New Student Checklist

by Web Manager published Jan 23, 2017 10:15 AM, last modified Feb 27, 2020 11:01 AM

The checklist below is available as a download New Student Checklist (pdf).

Accept or decline the offer

Upon receiving our Offer Letter, log into your application status page on the Graduate School website and either accept or decline the offer.  You must complete this step before you can proceed with course enrollment.

Take note of your Penn State ID number and access account

You will see a nine-digit number at the top of your status page in your Graduate School application.  Take note of this number as you may need to use it in official communication with various campus offices such as the Bursar. 

When you created your Graduate School application, you should have created a Penn State access account which will contain three letters and several numbers, such as xyz1234.  You will use this account along with a password you chose to access Canvas, LionPath, and other Penn State systems.  The access account number will become part of your Penn State email address, such as

Order official transcripts

Once you are admitted, the Graduate School will ask you for sealed, paper copies of all of your transcripts and provide instructions as to where to send them.

Go to Tech Camp

Tech Camp can be found at Here you will learn about Penn State access accounts, as well as LionPath and Canvas, the two systems used to enroll and participate in online learning at Penn State.

Log into LionPath

Go to you are not already logged into your access account, you will be prompted to do so. Once you are logged into LionPath, click the Students, Faculty, and Staff Login button. Select the hamburger icon to open the NavBar, then click Student Center. You should be able to complete the Pre-registration Activity Guide which contains the Financial Responsibility Agreement that must be electronically "signed" and submitted.

Check your LionPath Communications Center

This the topmost information box on the right-hand side of your LionPath Student Center page. It indicates whether you have any pending messages and communications. Clicking on the Details link displays a dashboard that lists all of your messages and communications, both pending and completed.

Accept the Financial Responsibility Agreement (FRA)

In LionPath, the FRA is located in the Holdslist, and the link to that is located at the top of the screen. You must accept the FRA before you can enroll in classes. If you try to register for a course and are prevented because of a “hold” on your record, it is most likely because you have not accepted the FRA.

Complete your “To Do” List

In LionPath, a link to the To Do list is at the top of the screen next to Holds. The Holds list alerts you to any pre-registration tasks you have yet to perform and also shows you the status of any pending activities you have already put in motion.

Develop a study plan with your academic advisor

Before selecting and enrolling in your courses, it may be helpful to discuss your choices with your academic advisor, who can provide you with more detail as to prerequisites, workload, and so forth. 

Check your Offer Letter to find the name of your advisor. Your advisor will either be Barbara Watters (, 814-863-6148) or Paul Obidinski (, 814-865-9514. 

The pace at which you progress through the program is up to you. Most students find completing one or two courses per semester is a good pace. The first two courses you must take are PSY 532 Psychological Foundations of Leadership and PSY 539 Foundations of Behavior, Motivation, and Attitudes at Work.  These courses serve as the foundations for all other courses in the program.

Select and Enroll in Courses

At the Student Home base in LionPath, browse available courses by clicking the Find Classes button. Select the term (Spring 2020 or whatever), campus (World Campus), and subject (most likely PSY) to see what is available. When you are ready to enroll, click Enrollment at the Student Home base, find the course you want, and click Select. Instructions on how to perform various functions in LionPath can be found here:

Manage Your Learning Experience

You will access your online courses through the Canvas Learning Management System. Note that it may take a few days for your courses to show up there after you enroll.

You can access Canvas by going to We suggest that you spend some time familiarizing yourself with the Canvas System by making use of the video tutorials and other resources found on that page. That site also will serve as your point of contact for technical issues during the semester.

Please note that your instructor will enable your courses on the first day of class. If you log into Canvas prior to that, your course may not appear in your dashboard.

Order Textbooks if Needed

Once registered for your course(s), you should order your textbooks online as soon as possible.  It is recommended that you order books through the MBS bookstore at While you can purchase books anywhere you’d like, the World Campus can authorize MBS to refund your money and cover shipping costs if there is an error or problem (such as an incorrect edition of a textbook, or a course cancellation, for example). Not all of our courses require textbooks; each course syllabus clearly states whether textbooks are required.

When Needed, Utilize the Self-Help Technology Resources

LionPath Help:

Canvas Help:

Contact the Program Administrator with Questions about Policies

The Psychology of Leadership program administrator is Michael Joyce.  You can contact Michael at or 814-865-0704.  Contact him if you have questions about Penn State policies and procedures.  Contact your advisor with questions about academics.