A student sits on the Berks Lion Bench after the graduation ceremony

Why Penn State Berks? Advice for prospective students

Choosing a college is hard. There are so many things to take into consideration — especially when it comes to your future. When you’re making this kind of investment in yourself, you want to make sure it’s the right school.
By: Brooke Burkey

Why Penn State Berks: Advice for prospective students

Choosing a college is hard. There are so many things to take into consideration — especially when it comes to your future. When you’re making this kind of investment in yourself, you want to make sure it’s the right school.

That’s why we wanted to take a minute to put your mind at ease, to tell you a little bit more about Penn State Berks, and why this college may be the perfect fit for you.

BIG university degree in a small college setting

Penn State Berks is a remarkable, diverse, global, close-knit, unique campus. As a student at Penn State Berks, you can enroll in one of our 24 baccalaureate and associate degrees, or take advantage of Penn State’s 2+2 plan, where you can begin any of Penn State’s 275+ majors here before transitioning to another Penn State campus.

At Penn State Berks, your classes will be small and you will get more individualized attention. You will have a greater opportunity to ask questions, participate in discussions, and have a more personal college experience. Our professors are more than willing to connect with you and answer your questions themselves. They don’t just learn your name—they want to get to know you. It's always nice to be a treated like real person, rather than just a number.

It’s a common misconception that students at Penn State’s commonwealth campuses don’t have the same opportunities as those at University Park, when in fact, every student has the same access to Penn State resources and opportunities, no matter which campus they attend.

A professor and student are seated at a table, reviewing classwork

Scholarship opportunities and beyond

Penn State Berks has awarded millions of dollars in scholarships to assist students with tuition, housing, and textbook fees. Here at Berks we award scholarships to eligible first-year and transfer students based on academic performance, SAT/ACT scores, financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), leadership, and community service. Returning Berks students have additional opportunities to apply for scholarships during the spring semesters.

We also have a unique scholarship opportunity for first-year students – the Cohen-Hammel Fellows Program. This program is for students dedicated to their academic success and to giving back to the world through community service. Each Cohen-Hammel Fellow will receive a scholarship of $7,000 per academic year, plus additional funding to assist in community service and research with their faculty mentors.

Our community’s spirit and pride create a unique and welcoming environment

We all know that Penn State is a big school with big personality. However, here at Berks, we feel our sense of community is what makes our personality shine. With lifelong bonds forged every year between students, faculty, staff, and the local community, we know that once you set foot on our campus, it will feel like home. Not only will you be joining the close-knit local community, but you will also join the Berks campus family – a family you will be able to count on for life.

Students gather in a common area in the Woods residence hall

Stay close to home but keep your independence

Local students will have the opportunity to earn a Penn State degree close to home. All students have the option to live on campus during all four years at Penn State Berks but are not required to. With our on-campus housing capacity of just over 800 students, on-campus living at Berks adds to the student experience and provides more opportunities for involvement and leadership.

On-campus housing also allows students from all over the country and the world to feel connected. Penn State Berks students come from more than 20 states and more than 23 countries. No matter how far you travel to get here, you will find a home here at Penn State Berks.

A collaborative, supportive approach to learning

Students will have the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research alongside faculty mentors and fellow students. This research has led to the development of solutions with far-reaching significance—from our local community, to statewide and even international impact. Our academic and learning communities help students build relationships in smaller groups while opening the door to opportunities research, service, and leadership development.

Students and professors collaborate in the Fluid Dynamics Lab on campus

Find your niche and get involved

There are more than 50 student-led clubs and organizations that you can join at Berks. Getting involved is often the first step to forming those lifelong bonds of friendship and support that so many of our students and graduates treasure. Penn State Berks is also home to a powerful student mentorship program that supports first-year students with their transition into college, and once those students return the following year, they often choose to pay it forward by returning as mentors themselves.

Penn State is well-known for its remarkable athletic programs, and Penn State Berks is no exception. With 12 varsity athletic programs, numerous championships, Berks athletes set the bar high in every event. We also have plenty of club sports, and tons of intramural activities for those of you with competitive spirits.

The softball team huddles together before a game

We Are … and always will be Penn Staters for life!

Many Berks alumni have incredible careers with some of the most successful and prominent companies worldwide. Numerous graduates have turned their ideas into a new company or product with the help of our two innovation hubs focused on supporting student entrepreneurship.

After you leave campus with your diploma, you will continue to be supported by your Penn State family. We believe that once you become a Penn Stater, you are a Penn Stater for life. And with largest alumni association in the world, that’s a big family and professional network!

Penn State is one university, geographically dispersed. No matter which campus you choose to attend, we are all Penn State. Choosing your campus is a matter of deciding what’s important to you—if small class sizes, being close to home, choosing the major you've always dreamed of pursuing, or participating in incredible research is important to you, then Penn State Berks might just be the perfect fit.

For more information on how to apply, contact the Penn State Berks Office of Admissions at 610-396-6060 or email [email protected].