If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.
Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.
The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.
(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.
If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.58, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.
Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.
You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to Penn State. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.
Penn State SAT Requirements
Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.
The average SAT score composite at Penn State is a 1265 on the 1600 SAT scale.
This score makes Penn State Competitive for SAT test scores.
Penn State SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)
The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1160, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1370. In other words, a 1160 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1370 will move you up to above average.
Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:
|Section||Average||25th Percentile||75th Percentile|
|Reading + Writing||625||580||670|
SAT Score Choice Policy
The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.
Penn State has the Score Choice policy of "Highest Sitting."
This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider the SAT score from your single highest test date (the sum of math, reading, and writing).
This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and Penn State only considers your highest score on a single test date, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit your strongest score. Your application readers will only see that one score.
Therefore, if your SAT score is currently below a 1265, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You don't have much to lose, and you can potentially raise your score and significantly boost your chances of getting in.
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Penn State ACT Requirements
Just like for the SAT, Penn State likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.
The average ACT score at Penn State is 28. This score makes Penn State Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.
The 25th percentile ACT score is 25, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 30.
Even though Penn State likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 25 or below, you'll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application. There are so many applicants scoring 28 and above that a 25 will look academically weak.
ACT Score Sending Policy
If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.
Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.
This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 28 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.
ACT Superscore Policy
By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.
We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to Penn State, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 28.
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SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements
Both the SAT and ACT have an optional essay section.
Penn State requires you to take the SAT Essay/ACT Writing section. They'll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.
SAT Subject Test Requirements
Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.
We did not find information that Penn State requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.