Pennsylvania College of Technology

Preparing for College: Orientation

As summer begins at Penn College, we are gearing up to welcome new students and their guests to campus for Connections and Welcome Weekend. Both events are designed to assist students in their adjustment to college life and provide resources to be successful in the first year. We encourage parents and families to join us for these events in order to partner with the College in creating opportunities for students to be successful.


Connections is specifically designed to assist new students in their transition to college. All students are required to attend. Special sessions are offered for nontraditional and transfer students. Students who attend Connections and take the First Year Experience course their first semester are significantly more likely to persist to the second year of their college career. Connections provides students and parents with essential tools for success in the first year of college and beyond. Students who have not yet registered can do so through the Student Information System.

Welcome Weekend

Welcome Weekend is our opportunity to welcome new students to Penn College. College offices are open to allow students to complete last-minute preparations for the first day of classes. After students say goodbye to parents and families, they will want to make sure to attend the official kick-off of the year at Convocation on Saturday evening, which concludes with a hypnotist show and fireworks. Special sessions on Sunday allow students to find their classrooms, learn about important campus resources, and meet other students before classes begin.

Questions? Contact the Student Activities Office.

Getting Off on the Right Foot

Moving forward often involves little more than putting one foot in front of the other, but in new terrain, it is not always clear where to put our feet. This is typically the case during the first semester of college. We know, though, that becoming a part of the campus community and knowing what to expect from college are two of the key components of student success – both academically and socially. The First Year Experience course, FYE 101, provides a positive first semester experience for students who are new to Penn College by encouraging them to engage in the academic and social culture of the College.

In an effort to help students understand and effectively navigate the new landscape of college life, the FYE course provides information and tools necessary for students to become proactive learners and to take personal responsibility for their entire educational experience. Through occasional lectures, frequent discussions, and often-fun activities, the course helps clarify the conventions of college culture; explains college policies, procedures, resources, and expectations; provides tools for strengthening academic and critical thinking skills; and provides a foundation that enables students to understand and participate in the college life.

After only two years, we have seen FYE contribute to the success of our students. Since introducing FYE as a requirement for all new students and transfer students with fewer than 15 credits, first-year student performance is on a positive trajectory. They are now remaining in good academic standing longer and earning higher grade-point averages than before the course became a requirement. So, while the path to a degree may often seem daunting, FYE has proven to be a step in the right direction.

Student Success out of the Classroom

At Penn College, student success is critical, both inside and outside of the classroom. To that end, Penn College has partnered with Student Success™ to offer two programs on issues we believe are critical on college campuses today: alcohol abuse and sexual assault.

Because these two issues are so significant, we require all Penn College students to complete these mandatory, video-based, online programs PRIOR to classes beginning in August. Each program will only take about one hour to complete, and they do not need to be completed in one sitting.

Students will access the two programs, “Zombies, Alcohol & You – Alcohol Abuse Prevention” and “Unless There’s Consent – Sexual Assault Prevention,” through the Student Information System.

  • Why is Penn College mandating these programs? Alcohol abuse and sexual assault are both serious societal issues and are present on virtually every college and university campus nationwide. At Penn College, we have a history of being honest and upfront about these issues by educating our campus community, including students and their parents. This is a powerful new tool in that educational effort.
  • Is there a major problem with alcohol abuse and sexual assault on campus? We believe our educational approach, combined with our enforcement of policies and laws, have created an environment that is safe and secure. Our 2012 Safety & Security Report documented that, over the last three years, our campus has experienced a decrease in the number of liquor law violations each year. Those same statistics also show that over the last three years, we only had two sexual assault violations reported. However, we know that these statistics don’t show the whole story. We can always do better; even one student affected by alcohol abuse or sexual assault is too many.
  • Can I watch the videos my student will be viewing? Yes. We encourage you to talk with your student about this program. You can either watch the videos with them or you can watch them on your own. We also encourage you to have conversations with your student about your expectations related to these issues.

Our hope is that these programs will make your students more successful and that it will make Penn College a safer and healthier campus! If you have any additional questions, contact the Student Affairs Office.

Financial Aid News

Check out the Financial Aid News for Parents for the following:

  • Awarding of fall aid
  • Tips for contacting the Financial Aid Office
  • FAFSA & Federal Verification
  • Loan information
  • Scholarship award notification & application information
  • PHEAA Grant eligibility & Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Financial aid information on SIS

Preparing for College:
Students with Disabilities

students with disabilitiesThe transition from high school to college is challenging for everyone; however, students with disabilities have more things to consider than their peers who don’t have a disability, so their transition can be a bit more challenging. Will they disclose they have a disability? Will they submit documentation of their disability? Will they access their accommodations or will they decide to try it on their own?

Read this article to discover the differences of college, how your student will become a “manager” of his/her disability, and how your role will shift.

Wildcat Athletics: NCAA Update

Penn College Wildcat AthleticsPenn College Wildcat Athletics is gearing up for another exciting year. After a successful 2012-13 with four conference championships and a fifth straight Penn State University Athletic Conference Chancellor’s Cup, the Wildcats are even more excited for the future. The College has applied for NCAA Division III membership and has been accepted for exploratory status. If all goes well, Penn College hopes to be a provisional member by 2014-15.

Don’t forget, athletics is always looking for dedicated student-athletes to join its team. If you have a son or daughter interested in participating in a sport, please have him or her contact Athletics to get information on tryouts and team meetings in the fall.

Learn more about Wildcat Athletics.

For everyday access to parent information, bookmark the Parents Web page:

Summer 2013 Issue 1
Important Dates
Meal Plans

“I moved off campus for the academic year and I did not think I would need any sort of board meal plan, but now that the year started, I wish I would have gotten one.”- Lauren P.

We hear this often, after a few weeks of living “on their own” students realize that planning, cooking, and cleaning up after their meals isn’t always what they expected.

Dining Services offers a wide variety of dining options that include all-you-care-to-eat buffets, home-made entrees and soups, hand-stretched pizzas, made-to-order sandwiches, and crisp salads, to name a few. The best part is that all of this can be purchased as part of a meal plan.

A meal plan not only guarantees that your student has access to meals throughout the day, but it is also a great way to help your student adjust to a new life away from family and friends. Our dining halls are natural gathering places for students. Having a meal plan allows your student to join in the social aspect of college life by meeting friends for meals and special events, or to meet other classmates to study and work on projects.

Dining Services recommends that students take advantage of our meal plans and what our 10 dining units have to offer. To help make decide which plan is right for your student, we recommend the following:

Commuter / Off-Campus Students

  • All commuter and off-campus students should invest in a meal plan. We recommend starting with the 5-meal board plan. This will ensure that your student is getting at least one nutritious, home-style meal each weekday. They also will have “flex dollars” that can be used to purchase retail items such as milk, bread or a box of cereal.
  • Declining Balance meal plans are another great option. Declining balances work like a debit card and can be used to buy full meals or grocery items found in our dining units.

Resident Students

  • All resident students must select a board plan as outlined in their housing contract.

Learn more about meal plans.

The College Store
at Penn College

Fall semester course materials are available for purchase in the store or online. The best time to purchase your textbooks is during the month of July and early August. That is when the highest inventory of used books is available.

In addition to the traditional new and used formats of textbooks, The College Store offers rental options and eBook options for many titles. These options offer significant up-front savings. Look for these options when shopping online.

For students enrolled in programs in the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies, information on ordering program tools and kits was mailed the first week of June. Orders for many kits need to be received at The College Store by August 1 to ensure availability.

Orders for uniforms are being accepted online. Look under ‘Program Supplies’ then choose the school under which your program falls. Uniform orders cannot be shipped and usually take three to four weeks to arrive at the store.

A new year for Wildcat Rewards starts on July 1. Earn points on every purchase made in store or online. Points are also earned on each title sold back to The College Store during textbook buyback. Points can be redeemed for College Store Gift Cards. Look online for more information.

Alternative Credit Options

Learning takes place in many places – including in the classroom, on the job, or through life experiences. Penn College is aware of this and offers several options for students to receive academic credit for these learning experiences. Credit by Examination allows students to apply and take an exam for most 100- or 200- level courses. If the student successfully passes the exam, they receive credit for the course. Credit for Work/Life Experience allows students to document work and life experiences that provide evidence that they have met the objectives established for a particular Penn College course.

The ability to apply for alternative credit exists throughout the academic year, but students are encouraged to discuss their options with their Academic School prior to enrolling in the course or creating a portfolio of work/life experiences.

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