Class of 2024: A virtual 'Welcome to the Penn State Community'

Eric J. Barron
May 07, 2020

In his latest post at diggingdeeper.psu.edu, President Eric J. Barron has shared the following message with students accepted to Penn State's Class of 2024:  

We know, of course, the coronavirus has changed the world and created a great deal of concern and anxiety, whether financial or safety related, as well as wondering how it may impact your educational opportunities and experiences. No one has seen this before, and it has raised many questions.

Penn State’s renowned educational model, built over time, has enabled us to rise to this challenge, and we are well-prepared to address your individual needs now, and in the future. Our in-class, engaged and virtual learning models — both remote and online are innovative and flexible, and we are ready for you to join us. We will meet you where you are to make your education accessible, safe and financially achievable. And, as you prepare for your degree experience, our faculty, administration, staff and alumni community will set you up for a lifetime of success with the learning and skills you need to reach your career and life potential, and to impact the world.

To help convey this information, we have established a series of four virtual programs: “Welcome to the Penn State Community.” I want to personally invite you to join one, or all, of the four livestream Q&A sessions with students, alumni, faculty and members of Penn State’s leadership team — all of whom will join us via Zoom from across the great Commonwealth to answer your questions and help welcome you to Penn State.

Please join us at Classof2024.psu.edu at 3:30 p.m. EDT based on the schedule below. I hope you will submit questions in advance using an anonymous form at Classof2024.psu.edu so we can address them during our live sessions.

  • May 14: Flexibility to Meet Individual Needs, which I am thrilled to host
  • May 18: The Penn State Student Experience, hosted by Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs
  • May 20: Strength of the Penn State Community, hosted by Marie Hardin, dean of the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications
  • May 27: Value of a Penn State Education, which I am also excited to host

These sessions will explore the many ways our leading educational, financial and support systems are able to help you and all of our students continue to excel as you achieve your ambitions and dreams — it is no accident that Penn State is ranked second in the nation for producing CEOs. With unparalleled technology support, digital and curriculum innovation, a flexible structure including our Commonwealth and University Park campuses, effective outreach programming, and a wide array of top-ranked academic programs, Penn State is uniquely prepared for the arrival of the Class of 2024. These sessions may also provide valuable information for those of you who may be transferring to our great University or entering our graduate programs.

I’d like to elaborate on our ability to flexibly meet the needs of newly admitted students. Some of this will be touched upon in the series but warrants elaboration.

While we remain optimistic that classes will begin on our campuses this fall, it’s possible that we may need a hybrid structure, and our institution is equipped to handle such scenarios with agility and excellence. We have the tools and commitment to personalize your education, in the classroom and virtually, and with a combination of both. We are already recognized leaders in evolving education, and we can draw on the expertise of Penn State’s World Campus, which began in 1998 and is consistently among U.S. News and World Report’s highest-ranked online programs. With this experience, we have developed skill sets and hired personnel that have transformed the traditional classroom, enabled flexibility for every student, and has allowed us to be more nimble, more engaged, and to deliver an exceptional remote education even in the face of crisis. 

As you look forward to the Penn State education you have worked so hard to begin, we realize you may need further flexibility and support. Always remember that we are ready to work with you using resources that include:

  • options for hybrid, flexible customization of course schedules;
  • virtual (online or remotely delivered) summer session courses to get you started early with a chance to “dip your toes” into college courses;
  • broadband access with internet/computers/technology support;
  • disability services; and
  • financial aid and literacy counseling services.

Penn State has also introduced Flex Start. This option gives students maximum flexibility to begin their education closer to home or elsewhere, and then seamlessly complete their degree at their admitted campus location.

Another way Penn State is supporting families is through our commitment to freeze tuition for the next academic year. Our goal is to keep a Penn State education affordable for working families, and a tuition freeze is just one of the ways we are working toward that end.

I want to emphasize that when you join Penn State you are joining a community that is committed to your success. As we equip you to build an exciting future and realize your potential, the Penn State alumni community will be there to help you and cheer you on! We have the largest and most active alumni network in the country, renowned for the ways in which alumni help one another as mentors, career coaches, employers and much more. Wherever you go, if you say, “I go to Penn State,” you are likely to find another proud Penn Stater. So, you have a great deal to look forward to.

Finally, though we have been faced with great challenges this year, I hope you are heartened by the successes seen this spring: You are graduating from high school, 90,000+ Penn State students successfully finished the semester, and more than 14,000 are about to be minted Penn State alumni. I hope you will join us and be part of this community that is helping to shape the world and our future. I look forward to welcoming you to Penn State in person and to watching you thrive.

We Are Penn State, and you are going to love it here!

Last Updated September 22, 2020