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First year In Science and Engineering (FISE) Special Living Option

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A Multicultural Community of Science and Engineering Scholars

First-year students in the College of Agricultural Sciences, Eberly College of Science, College of Engineering, and College of Earth and Mineral Sciences  may choose to reside in the FISE Special Living Option (SLO). Penn State is proud to offer the First-year in Science and Engineering (FISE) Special Living Option (SLO), a residential experience for those who seek to live in a diverse and inclusive STEM-focused living and learning community. Designed to give first-year students an advantage in their transition to college, FISE offers excellent academic resources and programs throughout the year. Students who reside in the FISE should leave well prepared to succeed in their future academic work and STEM discipline.

The FISE Advantage

Students who select the FISE Special Living Option will reside in Ritner Hall, a residence that recruits talented students from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. Leveraging Ritner’s diverse community and excellent academic resources, FISE students will have access to a rich educational experience that will motivate and enable all students to seek the highest levels of intellectual achievement and personal growth. Features of the FISE living option include:

  • Shared First-year Experience: FISE students live in a residence hall filled with people who are experiencing Penn State for the first time. You will learn from the other first-year students who are exploring and sharing the same discoveries and challenges as you.
  • Free Academic Resources: As a FISE resident, you will have access to your own in-house tutors – free individual or group-tutoring sessions is available in Ritner Hall for most first year math and science courses. The tutors come to your own residence hall, so you do not have to travel anywhere to receive help.
  • Mentorship and Guidance: The first-year experience can be a challenge academically and socially. To help our students adjust to college life and start their academic career on the right foot, FISE scholars have access to a group of experienced upper-level science and engineering student mentors. Known as Program Assistants (PAs), our mentors live full-time in Ritner Hall and plan academic and social activities throughout year.  
  • Living and Learning Community: Living with students who are interested in the same types of majors can make your transition to college much smoother. You take similar classes making it easier to find study groups. Working in groups is one of the keys to success in college. Having the help and support you need always available to you makes it that much easier to succeed.

FISE Alumni Testimonials
Living in FISE helped me stay motivated when I felt my classes were getting too tough. The Program Assistants (PAs) and my fellow science major neighbors really helped because every door I knocked on had someone I could study with and get help from when I needed it. - Sara Gonzalez 

FISE was extremely helpful in my academic success. The tutors who come here really know their stuff and have helped me a lot in understanding various concepts. The PAs were also great resources in making academic decisions and in defining my future. - Raul E. Vidal 

My experience in FISE helped me achieve much academic success! I had classes with many of the other students in FISE. These were people to help me through my first year and support me. The PAs were a great resource as well. - Musa Khan


FISE is open to first-year students in the:

  • College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Eberly College of Science
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

(Participating students' roommate requests are an option in this SLO if space permits.)

Underrepresented students are highly encouraged to apply!

How to Apply

The FISE Special Living Option has limited space, so apply early. Only admitted students are asked to apply. Responses to the application essay will determine final selections. Applicants must demonstrate the desire to live and learn in a scholarly environment and a commitment to being a member of a diverse community. Each college will evaluate their own respective students’ applications.

Application to FISE is a two-step process. Upon accepting your admission to Penn State:

  • Log on to the eLiving website at www.eLiving.psu.edu, indicate your contract preferences for this Special Living Option (SLO, FISE House) and select a meal plan by May 15th.  This will place you on the list for FISE House.
  • Complete and submit the relevant application form, with essay, by May 25th. Please note that students enrolling in the College of Agriculture Sciences, Eberly College of Science and College of Earth and Mineral Science must use the FISE General Application form. All Engineering students must use the Engineering Application form
Questions? Please contact Artemio Cardenas at auc1346@psu.edu 

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