University Park, PA
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
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Reviews 4696 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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4 Recent Alumnus

Overall Experience: Overall a great place to be.. good learning environment, great people, fun places to explore..definitely would choose Penn State again and would do it all over!

4 Recent Alumnus

Transportation: Plenty of public transportation..and its free on campus.

4 Recent Alumnus

Health & Safety: Definitely Safe – I don't think I have ever felt unsafe. Campus police are available and there is an escort service that can be used if ever in an unsafe situation. Very little campus crime.. but always keep doors locked anyway.

5 College Freshman

Campus Housing: Penn State has a great range of things to attract students. Its educations is superior, it has the sports aspect (in the big 10- football, and a nationally winning volleyball team), it also has a great social scene as I'm sure you've heard about. However, with events like THON students are able to get together, in a completely student run organization, and make a real difference for not only the surrounding community, but also the rest of the nation. Over all its a great place to be no matter where your interests lie!

3 College Freshman

Transportation: So Much Confusion – The Cata bus system seems like a good idea, but it has it's downfalls. It is very confusing, considering there is nothing telling you where the bus is going. However, it is free around campus which is the best part. If you want to venture outside of campus, you have to pay a fee.

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3 College Freshman

Parking: There is hardly any parking available during the week here at Penn State. You have to use one of the very limited parking garages and pay per hour. During football games, parking spaces are very hard to come by. You have to fight for a spot. It is very frustrating when parents come to visit and they need to pay to park. If they do not have a permit 75% of the time their car will get towed, which is completely rediculous.

3 College Senior

Nightlife: The campus closes around 7, but there are bars, etc in the area

3 College Sophomore

Transportation: i dont know about the public transportation but the parking spaces are limited.

4 College Sophomore

Facilities: Student Center – i visited one of the student center to make my ID. It was in very beautiful environment. Everything was neat and clean. Faculty members were very kind.

3 College Sophomore

Greek Life: Wild and Fun – Known as a top party school, but it's all about drinking. You also need to be part of a fraternity or know somebody to get in

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4 College Senior

Transportation: Campus Bus – The Cata Bus which is the local transportation bus offers free campus bussing to students around campus. There are several routes that reach all areas of campus and run very frequently offering great convenience.

3 College Senior

Campus Strictness: The Local Police – The local police force in the State College area deal with a lot of student drinking. With that being said, I feel like the are very tolerant of what goes on in the area but at the same time can be strict in terms of what is deemed unacceptable behavior.

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3 College Senior

Off-Campus Housing: Off Campus Apartments – The off campus apartments in and around State College for Penn State students provides decent housing options that are very affordable while being close to campus and offering good convenient access to public transportation.

4 College Junior

Off-Campus Housing: Although off-campus housing in the downtown area is rather expensive there are still a very wide range of options for students to choose from. Unfortunately the nicest ones that offer the widest range of amenities are fairly far from campus. The ones that are close to campus don't have many amenities and the parking is usually very limited and expensive.

4 College Freshman

Campus Housing: I dont know why people say East isnt pretty to look at or live in. I love my room. Its big, has room for all of my stuff, and then some. The location isnt great, but there is a bus station right at the front of the complex. Plus, its next to the stadium, bjc, the creamery, and the IM building. The rooms may not be as nice as West or south, but they are still nice, sized rooms

5 College Freshman

Campus Dining: I love the food here, I never get bored. I have only been to Findlay since Ive been here (except for my visit last November when i ate at pollock) but the food is awesome. It gets repetitive, but there are som many options. Plus, if you want to get out of the commons, you can go to the Big O, get a 14 inch sub, and a 16oz drink for $2.80, or a $.80 slice of pizza. All in all, between Roxys to the Big O to Fresh Express, all the food (just from east) is amazing

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.


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Pattee Library and Mall
Pattee Library and Mall

Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

James Bunting
Whitehall, PA
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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