FISE offers a residential experience for first-year students seeking to live in a diverse and inclusive STEM-focused living and learning community. Designed to support first-year students in their transition to college, FISE offers excellent academic resources and programs throughout the year. FISE students leave well prepared to succeed in their future academic work and STEM discipline.
FISE is open to first-year students in the:
- College of Agricultural Sciences
- College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
- College of Engineering
- Eberly College of Science
Underrepresented students are highly encouraged to apply. If space permits, participating students' roommate requests may be accommodated.
Location and Community
FISE Special Living Option is located in Ritner Hall in the Pollock housing area. Imagine living in a residence hall full of peers from your classes: students who look like you and have similar interests and shared studies. This describes the Ritner-Wolf STEM Neighborhood—a scholarly and diverse STEM living and learning community shared between Ritner Hall and Wolf Hall.
Ritner is home to students from the First-Year in Science and Engineering Program (FISE) and Wolf houses students from Millennium Scholars Program, Forensic Science House, Women in Science and Engineering, and Engineering and Applied Science—creating one of the most culturally diverse residence areas on campus. You’ll have the opportunity to live in a supportive educational and social environment while being connected to program and resident assistants who are specially trained to help with your educational needs.
Features of FISE 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 the 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.
How to Apply
To apply for FISE, you will need to complete the application form including a short essay. Applicants must demonstrate the desire to live and learn in a scholarly environment and a commitment to being a member of a diverse community. You are encouraged to apply early, as space is limited. Each college will evaluate their own respective students’ applications.
Application to FISE is a two-step process. Upon accepting your admission to Penn State:
- Select FISE in eLiving by May 15:
- Log on to the eLiving website
- Indicate your contract preferences for this Special Living Option (SLO, FISE House)
- Select a meal plan
- If you are in the Eberly College of Science, College of Agricultural Sciences, and College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, complete and submit the FISE General Application form including the short essay by June 15. If you are in the College of Engineering, complete the Engineering Special Living Option Application.