Schreyer Honors College (SHC)at Penn State

Admissions Criteria

Student applying using her laptop

Because the Schreyer Honors College is about more than academic excellence, applicants must demonstrate evidence of leadership and engagement in the wider community. We look for students whose values and experiences are compatible with our mission and vision to achieve academic excellence with integrity, build a global perspective and create opportunities for leadership and civic engagement.

High school seniors interested in applying to the Schreyer Honors College must submit an application to Penn State as well as the Schreyer Honors College.

First-year applicants to the Schreyer Honors College are only considered for summer or fall entry to Penn State. Spring admission is not available to the Schreyer Honors College.

The following criteria are considered when reviewing applications to the Schreyer Honors College:


Criteria: Academic strength of the high school curriculum in grades 9-11, including evidence of honors work, advanced (AP, IB) classes if offered and strong academic performance (top 10 percent of class).

As grading scales and available curricula vary by school, we do not provide a GPA range for accepted students. Our applicants consistently score highly in the classroom based on the profile available to them.

Essay Questions

Criteria: Responses to three essay questions judged on direct answer to the question, development of thought, depth and breadth of topic knowledge and clarity of response.

Short Answer Questions

Criteria: Assessment of short answer questions based on honors and achievements, leadership positions, activities and service.

Responses should answer the following questions:

  • What does the applicant do outside of the classroom?
  • Are they involved in the life of the school and community?
  • Do they demonstrate empathy for others?
  • How do they use their skills and talents to make the world a better place?

Recommendation Letters

Criteria: Review of two recommendation letters. The recommendations should offer insight into the applicant's work ethic, motivation, academic strengths and ability to work as part of a team.

Interview Results (Optional)

Interview results, if available, will be based on an assessment of communication and interpersonal skills.

Not Considered

The Schreyer Honors College does not consider the following criteria when reviewing applications:

  • Standardized test (SAT/ACT) scores. The Penn State Undergraduate Admissions Office will require a test score for Penn State admission.
  • State or country of residency
  • Choice of academic college or major
  • Financial need

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