Penn State: 2020 Requirements, Scores & GPAs

This is the go-to guide for getting into Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus. We suggest you read until the end... Not only will we layout the exact GPA and test scores you should aim for when applying to Penn State, but we’ll also offer creative ways to help your application stand out from the pack. We breakdown Penn State statistics better than any article out there and show you how these have changed over time. Also, make sure to check out Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus on CampusReel to see what it’s really like here. If you're interesting in transferring to Penn State, the read our transfer guide. You can also use the below calculator to help determine your likelihood of acceptance at Penn State

What are your chances at Penn State?

Your SAT Score
Your ACT Score
Select a score
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  • Your GPA*
    on a 4.0 scale

    *gpa score is required

    This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at Penn State or any other U.S. college

    Please note all chances are estimates based on test score and GPA averages.

    *or select a school above for a specific calculation

    Need chances at another college?

    What GPA do you need to get into Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus?

    Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus’s average GPA is 3.59. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus does require GPA. This average GPA means Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus is very selective. Often times, schools in this range are trying to increase their selectivity and “prestige”. We can’t read the minds of Penn State application readers, but they likely want to increase the average GPA from 3.59 to 3.77 this year - to play it safe, we recommend striving for the 3.77 GPA.

    *BEFORE CONTINUING PLEASE NOTE: GPA and “prestige” DO NOT mean a college is right for you. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus may seem amazing on paper, but you may hate it... That’s why 700,000 students transfer colleges every year - they end up going to the wrong school. It’s crucial to watch the videos on CampusReel and make sure you can envision yourself on Penn State’s campus. These Penn State admission statistics do not sufficiently tell you what a college or university is like.

    What is Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus’s acceptance rate?

    Last year Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus’s acceptance rate was 0.0. However, check out how the acceptance rate has changed over time.

    2016 2017 2018
    Acceptance Rate 56.0 % 50.0 % N/A

    As you can see, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus is getting more and more difficult to get into. If this trend continue it’s likely that Penn State will be even more competitive by the time you apply.

    Acceptance rate alone does not indicate your likelihood for getting into Penn State - it’s a very high level understanding of the true competition. Use the acceptance rate as a general guide for curating a list of 10-15 schools that fall into different ranges of competitiveness. Then, use the below data to get a deeper understanding of how your application will compare to the rest of the pool.

    What are your chances at Penn State?

    Your SAT Score
    Your ACT Score
    Select a score
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  • Your GPA*
    on a 4.0 scale

    *gpa score is required

    This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at Penn State or any other U.S. college

    Please note all chances are estimates based on test score and GPA averages.

    *or select a school above for a specific calculation

    Need chances at another college?

    Does Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus Require Test Scores?

    Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus requires that you either take the SAT or ACT. See the table below for how Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus’s accepted students have performed on both tests. You may be wondering how many test scores should you submit. Generally, don’t freak out about taking the test too often. Industry consensus is that you can submit up to 6 tests as a reasonable limit.

    Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus SAT Requirements

    Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus’s average SAT score is 1195 - this is the sum of the math and reading portions of the SAT (the 1600 scale). Check out the below table for a deeper look into how students performed - it’s also very interesting to look at the average test score over time. The trend over time helps give insight into whether Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus is getting more or less competitive.

    25th Percentile 75th Percentile Average
    Math 560 670 615
    Reading 530 630 580
    2019 Total 1090 1300 1195
    2018 Total - - -
    2017 Total - - -

    Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus’s average SAT score is 1195. To be a competitive applicant for Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus your SAT score should come close to the average. If you’re closer to the 1090, you’re likely going to have a tougher time getting accepted. To consider Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus a “target” school (one that you are likely to get into) you should aim for a score of 1300.

    Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus ACT Requirements

    Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus’s average ACT score is 81. To be a competitive applicant for Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus your ACT score should come close to the average. If you’re closer to the 74, you’re likely going to have a tougher time getting accepted. To consider Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus a “target” school (one that you have a good chance of getting into) you should aim for a score of 89.

    25th Percentile 75th Percentile Average
    Math 25 30 27
    Reading 24 30 27
    Writing 25 29 27
    2019 Total 74 89 81
    2018 Total - - -
    2017 Total - - -

    How hard is it to get into Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus?

    As you can see from the data above, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus is exceptionally difficult to get into. Not only should you be aiming for a 3.59 but also SAT scores around 1195. Getting into Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus is no easy feat and you will need to set yourself apart with more than just numbers and data. Read on to learn how.

    Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus Requirements

    Now you know where you need to be for getting into Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus from a grade and test score perspective. Let’s quickly outline what else you’ll need to provide for your application to get reviewed, and then we’ll move onto the most important section: differentiating your app.

    Recommendations Status
    School Rank Recommended
    GPA Required
    School Record Required

    How to get into Penn State

    Follow these steps to maximize your chances of getting into Penn State. Everything you read above will help prepare you for what you need to achieve to have a shot at Penn State, but these steps will take you even further in applying that knowledge and differentiating your application.

    Main Academic Excellence that is in line with Penn State admission standards.

    1. Score at least a 1195 on the SAT or 81 on the ACT.
    2. Maintain a GPA of at least a 3.59.

    Join Extracurriculars that Align with Penn State’s Values.

    1. Join your school band, a sports team or another group activity. If Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus values music heavily, for example, then try to participate in an organization related to that topic.
    2. Volunteer in your hometown. University Park has tons of ways to be involved beyond just the college. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus wants applicants that are also good ambassadors for the school - they want students who will give back to the local community and broader University Park area in general.
    3. Spend your summer doing something that speaks to your values, personal growth, leadership qualities and other less quantifiable characteristics. Penn State needs to see past your test scores and grades - they need to know that you will be a valuable and contributing member of their community. You are more than grades and test scores - your experiences should demonstrate that.

    Prepare Your Application

    1. Write a stellar essay that shows Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus something they can’t figure out from the other parts of your application. For a detailed guide on writing the best college essay, check this out.
    2. Get teacher recs that speak to your character. If you know what you’re majoring in and include that in your Penn State app, try to have at least 1 recommendation from a teacher in that department.
    3. Apply Before the Deadline. Too many students wait until the last minute to submit their application, and too much can go wrong during this precious time window. Since many students are applying on the last day, it’s possible that Penn State’s own system crashes. Don’t risk the added stress this can cause - submit your app a few days early.

    What are your chances at Penn State?

    Your SAT Score
    Your ACT Score
    Select a score
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  • Your GPA*
    on a 4.0 scale

    *gpa score is required

    This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at Penn State or any other U.S. college

    Please note all chances are estimates based on test score and GPA averages.

    *or select a school above for a specific calculation

    Need chances at another college?

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