Freshman 101: Helpful Links

Throughout your time in college, you’ll make use of a number of helpful websites for all things Penn State. Since it’s syllabus week, you’ve probably heard a lot about Canvas and LionPATH, but here’s a full list of websites outside of those that will help you throughout your time in Happy Valley.


Canvas will likely end up being your most visited website in your browser during college (other than social networks, of course). Most, if not all, of your homework, quizzes, lecture slides/notes, and even exams will be posted on Canvas throughout your college career. The URL for this one’s a little crazy, so you should probably just bookmark it.


You got familiar with LionPATH when scheduling classes at New Student Orientation, but there’s a lot more to the site. Here, you can find your grades, final exam schedule, holds on your account, and financial aid/information in addition to your class schedule. It might not be easy, but it’s required. Great.

Academic Calendar

The academic calendar tells you when all of the breaks will take place throughout the school year. If your parents constantly ask when you’ll be back home for Thanksgiving or winter break, this is the site for you. Finals schedules usually come out during the fifth week of the semester, so try not to book your flights home before then to avoid missing an exam.


Not every roommate situation is perfect, so if you need to get out of yours and switch your living arrangements sooner rather than later, eLiving is the place to do it. Additionally, you can change or add onto your meal plan here, and you can request a future housing contract as well if you plan on living on campus beyond this year.

University Health Services

Plenty of illnesses will spread around East Halls throughout freshman year, so unless you have the literal strongest immune system in the world, you’ll probably get sick this year. UHS’s website allows you to schedule an appointment at their office if¬†when you get sick. Keep this handy for when your mom is too far away to take care of you.


Downloading CATA’s mobile app lets you see exactly when the White Loop will arrive at the always-busy East Halls stop. You’ll thank your lucky stars for this app’s existence on those winter days when you don’t feel like walking to class in ten-degree weather.


The Yelp of college courses gives you a good idea on how good or bad a professor is based on student reviews. Your professor will have a pretty big impact on your final grade in the course and whether or not you enjoy it, so sifting through reviews on this site will give you a good idea on whether or not you should take certain courses. Just remember no one takes the time to post reviews of an average, alright, fine, tolerable professor, so take the extremes with a grain of salt.


GroupMe is definitely not exclusive to Penn State, but it’s a must-have. Any club or student organization you join will likely organize meetings, socials, and just generally get things done with GroupMe. Some classes will even require you to join a GroupMe with all of your classmates, and it’s easy to sign up just by linking your Facebook account. Pro tip: If you haven’t discovered this functionality yet, you can mute notifications for certain groups. You’re welcome.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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