How Can We Help Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

We are glad you would like to learn more about the Schreyer Honors College. The answers to many of our commonly asked questions regarding admissions, academic requirements, and more can be found below.

Alternative Grading (Spring 2021)

Penn State has announced that alternative grading is in effect for the Spring 2021 semester. In deciding whether to apply alternative grading, we ask that students consider possible impacts before doing so. For example, graduate or professional schools or other entities that review transcripts to make decisions may view alternative grades negatively, especially if those grades relate to courses that are critical to the discipline. Thus, if there is no compelling reason to use an alternative grade, then we suggest that students leave their earned letter grade.

In addition, some colleges administer controlled majors that require certain grades in specific courses to earn entry to pursue those majors. That specific list is noted in the Penn State Undergraduate Bulletin. The use of alternative grades for those courses for these specific majors may not be allowed, according to the policies of the academic colleges. Please consult the Keep Learning website for the specific courses prior to applying alternative grading and consult your honors adviser if you have additional questions.

In this section, you will find a set of frequently asked questions to provide clarity regarding alternative grading and how the Schreyer Honors College will apply the students’ use of alternative grades.

Yes. You can choose to use alternative grading for any course you receive a letter grade. There is no limit to the number of courses. However, please note impacts of alternative grades on honors courses (see other questions for information).

The College will use the GPA noted on the transcript after the alternative grading period has expired to review if a student is in good standing or action needs to be taken.

Yes; however, only letter grades (not alternative grades) contribute to the GPAs. All semester and cumulative GPAs will be reviewed once the alternative grading period has expired. Schreyer Scholars must earn a 3.40 to remain in good standing and must graduate with a 3.40. The Schreyer GPA expectation will not be changed except that alternative grades will not be included in the GPA consideration. Additionally, students may be dismissed, but, as always, students have the option to appeal via the normal process. Note that each warning or dismissal will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis prior to a decision being made.

Once final grades have been posted, each Schreyer Scholar’s semester and cumulative GPA will be reviewed for good standing as is the normal process.

Semester GPA: We will evaluate each Spring 2021 semester GPA where 12 or more credits of letter grades have been earned. Each student will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Cumulative GPA: We will evaluate each student’s cumulative GPA as reported on the transcript for standing on a case-by-case basis.

If you choose to use alternative grading, you will earn Honors credit for a SAT grade, but you will not receive Honors credit for a V or Z grade.

If you choose to use alternative grading, you will earn Honors credit for a SAT grade, but you will not receive Honors credit for a V or Z grade.

The list of administratively controlled majors can be found here. Please consult with your Honors Adviser if you know you will pursue one of these majors as certain courses cannot be used to satisfy ETM requirements for certain majors if the courses have alternative grades associated with them. If you are considering one of these majors as a first or second year student, consult your Honors Adviser or contact Ms. Rodgers to seek advice whether to use alternative grades.

Special Note: The Advertising/Public Relations (AD/PR) major in the Bellisario College of Communications has one ETM course (ENGL 15) that requires a letter grade. Schreyer Honors Scholars typically take an H course alternative (ENGL/CAS 137H) instead of ENGL 15. Schreyer Honors Scholars need to take a letter grade for their ENGL 15 alternative in order to enter the AD/PR major.

Finally, we understand the challenges that students face in the current academic environment. Looking forward, we ask students to consider their learning environment for future semesters in making decisions regarding the number of credits they are registered to take. If students found themselves overwhelmed this spring semester or do not learn effectively in this current environment, they should consider reducing their future semester credit load, if possible.

Please contact Academic Affairs with any questions or concerns.

Courses & Credit

Yes, you can double major, triple major, even quadruple major! Approximately 30 percent of Schreyer Scholars have a double major. You can add minors, as well. Penn State has about 200 minors, and about 30 percent of Schreyer Scholars are pursuing at least one minor.

No, unlike high school, the Honors College does not recommend that Scholars enroll in numerous honors courses each semester. Scholars are required to take a certain number of honors credits based on their entry into the College. Most Scholars take 1-2 honors classes per semester. Other courses, both general and within the chosen major, are not necessarily honors courses.

There are multiple ways to earn honors credit, including taking an honors course, completing an honors option, taking advanced classes and studying abroad. Full details can be found on the Honors Courses & Credit page.

Honors Requirements

Scholars must maintain a 3.40 GPA while at Penn State to be in good standing with Schreyer. Should you drop below a 3.40, you do have a semester to bring it up. Scholars are also required to have a certain number honors credits by the time they graduate. Those credits are spread out over your time in Schreyer and can equate to two honors classes per semester. Scholars are also required to submit a thesis approximately one month prior to graduation.

First-Year Admissions

We advise you to work on your Penn State and Schreyer Honors College applications at the same time. Submit Penn State's application first, followed by ours — please do not wait for an admission decision from Penn State. Then, enjoy your senior year!

E-mail is our primary method of communication with applicants, so remember to frequently check the address you provided on your application. You can always contact us with any questions. And remember that once you've submitted your application, you can track its status online.

Schreyer does not offer early decision. To take advantage of Penn State Early Action, you must apply by November 1. You have until May 1 to accept any offer from either the College or the University.

Due to the variability of grading scales used by high schools, we do not set a GPA requirement for admission to the College.

The admissions interview is optional.

In addition to other financial aid, the Schreyer Honors College provides an Academic Excellence Scholarship for each incoming first-year student.

Effective Fall 2018, all first-year Scholars will receive a $5,000 annual scholarship renewable for all four years of your undergraduate education. Schreyer also offers additional grants and scholarships for experiences such as travel abroad, research, etc.

Penn State accepts credits depending on your exam score. You can find details on the Getting Penn State Credit section of the Undergraduate Admissions website. Please keep in mind the credits will not count as honors credits but will apply toward your degree requirements.

The Honors College usually announces admissions decisions in the spring by the beginning of March. Penn State admissions decisions are announced first and all applicants to the Schreyer Honors College must have an admissions offer to Penn State.

Career Development

Internships and co-ops are required by some majors, but not all. Regardless of the requirements, you will have support from faculty, your advisor(s), Schreyer Honors College Career Development, Penn State Career Services, etc. to ensure you're able to take advantage of all the opportunities you are interested in.

The Leadership Development Center (LDC) is a one-day developmental experience offered twice a semester to Schreyer Scholars only. During the LDC, students participate in several exercises simulating a highly engaging "day at work" within the context of a specific business scenario applicable to all majors and career paths. Students complete independent work tasks, interact with professionally trained assessors, and collaborate with their peers.

After participating in the LDC, students receive individualized developmental feedback and are given insight into competencies deemed most pertinent to success by industry leaders. Students can then use the feedback to create an action plan with a trained assessor. The action plan outlines specific ways students can develop as leaders in ways most applicable to them to initiate actual growth in leadership skills using resources at Penn State and beyond. This unique opportunity is offered free of charge to Scholars in partnership with PNC.

The events that are listed in the weekly newsletter are Honors College specific and an exclusive benefit to being a Scholar. The sessions are much smaller (a dozen or so vs. hundreds of students) than other employer sponsored events on campus. Almost all of the events are hosted by employers who are Scholar alumni who want to recruit and assist other Scholars, thus providing for a unique networking experience.

Attend Schreyer Honors College events; talk to faculty, your peers, and upperclass Scholars; join a Schreyer student organization (Medical Team, Schreyer Consulting, Schreyer for Women, and the Career Development Program, for example).

Global Perspective

Penn State offers about 300 study abroad programs in more than 50 countries. Scholars can pursue those programs or the exclusive opportunities within the honors college. There are generally five to ten exclusive programs for Scholars every year. Locations often include London, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Greece, etc. Approximately 45 percent of Scholars participate in study abroad.

Honors Community

You are not required to live in honors housing at University Park, but we strongly encourage you to do so. Approximately 95 percent of each first-year class does elect to do so. Benefits of living in honors housing include the location on campus, being near your peers and Schreyer staff, etc. If you live in honors housing your first year, you are guaranteed honors housing all four years at University Park, provided you complete the housing contract paperwork in a timely fashion each year.

You will only be stuck in your room studying if you choose to do so! You are welcome and encouraged to explore the many sides of Penn State, which includes clubs, activities, organizations, Greek life, etc. Your experience will be what you make of it!

State College is the quintessential college town. Although it is not an urban setting, it has plenty of amenities for dining, shopping, and recreation.

Yes. While Scholars have priority for housing, as long as they remain in the housing system and complete paperwork each year, they are able to name a non-Scholar as a roommate of choice, subject to the roommate having a housing contract and space being available in Atherton or Simmons Halls. It is important that both students preference each other on the housing contract.

Schreyer Scholar Siddhi Deshpande

Schreyer offers so many unique experiences and for me, a pre-med student, it was touring Weill Cornell Medicine. It made me feel like no matter what I wanted to do — no matter what my ambitions were — Schreyer found a way to make them possible by giving me the support and foundation and outlet to pursue them.

Siddhi Deshpande ' 22 Neurobiology