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Freshman 101: Helpful Links for PSU Students

Onward State has decided to reach out to incoming freshmen to enhance their experience at Penn State. We will be writing a series of posts which will provide advice to freshmen from students who were in their shoes not too long ago.  Whether you embrace or ignore the advice, just know that every freshman will have a unique and [hopefully] wonderful experience at Penn State.  We envy you.  This will be one of the best years of your life. Live it up.

Welcome to Penn State Freshman 101, where you will be getting tips and info on how to make your freshman year the best it can be. For our first installment, with the help of our readers on Twitter and Facebook, we put together a list of the most helpful websites for Penn State students.

Housing: University Park – Here you will find a sample floor plan for each dorm, which is extremely helpful in figuring out what your room will look like and how much space you have. Guys, you may not care about this, but your mom probably does, so send it her way!

Academic Calendar – This includes every important date of the semester when it comes to classes and holidays. Dates to circle include the Drop & Add Periods, Final Exam Conflict Filing Period, and Late Drop Deadline. – You will find RateMyProfessors to be one of the most helpful tools out there when it comes to selecting your classes. As you’ve probably realized by now, the person teaching the class can have a major impact on everything from your interest level in the subject to the grade you receive. As a result, being able to read through reviews for each professor will give you an idea of what you’re getting yourself into.

TIP: Remember, you can juggle your schedule until the Drop/Add period ends on August 31,  so if you’re stuck with a professor that does not come highly recommended, see if there’s an open section of that class with a different professor.

Penn State Bookstore (Customized Textbook List) – All you have to do is fill out your schedule on this form and it will put together a list of the textbooks required by your classes.

TIP: The bookstore website will want you to purchase your books from them, but shop around first. eBay and are great options to find cheaper, used books, and so are GotUsed and SBS in downtown State College. Renting books also comes highly recommended, and don’t count out a digital version of the textbook either.

University Health Services – If you’re like most freshmen, you will spend the majority of the year fighting off illness, usually with little success. The UHS website is the place to go for information on immunizations and an assortment of other health  and wellness information. Also, if you need to schedule an appointment or speak with someone in UHS, you can do that here as well. (via @samchristie) – This will be your best friend on those frigid winter mornings when you’d rather not be waiting 15 minutes for the next White Loop to take you to class. (via @AlicePSU)

Twitter – Quit hating and get a Twitter. You’ll meet a lot of people and be kept up to date on Penn State news by @OnwardState. (via @SpreadHDGFX) – A very helpful tool for scheduling classes and visualizing what your day will be like. (via @epaps)

[email protected] – A great way to meet people and give back to the Penn State community is by volunteering, and this website keeps you up to date on opportunities to so do on campus. (via @eandrewsrice) Online Food Ordering – A great place to order food online from State College restaurant’s is on our sister-site @StateCollegeCom’s online food ordering platform (Disclosure: is affiliated with Onward State’s parent company, Lazerpro Digital Media Group). Unlike, doesn’t charge an order fee for orders placed using the service, and the selection is great!

Penn State New Student Guide – Also on, this guide page has helpful information about local banks and ATM locations, fitness centers, bookstores, and more.

Did we miss any great links? Leave them in the comments!

Check out the other Freshman 101 posts we’ve published recently!

Freshman 101: Helpful Links for PSU Students
Freshman 101: Tips for Partying at Penn State
Freshman 101: Gym Memberships
Freshman 101: On-Campus Life

About the Author


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