Join Us First-Year Students

Thank you for your interest in the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State!

The Honors College promotes achieving academic excellence with integrity, building a global perspective, and creating opportunities for leadership and civic engagement. Our student body is dynamic, diverse, and driven to change the world for the better.

We offer highly motivated high school students a rigorous undergraduate academic experience that combines all of the resources of one of the country's largest research institutions with all the benefits of a small liberal arts college.

View Your Schreyer Decision FAQs
Schreyer Scholar Marlisa Shaw in a lab

More Than A Test Score Application Components


To apply to the Schreyer Honors College, you'll need to complete two separate applications: the Penn State undergraduate application and the Schreyer Honors College application. We suggest you work on both applications at the same time, submitting the Penn State application first, and the Schreyer Honors College application second.

Application Platforms
  • MyPennState Application

    The link to the Schreyer Honors College application will be displayed in your MyPennState portal once you indicate your interest in the Honors College.

  • Coalition Application

    The Schreyer application is integrated within the Coalition application.

  • Common Application

    If you are using the Common Application it's important to complete your Penn State application early, since you won't be granted access to the Schreyer application until your Penn State application is submitted. Once you've indicated an interest in the Honors College on the Common Application, you'll be redirected to MyPennState to complete the Schreyer application.


Top Tips

Your Penn State and Schreyer applications are evaluated separately; decisions are made independently on the two applications.

Use whichever application platform you prefer, just remember to leave enough time to submit by the deadline!

Essay Questions

Each year, the Schreyer Honors College requires potential Scholars to answer three essay questions. These questions change on a yearly basis and are meant to elicit well-written, comprehensive responses. Essay responses have a maximum word count of 800 words.

2020 Essay Questions
  • Describe a typical day in your life in 2050. Consider what your professional life will look like, what technologies you might use, and how you will interact with your personal network (friends, family, etc.) and the world at large.
  • Describe a situation in which you moved outside your comfort zone, interacting with people whose experiences and/or beliefs are different from your own.  What was your initial response and how did you adapt? Walk us through the situation and explain what impact it had on you.
  • "A picture is worth a thousand words" refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single picture. If you could submit a selfie from anywhere in the world that would tell us about your beliefs and passion, where would you take this photo? What insight would this photo provide about you?

Top Tips

Get started on your essays early — they are released on our website in late June or early July.

There is no right or wrong essay answer — just answer the question to the best of your ability. Our questions are designed to push you to think, do some research, and apply your knowledge. Be honest, be genuine, and allow your character and personality shine through your writing.

Short Answer Questions

The Schreyer Honors College asks a handful of short answer questions to obtain information regarding honors and achievements, leadership positions, activities and service.

2020 Short Answer Questions
  • Please list any college courses you have received credit for and the school you took them at. This does not include AP/IB classes or other college-in-high-school courses. If you did not take any, please put N/A. Note: This section refers to college courses not reflected on your high school transcript.
  • Please tell us about a book that has influenced you, from any point in your life.
  • Please list the most important scholastic distinctions or honors you have received, including any special programs in which you have participated, such as international study, summer enrichment programs, internships, or research experiences, etc.
  • Please give us some information about your principal extracurricular, community, and family activities, work experiences, voluntary service, and hobbies, in the order of their interest to you. For each, be sure to include any major accomplishments such as leadership positions, varsity letters, awards, etc.
  • Please write a brief paragraph about your most significant activity out of those listed above, and its importance to you.
  • If you have any additional information that is not included in any other aspect of your application which you would like to share with the selection committee, please include it here. You may type the additional information or provide a website URL addresses in the space below.

Top Tips

Want to share your creative talents and accomplishments? You're welcome to submit this information electronically via the last short answer question.

As with the essay questions, we want to get to know who you really are. Let the true you shine through.


As part of the Schreyer Honors College application process, potential Scholars are required to submit two letters of recommendation. Recommendations can be from a teacher, a guidance counselor, a coach, or club adviser.

Applicants will have three options for submitting letters of recommendation — via Naviance, The Common Application, or by e-mailing them to the Schreyer Honors College.

These are the only portals through which letters of recommendation will be received. Please do not send recommendations to the Penn State Undergraduate Admissions Office as doing so will delay processing of the documents.

Note: It is solely the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all required documents are received by the final deadline of December 4 at 11:59 PM EST.

Naviance and Common Application logos

Schools that participate with Naviance or use The Common Application may upload recommendations to Penn State through these portals.

Alternatively, letters may be sent via e-mail to

Self-Reported Academic Record

Your Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR) must be submitted as part of your Penn State application. This process replaces having school counselors send academic transcripts for each applicant.

The Schreyer Honors College will review and rate your academic record as it relates to the opportunities offered at your particular high school.

We do not use standardized test scores in our evaluation as we've found them to be an inaccurate predictor of student success. In our opinion, one of the best predictors of future performance is prior performance; therefore, your course load and academic rigor in high school are the most important pieces of information we review.

Top Tips

Make sure to enter your grades exactly as they appear on your high school transcript.

If you are offered admission to Penn State, your final high school transcript will be sent to the University.

Optional Alumni Interview

If we receive your application by November 1, you will be invited to participate in an optional interview as part of the selection process.

The goal of this interview is to have a comfortable conversation with one of our alumni volunteers. They are eager to meet you, learn more about your interest in the Schreyer Honors College and share with you some of their Penn State experiences.

Please note that as this is an optional interview, your application will not be negatively impacted if you are not able to participate.

Top Tips

Our admissions interview is not intended to make you nervous or afraid — our alumni just want to have a conversation with you and get to know you better.

Interviews usually last half and hour, keep that in mind and use this time wisely.

Stay on Track First-Year Admission Checklist

Use this at-a-glance checklist to keep your Schreyer application on track.

June & July

  • Visit Penn State & the Schreyer Honors College

    There is no better way to see if a college is right for you then by setting foot on campus and getting a feel for the place. Not able to visit in the summer? Don't worry — Penn State has visitations year-round!

    Visit Schreyer
  • Begin Working on Your Essays

    The Schreyer Honors College essay questions are posted in mid-July to give you plenty of time to craft well-written, comprehensive responses by our application deadlines.

    View Essay Questions
  • Create a MyPennState Account

    Create a MyPennState account, and explore the Penn State University undergraduate application website. Learn about application requirements, academics, student life, and costs. Plus, you can chat with a current Penn State student.

    Create Your Account


  • Schreyer and Penn State Applications Open

    The Penn State undergraduate admissions application and the Schreyer Honors College application open on August 1. The Penn State application is available through three portals — MyPennState, the Coalition Application and the Common Application. The Schreyer Honors College application is available through both MyPennState and the Coalition Application. Students applying through the Common Application will need to go to MyPennState to complete the Honors College application.

    Although we do not have a platform preference, we highly encourage students using the Common Application to complete their Penn State application early, as they will not have access to the Schreyer Application via MyPennState until after the Penn State application has been submitted.

    MyPennState Coalition Application Common Application


  • Attend Scholars Day

    This annual fall open house gives you a comprehensive look at what Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College have to offer.

    Visit Schreyer

October & November

  • Priority Application Submission Deadline

    The early application deadline for Penn State is November 1. Students who apply by this date will receive a decision from the University by December 24.

    If you submit your application by 11:59 PM EST on November 1, you will be eligible to schedule an optional alumni interview. Please note that only your application is due by this date; your letters of recommendation may come later.

    Note: All the materials for the Schreyer Honors College application must be submitted online. If you wish to submit applications that are audio or visual representations of your work, publish them online and include links in the appropriate section of the Honors College application. No offline material will be accepted or reviewed.

    MyPennState Coalition Application Common Application
  • Admissions Interview Signup Opens

    The Admissions Interview portal will open for students who have submitted their Honors College application. Interview spaces are limited and assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. All interviews must be scheduled and completed between November 1 and December 17.

    Schedule an Interview


  • Final Application Submission Deadline

    If you weren't able to finish the application by the priority deadline in November, our final submission deadline is December 4. In order to meet this deadline, you must have submitted an application for both Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College and have submitted all of the required documentation for both applications by December 4 at 11:59 PM EST.

    MyPennState Coalition Application Common Application
  • Recommendation Letters

    All letters of recommendation must be submitted online by December 4 at 11:59 PM EST.


  • Admissions Decision

    Look for your Schreyer Honors College admission decision online in mid February to early March. We'll notify you in advance by e-mail of the date and time our admissions decisions go live. Good luck!

    View Your Decision

March & April

  • Accepted Student Receptions

    If you have been accepted to the Schreyer Honors College, consider attending one of our many Accepted Student Receptions held in March and April. Information regarding these events will be posted online.


  • Offer Acceptance and Housing Selection Deadlines

    The deadline for accepting a Penn State and Schreyer Honors College offer is May 1 at 11:59 PM EST. Incoming Scholars also need to select their on-campus housing option by May 15.

    Accept Your Schreyer Offer Accept Your Penn State Offer Select Your Housing
  • New Student Orientation

    New Student Orientation consists of online placement testing as well as an overnight visit to campus in late-May. Detailed information is sent to you after you pay your acceptance fees.

    Learn About NSO

What We Look For Application Review Process

While the Penn State Undergraduate Admissions Office will evaluate your credentials for admission to the University, the Schreyer Honors College will conduct its own evaluation. These evaluations are conducted completely independently of each other, however, your entrance into the Honors College obviously depends on receiving an offer from Penn State.

Schreyer is ultimately looking for well-rounded students that excel both inside and outside of the classroom. We pride ourselves on fostering a diverse community of difference makers here in the Honors College and keep that in mind as we review applications.

Selection Committee

As part of your evaluation, your application will be read by at least two members of our Selection Committee. Applications are assigned to these readers randomly and are anonymized as much as possible. Selection Committee members will read and rate (via a norming process) all of their assigned applications. These ratings, along with reader comments, are used to help determine your admissions decision.

Optional Admissions Interview

If you apply by the Priority Application Deadline (November 1), you will have the opportunity to request an optional admissions interview with a Scholar alumnus/alumna. Interview availability is offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so please register as soon as possible if you are interested. Every attempt will be made to match alumni volunteers with applicants, but due to alumni availability, the College cannot guarantee that every request will be honored.

Alumni interviewers are asked to submit ratings and comments based on the conversation they have with you. Just be yourself and let your passion shine through. The interview is also an opportunity for applicants to learn more about life as a Scholar at Penn State.

Please note that alumni interviews are completely optional. The applications of students who do not select or were unable to participate in the optional alumni interview are not negatively impacted. Final admissions decisions are based on the material submitted as part of the student application.

Schreyer Garden sign
Schreyer Scholar Alex Walsh

At the Honors College, you're surrounded by people who are just as motivated and hardworking as you. If you were a person who rose above in high school, that's basically what the Schreyer Honors College is, and you'll fit right in.

Alex Walsh '17 Engineering

Join Us First-Year Students

View Your Schreyer Decision FAQs