2017-18 On-Campus Housing Application Process for Current Students

The 2017-18 on-campus housing application process for current students began February 1. Current students may apply to live on campus during the 2017-18 Academic Year by going to the Student Information System and completing a housing contract and paying a housing deposit ($100 for students currently living on campus and $200 for students currently living off campus). Space on campus for returning students is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. If your son or daughter has not yet applied for on-campus housing, s/he should do so as soon as possible to have the best chance of securing a space on campus next year. On-campus living is safe, convenient, and cost effective. If you have questions about on-campus housing or the application process, contact the Residence Life Office at 570-320-8023 or by email.

An Open Letter to Parents about Substance Use

As our students go through the developmental process of engaging in life at Penn College, Counseling Services encourages you to consider the variety of choices that your student will face regarding substance use. While many students decide not to use alcohol and other drugs, these substances are often readily accessible. The following addresses the multitude of concerns you may have about your student.

Alcohol, marijuana, prescription medications, and opioids are becoming more available to our students. Although you may be familiar with alcohol and marijuana, you may be less aware of opioid abuse. The opioid epidemic is not only a serious problem nationally but has tragically become a local one as well. The single largest growing segment of abuse and addiction is non-medical prescription pain relievers, often prescribed to someone in the family or someone at school.

Repeated use of opioids creates intense euphoric feelings that leads to increased psychophysiological tolerance and dependence, which makes it extremely difficult for people to resist the urge to use and change their behavior. These drugs affect the reward center of the brain, as well as areas critical to decision making, behavior control, and judgment. Over time, the person comes to believe that few things will ever compare to the feeling and experience created by that artificially manufactured euphoria. The choice to use becomes less of a rational decision and more of an impulsive and obsessive one.

Many students choose to use drugs and alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide. Some students fail to realize that self-medicating can actually prevent them from developing healthy coping skills leading to longer lasting lifestyle choices. Furthermore, they can actually make their underlying mental health issues worse.

Students may fail to consider all the possible ramifications that accompany substance use: citations for underage drinking and possession of drugs, various forms of assault, trips to the emergency room, suspensions and failing out of school, arrest records, legal fees, or ruining a career before it begins. Even though we are working hard to prevent these things from occurring, unforeseen consequences are still a possibility.

You might be asking yourself, “What can be done to prevent any of this from happening to my student?” Being clear and upfront about what is acceptable and what you oppose is essential and can reduce confusion or uncertainty while establishing realistic expectations leading to healthy decisions. Initiating these conversations early can prevent parents from fostering a false sense of security that might inadvertently contribute to their student’s substance use. This may require parents to have uncomfortable conversations while asking difficult questions.

When engaging in this process, be mindful that students sometimes hide or minimize their use in an attempt to protect themselves from a parent’s possible lack of understanding. They also may feel a sense of guilt or shame surrounding behaviors they do not understand or know how to explain; therefore, they may be protecting you from the truth because they realize how much you’ve sacrificed for their education, and they don’t want to feel like a burden.

While talking with your student, try not to focus simply on substance use as a legal or moral issue affecting their future. Such an approach is understandable but might be a vague concept for someone whose future is unclear and undetermined. Instead, try reframing your concerns as an important health issue, focusing more on the motivations and reasons behind their choices. Asking them ‘How these substances make you feel, what do they do for you, and how come you enjoy them?’ is more likely to demonstrate that they can come to you in a time of need and without judgment or shame.

Early intervention is critical when spotting signs of substance use that could lead to patterns of dependency and addiction. These conversations may not be easy, and it’s possible that you’ll grow frustrated, confused, or even angry. Ease into these conversations by reminding them of your love and concern and reinforce your willingness to be present in all aspects of their lives. Let them know that you have legitimate concerns about their behavior and the effect it’s having on you and your family.

Often times the company we keep influences the behaviors we seek. Be mindful of how your student chooses to spend their time. Routinely ask them about their friends, their roommate situation, dating relationships, and party and social scenes. Ask them about how they’re adjusting to life away from friends and family back home. In other words, communicate often and involve yourself in their lives whenever you have the opportunity to do so.

Additionally, pay particular attention to whether or not your student is withdrawing from friends or family; skipping or failing classes; losing interest in activities; sleeping excessively; experiencing unusual emotional, behavioral, or weight changes; using alcohol or drugs; or spending money excessively. All of these are warning signs suggesting that your student may need help.

Please understand that support is available to our students. While attending college, your student has immediate and ongoing resources available to them. Become familiar with Counseling Services, as well as other offices available at Penn College. Educate yourself about our alcohol and drug policies. Finally, encourage your student to seek help if you suspect they are struggling.

FAFSA and Penn College Scholarship Priority Submission Deadline is March 1

Make sure your student does not miss our March 1 Priority Deadline for submitting:

We already received thousands of 2017-18 FAFSAs, yet there are still many new and returning students who have yet to submit theirs. There is no reason to delay since FAFSA is based on income and tax information from 2015, not 2016. Refer back to the previous parent newsletter for more about the 2017-18 FAFSA. All students attending Summer or Fall 2017 or Spring 2018 semester should submit an application by March 1.

Many students have not yet submitted their Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 Penn College Scholarship Application. It is easy to submit from our Scholarships Web page so there is no reason to delay. Awarding begins in early March. Ask your student if s/he has applied. At the same time, remind your student to check the listing of external scholarships on the same Scholarships Web page.

Financial Aid Estimates for New Students

Has the Financial Aid Office received your student’s complete and signed 2017-18 FAFSA? If so and your student has given you access permission to the Student Information System (SIS), you can view estimates for government grants and Federal Direct Student Loans for the 2017-18 award year. After logging into SIS, select ‘Financial Information’ (large red arrow on the graphic) and then select ‘View Financial Aid Information’ (small red arrow).

After proceeding to the ‘Financial Aid Award Summary 2017-18’ page, you will see a shaded rectangular box labeled ‘Show Aid Estimates for 2017-18’. Click on the box and you will see the Estimates page as illustrated by the sample.

Screen shot

The estimates assume full-time enrollment for both Fall and Spring Semesters and no restrictions on students’ eligibility that may subsequently occur. The estimates are designed for new students and their parents so that they have an early idea of eligibility.

Please note:

  • The estimates are not guaranteed aid amounts.
  • The Federal Direct (Subsidized/Unsubsidized) Loan requires a two-step application.
  • Types of aid that are not estimated include scholarships, parent and private loans, veterans’ benefits, etc.
  • Estimates are available until early May.
  • Use our award timeline to learn when actual aid is awarded.

Additional financial aid information, including ways to contact our office, is available on our Web page.

News from The College Store

Follow The College Store on Facebook to find out about last-minute flash sales and promotions. The College Store is open online 24/7. Look for special items under the Featured catalog!!

Summer Camps

Summer Camps

Experience Penn College’s unique majors and explore our degrees that work® with these fun, interactive, and hands-on summer camps.

Campers earn valuable scholarships! Penn College tuition scholarships are offered to students entering grades 9-12 who complete these camps.

Overnight and day camps focused on:

  • Architecture
  • Arts & Graphic Design
  • Culinary & Baking
  • Engineering
  • Fitness & Athletic Development
  • Gaming & Information Technology
  • Health Careers
  • Law
  • Smart Girls
  • …And More!

Camp information and registration available online in late February or email for more information!

May Commencement Ceremony Reminder

Special seating requests (such as accommodations for a wheelchair or a walker) should be made at Commencement rehearsal. Rehearsals will take place on Monday, April 24 and Tuesday, April 25 at 3:30 p.m. at the Community Arts Center. After that, requests may be made by calling the Registrar’s Office at 570-327-4772. Special seating requests should be made prior to the Commencement ceremony so that the Community Arts Center can properly accommodate the request.

What It Means to Be NCAA Division III

As many of you know, Penn College is a member of the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) within NCAA's Division III.

But do you know what that means?

Most of us hear news and watch highlights from NCAA Division I schools (like Penn State, Pitt, Notre Dame, etc.). Athletics in Division III is much different than at these large, scholarship-driven institutions. At Penn College, and in Division III, the student-athlete experience is primarily about their academic pursuits. We don't offer scholarships and virtually all students will go professional in some other field.

We are committed to providing a rewarding experience that enriches and promotes academic and athletic success, sportsmanship, fair play, accountability, amateurism, integrity, and teamwork for student-athletes. Our Coaches and Athletic Department always place academic success, fair and equitable treatment, and the health and welfare of student-athletes first in all decisions.

While we are most proud of our student-athletes when they walk across the stage at graduation, we are also delighted at their success on the court or field.

Learn more and follow the Wildcat teams on the Athletics website.

Athletics Update

Penn College junior Hanna Williams and faculty athletic representative Tom Zimmerman were selected to represent Penn College and the North Eastern Athletic Conference at national conventions this year. Williams was chosen to represent the NEAC at the NCAA Convention this month as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, while Zimmerman was chosen to attend the FAR Fellow Institute.

Williams, majoring in industrial design, is the current vice president of Penn College's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and served as the treasurer last year. The soccer and tennis player is a three-year member of SAAC and All-NEAC Scholar-Athlete selection and is the first Penn College SAAC member to attend the convention. Williams was one of eight SAAC members selected in the 14-school NEAC.

At the NCAA Convention, hosted in Nashville, Tenn., Williams attended national SAAC meetings that addressed student-athlete well-being, Special Olympics, and the student-athlete experience.

Zimmerman, who has served as the FAR at Penn College for two years, was selected as one of 30 Division III FARs in the nation to attend the Institute in Indianapolis in the fall. Programing at the Institute included best practices on issues surrounding FARs, developing leadership skills, and strengthening FAR networks, among others.

The National Collegiate Athletics Association requires each of its member institutions to appoint a FAR who must be a member of the faculty or administrative staff and may not hold a position in the athletics department. The FAR acts as a liaison between the athletics department and faculty.

Want more? Read daily news items at PCToday, the source for news and information at Pennsylvania College of Technology.