Top Ten Tips We Wish Applicants Knew
1. We Require Two Recommendation Letters
We only require two recommendation letters from your teachers. You do not have to send more, so, just because we give you the option to submit two more, please don't feel you have to.
2. We Don't Keep Track of Your Interest
We do not keep track of your interest in us—how many times you visit, call, e-mail, send food or flowers—it's just not something we record. We'd rather have you spend your time focusing on your application and hanging out with your friends.
3. Our Interview is Optional
Our interview is truly optional. If you choose to have one, you will have the chance to talk to one of our graduates and get to know more about their experience at Penn State and the honors college—and they will learn more about you. If you decide not to interview, that's okay, too.
4. No Tricks, Just Answer the Question
Our best advice for the essays? Just answer the question! We are not trying to trick you or have some hidden answers we are looking for. We just ask questions that will make you think and we want to know how you do that! There is no right or wrong answer. Be honest, be genuine and let your character and personality shine through. That's really all there is to it!
5. Check Your E-Mail Frequently
Please remember to check your e-mail frequently! This is the primary way we will communicate with you, especially after you apply, so don't forget to check it often! We know you're on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and more, but our admissions messages are sent to your e-mail address so make that a habit, too.
6. We Do Not Use Standardized Test Scores
It is true that we do not use standardized tests for admission to the Schreyer Honors College. Many people don't believe that, but why would we lie? Your academic record in high school is the most important piece of academic information we review; after all, the best predictor of future performance is prior performance. You'll be attending classes in college (not taking standardized tests) so your high school classes, course load and academic rigor is what we are interested in—really!
7. Pay Attention to Deadlines
Please, pay attention to deadlines. When we say the final application material deadline is January 16, we mean January 16…not the 17th, or 20th, or 21st. We publish all of our deadlines and priorities so everyone knows about them. Please don't ask us to "make an exception" because we need to treat everyone (and that means you) the same in order for this to be an equitable process.
8. Submit Letters of Recommendation Correctly
We try to make the process of submitting letter of recommendation easy—for both you and your teachers. Just include their e-mail address in your application and we send them a message explaining how to submit their letter—it's that simple. But, please remember to ask them if they are willing to do this for you and remember to follow up with them to be sure they submit your letter in time. We do not accept letters through Naviance or any other external service; all letters need to be submitted directly to us through our web application, as outlined in our initial e-mail to your teachers. We don't take anything through the mail…At all. Ever. Really.
9. Don't Wait, Apply Now
Please do not wait to get your Penn State admissions decision before applying to the honors college. If you do, you will likely miss our deadline. We recommend that you work on both applications at the same time, submit Penn State's application first, followed by ours, preferably before the end of November. Then, go enjoy your senior year!
10. We Want to Talk to You
We know you love your parents — we love our parents too! But, when it comes to college admissions, we like hearing directly from you! If you have questions about your application, or the process, please contact us — we love talking to you and, to be honest, we don't get that many phone calls from students anymore. So, in between your classes, at the end of the school day, before practice or work call us just to check in. You'll make us smile!