New Student Orientation (NSO)

New Student Orientation (NSO)

First Year Students

Spring 2018 Students: Only one NSO date is offered for students beginning Spring 2018 on Tuesday December 19, 2017; Snow Date-Thursday December 21, 2017.

If you have not already created an active Access Account, it is required to receive all of the instructions for your New Student Orientation steps.  Instructions were sent to your personal email you provided on your Penn State application via email from "" for you to activate your account.  A Friends of Penn State (FPS) account will not work. To set up your Penn State Access Account, call the ITS Helpdesk at (814) 865-4357.

Please follow the steps listed below so you can attend your NSO.

Once you activate your Access Account, NSO is a six-step process:

  1. Take Your ALEKS Math Assessment
  2. Make Your Reservation to Attend
  3. Complete Your Educational Planning Survey
  4. Upload Immunization Records
  5. Do Your Pre-NSO Homework
  6. Attend Your New Student Orientation

All instructions for the 6 steps above will be sent to your Penn State email and the personal email you provided on your Penn State application.  Please login here to access your Penn State email by using your Access Account user ID and password.

1. Take Your 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. All majors at the University require courses in quantification. You may not take certain courses in mathematics, statistics, or chemistry without demonstrating readiness through this assessment.

There is no additional cost associated with completing the ALEKS Math Assessment.

Click here for additional information and to take your ALEKS Math Assessment. (

2. Make a Reservation & Pay a Fee for Your NSO

Within one week of completing your ALEKS Math Assessment and Educational Planning Survey, you will receive an email invitation to make your reservation and pay your fee for New Student Orientation.  You are required to pay a $30 NSO fee to cover costs of your information sessions and meals for yourself and two family members before submitting your NSO reservation. 

You will not be eligible to access our Penn State Orientation Reservation System until you receive this email with the subject "Make Your Reservation for NSO".  This email will come directly to you at your email and the personal email you provided on your application to Penn State. You will need your Penn State Access Account to make a reservation for NSO.

If you require any special accommodations during NSO, you will have the opportunity to provide us with this information along with your reservation.

NSO programs will be listed based your Penn State campus, semester of entry, and college of admission. After selecting your preferred NSO program, you can elect to add information for any parents or family members ("Guests") who may be attending NSO with you. By providing us with their contact information, they will also receive a confirmation of your selected NSO program.

Review your reservation. Be sure to click "Submit" at the top or bottom of the page to reserve your seat at NSO. Your reservation is not guaranteed until you click "Submit".

You and your guests should receive a confirmation email to the email address you entered with your reservation.

Return to the reservation system at any time to adjust the information you provided or to change your NSO program (if permitted by your campus).


3. Complete Your Educational Planning Survey

This survey is used to help your academic adviser assist you with your educational goals during NSO. The survey should only take about 15-20 minutes to complete.

The Educational Planning Survey consists of multiple-choice questions about:

your main reason for attending college;
your reasons for choosing Penn State;
your choice of major;
your estimated grade-point average at the end of your first year at Penn State; and the number of hours a week you expect to study at Penn State.

Note: If you have not already created an active Access Account, it is required for the Educational Planning Survey. Instructions were sent via email from identity [at] for you to activate your account. A Friends of Penn State (FPS) account will not work.

Click here to complete your Educational Planning Survey (access via LionPATH).

Steps within LionPath to access your Educational Planning Survey:

Log into LionPath with your Penn State Access Account
From the Main Menu, click on Self Service
Click on Student Center
Under Academics on the Student Center webpage, click on Educational Planning Survey

*Helpful tip: To submit your Educational Planning Survey, please fill in all responses and then click "okay." You will not see a confirmation message of submission, but as long as all questions have a response and "okay" is clicked, your Educational Planning Survey has been successfully submitted.

4. Upload Immunization Records

All incoming undergraduate students must submit proof of immunizations prior to their arrival on campus.  If you do not submit your record registration hold will be placed on your record.

Please use this link to complete the two-step process to submit your records.


5. Do Your Pre-NSO Homework

To prepare for your a successful transition to Penn State, please complete the following assignments before attending NSO.  All modules have important information to assist you in your transition to Penn State, but please pay attention to these required modules – d. f. g. & h.

a. Understanding a Penn State Degree

This interactive module will help you to understand the general goals Penn State has for your education, the basic structure of Penn State's curriculum and how to read the University Bulletin's information regarding degree requirements.

Understanding a Penn State Degree

b. Exploring Your Academic Choices

You are responsible for your educational choices, including decisions about your intended major and course scheduling. Academic advisers are available to assist you in educational planning and to help you learn information specific to Penn State. Researching your decisions early will help you take advantage of the numerous opportunities available to you at Penn State.

This homework assignment will allow you to examine some of the academic decisions you have made so far, and start to explore some decisions you will need to make about your education in the near future. You should bring a printed copy of this completed assignment (along with your Recommended Academic Plans) with you to NSO.

Download this homework assignment by clicking here.

c. The Cost of Your Penn State Education

It's never too early to start developing a plan for future educational expenses. Penn State has developed some helpful tools to get you, and your family, thinking about the cost of your education. Visit the Tuition and College Cost Estimator with anyone else contributing financially to your education at to get started.

d. Transfer Credit Worksheet - REQUIRED

Complete this assignment if you took Advanced Placement (AP) exams, International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, or courses for college credit at another institution. Being aware of potential course credits you may be bringing with you will help you make better decisions when scheduling courses for your first semester. 

If you need to complete this assignment, download it by clicking here.

e. Course Management System Overview

Penn State's online course management system is Canvas. Within this site, you'll access your syllabi and lessons; view your grades, and more.

Canvas Overview

f. Delegated Access in LionPATH - REQUIRED

With the delegated access function in LionPATH, you can grant your parents/family members the ability to view a selection of your student data (e.g., financial aid, grades, course schedule). To set up delegated access, you will need your parent's/family member's personal email address. Once you grant access, your parent/family member will receive an email with further instructions on how to view your student data within LionPATH. You can learn more about Delegated Access by watching the module below.

Setting up Delegated Access

Please note: The following Pre-NSO Homework items will not be available to you until one (1) week before your scheduled NSO.

g. Pre-Registration Activity Guide - REQUIRED

The Pre-Registration Activity is required to be completed before your NSO, as it is a necessary step before scheduling courses. The Pre-Registration Activity Guide includes the completion of your Financial Responsibility Agreement, your Emergency Contact and Missing Person Notification information. This important step must be completed before course registration for each semester at Penn State. The following module will provide a step-by-step guide on how you can complete your Pre-Registration Activity Guide. 

Pre-Registration Activity Guide

h. Course Registration Overview - REQUIRED

These modules will help you understand factors affecting your course selection, how to use the Schedule Builder, Shopping Cart, and LionPATH to schedule those classes, and some ways to fine-tune your schedule. Reviewing these modules in advance of NSO will help prepare you for advising and course scheduling during NSO.

Accessing the Schedule Builder

Overview of the Schedule Builder

Attribute Search and Advanced Options in the Schedule Builder

Using the Shopping Cart


If you are having issues viewing the assignments above, please make sure that you have the proper software. To view the interactive modules, you must have the latest version of Adobe Flash Player installed.

6. Attend Your New Student Orientation at Penn State Abington

The faculty, staff, and students look forward to welcoming you into our community. Here is a sample of some of the sessions that you will attend during New Student Orientation:

  • Your official welcome to Penn State;
  • An opportunity to meet with current Penn State students;
  • An educational planning and academic advising session;
  • Discussions about staying healthy, campus safety, & respecting difference;
  • Information about getting involved and engaged in the campus experience;
  • Information on financing your education and paying the bill; and
  • Opportunities to meet other new students.

Additional information about our expectations for you as a new Penn State student will be woven throughout the program, such as academic integrity, personal responsibility and respecting difference.

At your NSO, you will be obtaining your Penn State ID card. You are required to bring a valid photo ID (driver’s license or passport) so you can get your Penn State id+Card. No exceptions will be made.

Parents, guardians, or spouses are encouraged to attend. Small children and friends should not accompany you on this day.

Please wear comfortable clothing and shoes for walking around campus during the program. You may want to bring a sweater to be comfortable. If rain or snow is in the forecast, please bring appropriate wear to move about campus.