a date to attend Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) which is the first part of your student orientation.
SOAR is a one-day, mandatory academic orientation program. Program details are available on the SOAR Web site.
The on-campus portions of SOAR are scheduled for the last two weeks of June and the second and third weeks of July for summer and fall admits. Spring admits participate in the SOAR in January during the week before classes begin. Advanced standing (transfer) students will receive the name/contact information to arrange a meeting with your academic advisor who will assist you with scheduling classes.
Books and Supplies
After creating a schedule of classes, you can purchase or rent textbooks and materials through the Penn State Bookstore on campus. Digital downloadable versions are also available via eTextbook. You will need a copy of your schedule of classes to identify the required textbooks and materials. Different faculty members teaching different sections of the same course may require textbooks and/or materials that are specific to their sections. When acceptable by the faculty member teaching the course/section, a supply of used textbooks may be available from the Bookstore.
Individual courses/sections listed on the on-line Schedule of Classes, accessed through the Registrar's Office Web site, identify textbooks and materials for that course/section.
Keep your Bookstore receipt and avoid writing in your textbooks until your first class meeting in case you decide to drop a course from your schedule. Textbooks for courses dropped from your schedule can be returned to the Bookstore with a receipt of purchase. However, new textbooks with any markings are classified as “used” and will not qualify for a full refund of the original purchase price, even with a receipt.
If purchasing textbooks from students or outside vendors, be sure that the textbook edition meets your faculty member's requirements.
Penn State does not require specific computer hardware or software for first-year students. Required software supporting courses in all subject areas will be available on campus computer lab work stations.
If you will be ordering a new computer, our Office of Information Technology provides a hardware and software checklist that may be helpful as you make those decisions. The checklist is available through the Students portal on the OIT Web site. Additional technology-related resources are also identified.
Tuition & Fees Billing
If you attend New Student Orientation and create a schedule of classes, a message regarding your tuition/fees bill will be sent to your Penn State email account. The message, sent approximately four weeks before classes begin, provides instructions to view and/or pay your bill on eLion. Parents whose student granted them billing access will receive a message that the bill is available on the student's eLion account.
Your eBill identifies the student aid approved at the time your eBill is created. You will also receive instructions to have any student aid exceeding your direct Penn State charges deposited directly into your checking or savings account. These funds can be used to pay for books, transportation costs, off-campus living expenses, etc.
Your eBill will allow you to contact the Bursar's Office with your billing/credit reimbursement questions.
Students whose schedule of classes is created after the last regularly-scheduled FTCAP date will be billed on a different billing cycle.
Details regarding billing nofication, bill due dates, authorizing parent/others access, payment options and more are available at www.bursar.psu.edu/paybill.cfm.
Residence Hall Assignment/Arrival Day
Beginning in mid-July, students with a confirmed contract to live on-campus can log in at www.eliving.psu.edu to view their assigned residence hall and roommate. Information about moving into the residence hall, your scheduled arrival day, check-in information, what to pack and what to leave behind, etc. is available at www.welcomeweek.psu.edu/welcomeweek/altoona.index.cfm.
If you are living off-campus, verify your move-in date with your landlord, who determines that date at her/his discretion.
All first-year students are permitted to bring a vehicle to Penn State Altoona. Information concerning the vehicle registration procedure, parking fees, and the identification of designated student parking areas are available at on the parking Web site.
New Student Orientation Phase Two - Welcome Week
The Office of Student Life emails Welcome Week information to Penn State email accounts activated during SOAR. Immediately prior to the beginning of classes in August or January, students participate in mandatory sessions and activities.
Welcome Week is mandatory for all new first-year students, regardless of where you'll be living – on-campus or off-campus including students commuting from home. Details about Welcome Week are available on the Welcome Week Web site.
Be sure to complete the mandatory self-instruction modules described in your Welcome Week email notification.
Penn State Altoona's academic calendar is available on the Registrar's Office Web site.
Learn more at www.admissions.psu.edu/accepted.