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Frequently Asked Questions (Page 3)

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Here you will find answers to the common questions that prospective students ask.
If you don’t find an answer to your question, please contact us by utilizing the "Request Help" tab on the right margin of this page.

 

Test Scores

Q:    Where should I send my test scores?

Students taking the GRE, IELTS and TOEFL should use school code 2660 to send scores to Penn State.

Students taking the GMAT should select Penn State, their program location, and their program of study (example: “Penn State – Smeal College of Business Administration: Executive MBA” or “Penn State – Great Valley – School of Graduate Professional Studies: Master of Finance.”

Students wishing to send MAT scores should select "Penn State University" or use school code 2609.

Q:    I have questions about test scores. Who do I ask?

All questions regarding test scores should be directed to your intended program/plan of study.

Q:    How long does it take for my test scores to be received at the Graduate School?

This varies depending on the test type (GRE, TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS, MAT, LSAT). Please refer to the testing agency’s website to find out when your scores will be/were reported. It may take up to a month for your scores to be received at Penn State.

Q:    How do I know if my test scores have been received?

You may check your status of your application, including receipt of references, documents and test scores, by logging into your existing account in the Graduate School application.  Once there, you will find a hyperlink labeled “status” that will allow you access this information.

Q:    I plan on taking my test after submitting the application. What do I enter on my application in the “Test Scores” section?

Leave the test scores section blank and enter a statement in the comment section of the application stating which test you will be taking and when you plan to take it.

Q:    Do I need to take the GRE?

All questions regarding the GRE should be directed to your intended program/plan of study.

Q:    Do I need to take the TOEFL or IELTS?

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, with Graduate School approval, which requires an institutional test of English proficiency upon the first of enrollment and, if necessary, remedial course work. The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. Graduate programs may have more stringent requirements.

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a master's degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.

Please note that specific graduate programs may require all international applicants to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score, regardless of their academic background and country of origin.

Q:    Does Penn State accept other school's institutional TOEFL results?

No. Only Penn State’s institutional TOEFL is acceptable.

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Transcripts/Records

Q:    I am listing the institutions I attended in the education section in the online application, do I need to upload transcripts/records from all institutions that I have attended?

 Yes, you are required to upload copies of official transcripts/records from all institutions attended. All transcripts and academic records uploaded to the application are considered “unofficial”.

Q:    Will you require official transcripts/records from all institutions and when should these be submitted?

Official/original transcripts are required for any degree or diploma earned.  If you are recommended for admission to a graduate degree program, you will be notified with detailed instructions on how to submit the documents.

Q:    If I have international credentials, what do you consider as "official" documents?

Your international records will be considered complete and official if:

  • each document is an original or an attested copy that is certified by the issuing institution;
  • it is a comprehensive record of all study completed, in the form of a transcript or yearly marksheets;
  • it includes all degree certificates conferred;
  • each document is submitted with an officially certified English translation.

The university reserves the right to request official credentials or additional supporting documentation at any time during the admission process as deemed necessary.

Q:    How do I know if my transcripts have been received?

You may check your status of your application, including receipt of references, documents and test scores, by logging into your existing account in the Graduate School application.  Once there, you will find a hyperlink labeled “status” that will allow you access this information.

Q:    What is an unofficial transcript?

An unofficial transcript is defined as a copy of an official transcript.

Examples of documents that are not acceptable as an unofficial transcript are: 

  • Advising transcripts
  • Degree audit from a self-service web-site
  • A copy of a transcript(s) that is prepared and signed by a faculty member, city or government official or notary public.

Q:    What is an official transcript?

An official transcript:

  • is received from the applicant in an envelope sealed by the issuing institution or comes directly from the issuing institution via postal mail, electronic mail, or a trusted third party vendor;
  • bears the institutional seal; and
  • bears the official signature of the Registrar (or Recorder of Records)

A copy prepared and signed by a faculty member, city or government official or notary public is not considered official.

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