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Schreyer College Essays

  • 1. We Want to Hear from Two Recommenders

    We require at least two recommendation letters from your teachers. There is an option to submit more than two letters; however, you are not obligated to do so.

  • 2. If You Have Questions, Let Us Know

    We do not keep track of the amount of times you contact us or visit campus. Our admissions office is open throughout the week with staff who would love to help answer any of your questions or concerns; however, your amount and/or consistency of outreach will not help or harm your likelihood of admission.

  • 3. Our Interview is Optional

    Yes, our interview is optional. Current and former Scholars have identified the interview process as an opportunity to learn more about the Honors College. If you opt in to the interview, you will have the chance to talk to one of our graduates and learn more about their experiences on campus—in turn, they'll also learn more about you. If you decide not to interview, that's okay too.

  • 4. Essays—There's Really No Right or Wrong Answer

    Our best advice for the essays? Answer the question to the best of your ability. We are not trying to trick you, nor are we looking for a particular type of answer. Our questions are designed to push you to think and we hope to gain greater insight about you. Be honest, be genuine, and allow your character and personality to shine through your writing.

  • 5. Check Your E-Mail Frequently

    E-mail is the primary way we will communicate with you, especially after you submit your application. We are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, just like you, but our admissions messages are sent directly to your e-mail address, so check it often.

  • 6. It's True, We Don't Utilize Standardized Test Scores

    Contrary to popular belief, we do not utilize standardized test scores when determining admission to the Schreyer Honors College. In our opinion, one of the best predictors of future performance is prior performance; therefore, your course load and academic rigor in high school are the most important pieces of information we review.

  • 7. Keep an Eye on Important Deadlines

    To ensure efficient results, keep an eye on approaching deadlines. The absolute final deadline to submit admissions material is December 20 at 11:59 PM EST. In order to maintain an equitable process, we are unable to make any exceptions.

    Note: The deadline for submitting recommendations has been extended to 11:59 PM EST on January 9.

  • 8. Triple-Check Recommendation Submission

    We know the process of submitting college applications can be confusing, so we want to make it easy for you and your recommenders. Remember to ask your teachers if they are willing to write your recommendation and follow up with them before the application deadline. Include your recommender's e-mail address in your application and we will send them a message explaining how to submit the letter. Unfortunately, we do not accept letters through Naviance or other external services; therefore, all letters must be submitted directly through our web application.

  • 9. Don't Wait, Apply Now

    Please do not wait until you've received your Penn State admissions decision before applying to the Honors College. In fact, you can work on both applications at the same time. Submit Penn State's application first, followed by ours, then enjoy your senior year!

  • 10. We Enjoy Hearing from Future Scholars

    In terms of the college admissions process, it is more helpful and beneficial to hear directly from the applicant. If you have any questions about your application or the process, please contact us directly. Between classes, at the end of the school day, before practice or after work, feel free to call us with questions or just to check in.

  • First-Year Admissions

    The first step in applying to the Schreyer Honors College is to complete and submit the Penn State Undergraduate Admissions Application. You'll find a link to the Schreyer Honors College application through the general Penn State application.

    The SHC admissions application includes:

    • Three required essay questions
    • Short answer questions about your leadership experiences, academic honors, etc.
    • Online recommendations from two teachers
    • Your high school academic record (we will utilize the academic record you submitted as part of your Undergraduate Admissions application. No other documentation is required)
    • An additional $35 application fee (if you have a financial need fee waiver for the Penn State application, your fee will be waived automatically for the SHC application)

    Standardized test scores are not evaluated for the SHC application, but you will need them for the general Penn State application. Due to the variety of grading scales, the Schreyer Honors College does not set a minimum grade point average for its applicants.

    It has long been the practice of Schreyer Honors College not to consider standardized test scores as they are not accurate predictors of a student's success in the Schreyer Honors College.

    Selection Criteria

    The Undergraduate Admissions Office will evaluate your credentials for admission to the university, and a Faculty Selection Committee will review your Honors College application. These decisions are made independently of each other.

    The Honors College application evaluation includes:

    • An academic record review, which includes the academic profile of your high school
    • An assessment of the three required written essays
    • An assessment of the short answer question responses
    • A reading of the letters of recommendation
    • An optional interview (see below)

    For the written components, you should simply strive to write well. Clearly outline your ideas or positions. Share what you think (not what you think others want to read). Fill in the blanks. Help us get to know you. And, most importantly, be authentic.

    Optional Interview

    If we receive your application by November 30th, you will be invited to participate in an optional interview as part of the selection process.

    Our goal is for you to have a comfortable conversation with one of our alumni volunteers. They are eager to meet you, learn more about your interest in Schreyer, and share with you some of their Penn State experiences.

    Interview details:

    • Honors College alumni conduct interviews on specified dates in major metropolitan areas through the beginning of February.
    • If a regional interview is not scheduled in your area, arrangements may be made for you to meet with one of our alumni volunteers. The meeting will be conducted in person or through online conferencing if necessary.
    • You will be e-mailed in December about how to sign up for an interview.
    • As this is an optional interview, your application will not be negatively impacted if you are not able to participate.
    • Every attempt will be made to accommodate all interview requests, but due to alumni availability, we cannot guarantee that every request will be honored.

    Supplemental Information

    If you have creative talents and/or accomplishments that you would like to share, you are welcome to submit supplemental information that will give us insight into your abilities. We do require all supplemental materials be submitted electronically at the time of application so please include links to a website where we can view your work. You may embed these links in the application where it is most appropriate; we often find the best placement to be within the short answer questions where you have the opportunity to discuss your activities and accomplishments.

    You may also use the short answer questions to discuss any additional information regarding your:

    • Home school/high school profiles and/or course descriptions
    • Substantial personal circumstances that may have impacted your academic performance

    Admissions Timeline


    Penn State/SHC Applications Available

    The first day the Penn State and Schreyer Honors College applications are available to prospective students.


    Penn State/SHC Application Priority Filing Deadline (11:59 PM EST)

    The last day to submit your application to be eligible for an optional admissions interview. In order to meet this deadline, you must have a submitted application for both Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College.


    SHC Application Deadline (11:59 PM EST)

    The last day applications to the Schreyer Honors College are accepted. In order to meet this deadline, you must have a submitted application for both Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College and have submitted all of the required documentation for both applications.


    SHC Recommendations Deadline (11:59 PM EST)

    The last day recommendations for the Schreyer Honors College are accepted. This deadline has been extended from December 20.


    Schreyer Decisions Released

    Schreyer Honors College decisions are released in late February/early March. You will be notified of the exact date and time.


    Penn State/SHC Offer Acceptance Deadline

    The last date prospective students can accept their offers to Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College.

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