Frequently Asked Orientation Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Orientation Questions (FAQs)

How will I be notified about Orientation details?

Students will receive initial information from Penn State via their emails used on their admission application to Penn State.  It is very important that you follow the steps indicated in the emails to activate your PSU account.

Do I have to attend Orientation?

Yes, all degree-seeking students are required to attend Orientation. At Penn State New Kensington, orientation is a three-day program. Orientation consists of New Student Orientation (NSO) and two New Student Days (NSD)

What happens at Orientation?

Orientation is a chance to meet with faculty and staff, begin to develop academic and co-curricular goals, become familiar with campus resources, and schedule courses for your first semester. This is your opportunity to begin implementing your academic plan!

NSO includes meeting with an academic advisor and planning your course schedule, learning about campus resources and developing a time management plan. There is a special track for parents and guardians. New Student Days, scheduled for August 15 & 16th, will include: teambuilding, small group workshops, student meetings, academic convocation, academic college and program meetings and participating in Penn State campus traditions.

What should I bring to Orientation?

For NSO, you will need a valid driver’s license or state-issued ID card.  All students should review their “to do” list in LionPATH before attending orientation to be sure all items have been completed. First year students must complete the ALEKS placement test, pre-NSO homework, Educational Planning Survey and the Pre-registration Activity Guide through LionPATH prior to attending NSO. Information about this will be e-mailed directly to you prior to your NSO Day.

For NSD, you will need to bring your First-Year Summer Reading Program book, your student ID card and your Penn State pride! Everything else will be provided to you.

How much does Orientation cost?

The fee for Orientation is $35 and assists in off-setting the costs for orientation programs. This fee is paid when you register for NSO on VisualZen (VZO).

How and when do I schedule my classes?

A main feature of NSO is the opportunity for each student to meet individually with an advisor about their first semester at PSNK. Prepare for this by downloading the LionPATH app on your smart device and completing the pre-NSO homework. This homework is sent directly to you via email.

Is it mandatory that parents/guardians/family members attend Orientation?

No, but it is highly recommended that a parent/guardian/family member attend NSO. The guest sessions run concurrently with the student programming on that day. NSD features student-only events and programs.

Where do I get my student ID?

You will take your ID picture and then receive your PSU ID card during NSO. Bring a valid driver’s license or state-issued ID card to complete this process.

Where do I get my parking pass?

Student parking is free of charge. Students must complete a motor vehicle registration form in order to receive a valid parking permit.  Permits must be renewed each year, and can be picked up during the first two weeks of each semester in the main lobby of the Administration Building, or any other time in the Public Safety Manager's office. A valid PSU ID is required when picking up your permit.

Will someone from Financial Aid be at orientation to answer questions or concerns?

Yes, representatives from the offices of Financial Aid and Bursar will have a session during NSO, as well as be available afterward to answer individual questions or concerns.

How will I know what books I need? Is the bookstore open during Orientation?

The Barnes & Noble bookstore will be open during NSO and NSD, in addition to their regular business hours during the semester; it’s located on the lower level of the Student Union. Textbooks can also be purchased on the bookstore’s website.  Our Orientation Leaders can show you how to order your books through Penn State’s student information system, LionPATH.

Can I bring a friend?

No. Parents/guardians/family members are welcome to attend NSO; however, guests beyond this are not permitted to attend any part of Orientation.

Can I come in late or leave early if I have to work, have a doctor’s appointment, etc.?

No. If you arrive late or leave early, your Orientation experience will be incomplete. When planning NSO, please choose a date that you are available for the entire day. It is important to arrive on time for check-in, stay engaged, and be in attendance for all of Orientation.

I cannot make my originally scheduled NSO date. May I reschedule?

Yes. A minimum of 48 hours’ notice is preferred because the University prepares to advise students individually at on-campus orientation. To change sessions, please login to your VZO account.