Location
University Park, PA
Undergrads
37,917
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews 4679 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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4 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Happy Valley – State College is an excellent college town. Has everything you could ever need and want from pizza, chinese, subs to fancy sit down, stores gallor and even a theater. It doesn't get the name Happy Valley for nothing! excellent place to live. One of the safest college towns in the US too!

1 College Freshman

Campus Dining: the food here is worst at best the state doesn't believe in funding for good food and students often have to go off campus for a reasonable meal that won't make you sick

2 College Sophomore

Parking: Have not had much need easy to get around without the expenses of a car.

5 College Sophomore

Computers: Computers are not hard to find and always in working order.

3 College Freshman

Parking: Hard to Acquire – Parking is sometimes hard to acquire. Most of the time guests have to park in parking garages and that can be inconvenient, costly, and a hassle when trying to find a spot.

3 College Freshman

Weather: Bring Your Rainboots and a Heavy Coat – During my stay at penn state, it is constantly raining and it is cold --> this is my rating for fall semster

3 College Freshman

Academics: The classes are excellent and there are so many choices, but i had a hard time adjusting. Especially going into the main campus, it is literally a snow globe.
Also when it comes to the classes at times it can be very large and it is nerve racking when the class does not have alot of split up work, instead alot of the grades are dependent on just test. If you flunk one it is hard to come back, and end with a high grade
Penn state is not my cup of tea

4 College Senior

Nightlife: All of the bars downtown are for people 21 and over. There is an occasional under-21 night at indigo, the only dance club in town. For people under 21, the best place to party is at a friend's apartment off campus or at a frat. Frats have gotten pretty strict about who they let in though, so get to know a brother. For the over 21 students, there are tons of bars to choose from and there's something going on every night of the week.

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4 College Senior

Athletics: Tons of School Spirit – With the name Penn State comes great fan support and school spirit. At each home football game, approximately 100,000 people from all over the country come to Happy Valley to watch the game. Other sports are fun to watch here too. Most sporting events are free for students, with the exception of football and mens and womens basketball.

3 College Senior

Diversity: Rich Kids in Greek Life – There is a good mix of backgrounds in the general student body. In smaller groups, like Greek life, most people are from a privileged background. Most students in Greek life have their expenses paid by their parents, and look down on other students for not being as rich as them. People from lower socio-economic groups are here on partial or full scholarships, which sometimes causes them to be looked down upon.

4 College Freshman

Computers: What You Need – The computers on campus are fast and get the job done. Specific ones even have extremely complex programs on them.

3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Strictness: It's Not Bad – It's easy to stay out of trouble if you are smart and control yourself.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: Live on-Campus While You Can – Living on campus is definitely easy. Food options are available all over and at all hours of the night. Freshman year, live in East if you don't want to get any sleep and South or Pollock if you want to have the option of being in a slightly quieter building.
Housing is always really helpful and prompt if you have any problems with your room.
Cost wise, living on campus is probably about average and comes out to being about the same as living in the majority of off-campus apartment buildings.
The housing process is easy as long as you get a contract.. a decent number of people don't get them and then they're kind of screwed because most of the apartments downtown are taken at that point. You also don't get your assignment until August which is a little frustrating. The contracts are given out in a lottery and have nothing to do with who you are or special circumstances (unless you're an athlete or in a special living option).
The social aspect is nice because you get to know the people on your floor pretty well in the dorms, and they're right there if you want to hang out.

1 Recent Alumnus

Weather: The weahter at Penn State is HORRIBLE!!! It's always grey, always raining or snowing, always cloudy. You will FREEZE in the winter. It really isn't fun and I'm not over exaggerating.

3 Recent Alumnus

Transportation: Public transportation sucks. The only thing CATA is good at is runing the white loop for drunk students who live on campus to get to frat parties without having to walk way too far when its cold out. And, its always cold out because spring doesn't start until May in State College.

3 Recent Alumnus

Nightlife: Nightlife= drinking. If you're underage, you will be drinking at Frats, if you are over 21, you will be drinking downtown. No one does anything else. Bars and apartment parties get boring, expensive and fattening.

3 College Junior

Scholarships: I feel that getting help for tuition is all depending who you talk to. Not everyone is equally as helpful

1 College Junior

Campus Strictness: I think they are too strict with the alcohol. They should relax

4 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Fun Night Life – If you looking for anything to do on the late-night, Penn State is the place to be. The fraternity life is vibrant, plenty of places to eat, things such as laser tag and friendly people add to the atmosphere.

4 Recent Alumnus

Majors: No Job Prospects – I was not happy with my Photography major. They did not do enough with modern technology, making no effort to teach Photoshop or Graphic Design basics. After graduation, job prospects were little to none, unless you had the start-up cash to begin your own independent photography venture. No effort to help you find a job, and basically no warning about how difficult it would be to get started.

4 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Look Forward to Every Meal – Throughout the day I can't wait to have my next meal. For lunch, I usually eat at Redifer in South Halls because it's really quick and I really like all the choices from pizza to salad to Chinese to sandwiches to Mexican and more. I usually get something different everyday which keeps the food from getting repetitive. For dinner, my friends and I usually go to the newly renovated this fall. The food is always great (not to mention all you can eat creamery ice cream). Overall the food is great!

3 Recent Alumnus

Weather: Snow and Rain – snow and rain make walking around campus miserable because campus is large but for the most part we have good weather

4 Recent Alumnus

Facilities: The amount of student centers on campus are great. Penn state has two great libraries

3 Recent Alumnus

Academics: Human Development and Family Studies is a very interesting and intellectual major. The classes offer one on one communication and examples to help understand everyday circumstances. I enjoy this major.

2 College Junior

Weather: From freezing cold temps and high winds to non-stop rain storms, some of the worst walking weather can be found in State College. Unless you're staying here over the summer, be sure to pack your bags HEAVILY with Alaskan-style hiking gear and rain boots.

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Pattee Library and Mall
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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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