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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Niche User

Facilities: The student center was just remodeled a couple of years ago. It's pretty awesome, in my opinion. The facilities, overall, are in really good shape. On the downside, it seems like they are always doing some kind of construction on campus, but a lot of construction shows that the University is expanding, and that's a good thing in my mind. Computers in the labs are very good, I think, and are often updated as PSU finances permit.

Niche User

Facilities: The facilities on campus are very well-kept. The buildings are always neat and clean, and the landscaping is always well-kept.

Niche User

Facilities: Facilities are very nice on campus. There are tons of athletic centers with a good bit of equipment; one low price provides access for the semester. The girls that work out there are unbelievable! Computer labs are pretty well taken care of, and computers are upgraded about every two years or so. The HUB is very nice, and lots of people use it for studying, eating, and meeting with groups or friends. The HUB also has a lot of late-night activities on the weekend if drinking isn't your forte.

Niche User

Campus Dining: The dining hall food at Penn State is good when compared to cafeteria food at other universities.

Niche User

Campus Dining: Personally, I am not a big fan of cafeterias. I don't like the food, and there is always some form of chicken for dinner. In East Halls, there is a sandwich shop that is good. The Big O is good if you have it sparingly, but it is expensive. Elsewhere, Louie's in South is good for late-night meals, and the Bluespoon serves great wings and is pretty cheap for on-campus dining.

Niche User

Campus Dining: On campus, the best quality and variety is in the West Halls dining commons. To grab a snack and do a little studying, Otto's Cafe in the Kern building is efficient and recently remodeled. The HUB has tons of perks-its central location makes it a good meeting spot. Even so, the HUB is best during non-peak hours.

Niche User

Campus Dining: There is quite a variety of food on campus, and most of the restaurants are located in the HUB building. HUB food ranges from Mexican food to greasy, fast foods. The cafeteria food, however, isn't too appealing.

Niche User

Campus Dining: Each dorm complex has its own cafeteria plus a few fast food places. I think all the food is pretty good here. In the West Halls, where all the older students live, food really is better than at home. They have a pizza bar, deli bar, salad bar, desert bar, and Chinese food at every meal. In East Halls, where the freshmen live, the cafeteria food isn't as good, but the fast food is great. They have the Big Onion for pizzas and strombolis, and Fresh Express for deli sandwiches. You can pay for it all with your meal card. Be careful though, your points will disappear pretty fast if you don't watch your spending. Take the bus down to West Halls if you want to eat well.

Niche User

Campus Dining: Food on campus varies. If you room in East Halls, stay away from the food; it's cheap, but you get what you pay for. The HUB, where all the students hang out, has really good food, but it's expensive.

Niche User

Campus Dining: The food is good here: it is not mom's home cooking, but it's good. West Halls is my favorite, but I love Checkers and Fresh Express in East Halls. The Creamery has such good-homemade ice cream. We also get micro-fridges in the dorms, and they're great.

Niche User

Campus Dining: Eh, food here is okay but nothing to brag about. The Moxie in West Halls has great smoothies. The Bluespoon in North Halls has a Ben and Jerry's. North Halls is extremely close to the Creamery, which has good ice cream and is open late at night.

Niche User

Campus Dining: The commons aren't too bad if you like chicken. It seems chicken is on the menu every night. I think they recycle it. But if you have to eat in a commons, go to Waring (West Halls). They have the best selection. There are also eateries in the HUB-good food, fast, healthy, and unhealthy, just the way college kids like it.

Niche User

Campus Dining: Food sucks here, but that's probably expected of most campuses. East and West Halls have the best food and the most variety. West is a bit of a nuthouse, though, and East is out of the way (unless you live there) and consists of mostly freshmen. East has a Big Onion, which is really good for the A-La Board food plan. North has Bluespoon, which is great for lunch. With a student plan, you can pay like $1-$2 for a full lunch, which is the cheapest anywhere.

Niche User

Campus Dining: You'll have no problem gaining your Freshman 15 here. There's no way around it. The dining halls are fairly nice, but what else would one expect for $24,000 a year?

Niche User

Campus Dining: The food is actually surprisingly good. The dining halls are humongous, almost overwhelmingly so, and the food court is really decent for a university.

Niche User

Campus Housing: The dorms are horrible. They're dirty and small. However, the nicest dorms are in West Halls and the dorms in the Honors College.

Niche User

Campus Housing: The dorms are nice. West is the nicest, but East is where they stick freshmen. I lived there for two years and loved every minute of it. It was more fun living with people going through the same thing I was. Pollock is close to town, and South is run by sororities.

Niche User

Campus Housing: East is a great place for freshmen to live and meet other freshmen. West is the nicest dorm, but it is too quiet and uneventful for me. South is in a great location (right on College Avenue) and has decent-size rooms. Pollock has a great location and fairly large rooms.

Niche User

Campus Housing: The freshman dorms (East Halls) resemble little prison cells. I would recommend enduring them, though, because it is all freshmen housing. You meet a lot of people and make friends. West has the best rooms, but the kids there aren’t as friendly. You look forward to off-campus housing after the mandatory freshman year in the dorms.

Niche User

Campus Housing: The dorms are adequate here. As a freshman, you want to live in East with the entire freshman class, but after that I would recommend Pollock or South.

Niche User

Campus Housing: The dorms are fun here. All freshmen should try to get into a coed dorm, and have fun with everyone in the building.

Niche User

Campus Housing: The dorms are pretty nice. West is probably the nicest, but as a freshman you would stay in East. It is the closest to football games, but farthest to class. However, everyone gets used to it, and everyone bonds there.

Niche User

Campus Housing: I think the dorms here are decent compared to other large universities. The best dorm, in my opinion, is Simmons (in South Halls). The second best dorms are in West Halls.

Niche User

Campus Housing: East is very small, but that's where all the freshmen live. If you don't know a lot of people, you will meet kids your age there. West Halls dorms are big and house mostly upperclassmen. Pollock is convenient and houses mainly sophomores and some freshmen. South Halls has lots of honors kids. North Halls has music and arts majors.

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Niche User

Campus Housing: North is not as far away from everything as East, but its quiet. They have coed floors. West and South are the most popular because they are closer to the town.

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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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