This page introduces New Student Orientation, which serves as a first step in your student’s Penn State journey. In addition, we provide the University’s First-Year Learning Outcomes, which serve as the foundation for our orientation and transition programming.
New Student Orientation
Student Orientation and Transition Programs provides programming for new and continuing Penn Staters. Our programs also support the parents and families of new students. We focus on facilitating successful academic, social, and personal transitions to Penn State.
ALEKS Math Assessment
The ALEKS Math Assessment evaluates a student's readiness to take college-level math and science courses. Since these courses are demanding, students need to begin with the course most likely to lead to success. Students will not be permitted to take a course unless they have demonstrated readiness, either through the ALEKS Math Assessment or by completing high school calculus. Students required to complete ALEKS will do so before attending New Student Orientation. Students wishing to retake ALEKS to improve their score may do so by using the learning modules within ALEKS. Students may retake the assessment up to two more times after using the learning modules (for a total of three attempts). Access to ALEKS ends after your student's first drop-add period.
Students who have completed high school calculus but are concerned about their readiness to succeed in college-level mathematics and science courses are encouraged to take the ALEKS Math Assessment. They can use the additional information to make informed decisions in consultation with an academic adviser.
First-Year Learning Outcomes & Competencies
The First-Year Learning Outcomes were created to improve student success by increasing academic and social integration into the University. The vision that Penn State has for each student is highlighted in these Learning Outcomes. We hope that your student will complete these outcomes by the end of their first year.
In addition to Learning Outcomes, students will work towards achieving Penn State’s General Education Learning Objectives.
- Understand and meet academic expectations; engage in active learning and use effective time management to balance academic work with extra-curricular activities.
- Learn about the value of higher education to both society and to individuals; appreciate the value of the general education curriculum and the worth of lifelong learning and scholarship.
- Be familiar with student services and academic resources on campus; actively use those resources and interact with staff.
- Engage with faculty in and outside of the classroom.
- Interact effectively with peers in social settings, and through educationally purposeful student activities.
- Refine short-term and long-term academic goals; learn about career management; establish more specific career goals.
- Achieve a higher competency in writing, note-taking, active reading, critical thinking and quantitative reasoning to be able to master college-level work.
- Expand knowledge of human diversity and cultural competence; effectively interact with others.
- Engage in activities leading to improved personal health and fitness; learn about making responsible decisions in a college environment.