University Park, PA
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
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Reviews 4680 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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5 Recent Alumnus

Overall Experience: The Absolute Perfect College Experience – Penn State is your stereotypical college experience. It is everything that most people think that college will be. The social scene is amazing, academics are great, and if youre the kind of student who likes to work hard AND play hard too, this is your school. From the moment I visit campus, I knew I would go to PSU. It really says something when you want summer and holiday's to end so that you can go to back to school. They don't call it the happiest valley on earth for nothing.

1 Recent Alumnus

Weather: All 4 Seasons in One Week – Because Penn State is located in a mountain valley, the weather is always changing. One day it will be 80 and the next with be 45 and raining. I have seen snow and 70 degrees in the same week. The winter is especially cold and the wind is often unbearable. PSU often gets snow, but the university never closes. Usually older professors will cancel class for bad weather, but many profs will not.
The summer is really hot, but also humid. The best time of year is fall.

3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Strictness: Underage Drinking – There are plenty of places to drink if you're underage, but don't be stupid...because you will get caught. State College police have nothing better to do than give out underages.
But if you're smart about it you can have a great time and not get in trouble with the law. Be careful while tailgating, keep everything in a red cup or you will most likely get carded by liquor enforcement.

4 Recent Alumnus

Campus Dining: Fab Food – A majority of dining halls on campus are slightly above average in quality. However, West Hall has a state of the art dining facility with excellant food.
Other places to eat around campus include South Halls and The HUB, both of which have popular choices like hoagies, mexican, wraps, sushi, chick-fil-a, soup/salad, and chinese. Penn State's food is great and better than all other campus' I have visited. The best part is that the meal plan works like a gift card. Meals are not blocked. You pick a meal plan and get an alotted amount of funds on your card. Cards can be swiped almost anywhere, including campus convenience stores.

3 College Junior

Drug Safety: Party School – Alcohol is definitely Penn State's drug of choice. There's a LOT of partying that happens if you hang out with the right people, which is most of the university. But it's not impossible to avoid either, I don't really drink and I still found plenty of friends and plenty of things to do.

3 College Junior

Health & Safety: So So – I have never felt threatened on campus but I know that there have been some issues with rapes and such. It makes me a little nervous to walk by myself at night even though I've never had a reason to worry personally. They have call boxes though and campus police patrols so they do try. There's also a service where you can call the campus police and they'll escort you home from the library or a friend's place if you want, so that's pretty neat.

4 College Junior

Academics: Clinicals Are Amazing – I'm a Nursing major, and I love it. However, it does require a LOT of work. But then again, it's sort of expected in this field. The professors are all very willing to help out and the clinical experiences are awesome. Most of the clinicals are done at Hershey for me and it is extremely exciting to see such a big hospital at work and get right in there with them. Everyone is very friendly and always willing to answer your questions, even if they have no clue who you are.

3 College Junior

Guys & Girls: There is a wide variety of poeple at Penn State. You see many different personalities walking down the road. Not all the poeple are welcoming though.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Campus Dining: There is a wide variety of food places both on and off campus. You can always find what you want and most of the time at a decent price. The commons are well rounded both in choice and price.

5 College Junior

Facilities: There is never a dull moment here. They have many events and concerts on campus. Beaver Stadium is amazing and well kept.

1 person found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Facilities: Football and Bars – PSU's atmosphere while tailgating is amazing. It is ranked the #1 student section in the country. Bars are also very cheap and fun but they can get crowded. I love Penn State.

3 Recent Alumnus

Diversity: 90% White – Penn State is about 90% white and living areas seem to be segregated. Asians live in Vairo Village and blacks live at Lion's Crossing. Whites are everywhere else.

1 person found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Campus Housing: Off campus housing is much better than the dorms. You get much more space and your own bedroom.

5 College Junior

Off-Campus Housing: Good choices at a good price and you don't have to listen to anyone but yourself :)

College Sophomore

Drug Safety: PSU was ranked the #1 party school in the nation in 2009. Enough said.

2 people found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Computers: Computers are available virtually everywhere you go. Even in the HUB they have computer stations where you can sign on and print papers or just check you facebook.

5 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: College Town – Penn State University (Main Campus) is a unique atmosphere of thousands of college students, most eager to learn, but all with a mindset to have fun and enjoy their college experience. The Creamery is a dangerously delicious place, full of freshly made ice cream and other dairy products. I now understand why State College is named "Happy Valley".

3 College Junior

Weather: Feels Like Home – My home town is only an hour and a half away from campus and the weather is pretty similar too.

3 College Junior

Parking: I Don't Park – There are different zone permits one has to obtain to park in that specific parking lot. I don't really want to spend money on that, especially when I spend only 15 minute to get to to Campus from my apartment.

3 College Junior

Academics: Why I Came to University Park – I came to Penn State (UP) because it is the only Penn State campus that offers my branch of Civil Engineering program. school has not started yet because this is still the weekend before school starts. But from what I have heard, the majority of the teachers are top notch and easy to understand.

5 College Senior

Transportation: Fast and Cheap – Penn State buses take you any where on campus free and for like $1.50, they will take you off campus.

5 College Senior

Athletics: Athletics at Penn State is a big thing. Certainly one of the best if i say so myself

5 College Senior

Health & Safety: Safe Like Home – Penn State makes me feel like I am at home, safe and sound.

3 College Junior

Overall Experience: Alumni are great! Everyone that has graduated here loves to come back and visit. They love to relive college years and make weekends fun.

3 College Junior

Nightlife: Something for Everyone – there are the people that like to party but there is also plenty to do if thats not your seen. IM sports all year round, movies and games.


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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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