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New Student FAQ's

Classroom Setting

What is the LEAP program?

It is a summer program geared towards incoming first year students who want to gain experience and knowledge of Penn State, classes, and college life. It provides students with the opportunity to meet faculty and friends and gain valuable experience. There are fieldtrips to different agricultural facilities for practical application of classroom material.

When I get to Penn State am I going to be just a number?

The College of Agricultural Sciences is one of the smaller colleges at Penn State University. Each department focuses on individual needs and concerns. Classes within your major are smaller than those within the general education curriculumn, and the professors are interested in both the material they teach and the students in their classes. Each student is also assigned an academic advisor; if you work closely with your advisor and become involved you will not be just a number.

How do I deal with large classes when I am only used to having about 30 people in a class?

Each professor has office hours during which you are able to meet with him or her to have your questions answered. Also, many larger classes have teaching assistants (TAs), who are also available to answer questions. It may take a little more effort on your part to make sure that all of your questions are answered in a large class, but with office hours, TAs, and tools like email you should not have any problems.

Community

Is the University Park campus safe at night?

Yes. Buses run late, campus police are on patrol, areas are well lit, and an escort service is available.

What is the campus environment at University Park?

Life on campus is fun and lively. There are opportunities to meet many different people, and each student is able to find a niche and a group of friends to match their personal interests and beliefs.

What is there to do on campus at night?

There are always many events taking place on campus at night. For example, LateNight Penn State in the HUB includes craft making, current movie viewings, dancing, speakers, game nights, and other fun activities. Sporting events and intramural sports take place at night as well.

What is there to do in State College?

Despite the fact that it is a small town, there are many things to do in State College. Shopping, restaurants, bars, sporting events, theatres, and concerts are just a few examples of what State College has to offer.

Curriculum

How are PSU campuses/colleges different from University Park?

Going to a campus/college location other than University Park eases your transition into college; classes generally are smaller, and the campus is smaller and often closer to home.

When do you need to declare your major?

Students declare a major at the end of their sophomore year, but if you are still not sure exactly what you want to study, there is always room for changes.

Housing

What is it like living in a residence hall?

Living in a residence hall offers a good opportunity to make new friends and learn from other people about different cultures. Also, by living in a residence hall, it is often easy for students to find people who are in their classes with whom they can study for exams and homework.

Is the dining hall food good?

The dining hall food is good. There is a tremendous variety, so it's safe to say that you will find something you like to eat no matter how picky you might be.

Where can I find information about living off campus?

Information about living off campus can be gathered at the Off Campus Housing Fair held annually in the HUB. Also, many realty companies hold open houses where potential tenants can tour different apartment buildings.

Opportunities

Are there any scholarship opportunities available to students in the College of Agricultural Sciences?

The College of Agricultural Sciences offers over $1.8 million worth of scholarships annually. To apply, see http://www.cas.psu.edu/ or contact your academic advisor.

Is it possible to live or work in the barn facilities?

Yes, students have the opportunity to live and work at six different facilities: the beef and sheep center, dairy barns, horse barns, meats lab, poultry barns, or swine center.

How do I qualify for work-study?

Work-study is a part of the financial package available to you. To find specific job opportunities, contact your academic advisor.

Are there hands-on experiences in the classroom?

Yes, there are many such opportunities available. General lab work is part of every science-based program. Classroom information is applied in a hands-on setting that allows students to relate to current industry practices.

Do I need to have research experience for graduate school?

Research experience is not required for graduate school, but depending on your field of interest it may be preferred. Regardless of your intentions after graduation, undergraduate research can greatly enhance your education.

How do I get involved in clubs?

The best way to get involved in any organization is to find something you are really interested in. There are over 500 student organizations that you can learn about on the club server, http://www.clubs.psu.edu/, or during the Involvement Fair held at the beginning of every semester in the HUB.

Resources

What are the computer facilities?

Computer labs are located in various places around campus, and many are open 24 hours a day. The labs include full Internet access and a variety of software programs. However, students who choose to bring a personal computer to PSU will also be provided with an Ethernet connection in their residence hall rooms.

What is the parking like on campus?

Student parking on campus is limited. Therefore, freshmen students are not permitted to bring vehicles to Penn State. However, there are specific parking lots reserved for students.

What can I do if I do not have a car on campus?

Many transportation options are available to you; these include taking the bus or taxi, carpooling, and of course walking, as most activities at PSU are located within a 15-minute walk.