Admissions counselors from Penn State World Campus Admission Services review incoming applications for admission to Penn State World Campus. They compiled this guide to share some insight about what they look for during the review process, and why they look for it, so that you can better understand how the application review process works. This information may help you be better prepared as you complete your online application.

First look

The first thing admissions counselors do is verify that you have completed your application, paid the application fee, and provided all of your prior transcripts. They review your college transcripts to ensure that your prior credits are properly documented. For example, transcripts from all institutions attended are required, even if the credits from the first school are listed in the transcript from the second school.

High school records

Next, they will verify that we have your high school transcripts and/or GED records on file. If you earned a GED, official high school transcripts (through the last year you completed) and an official GED transcript are required. A common question is, “Why do you need high school records?” There are a couple of answers to this question:

  • A high school diploma or GED is required to apply for all World Campus programs.
  • Transcripts are used to determine whether prerequisite units of study have been completed for admission to certain programs.

Once they confirm that we have all of your prior records on file, admissions counselors review the admission requirements for your intended program. Admission to most of our online programs requires a 2.0 or higher cumulative grade-point average (GPA).

NOTE: Some programs do require slightly higher GPAs.

Entrance to Major (ETM) requirements

Students are also often concerned about meeting the ETM requirements for certain programs. For example, our Bachelor of Science in Finance program requires students transferring directly into the major to have:

  • completed 29.1 or more transferrable credits
  • a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or higher 
  • completed ACCTG 211, ECON 102, ENGL 015 or ENGL 030, MATH 110 or MATH 140, SCM 200, or their equivalents

If you do not immediately meet ETM requirements, there are still options available to help you become a World Campus student.


If you are missing some prerequisite courses, your application could be reviewed for admission as a pre-major. The pre-major is a way for students to complete a collection of core courses prior to being admitted to their intended major. Courses taken while in the pre-major status will count toward the completion of your intended degree.

Conditional admission

If you do not meet ETM requirements for admission to a specific program, but you have a minimum GPA of 2.0, you could be placed into the Division of Undergraduate Studies with conditions (DUSC). DUSC is a University-wide major for students who are missing prerequisites for their desired program. Admission to DUSC provides an opportunity to prepare for admission to a specific academic college or major. While in DUSC status, you will be assigned an academic adviser for your intended degree program, will be able to take courses useful toward your intended degree program, and will be eligible to use financial aid (if awarded). Before you are considered eligible to enter a degree program, you must complete 18 credits with a 2.0 or higher GPA and complete ETM requirements. If you are still missing any requirements for the major after completing 18 credits, it may be possible for you to then go into a pre-major.

Transfer credits

If you previously completed credits at another institution, those credits may transfer and count toward your degree here at World Campus. Transfer credits are evaluated once you are admitted to a degree program and have been assigned to an adviser. Your adviser will review your transfer courses to see if any meet your degree program’s requirements. Transferable credits are credits earned from other regionally accredited universities for courses in which you have earned a C or better. They must also be comparable to a course offered at Penn State and relevant to your intended degree program.

Required steps you must complete first

As a reminder, we need the following things before we can begin reviewing your application for admission to World Campus:

  1. Completed online application
  2. Paid application fee
  3. High school and/or GED transcripts
  4. College transcripts from all prior institutions you have attended