Berks Summer Dean's List

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

The best way to find out if Penn State Berks is the right college for you is to visit!

visit penn state berks

Why Penn State Berks?

Advice for prospective students

Choosing a college can be hard. There are so many factors 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 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

At Penn State Berks, you will earn a degree that’s recognized globally. Your diploma will state that you are a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, one of the most renowned academic and research universities in the world. You will have all the benefits and resources of a major university, right here in Berks County. 

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 begin any of Penn State’s 275+ majors here before transitioning to another Penn State campus.

At Penn State Berks, your will enjoy small class sizes and 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. You will form personal relationships with faculty and staff and soon feel like they are your second family. 

Students at Penn State’s commonwealth campuses have the same opportunities as those at University Park. In fact, every student has the same access to Penn State resources and opportunities, no matter which campus they attend.

Students sit around a table in the Gaige Building.

Scholarship opportunities 

Penn State Berks has awarded millions of dollars in scholarships to assist students with tuition, housing, and textbook fees. Here at Berks, all first-year students are automatically considered for scholarships and awards.

We strongly recommend that first-year students complete and submit their admissions application along with any supporting materials by Penn State's November 1 Early Action deadline. It is required for most awards that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is submitted. The 2024-25 FAFSA will become available in December 2023. Please check the Federal Student Aid website to submit your 2024-25 FAFSA as soon as the application becomes available. Penn State estimates that all new incoming students with completed FAFSAs will receive their Financial Aid Award packages from the University in late March or early April.

Transfer students are also considered for a variety of University awards that are based on such factors such as merit, financial need, and more.

LION STEM Scholars pose for a photo with the Berks Lion Shrine.

Spirit and pride create a welcoming environment

We all know that Penn State is a big school with big personality. Here at Berks, we feel our sense of community is what makes us shine. Students enjoy a diverse, welcoming community that includes many different cultures and backgrounds, enhancing the student experience. You will forge lifelong bonds with fellow 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.

There’s always something to do on campus, from attending one of our Campus Life events including karaoke and other performances, to the Arts and Lecture Series, to gallery exhibitions and theatre presentations, and much more. More of a sports fan? Catch a game that one of our student athletic teams or clubs is participating in.

Students wearing bright colors cheer as they welcome new students.

Stay close to home, live independently

Local students have the opportunity to earn a Penn State degree close to home. All students have the option to live on campus during their time at Penn State Berks. With our on-campus housing capacity of just over 800 students, living in the Berks residence halls 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 – an opportunity usually reserved for graduate students. This research has led to the development of solutions with far-reaching significance—from our local community, to statewide, and even international impact. Students have presented their research at national conference. Our academic and learning communities help students build relationships while opening the door to new opportunities.

Students also have the opportunity to study abroad, whether it’s a trip embedded in a course, or a semester-long program in a foreign country.

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. And if you can’t find a club that meets your interests, you can start your own!

Penn State Berks is also home to a powerful student mentorship program that supports first-year students with their transition into college. When 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 NCAA Division III varsity athletic programs, numerous championships, Berks athletes set the bar high in every event. We also have club sports and intramural activities for students 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 protected].