Location
University Park, PA
Undergrads
37,917
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews 4655 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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2 College Freshman

Scholarships: I mean, I got selected for the verification process... and was asked to complete the verification packet about four times. Getting the aid after the documents were submitted was easy, it was getting them to actually understand they'd already received the documents that was rough! They're pretty flexible it was just a rough process.

2 College Freshman

Transportation: Ugh, CATA – So, the CATA bus system is tried and true. All the kids say riding the bus after parties is "a necessary freshman experience." All I know is it's nearly impossible to find a bus taking you to the right place at the right time- they never show up when they say they will, and asking them for direction as to when the next one's coming is futile. But there are buses everywhere.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: Lovin' the Libraries – PSU has gorgeous libraries that are easily accessible and offer pretty much every service we need as students- printing, viewing documentaries, actually reading, etc. Lots of comfortable places to sit while you crack down to cram for midterms and such. The commons for each residence area are really nice, too (especially Pollock, it's new and modern and soooo delicious).

4 College Freshman

Facilities: Business School Offers Exclusive Networking – Penn State's Smeal College of Business has a program called the Sapphire Leadership Program, which allows top students to associate with business executives and professionals to begin networking for internships, co-ops, and careers beginning at the start of their freshman year, allowing students to have an edge up when applying for jobs after college.

4 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: Reasonable Punishments – Penn State has some very strict punishments in place, especially when it comes to alcohol. However, students often get away with use and possession. Other than that, Penn State is very lax when it comes to visitors.

3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: Leasing Begins Early! As far as off-campus housing goes at Penn State, you have to decide early the year before! October begins the race to find an apartment for the following year, which doesn't start until August! Although you could wait until February when you find out if you received on-campus housing or not, if you want a close apartment that is within your price range and of relative proximity to the campus, you better start looking early. However, if you don't care about how close you are, there are plenty of options and you don't have to rush.

3 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Housing: A Lot of Places You Can Live That Are Close to Campus – Penn state actually owns two decent sized apartment complexes just for students, so thats where all the parties are normally. They are almost the same price as a dorm though, but you have more freedom and the ra's are normally cool. You can also find a lot of people renting out rooms in their house because there are so many houses around campus.

1 College Sophomore

Health & Safety: I'll Tell You a Little Story to Explain the 'Safety' and 'Security' on Campus – There was a party in Melrose, which are student off campus housing complexes across from the penn state campus. Everyone was drinking, having a good time (well as good as you can have in this place). When one guy got a little too drunk and started fighting with this other guy over beer pong. Next thing you know, this guy is threatening to shoot everyone with a gun that he has in his room and then comes out with a metal bat and then repeatedly smashes the person he was playing against in the head/face. Then everyone jumped on the crazy guy with the bat and beat the crap out of him. No one called security or the cops or 911, while this guy was bleeding profusely. YEAH REAL SAFE haha.

1 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Absolutely Nothing to Do and Is Comprised of Weird Shady People – Honestly, theres absolutely nothing here. The winters are dreary, dreadful, and cold. If you want to repeat high school, then go to this school. Pretty much, you do something in your own privacy and then the entire school is making up silly childish rumors. Everyone talks about everyone here and is just negative and not accepting. Downtown hazleton is a dirty scummy poor city, with tons of hispanics and african americans (which is fine, its just a very dirty city). Theres some fast food places and a poor excuse for a mall a little bit down the road from the campus. Incredibly small campus as well.

3 College Senior

Drug Safety: Beer Valley – I've never seen any hardcore drug usage. There are some students who use marijuana, but most consume alcohol.

2 College Senior

Diversity: A Predominately White Institution – White students of the middle and upper-middle classes make up the bulk of the student body while there is a fair amount of international students. Diversity has improved in recent years but there is still a noticeable divide between the ethnic/racial groups.

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4 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: A True College Town – Penn State - University Park has a large campus that offers many student-centered activities and clubs. It is a place where the students work and hard and also play hard.

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4 College Junior

Academics: Everywhere you go you hear about Penn State, whether its for Sports or Academics. The teachers care despite the large class sizes. People don't rave about happy valley for nothing.

4 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: True College Town – Penn State's main campus is in State College PA, which I feel speaks for itself. The whole town revolves around Penn State and the events that are going on with the University. It is safe and there is always transportation available. Honest A.

4 College Senior

Majors: Find What You Like – The admission process for my major is not difficult at all and there are only a few requirements that have to be met. These requirements are GPA, First Level classes completed and show an interest in the program. I then went to an adviser and he put me in the system right then and there. I would assume that other majors are similar and willing to work with the students and the best tip i can offer is to talk to an adviser and figure exactly what you need to do.

4 College Senior

Academics: I enjoy being the major of Hotel, Restuarant and Institutional Management. It is always graded at one of the top majors in the United States and it is a lot of fun to be in. The curriculum is friendly and structured to teach everyone the essientals. The facilities are very nice and up to date. And your workload is usually pretty reasonable with the help of your advisor(s) who are all great. The amount of jobs and internships or just opportunities are very plentiful and the networking is very good. I enjoy this major so much and can't wait to get back to classes and the professors this fall as they are all very helpful.

4 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: Penn state is a very active university. There is always something to do or go see. There are multiple concerts being held, plays, football and basketball games.Tailgating is huge for the football games in the fall and the town is super busy. If you don't want to stay on campus that is fine because you can always easily walk right across the road into downtown state college. You can go eat, go shopping, go see a movie, go to a party or anything else you can think of. The nice thing about Penn state is that there is always something to do outside of classes and school work and the town is very friendly so there are multiple places to go. The Atmosphere is great at Penn State and always active.

5 College Freshman

Majors: Tons of Variety – There are a wealth of majors with notable professionals included in each as both teachers and advisors. If you don't like what you start out doing you will haven no issue switching your major.

5 College Freshman

Academics: Public Ivy – Penn State academics are notably good, it is no wonder we are considered to be on the of the public ivies at a top 15 public institution.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: State College has a wealth of opportunities for shopping, eating and everything else. Arts Fest is the best.

2 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Penn State is in a very isolated area. However, it is a small city with plenty of things to do. If you live in an urban area I would say Penn State is not the school for you.

4 College Junior

Overall Experience: School Spirt – everyone is so into their school pride not a day goes by where you dont see a person proud to be there. I transferred from a different college and its an actual college atmosphere compared to previous experiences.

4 College Junior

Nightlife: Always Somthing to Do – Theres always a party whether you know them or not theres tons of frats always having something on the weekends. The transportation is great and runs throughout the night.

3 College Junior

Off-Campus Housing: Easily Excessible Yet Pricey – Finding housing is really easy but you have to apply early for it which is sometimes an inconvenience. The cost is fairly high for college students but usually the payments have everything included. A lot of the housing also includes the transportation so in the long run cost balances out.

2 College Junior

Drug Safety: You can find whatever it is that you want, but you might get caught.

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Pattee Library and Mall
Pattee Library and Mall

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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