Location
University Park, PA
Undergrads
37,917
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews 4635 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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5 College Junior

Academics: Best Education for You – I am a Criminal Justice student at Penn State University and am very pleased with the education I have recieved so far. My professors are experienced in the field of study and therefore can present real world examples. Each student has a specific program attached to them in order to complete school with out taking unneccesary courses.

4 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: You'll Find Your Pair – You find all sorts of guys and girls here at Penn State-fun, outgoing frat boys, hot sorority chicks, the studious, pretty girls next door, the sensitive, intelligent, slightly nerdy guys...and everyone in between. There's a huge party scene here where it's easy to meet people, if you're into that, or you can just approach people after class and say hello--people here are generally welcoming. People here generally have a fairly active social life, too, so once you get out of class you'll probably head over to hang out with your friends at his place, to the movies with your roommate, or to grab a cup of coffee with the girl you met in class rather than just heading back to your dorm.

3 College Freshman

Diversity: Fairly Diverse – On a campus this big, with 40 000 students, there are lots of people from all over the place and everyone can find their niche. There are clubs for just about anything you can imagine, and some things you'd never think of. There are a lot of locals who go to Penn State, and a very large percentage of the student body is from within Pennsylvania; however, there are also tons of people from all over the world, and people here are very easy going and accepting of everyone. It's very easy to make friends wherever you go, and the entire school has a community feel to it, despite the large student body.

4 College Freshman

Health & Safety: No Problems – I have never felt unsafe on the University Park campus. It has the small town feel, and the crime rate is extremely low in State College. Of course, there are petty thefts and the like everywhere, so be careful with personal possessions, and if you're into the party scene, ALWAYS be careful and use the buddy system, because when people start drinking at a party school, there is always a risk factor. But as far as violent crime goes, University Park seems to have a very good safety record. Penn State also has a Campus Police Escort service available, so if you do feel unsafe at any time walking somewhere alone, you can just call campus police and they'll send someone to escort you where you need to go.

5 College Junior

Campus Strictness: Haven't had any nagging issues. Just helpful in keeping things going - encouraging.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: The guys are nice and mostly good looking. A ton are in frats, which isn't my thing but whatever.

3 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Housing: It's not so much hard to find off campus housing as it is hard to get. The dates of being put on a wait list/being offered an apartment overlap between different realtors and you can get stuck in some pretty inconvenient situations. Probably the only complaint I have about Penn State besides the cold.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: I Love My Campus – Penn State may be a rural town but I wouldn't give it up for anything. Downtown is close and student friendly with plenty of options (there are a ton of food options on campus too). If you're a freshman, you have to live in East, if you're a sophomore, West or South, if you're a Junior or Senior you should be living off campus.

2 College Sophomore

Scholarships: Takes Time to Complete – It takes a lot of time to complete the financial aid forms and you don't end up getting very much in the end.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Housing: Lots of Choices – But apartments are REALLY expensive. Yes, a lot of them are right downtown, but you'll be paying for that location. Some are cheaper farther from campus, but then it's a pain to get on campus.

3 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: There Are Four Dining Halls Provided on Campus – All the dining halls are really good, but after a few weeks you'll notice the food options start to repeat. If you have a meal plan it's really reasonably priced, but if you don't - beware!

1 person found this useful Report
1 College Freshman

Parking: Parking is horrible. The good lots that are actually close to dorms and buildings are REALLY expensive, and the ones out on the edge of campus are far from everything and still expensive. There are 3 parking garages on campus, and parking there is free on non-football weekends, but requires a permit all other days.

4 College Freshman

Greek Life: Only about 12% of Penn Staters are involved in Greek Life, but with 40,000+ students, that's a pretty significant portion. At such a big school, joining a frat or sorority is a great way to make the unniversity feel a little smaller, more close-knit. And, of course, it provides you with a huge group of friends who would do anything for you, since you're like family (brothers/sisters). It also opens up the Penn State party scene a little more. That said, you definitely don't have to rush to make friends, have fun, or go out. Most people don't care whether or not you go Greek because most people don't, but it's definitely worth considering.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Athletics: Obviously, sports at Penn State are BIG (BIG 10 big), but you don't need to play a varsity sport to keep up with athletics. There are tons of club teams and even more intermurals. IM sports are a great way to meet people and make friends. Also, we have 3 gyms on campus that offer classes and have any equipment you could want. All that said, there is a lot more to Penn State than just sports. Between the academics, thousands of clubs, Greek life, and THON orgs, Penn State represents much more than just the atheletes.

2 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: 'Strictness on Campus' – The new ResLife policy forbidding alcohol on campus is pretty strict, and some RAs would just love to write you up for any sort of suspicion. But for the most part, RAs won't go looking for it. The punishments can get pretty severe, though, including a required $200 class for your first alcohol-related offense, calls and letters to parents, and increasingly worse punishments for each of the following offenses, eventually ending with getting kicked out.

3 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: you'll find a mix of all kinds of guys and girls around campus

4 College Sophomore

Transportation: CATA Bus! There are four free bus routes between campus and downtown. Two run late night. They run relatively frequently and are easy to keep track of using either the CATA bus website or a CATA app for iPhone and Droids. They tend to be packed, especially between classes, but if a bus fills up there's probably another one right behind it.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: Bring on the Stereotypes! We do all kind of look the same. For class, girls wear yoga pants, Uggs and North Faces. Guys wear jeans or sweats and hoodies. When girls go out they're in skirts or dresses and heels. Guys range from tee shirts to button ups. As far as attractiveness, I don't think it's possible to walk around campus or sit in class without seeing people you find attractive.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Computers: Tons of Labs, but Also Tons of Students – You can find a computer lab in most buildings on campus, but with so many students you have to be careful about when you go or you won't be able to get a computer. There's a great page on the university's website that tells you when and where there are open labs. It even tells you the number of computers available.

2 College Freshman

Weather: it gets very cold and sometimes the heat is not on

2 College Sophomore

Scholarships: More Money, Less Problems – Because there are so many students that attend Penn State, financial is limited for students.

4 College Sophomore

Facilities: Extra Extra, Read All About It – News travels VERY fast at Penn State. Between twiter, facebook, and the web in general information can easily be transmitted from one student to another. Also, the school's newspaper The Daily Collegian is very popular for students to read.

5 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: Always Something – The social life at Penn State is awesome. There are so many different clubs and organizations around campus which gives anyone the opportunity to become involved.

3 College Freshman

Transportation: Great Bus System – CATA Buses run all the time, especially the loops around campus. They run a lot of places around town, too, except the airport, which is an inconvenience.

3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Surprisingly Good – The food at Penn State's dining hall is surprisingly good. There are a lot of options. I especially like the buffet style food places. I had a meal plan, and the money lasted me a long time.

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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

James Bunting
Hometown
Whitehall, PA
Major
Journalism
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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