Schreyer Honors College (SHC)at Penn State

Getting the Most from Your Visit

Whether you’re planning an overnight stay or just stopping by for a few hours, a visit to Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College should give you a good idea of what you can expect to experience during your four years as a Schreyer Scholar.

Below is information to help you make the most of your time on campus.

Campus Tours: Covering the Grounds

Students walking The Mall on campus

Penn State's Undergraduate Admissions Office has students, known as Lion Scouts, leading walking tours around campus.

  • Tours cover 2.2 miles of campus and include walking up "the Mall," the tree-lined avenue connecting Penn State with downtown State College; Pattee Library; classroom buildings; the Hetzel Union Building, Penn State's student union; and a stop at a residence hall.
  • Campus tours are offered in conjunction with the Admissions Office's presentation.
  • Tours are held throughout the year, but the schedule week-to-week varies.
  • Peak tour times are during the months of October, November, March, and April. During those months, tours are offered almost daily during the week, and tours tend to fill up so register early.
  • Saturday tours are available most weekends but not during home football games and other special events.
  • With more than 25 miles of paved sidewalks crisscrossing Penn State's University Park campus, be prepared to cover some ground during your visit. Vehicle access on Pollock Road (which cuts through central campus and runs along the Hetzel Union Building, Old Main, the Mall, and Willard Building) is restricted weekdays during business hours so the only way to get from one side of campus to the other is by foot. Expect level or gently sloping terrain. Comfortable walking shoes are a must.
  • To register for a session and tour at University Park, sign up here. If interested in attending another Penn State campus, visit

Like to explore on your own? This map gives you the route of a 2-mile self-guided walking tour that will take you from Shields Building on the eastern edge of campus to the Nittany Lion Shrine before you walk back to the start.

Academic Programs: Majors, Minors & More

Student visiting the Graphic Design program at Penn State

Take a closer look at a major by scheduling time to meet with an academic department or college.

While the Honors College can give you general information about what it is like to be a Schreyer Scholar enrolled in a specific academic college, the individual colleges can provide you with much more information about major requirements, opportunities unique to that discipline, and success stories about their graduates.

More information about each of Penn State's 12 academic colleges that confer undergraduate degrees can be found via the Penn State website.

Undecided? No problem! About 8% of the incoming freshman class of Schreyer Scholars each fall enters through the Division of Undergraduate Studies, an academic unit that helps students explore which of Penn State's hundreds of degree programs is the right fit for them.

Atherton Hall: SHC's Administrative Home

The college's administrative offices, including the Dean's Suite and our admissions office, are housed in Atherton. More importantly, Atherton is one of Penn State's two residence halls designated for honors housing. The public areas of the building — namely the college's offices and main lobbies — are open weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. We'd love to see you!

See the Sights

Visitors come to find that the State College area's nickname, "Happy Valley", fits the town and surrounding communities year-round.

Check out the Central Pennsylvania Convention & Visitor's Bureau website for a list of local events coinciding with your visit.

Another source for information on what's happening in town is

The Daily Collegian, Penn State's weekday student-run newspaper, and Onward State, a student-run, independent blog, provide new reports, previews of upcoming events, and the top stories generating buzz on campus.

To see what's happening at Penn State, you'll find a list of links to campus attractions, performing arts venues, and more on the Visitors and Neighbors section of the Penn State website.

Get the Scoop: Creamery Ice Cream

No trip to Penn State is complete without a visit to the Berkey Creamery, the home of Penn State's famous ice cream. If you're in luck, Scholar's Chip (the Schreyer Honors College's own signature flavor) might be one of the day's features.

Penn State 101: Tips for Making the Most of Your Trip

  • Talk to students and ask them what they like about Penn State.
  • Stand along Pollock Road when classes change, and watch how 40,000 people move from place to place in an orderly fashion.
  • Listen for the Old Main bell to chime on the quarter-hour.
  • Visit the HUB, the Hetzel Union Building, where the frenzied energy of student life is on display 24/7.
  • Go see the ducks in the pond by Hintz Alumni center, and enjoy the lawn's gardens.
  • Stand on the stately front porch of Old Main and then head inside to see the newly restored frescos in the lobby's portico.
  • Picture yourself wearing blue and white.

And these last tips from Schreyer Scholar Toni Mastropieri:

  • Come with questions.
  • Bring sunglasses and an umbrella — you never know if you'll need them.
  • Wear sneakers.
  • Make sure you have an extra $15 on hand — because you're going to want to buy a Penn State T-shirt.
  • Get ready to yell the "We Are…" cheer — because we'll teach it to you while you're here.
  • Look around with an open mind.
  • Be excited to learn about Penn State.

Get To Know Schreyer