Penn State University: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

Penn State University

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Penn State University Park is a public research university with an acceptance rate of 49%. Located in State College, Pennsylvania, Penn State is the flagship campus of the 24 campuses that make up the state university system in Pennsylvania. With over 47,000 undergraduate and graduate students, it is also by far the largest. Penn State's 275 majors provide a wealth of academic opportunities for students with diverse interests. The undergraduate programs in engineering and business are noteworthy, and general strengths in the liberal arts and sciences won the school a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The Penn State Nittany Lions compete in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference.

Considering applying to Penn State University? Here are the admissions statistics you should know, including average SAT/ACT scores and GPAs of admitted students.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, Penn State had an acceptance rate of 49%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 49 students were admitted, making Penn State's admissions process competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants 71,903
Percent Admitted 49%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 24%

SAT Scores and Requirements

Penn State requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, 78% of admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 580 670
Math 580 700
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of Penn State's admitted students fall within the top 35% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to Penn State scored between 580 and 670, while 25% scored below 580 and 25% scored above 670. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 580 and 700, while 25% scored below 580 and 25% scored above 700. Applicants with a composite SAT score of 1370 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at Penn State University.

Requirements

Penn State does not require the SAT writing section. Note that Penn State does not superscore SAT results; your highest composite SAT score will be considered. Penn State does not use SAT Subject test scores for admission.

ACT Scores and Requirements

Penn State requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, 17% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 24 32
Math 24 30
Composite 25 30

This admissions data tells us that most of Penn State's admitted students fall within the top 22% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to Penn State received a composite ACT score between 25 and 30, while 25% scored above 30 and 25% scored below 25.

Requirements

Note that Penn State does not superscore ACT results; your highest composite ACT score will be considered. Penn State does not require the ACT writing section.

GPA

In 2019, the middle 50% of Penn State University Park's incoming class had high school GPAs between 3.55 and 3.97. 25% had a GPA above 3.97, and 25% had a GPA below 3.55. These results suggest that most successful applicants to Penn State have primarily A and high B grades.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

Penn State University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
Penn State University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph. Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to Penn State University. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

Penn State University, which accepts fewer than half of applicants, has a selective admissions process. If your SAT/ACT scores and GPA fall within the school's average ranges, you have a strong chance of being admitted. However, Penn State has a holistic admissions process that focuses on a rigorous course schedule and participation in extracurricular activities, as well as the optional personal statement.

In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. As you can see, the majority of accepted students have at least "B" averages, and they have combined SAT scores (ERW+M) of about 1050 or higher, and ACT composite scores of 20 or higher. The higher the numbers, the more likely you are to get accepted. Hidden beneath the blue and green is a bit of red, so it's important to keep in mind that some students with high GPAs and test scores still get rejected by Penn State. The reasons the university might reject seemingly qualified students include a failure to take adequate college preparatory courses such as foreign language and science classes, and a lack of participation in meaningful activities outside of the classroom.

All admissions data has been sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and Penn State University Undergraduate Admissions Office.