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Become a Fellow

How to Participate

There is no application. Students simply decide to accept the Paterno Fellows challenge. To become an "Aspirant"--ie., a student who aspires to be a Paterno Fellow--register on the Paterno Fellows database, begin to complete the Fellows requirements, and participate in Paterno Fellows events.

About two-thirds of Paterno Fellows begin as Aspirants. Liberal Arts students who decide to pursue the Paterno Fellows Program will be in Aspirant status until they satisfy entrance requirements as well as any requirements stipulated by their intended major department. The deadline for meeting these requirements is the end of the sophomore year. Therefore, the majority of Aspirants can expect to be Paterno Fellows and Schreyer Scholars during their junior and senior years. Students in majors that do not have additional requirements will be able to enter the Paterno Fellows Program and Schreyer Honors College after their first year if they achieve a 3.5 grade point average.

Students register as Paterno Fellows Aspirants during their New Student Orientation (NSO) session. Students will indicate a preferred major at that time. Although they may change their major later, this step assures that students are initially assigned to the most knowledgeable adviser. If Aspirants change their preferred major, they will be reassigned to an adviser in their new area of interest. If they decide to opt out of the program altogether, they simply notify the program assistant. There is no penalty for discontinuing, and nothing will show on the student’s record.

Aspire to Become a Fellow

Entrance Requirements

Aspirants may be admitted to the Paterno Fellows Program and Schreyer Honors College at one of three points:

After Two Semesters

  • Completion of at least four honors courses during the first year at University Park, including the Rhetoric and Civic Life sequence ENGL/CAS 137H/138T, for a minimum of 12 honors credits
  • Completion of any department requirements
  • A second semester GPA no lower than a 3.4, and a cumulative GPA of 3.5

After Three Semesters

  • Completion of 5 honors courses for a cumulative total of 15 honors credits, including ENGL/CAS 137H/138T
  • Completion of any department requirements
  • A third semester GPA no lower than a 3.4, and a cumulative GPA of 3.4

After Four Semesters

  • Completion of 7 honors courses for a cumulative total of 21 honors credits, including ENGL/CAS 137H/138T
  • Completion of any department requirements
  • A fourth semester GPA no lower than a 3.4, and a cumulative GPA of 3.4

Aspirants who have two consecutive semester GPAs below a 3.4, regardless of their cumulative GPA, will not be admitted into the Paterno Fellows Program.

Spring 2020 Alternative Grading for Honors Credit and GPA Requirements
Students may decide on a course-by-course basis whether to opt for the alternative grade to receive credit for honors courses and to maintain the required 3.4 or 3.5 GPA. Honors courses with a letter grade of C or higher or with the alternative SAT grade will count toward the required number of honors credits. 

Department Requirements

Only the departments listed below have additional entrance requirements. All other departments follow the PFP GPA and honors credit requirements.

Major Department Requirements
Credits / Courses / Grades / Major GPA
Criminology

Complete CRIM 012, CRIM 100, CRIM 249*, CRIM 250W, and STAT 200.
*Effective for students in the 2019-20 cohort

Spring 2020: No changes

Economics

Complete ECON 102, 104, 302, and 304 (or their honors counterparts) with an average GPA of at least 3.67 in these courses.

Spring 2020: No changes

Political Science / International Politics / Social Data Analytics

Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.67 or higher. Complete at least two of the following courses at Penn State with an A- or higher: PLSC 001, 003, 007, 010, 014, or 017. (Students may not use both PLSC 007 and 017 to fulfill this requirement.) Complete PLSC 309 with a B+ or higher.

Spring 2020: Students may opt for the alternative SAT grade to maintain the 3.67 cumulative GPA required for entry; however, the SAT will not replace the two A- or one B+ grades required for the listed courses.

Psychology

Complete PSYCH 100 (or a 5 on the AP exam), PSYCH 105, PSYCH 200 or STAT 200, and PSYCH 301W with a grade of A. Students who receive three As and one A- will still qualify if they have a cumulative GPA of 3.8 or higher.

Spring 2020: Students may opt for the alternative SAT grade in one of these required courses in place of the A or A-.

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