Penn State Acceptance Rate, Tuition, GPA, and Requirements 2022/2023

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Are you seeking admission into one of the most prestigious public schools in the United States? Probably one of the questions on your mind is about the acceptance rate of Penn State University, which is very important as Penn State has a highly competitive rate and is also in a league all on its own.

This article covers the Penn State acceptance rate, admission requirements, and ranking. Let’s dive right in.

About Penn University

Founded in 1885, the university is one of the most prestigious public institutions in the United States. It was formerly named ‘Famers high school of Pennsylvania. Penn State University is a major research university that offers both resident and online courses. It is one of the largest universities in the United States. It has students from across the world applying for admission into the institution. The institution has branches or campuses in various parts of Pennsylvania, with the University Park campus as the Main Campus. The university is also referred to as PSU or Penn State University, or simply Penn State. 

 According to Wikipedia, annually, the enrollment at University Park campus is 46,800 both undergraduates and graduate students which makes it one of the largest universities in the whole United States. Pennsylvania state university has approximately 20 campuses in Pennsylvania. The main campus has about 47,000 students and approximately 1,000 clubs, with the second largest football stadium in the country.

 The institution provides a unique learning pattern for its students, a kind of 2+2 pattern, where every student gets to experience what it’s like to attend a small campus and a large campus. Typically, students spend 2years at one Penn campus and the other two years at another campus.

 The university of the 24 campuses is located in the state college borough and college Township in the center county. Out of all its campuses, University Park is the most selective of them. In 1998, the institution launched “Penn State online” which offers over 60 online education programs, degrees, and certificates to students. It offers an online course in MBA and a bachelor of science in Nursing, among other online courses. According to data from Wikipedia, the BS/MBA programs equip individuals for future endeavors in the world scientific organizations, and it’s headed by Mr. Peter Tombros and Dr. James Gardner.

Penn State Acceptance rate 2022

 The acceptance rate for Penn State University is 56% for the year 2022, and it’s essential not that the acceptance rate is not fixed. It is objected to change every year. Students who tend to apply early have a higher chance of getting accepted. For every 100% that apply, 54% get accepted. This percentage isn’t precisely low or high.

There’s an urgent need for prospective students to study in prestigious institutions as this would improve their chances of landing that dream job. These schools come with high recognition. These have notable alumni associations and persons respected in various societies and circles. Hence, the high competition by prospective students to attend these schools. Penn State acceptance rate for out-of-state students is around 42%, and most students who attend Penn State University are from other states and countries.

The university comprises mainly students from outside the state. Suppose you are worried you might not be considered for admission into this prestigious institution because you are not a resident. In that case, you shouldn’t be, as the university accepts students outside Pennsylvania.

Penn State Acceptance rate for Engineering Students 

The acceptance rate for Engineering students at Penn State University is 24%; in a school where the overall acceptance rate is 56% out of 100%, engineering students get a percentage of 24, which leaves 22 % for every other major or course. The essence of this evaluation is to show the level of competition at Penn State University. The acceptance rate for Engineering students into Penn State University is relatively low and the university receives many applications. As an aspiring engineering student, you might want to study extra hard as the university doesn’t accept many engineering students. 

 Penn State Acceptance Rate for Nursing Students

Penn State University acceptance rate is approximately 25% -30% for Nursing students. It shows that the university is very selective. As compared to other departments, which have even lesser acceptance rate, students tend to apply for Nursing course. A total of 3,000 students applied for Nursing in college nursing for the 2018-2019 academic year. Penn State University Park is one of the best institutions for nursing programs and majors.

 Penn State Acceptance Rate for College of Medicine Students

The acceptance rate for medical students in Penn State University is 4.4%, which is very low and indicates that Penn State is very selective in admitting medical students. Studying very hard to gain admission into this prestigious university is advisable. The acceptance rate for this is way lower as compared to every other major offered by the school.

Penn State Tuition Fees

To understand how Penn State Tuition fees are divided, study the table below:

 Penn State University Park                           PA RESIDENTIAL     NON-PA RESIDENTIAL
 Tuition and fees  $18,898  $36,476
  Additional estimated cost $14,158-$17,380 $14,158-$17, 380
Total cost  $33,056-$36,278  $50, 634 – $53, 856

Penn State Admission Requirements

The requirements for admission into Penn State University comprise three requirements which include:

• GPA requirements

• SAT/ACT requirements

• Application requirements

Penn State GPA Requirements

The standard GPA you are expected to provide for application to Penn State University is 3.8. PU expects that you should be an average student in high school. If you have a lesser GPA, you can make for this by taking advanced courses like AP or IB courses. To make up a low GPA, you must also score incredibly high on your SAT and ACT tests. This will boost your chances of gaining admission and you can also compete effectively with other prospective students. 

In Penn State University, you must take either the SAT or ACT tests to qualify for admission into the university.

SAT Requirements for Penn State

At Penn State, the average SAT score composite is 1265 over 1600 on the SAT scale. Which is a pointer that the institution is quite competitive. For a better understanding of Penn State University SAT requirements, take a look at the table below

Reading 25th         530

Math 25th               240

Composite 25th     1070

Reading 75th            640

Math 75th.               650

Composite 75th     1300

Average SAT score  1190

For a better chance at gaining admission into Penn State University’s main campus, you should try hard to make the 47% of students who take the SAT as this set would be considered before every other percentage. Often, the university lowers its composite scores to 1070 from a scale of 1600, making it possible for prospective students with a SAT score of 950 to be accepted into the university. The competitive SAT score is as high as 74%, making it extremely difficult to gain admission as the competition is quite high.

Evaluated chance of acceptance based on SAT score

SAT SCORES ranges chances
1300 and above Good  87%
1185-1300 Avg+  78%-87%
1070-1185 Avg-  65% -78%
955-1070  Reach   65% -55
Below 955  low  55%

Source: Collegesimply

Penn State ACT  ​​​​​​requirements

The average ACT score of 28 makes Penn university moderately competitive for its ACT score. If you score low on your ACT, your application would be trashed, the same as scoring low on SAT. To help you score high and improve your chances, you can adopt the ACT Superscore policy. The Superscore policy allows you to focus on one test subject at a time.

It also gives the advantage of deciding which test score you would like to submit to the admission authorities. In this case, they would select the highest score out of all tests section combined to get ACT composite score. Unfortunately, Penn State did not disclose its ACT superscore policy, and there’s a possibility the school doesn’t have any superscores policy. That shouldn’t be a disadvantage to you, as you can still select your highest score on the ACT and send it to the school.

It is also important here to note that Penn State requires its applicants to take the SAT essay and ACT writing section. This will be used to evaluate your admission into the university. The table below better explains ACT requirements.

ACT 25th  Reading     23

ACT Math 25th           23

ACT composite 25th  24

ACT Reading 75th       30

ACT Math 75th            29

ACT composite 75th.  29

Average ACT score.    26

Source: college simply

Estimated chance of Acceptance to Penn State 

29 and above  Good   88%
26-29 Avg+  88% – 78%
24-26   Avg-  68% – 78%
22-24  Reach  68% -56%
  Below 22  Low  56%

Source: Collegesimply

Other Penn State Admission Requirements

The admissions officers at Pennsylvania State University want to hear about all the other parts of your life. In addition to reporting your GPA and test scores, there are a few more critical aspects of the PSU admissions process:

  • Personal Essay
  • Personal interview
  • SAT or ACT (Self-reporting)
  • Recommendations
  • Application fee or a fee waiver
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Official transcripts

Admission requirements for International Applicants

GMU international applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • English Proficiency exam scores
  • Copy of U.S. visa
  • Official secondary school transcripts

Penn State University Application Fee

Pennsylvania State University international applicants pay a $75 application fee, while domestic applicants pay a $65 application fee. However, the Penn State University application fee is not refundable. 

Penn State University Ranking

Penn State University is ranked #63 in National Universities, and #31 in Nursing. Schools are ranked based on their academic performance.

  • US -#67
  • Academic reputation – #76.7
  • Employer -#69.8
  • Faculty students ranking -#32.6
  • International students ranking -#31
  • Employment Turnout- #99.8
  • International research network -#44.8


What  GPA do you ​​need for Penn State University?

You need a GPA of 3.8 or even higher. You might consider taking the SAT or ACT tests if you have a low GPA. Ensure you score incredibly high, as this would increase your chances of getting accepted into the university. Penn State University is one complex university, and it’s very selective, so you have to impress them with the rest of your Applications.

What is the lowest GPA Penn State accepts?

There are no minimum GPA or test scores requirements to get into the university, and the required GPA is 3.8-4.0.

What is Penn State Acceptance Rate for International Students?

For out-of-state students, the acceptance rate is approximately 42%. This also means that Penn State acceptance rate for international students is 42%.  The majority of the students who apply for admission are out-of-state students. On the main campus at University Park, an average of 45% are out-of-state students, while on the whole campus, out-of-state students comprise 35%. If you are an out of state student seeking admission into this prestigious university, you have a chance, just like every other individual out there of being accepted.

Does Penn State accept either SAT or ACT tests scores

Yes, you must submit either SAT or ACT scores to get a chance to be accepted into the university. You must ensure you perform well in your application to have the edge over other applicants.

Does Penn State Prefer SAT or ACT?

Penn State University has no preference for the ACT over SAT scores. Penn State does not discriminate based on whether you submit your ACT or SAT scores. Most students that apply for admission to Penn State submit their SAT scores.

Is Penn State University Test-Optional?

Penn State will be test-optional through summer/fall 2022 for first-year applicants. However, Penn State still considers submitted test scores necessary when making admission decisions through Summer/Fall 2023.

Does Penn State accept self-reported scores?

Yes, Penn State University allows applicants to self-report their high school record and test scores for ACT/SAT on their application. However, there is still a need for your testing agency to send official scores directly.

What SAT and ACT score is required to be accepted into Penn State University?

The required score for SAT composite is 1190 on a scale of 1600, although in most cases, the university accepts students with a SAT composite of 950. 

 The required ACT score for prospective students ranges from 28-32 ACT composite.


Penn State University is dedicated to providing its students with top-notch learning and exceptional opportunities, making the university an outstanding one. Your decision to attend Penn State University is an excellent one as the university opens up a world of new possibilities to both young adults and every individual at large. The university is very selective; hence you have to improve your chances of being accepted by scoring high on SAT and ACTs.  I wish you good luck.

Emmanuel Dominic

Emmanuel Dominic is the Founder and CEO of Examspot, a passionate educationist, avid reader, and data scientist. With a bachelor's degree in Economics and Development Studies, Emmanuel shares practical tips and strategies for excelling in exams such as WAEC, NECO, IJMB, JUPEB, and more. His well-researched blog posts provide valuable insights on exam techniques, study habits, and stress management, empowering students to achieve outstanding results.