Pennsylvania State University - Acceptance Rate, GPA, and Requirements - collegegazette.com (2023)

The main campus of Penn State can feel like a separate town in itself, in the best way possible.

Penn State has the 5th largest college campus globally and utilizes that campus wonderfully to give students access to any facility a hopeful college student could dream of.

But in fact, beyond its main campus, Penn State has roughly 20 campuses throughout the state of Pennsylvania, with each campus having its own unique affordances.

For example, their campus in Altoona is nestled within the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, which gives students the feel of a small college.

With fewer than 4,000 students in this serene mountain location, it offers a starkly different experience than those offered by Penn’s campus in University Park.

The University Park location has roughly 47,000 students. It has over 1,000 clubs, the second-largest football stadium in the nation, and everything a student could ask for when it comes to that big university feel.

As such, Penn State doesn’t just offer one kind of college experience, but dozens.

And they have a unique system to help students explore these different campuses so that by the time a student graduates, they will have experienced multiple college types: large and small, technical and liberal arts, metropolitan and rural.

The 2+2 plan helps students spend two years at one Penn campus, and then their remaining 2 years at another.

The question for many, therefore, will not be whether Penn State is the right choice. Instead, many will ask themselves how they might make the most of these diverse learning environments so that their Penn experience is the exact right college experience for them.

But before one begins to use Penn’s unique affordances to tailor a college experience that works just right for them, they have to be admitted.

As such, this article breaks down the key information which students need to begin their application journey: requirements, application essay information, application tips, and more.

By the end, students will know all they need to begin their process of becoming a Nittany Lion!

Pennsylvania State University Acceptance Rate

Pennsylvania State University - Acceptance Rate, GPA, and Requirements - collegegazette.com (1)

The Penn State acceptance rate hovers around 56%.

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However, Penn has an early action acceptance rate of 67.9%. The early action application deadline for Penn State is November 1st, with students hearing back from Penn around late December.

The standard deadline for applications is December 1st, with students hearing back sometime in late January.

Furthermore, which campus a student applies to will similarly affect their acceptance chances. Although Penn tends not to release campus-by-campus admissions information, looking at GPA, ACT, SAT, and the number of total applicants at each campus can help to illuminate admissions trends.

When one looks at test scores and GPAs for University Park compared to these same variables at other campuses, it appears that University Park is, on average, more difficult to be admitted to than many of Penn’s campuses.

Related to general admissions information is the frequency with which Penn students receive financial aid, as financial aid can frequently decide whether someone decides to attend a specific college.

Around 68% of Penn students receive some form of financial aid. Penn’s FAFSA deadline is December 1st.

Pennsylvania State University Out-of-State Acceptance Rate

The out-of-state acceptance rate for Penn State hovers around 42%.

Interestingly, although out-of-state students comprise roughly 35% of the overall Penn State student population, at University Park—Penn’s main campus—roughly 45% of students come from out of state.

That being said, it is essential to note that this is most likely because most out-of-state applicants apply to the University Park campus.

Although the out-of-state acceptance rate varies from year to year, it is generally a good rule of thumb to assume that the acceptance rate for non-Pennsylvania applicants will be roughly ten points below the in-state acceptance rate.

The prospect of applying as an out-of-state student to Penn State seems to be getting better and better by the year. However, the percentage of out-of-state and international students at a variety of Penn State campuses is steadily growing.

At the Scranton branch, for example, the amount of out-of-state and international students grew in 2021 from its usual 5-7% of the incoming class to 22%—a significant achievement for the school’s efforts to diversify its campuses.

GPA for Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University - Acceptance Rate, GPA, and Requirements - collegegazette.com (2)

Penn State does not have a minimum required GPA to be admitted, but based on the average GPAs of recent first-year classes one can learn more about what GPA might be considered competitive.

Because of how many students apply to the University Park campus, Penn provides the average high school GPA for both University Park applicants and all other applications separately.

The middle 50% of University Park students received a high school GPA ranging from 3.56-3.91. As such, one can assume this is the range a student must fall within to be most competitive.

For all other campuses, the average GPA ranged from 3.06-3.65.

Importantly, in a ranking from Penn admission regarding which factors they find most important in an applicant, GPA was the only factor that was ranked as “very important” to an applicant’s chances of admittance.

SAT & ACT Requirements for Pennsylvania State University

Similarly to GPA, Penn state does not have minimum standardized test scores one must meet to be admitted.

However, they provide data that gives potential applicants a glimpse into what a competitive SAT/ACT might be considered.

The middle 50% of the University Park campus’s ACT scores were 29-33. For all other campuses, the middle 50% scores ranged from 23-30.

For the SAT, the middle 50% at University Park was 1280-1450. For all other campuses, the middle 50% was 1090-1300.


In the same ranking that looked at GPA’s importance, Penn admissions ranked standardized test scores as being “considered” during admissions.

Other Requirements and Admission Tips for Penn State

Pennsylvania State University - Acceptance Rate, GPA, and Requirements - collegegazette.com (3)

Besides the necessary GPA and standardized test scores students might seek to attain to be considered competitive, Penn State also requires that students complete a standard array of high school coursework.

That being said, depending on the college or program one seeks to apply to, there may be specific courses a program requires high school students to have completed prior to admittance.

Typically, the majors/colleges that require additional coursework are math-heavy majors, and thus require four years of high school math classes instead of the minimum of 3 years.

Because there is no minimum GPA or standardized test score for Penn State, completing these high school courses is the only requirement for admission.

That being said, in order to be competitive, one is advised to strive for a GPA above a 3.5, or a 3.1 if one isn’t applying to the University Park campus. Importantly, GPA is the only factor Penn considered “very important.”

The only factor ranked by Penn as “important” is the rigor of one’s high school academic record. As such, it is wise for applicants to target these two factors—GPA and high school course load rigor—if they want to be as competitive as possible when applying to Penn State.

One way to achieve this course load rigor is by taking more courses in a given subject than is required by the minimum admissions criteria offered by Penn.

For example, students must take a minimum of 2 years in a foreign language to be admitted to Penn, and as such, a student could enroll in 3 or 4 years of high school language courses in order to increase their competitiveness.

Finally, applying by the early action date of November 1st is likely to increase one’s chance of admission by roughly 10%, based on the data regarding the early action acceptance rate compared to the general acceptance rate.

Essays for Pennsylvania State

Penn State utilizes the Common App system to gather applications, and thus uses the same essay prompts which appear on the Common App system for any given year.

To provide an example of the kind of question which might appear on the Common App, the 2021-22 application offered this question as an essay prompt: “Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?”

On top of the Common App application questions, Penn State has also included in recent years a supplemental essay which is 500 words in length.

This supplemental essay is very broad in scope, and essentially asks the applicant to tell the admissions team “something about themselves.”

In this essay, students are advised to tie whatever subject they chose to write about back to Penn State so that the admissions team can connect the applicant’s life experiences with how Penn State will be a good fit for them and vice versa.

Is Pennsylvania State University Right for You?

But even after the necessary coursework has been completed, the essays have been drafted and redrafted, and the standardized tests have been taken, an important question still remains. Is Penn State the right choice?

The answer to this question will vary from person to person, but an important factor to consider is just how many kinds of experiences Penn offers a wide variety of students.

Beyond its many campuses, even at University Park alone, Penn boasts over 1,000 student organizations.

Through these organizations, any student, regardless of their interest, can find a community of like-minded peers. Finding such a community at Penn will enhance one’s undergraduate education and lifelong career.

And beyond the wonderful academic affordances (Penn is consistently ranked as one of the top 3% of universities worldwide), when students discuss Penn State, they often discuss it with a focus on just how fantastic the experience of being a student there is.

This reality is not a surprise, as it’s supported by the data. Nich ranked Penn State as 9th for student life out of all universities in the U.S.

Especially when one considers how Penn State allows students to craft a college experience that is ideal for them by combining the affordances of their various campuses, so many students will discover that Penn State is the perfect choice.

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FAQs

What GPA do you need for Penn State university? ›

Penn State does not have any minimum GPA or test score requirements. Please refer to our admitted student admission statistics. When can students begin applying to Penn State as test-optional? SAT/ACT scores are not required, but will they be a consideration?

Is a 3.0 GPA good for Penn State? ›

Is your high school GPA good enough for Penn State? The average high school GPA for admitted students at Penn State is 3.59 on a 4.0 scale. (You can calculate your high school a GPA here.) This is a solid GPA, and Penn State is competing for quality students who have done well in high school.

Can I get into Penn State with a 3.2 GPA? ›

This makes Penn State New Kensington Moderately Competitive for GPAs. (Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 3.2, Penn State New Kensington accepts below-average students. It's OK to be a B-average student, with some A's mixed in.

What is the acceptance rate at Penn State university? ›

The Pennsylvania State University admissions is selective with an acceptance rate of 58%. Half the applicants admitted to Penn State have an SAT score between 1200 and 1400 or an ACT score of 26 and 32.

What is a 3.55 GPA in percentage? ›

A 3.5 GPA, or Grade Point Average, is equivalent to a B+ letter grade on a 4.0 GPA scale, and a percentage grade of 87–89.

Does Penn State accept everyone? ›

The acceptance rate at Penn State is 49.1%.

For every 100 applicants, 49 are admitted. This means the school is moderately selective. The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools.

What grades do I need for a 3.0 GPA? ›

B 83-86

What colleges Can you get into with a 3.0 GPA? ›

What Schools Can You Get into With a 3.0 GPA?
School NameLocationGPA
Clark Atlanta UniversityAtlanta, GA3
Kean UniversityUnion, NJ3
State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at CobleskillCobleskill, NY3.04
Texas Southern UniversityHouston, TX2.96
7 more rows

Is a GPA of 3 good? ›

Is a 3.0 GPA in high school considered good? A 3.0 GPA indicates a grade average of “B” and makes you eligible to apply to a wide range of schools, so yes! A 3.0 GPA is generally considered “good.”

What GPA does Harvard accept? ›

You should also have a 4.18 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Harvard, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application.

What is a 3.53 GPA? ›

What is a 3.5 GPA? First, it is important to know what a 3.5 GPA is. A 3.5 GPA is somewhere between an A- and a B+. You have a GPA above the national average of 3.0, and you should get accepted to several colleges. Even if it's a good GPA, you'll be up against students with better grades, including those with 4.0s.

What is the average GPA for Harvard? ›

The average Harvard GPA for the class of 2025 was 4.22, with most applicants scoring at least a 4.0. Simply defined, strong grades are required for admittance to Harvard, and the institution considers them “extremely essential” when making admissions choices.

What school has the lowest acceptance rate? ›

10 Colleges With the Lowest Acceptance Rates
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 4%
  • Princeton University: 4%
  • Stanford University: 4%
  • Yale University: 5%
  • Brown University: 6%
  • Dartmouth College: 6%
  • Duke University: 6%
  • University of Chicago: 6%
2 Sept 2022

What college has the highest acceptance rate? ›

Colleges with the Highest Acceptance Rates - Top 100
SchoolLocationFall 2021 Acceptance Rate
Academy of Art UniversitySan Francisco, CA100%
Adams State UniversityAlamosa, CO100%
Alliance UniversityNew York, NY100%
Baptist College of FloridaGraceville, FL100%
17 more rows

Is Penn State or Pitt better? ›

Penn State ranks higher in academics than Pitt.

Penn State ranks 63rd in the U.S. News and World Report's 2022 Best National Universities, which is way higher than Pitt.

Is a 1.8 GPA passing? ›

The answer is No. The national average for a GPA is around 3.0 and a 1.8 GPA puts you below that average. A 1.8 GPA means that you've gotten only C-s and D+s in your high school classes so far. Since this GPA is significantly below a 2.0, it will make things very difficult for you in the college application process.

Is a 2.75 GPA good in college? ›

Is a 2.7 GPA Good? A 2.7 GPA is noticeably lower than a 3.0 GPA, which is the national average. It's almost decent, but still a little low. Luckily, a 2.7 is certainly a GPA that can be pulled up to a solid number.

What is a 2.95 GPA in percentage? ›

A 2.9 GPA, or Grade Point Average, is equivalent to a B- letter grade on a 4.0 GPA scale, and a percentage grade of 80–82.

What major is Penn State known for? ›

What Majors & Academics Are Penn State Known For? Most students attend Penn State for its exceptional programs in engineering, business, and marketing. Nearly 16% of Penn State students focus their studies on engineering.

Which Penn State campus is hardest to get into? ›

At Penn State, selectivity varies according to campus, with University Park being the most competitive campus for admission. Some special programs are also more difficult to get into.

What is Penn State known for academically? ›

Penn State tied for #22 out of 212 ranked institutions in “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs.” In addition, the University ranked in the following specialties: #7 in Petroleum Engineering (tie) #8 in Biological/Agricultural Engineering (tie)

Can I raise my GPA? ›

The fewer credit hours you have earned, the easier it will be to raise your GPA. If you have a 3.0 GPA and 15 credit hours, by earning straight A's during your next (15 credit) semester, you can bump your GPA to a 3.5.

How many Bs can you get to have a 3.5 GPA? ›

How many A's and B's is a 3.5 GPA? Your grade point average, or GPA, is the average of the grades you've earned in all the classes you've taken. If, for example, you earned A's in five of your classes and B's in another five classes, you would have a 3.5 GPA.

What will an F do to a 3.0 GPA? ›

An F letter grade translates to zero grade points on the GPA scale.

What college will accept a 2.0 GPA? ›

What colleges can I get into with a 2.0 GPA? With a 2.0 GPA, you can get into Voorhees College, Metropolitan College of New York, and Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico-Miami. You may also want to consider attending a 2-year institution to raise your GPA before applying to a 4-year institutions.

Is a 2.6 GPA good? ›

Is a 2.6 GPA in high school considered good? A 2.6 GPA means that you've earned an average of a B- in all of your high school classes — it's not a bad GPA! Know that it doesn't make you competitive for college applications, though.

Can I get into college with a 2.5 GPA? ›

Yes, you can still get into college with a 2.5 GPA, although your path to a 4 year degree may look different than that of a student with higher grades. While there are selective private schools that require a higher GPA to be considered, you can always research universities that accept 2.5 GPA or lower.

Can I get a scholarship with a 2.8 GPA? ›

While you may find some scholarships require a 3.0 or higher to apply, there are many that have GPA requirements of 2.5 or higher, as well. Alternatively, there are many that don't require a GPA at all. You can find a variety of scholarships in our database, so apply to as many as you can!

What does a 2.8 GPA mean? ›

A 2.8 GPA, or Grade Point Average, is equivalent to a B- letter grade on a 4.0 GPA scale, and a percentage grade of 80–82.

Is a GPA of 2.0 good? ›

Is a 2.0 GPA good? The answer is No. The national average for a GPA is around 3.0 and a 2.0 GPA puts you below that average. A 2.0 GPA means that you've gotten only C-s and D+s in your high school classes so far.

What is the highest GPA ever? ›

It Depends on the Scale

A GPA higher than 5.0 is rare, but school point systems are occasionally structured so that students taking advanced classes can rack up bonus points. One student even managed to land a stunning 10.03 GPA by taking 17 advanced classes at a school that awarded bonus points.

What college requires the highest GPA? ›

Universities With the Highest Average GPAs
  • Harvard University. 3.64.
  • Yale University. 3.62.
  • Columbia University. 3.59.
  • Vanderbilt University. 3.57.
  • Duke University. 3.56.
  • Baylor University. 3.56.
  • Northeastern University. 3.55.
  • Dartmouth College.

What GPA is needed for Yale? ›

In truth, you need close to a 4.0 unweighted GPA to get into Yale. That means nearly straight As in every class.

Is a 3.92 weighted GPA good? ›

That's just as true with weighted scales as it is with unweighted scales. But in most cases, a weighted grade of 3.5 is considered good, and will at least allow you to apply to most major universities. A weighted grade of 4.0 or higher is very good and will be an impressive part of any application.

Is a 4.2 weighted GPA good? ›

A 4.2 indicates that you are earning Bs and B+s in high level classes or As and A+s in mid level classes. This is a very good GPA, and it should give you a strong chance of admission at most colleges. 99.36% of schools have an average GPA below a 4.2. You can apply to colleges and have a good shot at getting admitted.

Is a 4.7 GPA good? ›

In cases like this, a grade point average could surpass a 5.0! Most of us know that a 4.78 gpa is very good.

What is the #1 college in PA? ›

1. University of Pennsylvania. The University of Pennsylvania (Penn, or UPenn) is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia.

What GPA does MIT take? ›

Aim high. Even though there are no official MIT GPA requirements, you should aim for a 4.17 weighted GPA. If you're already a junior or senior figuring out how to get into MIT and your GPA is lower than 4.17, know that scores close to the average MIT SAT scores or ACT scores can counterbalance a lower GPA.

What GPA is needed for Stanford? ›

There is no minimum GPA or test score, nor is there any specific number of AP or honors courses you must have on your transcript in order to have your application reviewed or be admitted to Stanford.

What college has a 100 acceptance rate? ›

Top 100 - Colleges with Highest Acceptance Rates for 2022
City University of Seattle Bellevue, Washington100%
University of Maryland University College Adelphi, Maryland100%
Wilmington University New Castle, Delaware99.9%
Nyack College Nyack, New York99.8%
Montana State University–Billings Billings, Montana99.7%
5 more rows

Is there a college with a 99% acceptance rate? ›

The University of Maine at Presque Isle: 99% acceptance rate. Alabama State University: 98.9% acceptance rate. University of Saint Francis-Fort Wayne: 98.98% acceptance rate.

What university has the lowest GPA requirement? ›

Best Colleges that Accept Low GPA Requirements
  • Albany State University. ...
  • American InterContinental University. ...
  • Arkansas State University. ...
  • Arkansas Tech University. ...
  • Capella University. ...
  • Colorado Technical University. ...
  • East Coast Polytechnic Institute University. ...
  • Fort Hays State University.
5 Sept 2022

Who is the No 1 University in world? ›

1. Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.

Which University in USA is easiest to get into? ›

Popular Colleges with High Acceptance Rates
RankCollegeAcceptance Rate
Rank 1College University of KentuckyAcceptance Rate 90.79%
Rank 2College University of KansasAcceptance Rate 93.01%
Rank 3College Kansas State UniversityAcceptance Rate 94.07%
Rank 4College Iona CollegeAcceptance Rate 91.46%
21 more rows
1 Nov 2018

What is the easiest state school to get into? ›

Easiest Colleges to Get Into 2022
  1. Adams State University. Location: Alamosa, Colorado.
  2. University of Texas at El Paso. Location: El Paso, Texas. ...
  3. Eastern Washington University. ...
  4. Dickinson State University. ...
  5. Presentation College. ...
  6. Eastern Oregon University. ...
  7. Wright State University. ...
  8. Western Kentucky University. ...

What GPA do you need for Penn State Main? ›

Penn State does not have any minimum GPA or test score requirements. Please refer to our admitted student admission statistics. When can students begin applying to Penn State as test-optional?

Where does Penn State rank academically? ›

The Pennsylvania State University's 2022-2023 Rankings

The Pennsylvania State University is ranked #77 out of 443 National Universities. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

Is Penn State prestigious? ›

Penn State has a legacy of academic excellence

In addition, Penn State is consistently ranked as among the best schools for online programs by U.S. News & World Report and other trusted sources.

What GPA is needed for Harvard? ›

In truth, you need close to a 4.0 unweighted GPA to get into Harvard. That means nearly straight As in every class.

Is Penn State Ivy League? ›

Penn is one of eight private universities known as the Ivy League. There are over 21,000 students at Penn, including 4,500 international students. Over 4,700 faculty members teach at Penn.

What is a B+ at Penn State? ›

Grades and Grade Points
GradeGrade-Point Equivalent
A-3.67
B+3.33
B3.00
B-2.67
5 more rows

What is a 3.5 GPA? ›

A 3.5 GPA is equivalent to a 90% average. It is used as a standard by many graduate programs and employers. Ivy League institutions, for example, prefer students to have near-perfect marks. They need to achieve As in every class. This results in a GPA closer to 4.0.

What is the highest GPA ever? ›

It Depends on the Scale

A GPA higher than 5.0 is rare, but school point systems are occasionally structured so that students taking advanced classes can rack up bonus points. One student even managed to land a stunning 10.03 GPA by taking 17 advanced classes at a school that awarded bonus points.

What's the lowest GPA to get into college? ›

Unofficially, 2.0 is the lowest GPA accepted into a standard college, so while there's a chance that college admission is possible, it's not likely at more than a few institutions.

What college requires the highest GPA? ›

Universities With the Highest Average GPAs
  • Harvard University. 3.64.
  • Yale University. 3.62.
  • Columbia University. 3.59.
  • Vanderbilt University. 3.57.
  • Duke University. 3.56.
  • Baylor University. 3.56.
  • Northeastern University. 3.55.
  • Dartmouth College.

Which is better University of Pennsylvania or Penn State? ›

The gist of it is this: UPenn is a highly ranked, private Ivy League institution, while Penn State is a large, well-ranked public university. In reality, the two schools aren't connected to each other in any major way, except for the fact that they're both well known and located in Pennsylvania.

What majors is Penn State known for? ›

What Majors & Academics Are Penn State Known For? Most students attend Penn State for its exceptional programs in engineering, business, and marketing. Nearly 16% of Penn State students focus their studies on engineering.

Is Penn State a top 10 school? ›

Penn State ranks 31st among national public universities in U.S. News' annual "Best Colleges" rankings for 2022-23. Penn State is in the top 25 among American Association of Universities public institutions and tied for 77th overall among 443 institutions included in the overall "National Universities" ranking.

Is 73 percent a passing grade? ›

C - this is a grade that rests right in the middle. C is anywhere between 70% and 79% D - this is still a passing grade, and it's between 59% and 69% F - this is a failing grade.

Is 47 a passing grade? ›

*At selected institutions, a lower grade may be considered passing.
...
Grading in universities.
PercentageClassification/Division
60+First class
45 but below 60Second Class
40 (or 35)+ but below 50Passing Grade
Below 40 (or 35)Fail
1 more row

What grades are failing grades? ›

Grading Scale

80-89 Above Average (B) 70-79 Average (C) 65-69 Below Average (D) <65 Failing (F)

How many B's can you get to have a 3.5 GPA? ›

How many A's and B's is a 3.5 GPA? Your grade point average, or GPA, is the average of the grades you've earned in all the classes you've taken. If, for example, you earned A's in five of your classes and B's in another five classes, you would have a 3.5 GPA.

Is 3.0 A good GPA? ›

Is a 3.0 GPA in high school considered good? A 3.0 GPA indicates a grade average of “B” and makes you eligible to apply to a wide range of schools, so yes! A 3.0 GPA is generally considered “good.”

What does a 2.8 GPA mean? ›

A grade point average (GPA) measures your academic performance by taking the average of all final grades throughout your high school career. A GPA of 2.8 equates to a B- average and is just below a straight B average.

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