Placement Requirements

Success in college-level course work requires minimum levels of proficiency in math, reading, and English. Therefore, all new students must meet placement requirements to demonstrate their skills in these three areas.

Placement into your first semester courses will be based on your current skill levels. If your skills meet the established minimum levels, you will be placed in the courses specified for your major. If your current skills fall short of the required levels, you will be required to take developmental course work before moving forward with prescribed course work. If, however, your current skills reveal that you are significantly underprepared for college-level work, your admission to Penn College may be rescinded until the identified deficiencies are remediated. See catalog information on placement testing deficiencies.

To help us evaluate your skills, you may meet placement requirements in any combination of the following three ways:

1) Take placement tests

Placement testing includes a series of three tests: math, reading, and English. Most students take at least some part of the placement test.
See Placement Testing for details.

2) Transfer courses

If you have completed course work at another institution, you might be exempted from all or parts of the placement test.
See Transfer Student Placement for more information.

3) Submit SAT/ACT scores

You may be exempted from parts of the placement test if you have earned SAT/ACT scores that meet the criteria listed below.
Note: The scores must be sent to Penn College directly from the College Board or ACT to be considered for satisfying any part of placement testing.

  • If your Math SAT score is 550 or higher, or your Math ACT score is 23 or higher, you will have the opportunity to take the Intermediate Algebra and Functions and Graphs placement tests. Scores on these placement tests may qualify you for placement into a higher level math class. See Why should you take the Functions & Graphs placement test?
  • If your Math SAT score is below 550, or your Math ACT score is below 23, you will take the Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra Test and the Intermediate Algebra Test.
  • SAT Writing sub scores of 2 or higher will result in exemption from the English placement test in one of the following ways:
    • A score of 6 or higher will place you directly into the first required English course for your major.
    • For scores between 2 and 5, English faculty will evaluate your SAT essay to determine your placement.
  • An ACT Writing sub score of 8 will result in exemption from the English placement test, and placement into the first required English course.

Students have the option of taking the English placement test regardless of their SAT/ACT Writing sub-scores.

  • An SAT Critical Reading score of 450 or higher, or an ACT Reading score of 18 or higher, will result in exemption from the Reading placement test.
    • OR
  • A combination of the following SAT scores will result in exemption from the Reading placement test:
    • 400 or higher on Critical Reading
    • 400 or higher on the Writing test
    • 400 on the Math test.

Important SAT/ACT Score Information

SAT/ACT scores expire! SAT/ACT scores are valid for two academic years after the completion date. For example, if you completed SAT/ACT testing in February 2015, those test results will be eligible for use in placement for enrollment through, but not beyond, the Spring 2017 semester.

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