Common Ag Science Questions

Academics

When do I need to accept my offer of admission by?

Students accepted to the University Park campus must accept their offer of admission by May 1st.  Students accepted to a commonwealth campus should also accept their offer of admission by May 1st as some campuses fill quicker than others, especially those with on campus housing.

When do I make my class schedule?

First year students will make their class schedule over the summer with their assigned academic advisor at New Student Orientation. New Student Orientation typically runs from June-August. The earlier you accept your offer of admission to Penn State and schedule your New Student Orientation date, the more variety that you will have when making your schedule.

If I change my major, am I going to have to do a 5th year?

Depending on when you switch your major, you will work with your academic advisor to determine your new recommended academic plan. The early you change your major, the less time it will take to “catch up” if there are pre-requisites and entrance to major requirements for your new major.

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 curriculum, 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.

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 field trips to different agricultural facilities for practical application of classroom material.

Can I change my major?

Yes. When accepted into the College of Agricultural Sciences, you will have an intended major. During your first 2 years, you will work with your advisor to main the minimum GPA needed and any entrance to major classes needed to officially declare your major at the end of your sophomore year. Because of this, students are able to change their major and work with an academic advisor to do so and maintain academic progress.

Can I take any electives or only ones relating to my major?

One of the best academic components to being at a large university is the variety and diversity of classes that are offered. You can take general education and elective credits from a vast amount of subject areas. You may be in “Food Product Making” on day and “Fitness Walking” class the next. Always work with your academic advisor to make sure you are fulfilling all degree requirements.

 

Research/Internships/Work on Campus

How do I get involved in undergraduate research?

Students can dive into undergraduate research as early as their second semester on campus and most start with a conversation with a faculty member about research that they are working on. More information on research grants and approval can be found here.

Are internships required?

For majority of our undergraduate programs, internships are not required (except for Turfgrass Science) but are strongly encouraged. Our college is fortunate enough to have a Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services that hosts an Ag Science Career Fair each fall, assists students with our job/internship site Nittany Lion Careers, and hosts one on one appointments with students for resume, cover letter and other networking assistance. More information on that office can be found here.

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

Yes, students have the opportunity to live and work at seven different facilities: the beef and sheep center, dairy barns, horse barns, meat lab, poultry barns, deer research center or swine center. Visit our Farms and Facilities page to find out more.

Are there hands-on experiences in the classroom?

Yes, there are many opportunities available. Students will experience agriculture up close and personal thanks to the proximity of hundreds of Ag Science facilities on the University Park campus!

Housing and Food Services

What is it like living in a residence hall and am I required to during my first year?

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. All first year students at the University Park campus are required to live on campus for their first year.

We encourage College of Agricultural Science students to check out our Special Living Option, Earth House! Earth House is located in North Halls, located on the edge of Ag Hill! This housing is only available to students admitted into the College of Agricultural Sciences and features suite style accommodations. Earth House residents take part in recycling efforts, visit organic farms, attend guest lectures, and participate in a variety of other educational experiences

Medical accommodations for students living in the residence halls can be found here.

Will the dining commons work with my food allergies?

Absolutely! There is a tremendous variety of food at each of our dining halls, so it's safe to say that you will find something you like to eat no matter how picky you might be.  Penn State Dining Services also works with students that have different allergies as well and is very accommodating.

 

Clubs and Organizations

How do I get involved in clubs and organizations during my first year?

The best way to get involved in any organization is to find something you are really interested in. There are over 1,000 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. In the College of Agricultural Sciences, we feature over 40 clubs related to all of our majors and species interests. We also host an Ag Sciences Involvement Fair every September.

 

General FAQ

Can I have a car on campus my first year?

First year students are not able to have a car on campus at University Park. Students can apply for a parking permit once they have completed 29.1 credits. There are plenty of ways for students to navigate campus and the surrounding areas without a car including: walking, the CATA bus services and bicycles.

Does everyone in the College of Ag Sciences have animal experience or come from an agricultural background?

The College of Agricultural Sciences is very diverse in the fact that about 80% of our first-year students from last year noted they did not come from an agricultural background. The College of Agricultural Sciences is welcoming to students from all backgrounds and provides numerous opportunities for hands on experiences, regardless of any previous experience or not.

What classes should I take the AP exams for?

In order to see if you have earned Penn State credit based on your AP test performance, please search the list of tests by subject here. That list outlines the exact course credit you will receive at Penn State for the score received on the exam. The awarded credit may apply as general credit, may count as credit for a particular course and/or requirement, or may allow you to advance to the next in a series of courses or take an honors-level course.

 

Scholarships

Are there any scholarship opportunities available to students in the College of Agricultural Sciences as a first year student?

Yes, The College of Agricultural Sciences offers over $2.9 million worth of scholarships annually. Once you are accepted into the College of Agricultural Sciences you are able to complete the college's scholarship application. Check out more scholarship resources here.