We are pleased that you have decided to attend our campus, and we are looking forward to helping you to make a smooth transition to the University. At Penn State Altoona, orientation is a three-phased initiative coordinated by the Division of Undergraduate Studies and the Center for Student and Civic Engagement.

Summer on Campus

Phase One: New Student Orientation

All new first-year students to Penn State must participate in New Student Orientation (NSO) during the summer or in January. As part of NSO, first-year students meet with students, faculty, and staff; begin to develop academic and co-curricular goals; become familiar with campus resources; and schedule courses for your first semester to begin putting your academic plan into action. Family members are encouraged to attend NSO to participate in information sessions designed especially for them.

Current students welcome new students

Phase Two: Welcome Week

Immediately prior to the beginning of classes in August or January, students participate in mandatory sessions and activities to help make a smooth transition to the University. Students will meet both other new students and current students who will be resources throughout the year. Students will also become familiar with services offered to help increase student success, interact with faculty and staff before upperclass students return, and learn about service and leadership opportunities.

Penn State Altoona students in a classroom

Phase Three: First-Year Seminar

First-Year Seminar (FYS) provides an opportunity for students to not only become acquainted with the college but to use their previous life and educational experience to begin achieving their own academic goals. FYS is a well-facilitated springboard to the scholarly community, increased workload, and Penn State culture and expectations. Adjusting to college life can be difficult, so FYS aims to acquaint students with faculty, students, and learning tools to meet students where they are and allow them opportunities to make college life work for them. Topics include self-awareness, health and wellness, financial literacy, and academic and career planning. FYS is a graduation requirement for all students starting at Penn State Altoona regardless of campus at the time of graduation.