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What to Expect Your First Year

Getting Started

Students huddled around a computer in Gail Boldt's spring 2010 classIn your first year, you will focus on getting acclimated to University life and processes. You should get to know your adviser and professors and learn the academic requirements needed to declare your major. You can also get involved in student organizations and volunteer with local school and mentoring programs. This is a good time to start building good study habits. Your classes will be a mix of courses needed to meet General Education and premajor requirements.

Your First Semester

This is a list of typical courses for first-year students beginning in the fall:

  • Mathematics (3 credits)
  • English (3 credits)
  • Science (3 credits)
  • Educational Psychology (3 credits)
  • Education Theory and Policy (3 credits)
  • First-Year Seminar (1 credit)

Housing Options

Penn State offers a wide variety of housing options. Once such option is a special living option for Education majors called Education House
Located in Sproul Hall, it offers a traditional first-year student atmosphere, coupled with the advantage of having unique access to the College of Education. Whatever your focus within the field of education, Education House will help you get your academic career off to a fast start by providing access to the tools and information needed to succeed.

Getting An Early Start

You can choose to start your first year in the College of Education as part of Penn State’s summer LEAP (the Learning Edge Academic Program).

LEAP provides entering freshmen the chance to begin their journey at Penn State University Park by way of a learning community.
LEAP students take two courses together in groups of 24 that are reserved exclusively for first-year students, live together in the same dormitory area, and have an upper class student mentor to guide them through their first semester. This exciting and comprehensive experience is offered only during the summer and only to first semester undergraduates admitted to University Park.

For future College of Education students, there are two LEAP Education Prides to choose from. Each Education pride will allow students to learn about careers in education, identify and utilize campus and community resources, develop strategies to facilitate the learning process, and apply those strategies for academic success. Classroom, support services, and administrative career possibilities for students will be introduced

Additionally, students in these prides will discuss and write about current topics in education, and learn about effective teaching strategies and what makes a good teacher. The pride will utilize different teaching strategies (small and large group discussion, lecture, technology, and peer teaching).

Enrolling in a pride will fulfill the first-year seminar requirement and assist students in successfully developing an academic, social, and personal foundation at Penn State. A College of Education LEAP pride is only open to students enrolling in the College of Education or the Division of Undergraduate Studies. Education 100S meets the First-Year Seminar [FYS] requirement and ENGL 015 will fulfill 3 credits of General Education Writing/Speaking [GWS] requirements.