University Park, PA
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
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Reviews 4213 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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3 College Sophomore

Transportation: Walking More Convenient – The public transportation is good at Penn State, they run constantly throughout the day but nothing is running at night which can be really inconvenient. It is usually easier to walk to get around on campus unless you live far off campus, then you have to take a bus, but even then the buses come around on all different times, and there's a big chance you'll miss it or not need it when it is coming.

3 College Sophomore

Drug Safety: At Penn State drugs aren't that common, you see more people drinking than using drugs.

5 College Sophomore

Diversity: Represents Everyone – The campus is pretty rich in diversity. It is very celebrated at Penn State. There are a lot of clubs that celebrate different backgrounds and sexual orientations. All of these clubs can quite openly celebrate what they are about without having to worry about a lot of criticism. It is a very open and accepting environment.

4 College Sophomore

Facilities: A Lot of Great Things for Students – There are a lot of fun classes to take at the gym. There is also always something exciting going on on campus (concerts, student performances, cultural activities, etc.). There are a lot of clubs to join. The library is great. It is very large and the librarians are very helpful. It offers a great place to study and a great resource for research. The facilities give a great atmosphere and liveliness to the campus.

3 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: Exceptable Dining Options – There are a lot of dining choices on campus. I find, however, that they always seem to have the same things. There is not that much variety. Some of the food is pretty good, but some of it is kind of terrible. I think this is to be expected of a college dining hall though. I really wish that they had more hours. If you have a really late class you'll probably end up eating a frozen dinner from one of the convenience stores on campus.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: State College '12 – I think that State College is a very nice area. There are a variety of things to do. There are also a lot of things to do on campus, such as ice skating, billiards, and exercising. They also offer free and discounted events on Fridays and Saturdays, which is really nice if you want to get out of your room, but you aren't into partying. The downtown area is very catered to Penn State students and we are received well. Overall, it is a nice atmosphere. I just wish it wasn't so far from a major city.

4 College Senior

Drug Safety: Not Bad – Sure there is drug use like any other city/town in the world but its not rampant and super noticeable. If you want to get involved in it you could if not its not much of a bother either.

4 College Senior

Scholarships: i had no problems with financial aid as long as I was willing to communicate and take the time to go in there. They were very helpful in person.

2 College Freshman

Weather: The weather is incredibly unpredictable, maybe it was just this year but one day it would be snowing and the next it would be really sunny. We get a lot of snow and rain here.

3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Many Choices – As a small college town, you don't have to drive to reach some great restaurants. There are many options downtown including Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Korean and Japanese. Some places have discounts for students but not often. The price ranges from $7 to $20 depending on which restaurants you choose; a few are quite upscale.

3 College Senior

Academics: It Is What You Make of It – Some majors, especially the sciences are quite challenging and force the student to do critical thinking. As with anything, time and dedication are required to keep up with the pace of class as you can get easily left behind.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Penn State is highly focused on sports and team spirit. The school's atmosphere revolves around the words "We are Penn State." Every student tries to uphold the the good reputation that previous students have made for the present student population. Penn State students will always cheer on their school and team.

3 College Freshman

Weather: the weather is on and off, its beautiful some days but the winter gets pretty cold and snowy. It's similar weather to new jersey, a little colder on average though

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Overall Experience: Best Time of My Life – I LOVE my school. PSU is the best place ever, with tons of friendly people and great teachers to help you out. Its not only just about parties, you must do your work or else you will fail. The friends i have made here so are friendly and think of each other as a family. If you want to go to a school with a friendly environment i would recommend psu.

2 College Freshman

Scholarships: it is kind of a hard process to get financial aid from my school, since there are about 70,000 other students there as well.

3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: Off Campus Is Better – Living on campus is fun as well as a good experience. But living off campus could be cheaper, yet the cost of food could get a little pricey at times. As long as you have a budget and stick too it you should be fine. The availability of off campus is normally first come first serve, but pick your house mates carefully.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Campus Strictness: If You're Not an Idiot, You'll Be Fine. I went through four years of Penn State and did my fair share of partying and drinking, both on campus and off and I never got in trouble. I obviously know kids who have gotten in trouble and the punishments are not fun, but overall, if you're smart and are not an idiot when you're out drinking, you'll be fine. The only thing that really sucks is football weekends when state police walk around in street clothes trying to bust underagers at tailgates. You've been warned!

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Senior

Facilities: Fantastic Career Network, Student Organizations, THON, Huge Alumni Network – My one piece of advice for incoming students to Penn State is GET INVOLVED! There are over 900 student organizations at Penn State. There is something for everyone. Students at Penn State epitomize the phrase "Work hard, Play hard." Most Penn Staters are very ambitious and have high career aspirations. The career services at Penn State both university wide and within individual colleges does a fantastic job of finding internships and full-time positions for students. Penn State is also home to the largest student-philanthropy in the world: THON. In 2012, Penn State students raised over $10.6 million for pediatric cancer....what other school does that? Answer: NONE.

2 people found this useful Report
2 College Senior

Diversity: Mostly White Students from PA, but Accepting on Minorities. White PA residents dominate the campus, but there are opportunities for minority students to get involved and there are widely accepted on campus. There are ethnic organizations and greek organizations. I am white, but I also have black, hispanic and asian friends as well as gay friends.

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Student

Weather: Well its central PA. So it snows a alot and rains a good bit. Gets really cold in winter. Classes will NEVER be cancelled. Summers are great but thats not a big deal unless you are staying for the summer classes. Weather isnt great but dont let that keep you from comming.

4 College Freshman

Transportation: Cata Bus – I would recommend taking the cata bus over a car. They have buses that will take you anywhere you need to go on campus, downtown, and to the shopping centers for free or for a low price. Its very convenient. It is never really too crowded on the buses either. They also run five to ten minutes behind one another. They only reason I gave it an A- is because the trips can sometimes be too long and you're running on the buses schedule. For example, the journey to Wal Mart will take you half an hour on the bus (ten mins on car) and then there is a bus that will pick you up a specific time every hour. One trip could take up to two or three hours.

5 College Freshman

Overall Experience: Even with the drama that went on this year at PSU, I am proud to be a Penn Stater. We came together and held vigils in a tragic time for the victims and Penn State as a whole. I have many favorite experiences as a freshman at PSU. 1) the vigils-That was the loudest I've ever heard the "WE ARE..." chant. It was very powerful. 2) the school pride- love it! 3) the football games- are fun, loud, and also filled with school pride. 4)THON- the most memorable, tear-jerking, fun, school pride event. I wish I could describe the impact this event has on the lives of the students and cancer families we are helping. The event is the most anticipated on campus. Everyone wants to be apart of this event. I cannot even put into words how great and touching this event is. It is very emotional and worth all the time thats put into THON and the hours staying awake. FTK!!!

5 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Atmosphere on Campus Vs Game Days Vs During Tour Groups – Penn Stater's love seeing tour groups. It's their shining moment to scream "WE ARE...". The atmosphere on campus is pleasant. When it is a nice day outside, people are outside playing sports. You can join in or sit on the side and cheer them on. You can lay out on the grass. The campus is bubbling with activity and life. On game days, it's a different story. Everyone is up early on Saturday morning, covered head to toe in Penn State gear, and sometimes has their hair dyed or face painted! The School pride is like nothing you've ever seen or heard. Every five minutes someone will do the "We Are..." chant. The atmosphere in the actual stadium...UNBELIEVABLE! The atmosphere doesn't get any better than this.

5 College Freshman

Athletics: You cannot go to Penn State (esp. University Park) and not attend a football game. Football is a HUGE part of a Penn Stater's life. It is the main event in the fall. The excitement in the stands is unbelievable. Raining or freezing, the stands will be packed! Don't forget about the student section. We Are...#1 at packing the stadium among all other colleges and universities. Google it, I did!

5 College Freshman

Campus Housing: Freshmen Living on Campus in East Halls – East Halls is where all freshman live on campus. It is the fastest and quickest way to get adjusted to a new environment and make friends! Knowing you are around all freshman makes you less nervous to ask questions and start up a conversation. Choosing to live in East is the best decision. Sure the dorms are not as updated as West Halls and it is a little out of the way from downtown and the HUB but your experience freshmen year and the people you meet will be one you will always remember.


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Pattee Library and Mall
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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

James Bunting
Whitehall, PA
View all previous student authors

Despite common reservations about the location and climate, most Penn State students are fiercely loyal to their alma mater. Penn State boasts one of the largest alumni populations in the United States; graduates are proud of their degrees, and employers recognize the University’s name immediately. Although the campus is located in a very rural area, school is technologically up-to-date and on the cutting-edge of current research.

Aside from academics, PSU is also known for its social scene, especially in relation to sports and parties. Nittany Lion football—home of the 2008 Big Ten Champions—is a national draw and a point of pride for both the University and the town of State College. For anyone interested in playing or watching varsity sports, PSU is a top choice. Penn State has also been ranked highly by many polls and “party school” surveys as one of the top party schools in the nation. While it certainly isn’t the wildest town, these rankings are definitely accurate. The small-town setting and large-school atmosphere makes for little else in the way of entertainment, so it can be hard to avoid encountering the party scene during your time as a student. Still, the mix of work and leisure seems to work well for most of the student body, and academic standards at Penn State remain relatively high. It’s easy to spend four years at Penn State as an ever-serious student, focused completely on whatever you choose to study. With so many opportunities to relax nearby, balance and moderation are some of the best skills to learn from your four years in college.

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