Spring reminder for students to take academic planning steps now 

March 26, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The end of March marks the middle of the spring semester and prime time for students to take academic action steps for the remainder of the spring 2021 semester and plan ahead for summer and fall 2021.  

Yvonne Gaudelius, vice president and dean for Undergraduate Education, noted that it is especially important for students to plan ahead this spring as the University continues to navigate the changing pandemic conditions. 

“We have academic support resources available University-wide to help you maximize your success this spring and plan ahead for the summer and fall,” she said.  

Students should consider taking the following actions now:  

  • Review the schedule of courses for summer and fall 2021 and plan course registration. Note that summer courses will be offered using the COVID modes of instruction, while fall courses will use the standard modes. The schedule and list of course instructional modes are available on the Office of the University Registrar website. 
  • Plan ahead for final exams and projects due at the end of the spring semester. Plan to meet instructors in office hours to review any questions or concerns about a class and follow up by accessing Academic Tutoring and Learning Support resources.
  • Study support resources and videos on how students can set up virtual study groups are on the Effective Learning page of the Keep Learning website and information about virtual Study Smarter workshops on April 14 and 19 is available through Penn State Learning.
  • Assess future graduation goals and, if you will graduate in summer or fall 2021, take steps to file your intent to graduate. Check the deadlines here.
  • Check LionPATH for outstanding account balances and financial aid award notifications. More information about award notifications is available at the Office of Student Aid website.  
  • Consider any changing life situations that may impact your current enrollment status. For example, is it necessary to take a leave of absence from school or consider late drop for a class this semester? If you are considering such actions, talk with your academic adviser so that you fully understand your options. The late drop deadline is Friday, April 9, and the withdrawal deadline is Friday, April 30. Review spring 2021 semester calendar information on the Office of the University Registrar website. 
  • Plan ahead for new or future technology needs. Information about the Student Technology Loaner program (providing access to laptops, mobile hotspots and webcams) and University-wide technology resources is available at the Keep Learning Technology Resources website.
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic adviser to discuss plans for reaching your academic goals.

Many of these actions begin with students scheduling a meeting with their academic adviser. Advisers can provide guidance on degree progression, help students request a degree audit, and navigate course registration and explore flexible options for studying at Penn State. Advisers also can remind students of the special options developed to support students during the pandemic, such as alternative grades, which are available for most courses for spring 2021, and the flexible course instructional modes, which will be available through summer 2021.

“Academic advisers across the University are prepared to help students consider options for their successful and timely degree completion. Scheduling an appointment soon will help ensure that students have the chance to talk with their academic adviser prior to registration for future semesters,” said David R. Smith, associate dean for advising and executive director of the Division of Undergraduate Studies.

Planning is underway across the University to address the changing or emerging needs students may have as they prepare to move home for the summer or back to a campus community for the fall 2021 semester. 

“There are many factors for students to consider as we move toward the fall 2021 semester,” Gaudelius said.

Gaudelius reinforced that while the University is making plans for the transition to an experience that more closely resembles our in-person experience, Penn State will continue to follow the latest health and safety guidelines from local, state and federal government. Gaudelius also said that some students will need additional support and accommodations, due to exceptional circumstances related to health, visa or travel restrictions.

“Plans are being made to address these types of extenuating circumstances and meet students where they are. We encourage students to reach out — we have faculty, staff and advisers here to support you and help you plan for a successful next semester,” she said.

In addition to pursuing academic support resources, students are encouraged to reach out if they are struggling or feeling overwhelmed. Penn State offers student care and advocacy resources and Counseling and Psychological Services at every campus.

More information related to the summer and fall 2021 semesters will be available at virusinfo.psu.edu as plans are finalized. 

Last Updated April 01, 2021