Semester Planning

Penn State academic advisers provide guidance to help students plan their spring 2021 semester schedule.

Spring 2021 Schedule

Visit the University Registrar site for the following planning resources:

Registration Timetable

Academic CalendarNote: there will be no spring break.

You have a variety of options as you plan for the upcoming semester. You may decide to select courses that enable you to learn on campus or to learn remotely. You may also continue to enroll at your home campus or decide to temporarily remain at or switch your enrollment to a different Penn State campus. Remember to consider your comfort level in coming to campus, the courses you need to schedule, and the instructional modes that you prefer to ensure your continued success and progress toward graduation.

New first-year and transfer students who are beginning their Penn State career in spring 2021 should participate in Virtual Orientation activities before deciding which of these options is best. Through orientation, you will be connected to an academic adviser who will help you make your decision.

Be sure to plan early and discuss your course plan with an academic adviser prior to making your living and learning decisions.

Steps for Planning Your Semester

1. Review your available schedule of courses

As you prepare to schedule courses for the spring 2021 semester, be aware that courses will be offered with the same flexible instructional modes developed for the fall 2020 semester. You should meet with your adviser to plan your courses and ensure you are on track to meet your academic milestones. You are encouraged to consult the Registration Timetable on the Office of the University Registrar website to determine when you are eligible to register, based on the number of credits you have earned.

The schedule of courses available to you is based on your campus of enrollment. Available courses and the instructional mode for each course may vary and may continue to evolve between now and the start of the spring semester. This may continue to change before and during the semester as the public health situation continues to evolve and as new requirements are put in place by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Be aware that each campus may have different restrictions on course delivery depending on the public health requirements in effect at its location within the Commonwealth.

Some programs may require in-person components in order for students to make full progress toward their degree. Students in these programs should consult with their academic adviser to understand the options and implications if they are unable to or choose not to return to in-person instruction.

2. Consult with your academic adviser

Your academic adviser can assist you in achieving your academic goals, guide you in making well-informed educational plans, and help you to understand and choose the best options for spring semester.

You and your academic adviser can discuss how your academic requirements, course availability, and course instructional modes will impact your spring schedule. Your adviser can also help you understand your enrollment options and the steps you may need to take if you need to request multi-campus registration or a temporary change of campus.

Finally, it’s important to make an appointment with your academic adviser to discuss your plans. You should schedule an appointment with your academic adviser via Starfish or email to learn more about how they will conduct advising appointments. If you aren’t able to meet with an academic adviser before your first day to register, use the tools and resources available to you to make plans, enroll in courses, then check in with your adviser as soon as you are able. Adjustments to your plans can still be made, but the sooner your plans are finalized, the more options you will have!

Option: Stay enrolled at your home campus

You can expect that your campus’ schedule of courses will be a combination of in-person, mixed mode, synchronous remote courses, or asynchronous courses.

After developing your schedule at your home campus, you might be able to add a course(s) to your schedule that is offered by another campus through multi-campus registration. However, there are restrictions associated with this process. Students are eligible to enroll in a course that is offered at a different campus one week prior to the start of the semester. We expect course offerings to be limited by this time and encourage you to work with your academic adviser to make a plan and a backup plan in the event that a course you want to schedule at another campus is full or if you are not eligible to take a course due to course controls or required pre-requisites. Approval of registration at another campus is based on the availability of courses at that campus.

Requesting Multi-Campus Registration

  1. Register for courses first at your home campus (or campus at which you are temporarily enrolled).
  2. If your home campus does not offer a specific course or it is not offered in a preferred mode of instruction, look for availability at another campus location via the Schedule of Courses in LionPATH. You can find information from the Registrar on how to register for a course at another campus.
  3. Consult with your academic adviser about your course selection. Some campuses may require adviser permission prior to approving multi-campus registration.
  4. Request permission to register for the course(s) by contacting the campus who offers the course one week prior to the start of the semester for multi-campus registration.

Note: If the multi-campus registration process results in the majority of your courses being offered through a different campus, a temporary change of campus will be administratively processed. If this occurs, tuition and fees may be different, and your tuition bill may be adjusted.

Note for Adult Learners: Adult learners may move freely among campuses without the restrictions of the home campus registration policy, a temporary change of campus request, or the one-week prior to the start of the semester multi-campus request period, provided that their academic program is offered at the campus of enrollment and that there are seats available in the courses at the campus.

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Option: Temporarily enroll at another Penn State campus

You may decide that you would like to enroll at a different Penn State campus because it offers the courses you need in the delivery mode you prefer or because you prefer to attend a campus near your home. We have streamlined the process for you to temporarily change your campus of enrollment for just one semester. You can temporarily enroll at any of our Penn State campuses and select from the courses that the campus offers. You will be able to engage with all student support and co-curricular experiences provided at your temporary campus, including student engagement, tutoring, and clubs and organizations.

Use the Tuition Calculator for a detailed estimate of costs at Penn State campuses.

Requesting a Temporary Change of Campus

  1. Consult with your academic adviser to determine what courses you need to make appropriate degree progress. Assess what your rationale is for moving temporarily to another campus. Does your current campus offer remote versions of all the courses you need? Does the move meet your learning goals? Will the appropriate courses be available to you if you make a temporary change?
  2. Research potential changes to your tuition costs and student aid and scholarship awards with your college or campus representative or the Office of Student Aid.
    • Some scholarships/endowments have very specific stipulations that make the award incapable of “traveling” with you to another campus. You may also want to discuss whether the scholarship can be reinstated to you when you return to your original campus. Unfortunately, an equivalent alternative funding package is not always possible.
    • If you have received a scholarship from a specific campus, college, or other awarding unit, please contact that awarding entity to discuss the ability to keep the award when transitioning to a new campus. You can verify the source of your awarding unit by accessing your LionPATH Financial Aid Award and clicking on the blue “i” button next to the award.
    • If you are unsure who to speak with regarding your costs and aid, please contact the Office of Student Aid by phone at 814-865-6301, or by email.
  3. Request a temporary change of campus by submitting the request in your LionPATH Student Center. To find this area in LionPATH, select “Degree Planning & Process” and then “Update Campus.” You can view a tutorial about updating your campus. It is recommended that you request this change prior to scheduling courses. You are required to provide the list of classes that you intend to schedule, and upon approval, you will be asked to drop any courses you have scheduled. Your request will be reviewed by the campus you requested, and you will be notified via your Penn State email account. It is recommended that you request your temporary change of campus early and no later than the week prior to the start of class.

After developing your schedule at your temporary campus, you might be able to add a course(s) to your schedule that is offered by another campus through multi-campus registration. However, there are restrictions associated with this process. Students are eligible to enroll in a course that is offered at a different campus one week prior to the start of the semester. We expect course offerings to be limited by this time and encourage you to work with your academic adviser to make a plan and a backup plan in the event that a course you want to schedule at another campus is full or if you are not eligible to take a course due to course controls or required pre-requisites. Approval of registration at another campus is based on the availability of courses at that campus.

Requesting Multi-Campus Registration

  1. Register for courses first at your home campus (or campus at which you are temporarily enrolled).
  2. If your home campus does not offer a specific course or it is not offered in a preferred mode of instruction, look for availability at another campus location via the Schedule of Courses in LionPATH. You can find information from the Registrar on how to register for a course at another campus.
  3. Consult with your academic adviser about your course selection. Some campuses may require adviser permission prior to approving multi-campus registration.
  4. Request permission to register for the course(s) by contacting the campus who offers the course one week prior to the start of the semester for multi-campus registration.

Note: If the multi-campus registration process results in the majority of your courses being offered through a different campus, a temporary change of campus will be administratively processed. If this occurs, tuition and fees may be different, and your tuition bill may be adjusted. Additionally, multi-campus registration does not apply to adult learners.

Note for Adult Learners: Adult learners may move freely among campuses without the restrictions of the home campus registration policy, a temporary change of campus request, or the one-week prior to the start of the semester multi-campus request period, provided that their academic program is offered at the campus of enrollment and that there are seats available in the courses at the campus.

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Option: Temporarily enroll at Penn State World Campus

You also have the option to temporarily enroll in Penn State World Campus and select from the World Campus portfolio of asynchronous online courses, which feature engagement with peers and faculty built into the course design. Please note, however, that World Campus does not offer the full range of courses available either at University Park or other Penn State campuses. Like all campuses, there is limited availability for enrollment. Student engagement, tutoring, and student support services will be provided by World Campus. Tuition will be charged at the World Campus rate and in-state/out-of-state rates will not apply. There is no student activity fee.

Use the Tuition Calculator for a detailed estimate of costs at Penn State World Campus.

Requesting a Temporary Change of Campus

  1. Consult with your academic adviser to determine what courses you need to make appropriate degree progress. Assess what your rationale is for moving temporarily to another campus. Does your current campus offer remote versions of all the courses you need? Does the move meet your learning goals? Will the appropriate courses be available to you if you make a temporary change?
  2. Research potential changes to your tuition costs and student aid and scholarship awards with your college or campus representative or the Office of Student Aid.
    • Some scholarships/endowments have very specific stipulations that make the award incapable of “traveling” with you to another campus. You may also want to discuss whether the scholarship can be reinstated to you when you return to your original campus. Unfortunately, an equivalent alternative funding package is not always possible.
    • If you have received a scholarship from a specific campus, college, or other awarding unit, please contact that awarding entity to discuss the ability to keep the award when transitioning to a new campus. You can verify the source of your awarding unit by accessing your LionPATH Financial Aid Award and clicking on the blue “i” button next to the award.
    • If you are unsure who to speak with regarding your costs and aid, please contact the Office of Student Aid by phone at 814-865-6301, or by email.
  3. Request a temporary change of campus by submitting the request in your LionPATH Student Center. To find this area in LionPATH, select “Degree Planning & Process” and then “Update Campus.” You can view a tutorial about updating your campus. It is recommended that you request this change prior to scheduling courses. You are required to provide the list of classes that you intend to schedule, and upon approval, you will be asked to drop any courses you have scheduled. Your request will be reviewed by the campus you requested, and you will be notified via your Penn State email account. It is recommended that you request your temporary change of campus early and no later than the week prior to the start of class.

Note for Adult Learners: Adult learners may move freely among campuses without the restrictions of the home campus registration policy, a temporary change of campus request, or the one-week prior to the start of the semester multi-campus request period, provided that their academic program is offered at the campus of enrollment and that there are seats available in the courses at the campus.

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Option: Penn State First for International Students

New and returning international students may also use any of the options above if they are unable to travel to a Penn State campus or choose to learn remotely as a result of travel restrictions, delays in visa processing, or other circumstances related to COVID-19. International students are encouraged to consult with the Office of Global Programs by calling (814) 865-6348 (option #2) regarding their semester schedule planning.

International students with Chinese citizenship who are currently living in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Macau may elect to apply for the Penn State First: Shanghai program. Penn State First: Shanghai is a residential program intended for first-year international students. It offers participants a chance to take some courses in-person and on-site while also enrolling in remote course work from Penn State campuses in the United States. For eligibility requirements and more information on courses available, please visit the Penn State First: Shanghai program page.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can read FAQs to support your decision-making.

Semester Planning FAQs