University Park, PA
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
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Reviews 4655 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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3 College Senior

Majors: Internship Availability Depends on Major – Career Services holds a job and internship fair each fall and spring that attracts thousands of employers (and big name ones, too, like Boeing, Deloitte, etc). Most of the companies at these fairs are interested in engineering, business, or IT majors. For liberal arts students, like me, it takes additional effort to find an internship. There are additional fairs, like the non-profit fair, that have other opportunities. I have volunteered with a local women's resource center that has helped me develop professional skills in counseling.

3 College Senior

Campus Dining: Great Food!!! There is a wide variety of food options here at Penn State. Sometimes the dining halls can be repetitive, but with such a wide variety of foods offered, it's easy to have something new every night of the week. Food is expensive without a meal plan though. If you live off-campus, it's not necessary to have a meal plan. It's definitely a lot cheaper to cook for yourself than have the meal plan.

4 College Senior

Health & Safety: Very Safe Campus – I have never felt unsafe on Penn State's campus. Take common sense measures, such as locking your dorm when you're not there, but other than that, you should be fine. Even walking back from parties late at night, the campus is safe; just keep to yourself. Although campus is large, the main paths are well lit at night. Campus security has auxiliary officers that patrol at night. All on-campus dorms and apartments are dry, so keep your drinking games quiet.

4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Off Campus dining is quite wonderful at Penn State. I have Celiac's Disease (gluten allergy) and terrible acid reflux. Even with these two dietary restrictions, I still find it easy to eat healthily and properly at my university. There are always so many options and different restaurants downtown that I can make selections for meals.

5 College Freshman

Computers: There are a variety of different brands of computers, Dells, Macs, and larger presentation computers which are located in the library and different commons throughout the campus. There are also always computer faculty on staff to help out with any questions or problems that arise.

5 College Junior

Nightlife: Night Prowler – There is ALWAYS something going on at Penn State, ALWAYS. The frats can suck if you don't know anyone in them because it's all frat brothers and sorority girls. I am not in greek life and i love it more than people like it IN greek life, so frats and sororities aren't everything. The bars are fantastic. Everyone has so much fun and they are all in walking distances (rather safe than sorry)

5 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Happy Valley – I am in love with State College. The town is amazing, it is every college students dream from paths to run on to buses at every corner for assistance. Everything is very close together but not too close. You have just enough room to be comfortable but enough room to get a good exercise from point A to point B. There are so many cute shops and it always looks so homey and nice around town. I loveee itttt.

3 College Junior

Scholarships: Process Success – Penn State does a great job with organization. Financial aid went well and I couldn't be happier. The only sad thing is they do not offer financial aid for studying abroad and I find this very frustrating. I would make appointments with financial aid officer they are extremely helpful.

4 College Junior

Campus Dining: Dining Halls – Penn State has the best food ever. There are cafes all over campus and the dorms have great dining halls. They even had a thanksgiving dinner and a late night dinner for finals week. I think they did a great job with food on campus.

3 College Junior

Health & Safety: Pretty Darn Safe – Penn State sends out a text message to everyone if there is suspicion on campus or even downtown near campus. I feel very safe on campus, everyone is so friendly and nice. campus Security does their job well and I see them randomly on campus and even at tailgates. They will break up a party though, but that is their job.

4 College Junior

Drug Safety: Honestly, I have no idea about the drug scene at Penn State. Many of my friends know the places to get various drugs but I have no idea. I am an adult learner and therefore do not participate in the drug scene. Alcohol on other hand if very prevalent and to gain access, one only needs to know someone that is age 21 or older.

3 College Junior

Campus Housing: The Lottery – Penn State does not have enough housing for students and many lose their contracts after the first year. These students then must scramble to find an apartment. The freshman dorms are loud and far from everything but the stadium. Students lucky enough to get Special Living Options will enjoy housing at Penn State. This means they will be guaranteed housing year after year either because of the building they live in, special needs, or being given a single or apartment. There is also the other end which is supplemental housing. Supplemental students could be in a room with up to 7 other students. This can be good or bad depending on the roommates.

4 College Freshman

Athletics: There are very few sports that don't have Penn State consistently ranked in the Top 25. Football, the overwhelming favorite among the students and alumni and the 1982 and 1986 National Champions, posted a 9-3 record this year and a birth in the TicketCity Bowl vs. 12-1 Houstion on January 2 in Dallas. This is Penn State's 6th January Bowl appearance in the past 7 years. Other great sports include wrestling (2010 NCAA Champions), men's basketball (2009 NIT Champions), women's volleyball (4 straight National Championships from 2007-2010), women's basketball (17th ranked this season), fencing (won 12 out of the last 21 National Championships), and women's soccer (14 straight Big Ten Championships). The athletic program also boasts one of the most loyal fan bases in the country. Clearly, Penn State's athletic program is elite, placing in the Top 10 in the NACDA Director's Cup, which ranks the nation's top athletic programs, 8 out of the past 17 years.

3 College Freshman

Weather: Love the place, but the weather isn't great. One day it'll be 70 and sunny, the next it'll be 49 and pouring. I usually have to carry an umbrella around campus several times a week. I haven't even experienced a typical State College snow storm yet and my review isn't that great.

4 College Freshman

Campus Dining: So Many Options – Being at the 10th largest school in the United States, we must have some sort of variety. Having 5 dining halls on campus is perfect because you have the freedom to go wherever you want. Even the food isn't always top notch, overall it's amazing especially at the newly renovated Pollock Dining Commons. Also, if you don't feel like getting dining hall food, you can get anything from salads, subs, pizza, Chinese food, etc at pretty much any of the dining commons.

5 College Freshman

Overall Experience: My Favorite Place in the World – This category was a major factor influencing my decision to come to Penn State. Aside from their amazing reputation for academics, Penn State in general has an awesome atmosphere and is such a great place to be. It presents me with a challenging classroom atmosphere but offers me so much outside of the classroom. In only my first semester, I met so many people that I consider to be best friends and really got involved as much as I could. Football games were probably the highlight of my year so far, with a 9-3 team as Co-Big Ten Leaders Division Champions, despite the wake of the recent Jerry Sandusky scandal. And even though it has rocked this school as a whole, we as students have rallied and united as a whole: 44,000 strong that couldn't be more proud to call themselves Nittany Lions. This school is more than Sandusky, its THON, academics, fun night life, lifelong friendships, and pride for the university we call home.

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5 College Sophomore

Transportation: All the buses that travel on campus (there are four different links) are free. The buses that travel off campus (i.e; to the mall, the ski resort, off-campus apartments) are about a dollar fifty. Buses run in loops around campus and the county every 6 to 10 minutes. There are many bus stops scattered around campus, so it is easy to run up and catch a bus to wherever you need to go!

4 College Sophomore

Campus Strictness: There is a lot of drinking that goes on at Penn State. The campus has recently been dubbed "dry", but that really doesn't stop kids from drinking in dorms. If someone gets caught, they will get written up, and may or may not have a fine against them. Downtown, where the party scene is, there are cops lurking around. Receiving an underage at Penn State isn't entirely uncommon. However, you have to be smart when you drink. The people who do get in trouble for drinking by campus police are the ones that are being a public disturbance.
As far as I am concerned, that may be the only thing that cops are weary of. Penn State is relatively safe and very rarely do theft or rape occurs.

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: You can still have plenty of fun if you're under 21.

5 College Freshman

Athletics: Sports Are Awesome – The students get really into the games, and constantly shout "We Are" whenever they are at games. It's really fun, and really gets people pumped up.

5 College Senior

Off-Campus Dining: There Are a Ton of Restaurants Downtown – Many places take lion cash and offer discounts for using your student i.d. card.

4 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: Team Spirit – Everyone identifies with Penn State and regular chants.. "we are!" "penn state!" are the norm

5 College Senior

Academics: Many Amazing Professors to Learn from – If you are interested in something, then finding knowledgeable professors and asking for their time is extremely easy and beneficial

4 College Freshman

Athletics: There Is a Sport for Everyone! Football is king! Although we offer a wide varierty of sports. Support for the womens volleyball games is HUGE!! For those not playing varsity sports but want to play competively can play club sports which allows you to practice and play against other schools. IM program allows everyone to participate in sports in varying levels of competition.

3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Not a Lot of Options for Healthy Eating – There are definitely plenty of options to chose from and they all are resonably priced with the campus dining plan. But for someone looking to eat healty the PSU dining does not offer a suffient amount of options. I rely on the deli to provide me with the best options for healthy eating.


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Pattee Library and Mall
Pattee Library and Mall

Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

James Bunting
Whitehall, PA
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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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