The First Year at Penn State

The First Year at Penn State

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

New Student Orientation will help your student develop educational goals, become familiar with campus resources, and schedule courses to put his or her academic plan into action. During their visit, students will have the opportunity to meet with campus personnel and discuss their academic and co-curricular goals.

First-Year Learning Outcomes & Competencies

The First-Year Learning Outcomes and Competencies were developed to improve students’ success by increasing academic and social integration into the University. These outcomes and competencies are now being used as the basis for examining the first-year experience at Penn State.

In addition to achieving Penn State’s General Education Learning Outcomes, at the end of the first year of academic study, the student will:

  • 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.
  • Be a positive and contributing member of the Penn State community; engage in community service activities; develop an understanding of sustainability and how to incorporate sustainable behaviors in daily activities.

Approved by: The Pennsylvania State University First-Year Experience Committee, April 2005.