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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5 Recent Alumnus

Local Atmosphere: State College is the perfect American College town. There is plenty to do on and off-campus and clubs that take trips throughout the region. The town is set up for the students, and the local attitude towards students is very nice. It is also one of the safest towns in the US, and hosts many concerts throughout the year on and off-campus. Every Summer State College is home to Arts Fest, a festival of many artists from around the country where students and alums return to the town to reunite during the summer vacation.

1 person found this useful Report
5 Recent Alumnus

Academics: Penn State has one of the best Geography programs in the country. There are multiple options for specialization, and the advisers help you if you are interested in non-traditional study paths, like study abroad or double majoring. The faculty is great and all the classes are very interesting. It is housed within the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, which is by far the best college on campus. It's small size allows for lots of individual attention from faculty and staff and a close-knit community among the students, which all make up a great support system for the students. There are also many extra-curricular and community involvement opportunities within the college and the department.

2 people found this useful Report
5 Recent Alumnus

Computers: Technology on campus is great. Especially now that I am a student in a French University I really miss PSU's technology.

3 Recent Alumnus

Scholarships: Penn State offers scholarships and financial aid, but because of the size of the school there just isn't much money to be given to each student. College tuition in general is too high in the US, and most PSU students graduate in debt. However, if you're willing to put in the effort to look for scholarships, you can find some that will help out a little bit. I would have appreciated more from PSU in terms of financial aid.

3 people found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Drug Safety: Penn State gets a bad reputation for being a big party school, but in general people know how to control themselves. There are a few weekends throughout the year that are problematic, like State Patty's day or Arts Fest, or big football game weekends. These weekends are known for excessive alcohol consumption, but many of the bad stories you hear from them are about visitors who take Penn State's party-school reputation too seriously. Drugs don't seem to be a big problem on campus - no differences in drug consumption than other universities. Peer pressure I would say is nonexistent. Although lots of people drink alcohol, not many people pressure others to do so as well, especially if they aren't interested in the first place.

1 person found this useful Report
5 Recent Alumnus

Athletics: Penn State Athletics are great. The football games are legendary, basketball games are fun and reasonably-priced, and our Volleyball, wrestling, diving, and fencing teams are national champions. Besides D1 sports there are a ton of club and intramural sports like equitation, soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, flag football, ultimate frisbee, golf, tennis, and so on and so forth. There are three gyms on campus, plus a golf course, lots of intramural fields, football, basketball, and baseball stadiums, an indoor and outdoor pool, tennis courts, and indoor and outdoor tracks. The gyms offer weght lifting and cardio machinery, fitness classes, showers, lockers, and equipment. There is really an endless list of possibilities when it comes to sports at Penn State.

4 Recent Alumnus

Diversity: Penn State could be more diverse, but I personally got the chance to meet people from all over the world and from all kinds of different backgrounds. Although at a big University with high tuition rates you can only expect a certain amount of diversity considering the financial cost of attending school.

1 person found this useful Report
3 Recent Alumnus

Greek Life: Greek life seems great according to people in fraternities and Sororities, but for the rest of us it's just ok. They do throw huge parties, but it's usually hard to get in and they aren't very good hosts when it comes to handing out drinks. The fraternities have big, impressive houses that are usually pretty run down on the inside because of all the partying, and the sororities have designated wings of dorm buildings around campus. The frats and sororities at Penn State do have one great community service aspect: THON. THON is a student-run fundraising philanthropy benefiting the Four Diamonds Fund, a pediatric cancer research and support organization at Hershey Medical Center. The fundraiser is the biggest student-run philanthropy in the world and the Greeks are the ones who started it in 1977. Although THON is now the effort of Greeks and non-Greeks alike, the Greek community makes up a considerable amount of the participants and brings in an enormous amount of the fundraising money through corporate sponsorships and year-long fundraising efforts. Since 1977, THON has raised over $101 million for pediatric cancer research and treatment (www.thon.org).

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Athletics: we all rally around our football team especially

5 College Sophomore

Majors: So many options and all are highly valued

5 College Sophomore

Majors: many resources, I feel prepared for the real world

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Housing: you can find both awesome and crappy housing

4 College Sophomore

Computers: Computer labs are most PCs, very few Macs

5 College Junior

Weather: Happy Valley is never too hot and the sunsets are amazing. It rains, it snows and the sun comes out. That is no different than most other places in the country. Many people complain that it is too cold or too snowy, but in reality many other cities are colder and snowier than State College. If the weather stayed the same, it would be boring.

5 College Junior

Computers: Sometimes I don't want to go home because I know the internet will be so much slower.

5 College Freshman

Athletics: We Dominate the State, basically. Football games are fun.

2 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Diversity: The percentages might show that Penn State is mostly WASPs, but since the student body is so enormous, there really are lots of ethnicities and appreciations due to our sheer size.

3 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Campus Housing: I am in the honors college so my dorm situation is better than average, but life is good in other residence halls too.

5 College Freshman

Weather: The cold days just make warm days in Happy Valley even more beautiful.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Health & Safety: I have never felt uncomfortable or unsafe while here.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Nightlife: The party culture here is like one big family trying to have a good time.

5 College Freshman

Drug Safety: The drug of choice is definitely alcohol. The students here work hard during the week and let loose during playtime.

5 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: I would not trade my college town experience for anything.

5 College Freshman

Greek Life: I like to go dance at frat parties but there's no pressure to join Greek life if you don't want to.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Computers: I'll be even happier when we get WiFi everywhere in the dorms.

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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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