Location
University Park, PA
Undergrads
37,917
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews 4696 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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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.

Niche User

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.

Niche User

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.'

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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.

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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!

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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.

Niche User

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!

Niche User

Off-Campus Dining: There are lots of good places to eat off-campus. Fast food (Wendy's, McDonald's, 8,000 Subways, Quiznos, Arbys, Taco Bell) and sit-down restaurants (Corner Room, the Deli, Baby's, Chili's, Brothers Pizza, Hi-Way Pizza, the Diner, and a bunch more I can't remember right now). Don't expect to get any good service at the Diner, though. I think they're actually trying their best to be known for their poor service. But that just gives us poor college students another reason not to tip.

Niche User

Off-Campus Dining: The restaurants in this town are good. Everyone makes a big deal about the Corner Room (a local landmark) but, frankly, I have never been impressed with the food. Spats is amazing if you have the money to afford it. A great place for an limited budget is the Green Bowl, a unique stir-fry restaurant. Chinese food is easy to come by here, but it's not necessarily good. Pizza is big in a college town like State College, and almost all pizza shops are acceptable for 2 a.m. cravings.

Niche User

Overall Experience: I would never dream about going anywhere else. This has been the best three years and counting of my life, so far. I've learned more and experienced more than I would have ever dreamed. Penn State was the best decision I've made in my life.

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Niche User

Overall Experience: Penn State has something for everyone, I think. Penn State is alright. Try to get a car if you can because it gets boring, but that can happen anywhere. I mean after living somewhere for a while, you do everything and then start looking for new options. Overall, this school is great, and the best part is the football games. Even if you don't like the sport, the games are fun, and almost every student has tons of spirit.

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Overall Experience: I graduated from PSU last May and had a wonderful experience there. It was the best four years of my life! The campus has so much to offer and many activities to get involved in. It definitely has a reputation of a `drinking town,' and there is plenty of that, but if you aren't into partying, there are so many other options.

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Overall Experience: Basically, there are two things that govern PSU: drinking and football. There are always parties going on, tons of frats and sororities, and when you do turn 21 or obtain a fake ID, there are plenty of bars. School is pretty challenging, though. Depending on how well you can retain information, whether you like to go to class or not, and your study habits, it's not impossible to receive an `A,' but it takes a good bit of work. ?

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Overall Experience: It's amazing here! I wouldn't trade my experience here for the world. The best part of it was the people I've met and the personal growth I've gained from being on my own. PSU is s a fun place and a challenging academic institution. I'm glad I'm here.

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Overall Experience: Overall, this school is top-notch. I can go anywhere and tell people that I go to PSU and they congratulate me about choosing such a fine institution. You can get very far after PSU.

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Overall Experience: I can't say I've had the best experience at school, but I can't imagine having had a better time anywhere else. For the people I've met, the classes I've taken, and all the money I've spent, I think Penn State is a pretty good place to be.

Niche User

Overall Experience: Overall, my experience here is good. I never wanted to transfer to another school. I cursed the weather and the foreign teaching assistants many times, as well as the science department's system for curving grades. But you will meet someone new everyday, have wonderful random experiences, and get a good education. WE ARE . . . PENN STATE.

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Athletics: Varsity sports are great. The school spirit when a sports team is doing well is tremendous.

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Pattee Library and Mall
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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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