Location
University Park, PA
Undergrads
37,917
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews 4649 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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Weather: Sometime in October, the wind starts blowing and doesn't stop until about April or May. When April rolls around, it will be about 90 degrees one day, then 10 degrees the next. Needless to say, bring a variety of clothing and a heavy coat.

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Weather: The weather is nuts here. It can be sunny and warm one day, and snowing the next. No, wait, I mean it can do all that in one day. In general, it is cold. `Spring' semester it is freezing and snowing, until finals week when it gets warm just when you should be inside studying. Any day that parents come up, like for football games and parent's weekend, it is inevitably beautiful and warm.

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Overall Experience: My experience in school has been phenomenal. I can't ask for more. I have everything I need.

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Overall Experience: I love Penn State. I wish to be nowhere else. The atmosphere is relaxed, and it is a nationally-recognized Big Ten school. There are lots of ways to get involved in different organizations, and the school spirit is tremendous.

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Overall Experience: I have loved my time at PSU, and there is no other school I would rather attend. I have made so many friends there and had such a great time that I wish I could go for another four years.

Niche User

Local Atmosphere: State College is a relaxing, friendly, college town that can make anyone feel at home. There isn't much to visit, though, since we really are in the middle of nowhere.

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Local Atmosphere: State College is purely a Penn State town. While the residents may complain a lot about the students, their economy would be down the drain if it wasn't for the University. The University and its students play a major role in the town.

Niche User

Local Atmosphere: State College is definitely a college town. The majority of the town is geared towards the students. However, most of the town consists of bars. The University does offer quite a bit of underage activities, including free movies, billiards, and ping pong.

Niche User

Local Atmosphere: The town is great. Everyone is there for Penn State. There is a lot of pride in being a Nittany Lion. On the down side, University Park is in the middle of nowhere. Pittsburgh and Philly are both about three hours away; New York City is about five.

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Local Atmosphere: If you're keen on drinking, there are more than enough bars to suit your fancy. There's also a little bit of shopping to do, although most of it is Penn State apparel, unfortunately.

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Local Atmosphere: I like the atmosphere PSU offers. The campus holds all kinds of activities for the students (movies, games, athletics, and art), while off-campus activities (chillin' with friends, bar-hopping, camping, and fishing) give everyone a chance to free themselves from feeling like a student all the time. No other universities are even around State College.

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Local Atmosphere: During the academic year, the town is full of students who are out for a good evening. It gets busy on the nicer weekends. There are plenty of shops, families, and hippies. During the summer, the town is full of townies and the only thing to do is drink, hike Mt. Nittany, visit Bellefonte, and make trips to Denny's.

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Local Atmosphere: It's entirely a college town, dominated by the University. The atmosphere is laid-back and that of a society run by 20-somethings and 20-somethings alone. It's kind of like Lord of the Flies, but with booze. Don't leave town alone, especially if you are going to interact with locals. Otherwise, it's worth a visit to Bellefonte, the drive-in theater, and Penn's Cave.

Niche User

Local Atmosphere: There are no other universities in the area that I know of, unless you count the Altoona campus, which is a forty minute drive away. The atmosphere as a whole is very nice. The campus is very well-taken care of, and is a nice place to live. Downtown State College is a generally nice area, but it could use a bit of sprucing up to match the quality of the campus. Landlords and business owners seem a bit too eager to put in the money to develop new areas away from campus rather than to maintain the downtown area.

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Off-Campus Dining: There are tons of restaurants with reasonably-priced food and a cool hangout/bar scene. The Deli and the Gingerbread Man are good examples.

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Off-Campus Dining: College Pizza is the place to get pizza. It costs around $4 for a college special! You get two huge slices of pizza, a breadstick, and a beverage. Come on, at three in the morning, when you're stumbling home, there's nothing better to put in your stomach.

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Off-Campus Dining: The Tavern, Mount Nittany Inn (for an expensive seafood buffet), and the Allen Street Grill are good for dinner. The Deli and the Corner Room are good for lunch. The Waffle Shop is good for breakfast.

Niche User

Off-Campus Dining: The restaurants here aren't too shabby. All the regular chains-McDonald's, BK, Subway, Damon's, and Red Lobster-are around. McLanahan's has cheap subs made to order. We all live on DP Dough and Papa John's delivery as well as late night pit stops at College Pizza or Canyon Pizza where it's `a buck a slice.'

Niche User

Off-Campus Dining: We have over 20 pizza places. Papa John's delivers pizza until 4 a.m. on weekends, Jimmy Johns deliver subs until 3 a.m. on weekends, and you can get Chinese food and frozen yogurt until 1 a.m. I love the Corner Room; it's a really nice restaurant, especially for dates. We also have Chili's and the Allen Street Grill (ASG), which is pretty fancy. There's Spats, which is somewhat more formal, but not as much as ASG. The Deli is also nice.

Niche User

Off-Campus Dining: There are many nationally-known restaurants like Chili's, Ruby Tuesdays, Red Lobster, and Outback, but one of my favorites is a place called Baby's-it's like an old fashioned '50s diner. It is fun, and best of all, it's cheap!

Niche User

Off-Campus Dining: Restaurants are located mostly off-campus. Mario and Luigi's, Café 210, the Tavern, the Corner Room, and the Allen Street Grill are all good places to eat. There are also ethnic restaurants that carry Indian, Thai, and authentic Mexican cuisine. There's lots of variety to choose from here.

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Off-Campus Dining: Most restaurants in State College are fabulous, but most are overpriced. Expensive places like Spats, Zola's, and the Tavern are favorites that are usually for when parents want to take you out. Mediocre restaurants are everywhere like Applebee's, the Corner Room, and Mio Zio. And (naturally) we have our sketchy places-if you want your tea refilled with coffee, and obnoxious service at three in the morning, go to the Diner. Everyone does at some point.

Niche User

Off-Campus Dining: Restaurants off campus are a hit-or-miss deal. Some cater to the drunk (not good), others cater to the professors (expensive).

Niche User

Off-Campus Dining: The restaurants here are pretty decent, although there isn't really an authentic Italian place in the area. There needs to be. The good spots are Spats, Faccia Luna, Duffy's, and Arby's.

Niche User

Off-Campus Dining: For some good pizza delivery, Gumby's and Papa John's are always a crowd pleaser. The Corner Room is a nice restaurant to go to with friends to eat and relax. And grilled stickies at the Diner are a must!

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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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