After you complete your Educational Planning Survey, your next step will be to take your ALEKS Math Assessment (available November 1 if you were admitted for the Spring 2015 semester). The results from the ALEKS Math Assessment are used to determine your appropriate starting level in mathematics and chemistry. To determine your placement in English, we use the scores from your SAT-Writing exam.
Click on the links below for more information about the various placements:
ALEKS Math Assessment
Completing the ALEKS Math Assessment is required of all entering first-year students regardless of AP, IB, dual enrollment, and CLEP credits. It is important because all majors at the University require courses in quantification. You may not take certain courses in mathematics, statistics or chemistry without demonstrating readiness.
Many science, engineering, and health-focused programs require CHEM 110. CHEM 110 is a rigorous course involving significant mathematical manipulation and algebra proficiency. Placement into an appropriate course will take place during the conversation you have with your adviser at New Student Orientation. Your placement will be based on your previous exposure to chemistry in high school, the results of any honors or AP chemistry exams, and your performance on the ALEKS Math Assessment.
If you have no previous chemistry studies, you should begin with CHEM 101, since CHEM 110 is not an introductory course. If you have gaps in math and/or chemistry preparation, you'll need additional preparation before taking CHEM 110. Additional evaluation may be done during the beginning of the semester to fine-tune your placement.
Penn State requires all students take a first-year composition course that can be satisfied by ONE of the following:
- ENGL 015 (Rhetoric and Composition);
- ENGL 030 (Honors Freshman Composition);
- ENGL 137H (Rhetoric and Civic Life I); or
- ESL 015 (ESL/Composition for American Academic Communication II).
If English is your second language, you may schedule either ENGL or ESL composition courses.
You will be placed in the English composition program based on your demonstrated writing skill as measured by the SAT-Writing exam. If you do not have SAT-W scores, you will consult with an academic adviser during New Student Orientation to determine appropriate placement.
Most students demonstrate adequate preparation and are placed into ENGL 015. If you demonstrate strong preparation, you may be encouraged to take an honors composition course. If your SAT-W scores indicate weakness in your preparation, you may need to schedule ENGL 004 (Basic Writing Skills) before scheduling ENGL 015. Students enrolled in ENGL 004 or ENGL 015 may also concurrently schedule ENGL 005 (Writing Tutorial), a 1-credit course that offers additional writing support.