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 Recent Alumnus

Overall Experience: Penn State! If you enjoy school spirit, friendly people, and a diverse campus you'll enjoy your year here. Everyone pegs Penn State as a huge party school but, when you think about it, every school is the same way. It's all about who you hang out with and what you're comfortable with personally. As far as academics, it's only a challenge if you make it one. This isn't high school; every exam grade matters. The professors are great and have plenty of office hours to field your questions. Plus there are plenty of options as far as study help such as tutors, study groups ect. Overall if you choose Penn State it'll be the best 4 years of your life.

4 Recent Alumnus

Campus Dining: Most students stick with a meal plan. There are plenty of meal options and a great atmosphere in the dining halls. The chain restaurants on campus are pretty pricy but are fine for a little variety in your meals- buy sparingly. There are also a few fancier dining places off campus. Great for a meal with your parents at family weekend or a date.

4 College Junior

Facilities: PSU UP is a diverse campus with lots of school spirit. Students know how to party hard and work hard to. The course offerings are diverse and give a the opportunity to learn and try different things. There is always something to do on the weekends whether you are on campus, at a Frat party, or a house party.

4 College Junior

Greek Life: Greek life is HUGE at Penn State. Even if you are not part of it you will be affected by it. We have just about every fraternity/ sorority on campus. It definitely give you options when you want to party.

3 College Junior

Guys & Girls: The typical guy at Penn State UP is athletic and in a fraternity. For the most part everyone is real nice and you shouldn't let the stereotype of groups of people be you deciding factor or only source of judgement.

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5 College Sophomore

Facilities: Libraries Are Amazing – At Penn State, you always have a quiet place to study but if you want a more social enviornment we have that as well in the same place. The library is a diverse excellent place to study because they're computer labs, the stacks which are quiet and the reading reserve room which is more open and louder for more group communication. It's a perfect place to study and feel more motivated to get work done.

3 College Sophomore

Academics: Economics Major – As a sophomore currently enrolled in Liberal Arts pursuing a degree in economics as a bachelor of science, I feel as though I haven't really been exposed in depth to classes pertaining to my major. It takes time to get through all the gen eds before getting to the other classes. Though the workload isn't heavy due to the big class sizes you really have to put in a lot of effort on your own in order to succeed. Also checking in on your grade and communicating with professors as the semester goes on also helps with your grade and making sure you understand the material.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Strictness: Fair Rules With Fair Punishments – The police are everywhere when you go out at night, but as long as you are not disrupting anyone and are under control, you will be fine. No alcohol or drugs are allowed in the dorms like on most college campuses. Some students do have alcohol in their dorms, but like with the police, as long as they are not too loud getting ready to go out, the RA won't bother them. As for academics, every class talks about the academic honor code during syllabus week. The punishments are pretty severe if you break it, but the majority of students are good about it and donn't.

4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: Penn State has one of the best college towns and it is great for going out at night. Most underclassmen skip the bars and go to frats or apartment parties, both of which are awesome at Penn State. Penn State has so much school spirit so don't be surprised if everyone does a cheer or dance to a song that plays during football games.

4 College Sophomore

Academics: Tons of Resources and Opportunities – Most of the professors are really helpful and will work with you outside of class. I have gone to some of their office hours and 9 times out of 10 they are really useful and/or present opportunities that wouldn't have been available if I hadn't gone. The registration process is easy and there are so many classes to choose from! My advisor is amazing and I don't think I would have been able to get through my first year without her! There are so many people and resources on campus to help you and to make sure that you do well! Overall, I have really enjoyed my professors and classes.

4 College Junior

Academics: I currently attend a Penn State extension campus. It has a very unique blend of tradional and non traditional students. The diversity makes all discussion very fun and interesting. Another unique aspect would be that I believe that intermural sports are just as or more popular than varsity sports on my campus. All the professors that I have had have been extremely helpful and knowledgeable.

4 College Student

Academics: They are great! They help me when I don't understand the material.

3 College Sophomore

Scholarships: Could Be Better – I have recieved some financial aid, but not as much as I believe I deserve. The process is a little complicated but the financial aid office is a great place to go because the employees are very helpful with the process.

5 College Sophomore

Facilities: The Pattee/Paterno Library seems like an endless maze to a freshman, but after tours and a couple visits, you can see how much the library has to offer. The stacks hold every book you will ever need, the online catalog will help you find any form of research you need from the location of your text in the library to scholarly journals to online newspapers. There are several places to study, including the stacks if you want privacy or the reading room for group projects or comfortable chairs when you want a nap. There are also computer labs that make research very convenient. This library is the best one I have ever seen.

4 College Sophomore

Academics: Life as a Criminal Justice Student – I have recently switched to the crime, law, and justice (BA) major at Penn State. This program is great because it offers flexibility in order to reach the necessary requirements. This is helpful for me because I will still be able to earn credits when I study abroad. If I entered the BS option instead, I would have had a specialty with my degree, but the classes are much more specific and limit my chances when it comes to studying abroad. The classes that I will be taking to meet my major are very interesting but somewhat repetitive and I know I will gain alot of knowledge before I enter the field from a career standpoint.

3 College Senior

Computers: Very Accessible Labs – There are a lot of computer labs that students can access. There is at least one computer lab in each building, the only negative is printing on campus.

4 College Senior

Academics: Penn State is great academically and socially. Even though the work load is heavy the professors are always willing to help.

3 Recent Alumnus

Overall Experience: Experience in School Over 4 Years – Penn State is a good school. I appreciate the things that I have done here as well as the people I have met in the process. However, it is often hard for me to think about those things because of the expensive cost of tuition to attend. I joined a sorority, I met cool professors and I've participated in many college activities, and thus it makes it worthwhile. I just wish I was able to save some money in the process.

2 Recent Alumnus

Weather: The weather at school is terrible. It is very hard to predict what the weather will be like each day. It snows often in the winter and takes very long to warm back up in the summer time. It is usually cold, snowing, or raining. Also, the campus in never closed, so you must go to class whether rain or snow. The sun hardly shines, so when it does it is a good day in State College and everyone is walking the streets to enjoy their shot at seeing the sun.

3 Recent Alumnus

Academics: College of Communications – As a senior, Broadcast Journalism major, I can honestly say that I regret majoring in this particular field. Originally, I thought that I would be learning more about the media and how the media affected the lives of people. However, I later found out in my senior year that my major was more technical. Students in my field learn how to edit news stories, create a newscast, and radio broadcast. Thus, I do not enjoy because it isn't what I envisioned. However, for a student who likes that aspect of journalism, they will appreciate it. In my college, there also several other majors such as print journalism, advertising/public relations, telecommunications, and film.
I must say there are a lot of professors who are helpful within the field and also give personal insight and how a student can market themselves for future careers. Within the college, we have a dean specifically for internships and jobs who is extremely helpful and make sure students graduate with a job. This is more than helpful, especially in this poor job market. There are also wonderful advisors who make sure students are on task for completion and graduation. Thus, the college of communications hosts a wide variety of caring individuals and choices for the field.

4 College Junior

Off-Campus Dining: Downtown Penn State provides a variety of dining options. My absolute favorite restaurant is called Cozy Thai. There are various international restaurant options, as well as some very nice (but more expensive) restaurants to visit.

3 College Junior

Campus Dining: Vegan Options Hard to Find on Campus – Although Penn State provides a lot of variety on the campus menus, I have trouble finding good vegan options. I either have to venture off-campus to find certain foods, or do without them for extended periods of time.

4 College Junior

Academics: Professors Which Treat You as an Equal – When I came to Penn State I was not sure what to expect as far as academics. I thought that I may not be challenged because it was not a private school. Over the past two years I have spent studying at Penn State, I have been pleasantly challenged without feeling overwhelmed. Most of the professors that I have encountered are extremely friendly and treat their students well. My academic adviser legitimately cares about my needs and concerns.

4 College Sophomore

Transportation: Getting Around – Getting around at Penn State is great because the buses are free. The only time you have to pay for transportation is when you are traveling off campus. The cost is not expensive fortunately. Also, there is always walking and having a friend with a car.

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: State College – The atmospher is great, just be ready for the coldest days of your life during the semester. Even though some look at state college as it being in the middle of nowhere, it is pretty hard to get bored since there is always something to do. Places on campus are also open all night.

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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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