Students studying in the Student Success Center.

First-Year Students—New Student Orientation (NSO)

First-Year Students—New Student Orientation (NSO)

Welcome First-Year Students.

Step 1: Activate your Access Account

When: After you have received an offer and when you are ready to pay your enrollment deposit.

You should have received an email, to the address you provided on your application to Penn State, inviting you to activate your student access account. You will have one week upon receipt of this email to activate your account. Without this account, you will not be able to view financial aid awards or complete the ALEKS Math placement exam. Additionally, without this account you will not be able to move through the orientation process or schedule courses.

If your email link has expired, please contact Penn State Identity Services: 814-865-HELP (4357) or or call the campus Admissions Office at 724-430-4130.

Pro-Tip: Can’t find the email? Check your SPAM folder.

Step 2: Complete the ALEKS Math Placement Exam

When: ALEKS will become available to students in paid status beginning March, 2018.

After you have paid your deposit, you will receive an email (to the address provided on your application) to complete the ALEKS Math Placement Exam. ALEKS is required for all new first-year students and should be completed as soon as possible. New students must complete this step in order to receive a formal invitation to register for New Student Orientation. Students cannot schedule fall courses without attending New Student Orientation. For more information about the ALEKS placement test, visit

Pro-Tip: The ALEKS Placement test should be taken very seriously. Allow 2-4 hours to complete the assessment and find a place with little distraction. Not pleased with your score? After completing 10 hours of module work, students will have the opportunity to retest (students are limited to three attempts at the assessment). This is strongly recommended for engineering, science, and business majors who did not place directly in MATH 140 "Calculus" on their first attempt at the placement. Give the Educational Planning Survey your full attention. This information is used to help tailor your advising session to your needs and interests.

Step 3: Complete the Educational Planning Survey and Register for your NSO Date

When: Registration for Orientation events will become available beginning April, 2018 to students who have completed their ALEKS assessment.

NOTE: Are you an Adult Learner? Select "Adult Student Orientation" date in VZO. More information can be found on the Adult Student Orientation Page.

Beginning April, 2018, one business day after you complete the ALEKS assessment you will receive an invitation to register for New Student Orientation via the web application VZO. Multiple dates will be available and you will select the date that will work best with your schedule. Special cohort dates are available for Nursing, DUS, and Engineering students. Contact The Student Success Center with any questions about these special cohort dates.

*Requests to change NSO date selections will only be considered if extenuating circumstances are presented.

Step 4: Complete Pre-NSO Homework

When: After NSO registration and before your event date

Seven days before your selected NSO date, you will receive an email with directions to activate your Penn State email and complete the Pre-NSO homework checklist found in VZO. The Pre-NSO homework must be completed prior to attending your orientation date. Not completing the assignments will result in your not being prepared for the orientation meetings and will prevent you from being able to register for fall courses during your advising session.


When: Your scheduled NSO event date.

Mark your calendar and attend orientation. We look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to Penn State. Be sure to bring the following items to NSO:

  • Photo ID
  • Printed copy of your Educational Planning Survey results

Support does not end with your orientation event.

You can access support by calling the Student Success Center to speak with an orientation team member at any time. For support and questions, please call Penn State Fayette Student Success Center at 724-430-4119 or email us at