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NSO Testing

The New Student Orientation testing, conducted by Penn State's Division of Undergraduate Studies assist first-year students in evaluating their educational plans by providing them with a comprehensive program of testing and individualized education planning and academic advising prior to registration.

The testing component of NSO involves placement testing in mathematics. The results are used to determine a student's appropriate starting levels in mathematics courses at the University. Students will receive their placement during the NSO advising session.

English composition course placement is determined by SAT-W score. Advisers will assist students without SAT-W scores during the NSO advising session.

ALEKS Math Assessment

Mathematics testing is required of all entering first-year students and is important because all majors at the University require courses in quantification (GQ).

This test measures a student's knowledge of various algebra and trigonometry topics. This test is particularly important for students entering program of study that require calculus, since the results will indicate which courses to schedule in calculus, algebra, and/or trigonometry.

Two versions of the mathematics tests are offered: one version requires the use of a calculator; the other does not. You may choose either version of the test. IF you choose the calculator version of the test, you may use any four-function, scientific or graphing calculator.

The advising component of NSO also provides each student with an individual interview with a NSO adviser in order to discuss the student's educational plans. The program also familiarizes students and families with Penn State's wide range of degree programs, acquaints them with the campus and its procedures, and helps students select courses for their first semester of study.

NSO Advising

After you complete the Educational Planning Survey and ALEKS Math Assessment, you will be scheduled to participate in NSO which will be held on dates in June, July and August. Typically, students are notified two weeks in advance of the date they are scheduled for NSO. Details about this consulting and advising portion of NSO are included with the notification of your advising date. You will not be scheduled for advising until you have completed NSO testing.

This program assists first-year students in evaluating their educational plans and is the first stage of the academic advising experience. You will have an opportunity to interact with various staff, faculty, and administrators who represent University areas that will impact your success at Penn State and help you make a successful transition to the University.

Photos will be taken for your Penn State student ID+ card. You must bring your driver's license or other photo ID.

The NSO program is mandatory for all new students, and families are encouraged to attend and participate, as well. If you have any questions, please contact the Division of Undergraduate Studies at (724) 983-2860.