Top Ten Tips We Wish All Counselors Knew
1. Our Students Aren't Numbers
Penn State is a big place, but that doesn't mean our students are "numbers". The Schreyer Honors College is a small community and our staff know our students by name. We love working here and are proud to represent Penn State and Happy Valley — and we want to help you and your students learn more about us. Please tell your students to call or e-mail us and we want you to do the same. We promise to be helpful and pass along some of that Penn State spirit!
2. We Require Two Recommendation Letters
We only ask for two letters of recommendation. Applicants may submit up to four but we really only need two. You can assure your students that submitting two letters is truly ok.
3. Submit Letters of Recommendation Correctly
We will send an e-mail to anyone listed as a recommender in the student's application. This e-mail is very important because it includes instructions about how to upload the letter of recommendation. We do not accept letters via Naviance or any other third party vendor. We also don't take paper copies…of anything. So please follow the simple instructions in the e-mail and your recommendation will be received just fine.
4. Only One Transcript Needed
We can access the self-reported high school transcript in each student's Penn State application, so we do not need a separate copy. We might be a big university but we really do work together!
5. One Application, Two Deadlines
The honors college admissions application has two deadlines: A priority deadline of November 30 and a final deadline of December 20. If your student applies by November 30, they will be able to request an alumni interview. That is the only difference between the two deadlines. Also, the later they submit their honors college application, the less time they have to get all of their recommendations in by December 20. Please encourage them to apply by November 30.
6. Don't Wait, Apply Now
Be sure to tell your students to finish their Penn State and their honors college application around the same time. They should not wait until they get their Penn State decision before applying to the honors college because it might be too late.
7. Our Interview is Optional
Our alumni interviews are optional — not everyone does one but if they do, it will be used in the admissions evaluation. Most students benefit from doing an interview. Based on last year, the chances of getting an admissions offer is actually 10 percentage points higher if they participate in the interview!
8. Our Application Process is Very Competitive
Our application process is very competitive — one in five applicants is offered admission so we are looking at the best of the best high school students around the country. If you are working with high school honors students who have taken a rigorous course of study, performed well and distinguished themselves outside of the classroom, then encourage them to apply. But, please also tell them to do their very best job on the application. Our essays and short answer questions are an important part of our selection process — they can't just get in on numbers alone!
9. 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 it's true! The high school academic record is the best predictor of future performance. Students will be attending classes in college (not taking standardized tests) so high school classes, course load and academic rigor is what we are interested in — really!
10. Encourage Students to Visit Us
Encourage your students to visit us. We have plenty of opportunities throughout the year for students to visit campus and get to know more about Penn State and Schreyer Honors College. We love to meet with prospective students and their families, but it's important to know that we do not keep track of an applicant's interest in us. We also like to visit you at your high school. So let us know if you'd like us to stop by — it's good for us to walk the halls of a high school again, smell cafeteria food and find out how your football team is doing!
11. Help Us Help You
Okay, we lied when we said "Top Ten Tips…". We know you have a tough job and we really appreciate all that you do for your students. If you can't find something on our website or think we should add more information somewhere, please let us know. We want to help you do your job, so we ask you to tell us how. We think every day should be Counselor Appreciation Day!