Location
University Park, PA
Undergrads
37,917
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews 4268 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Dining: There are a moderate amount of options but not really vegan/veg options. Unless you want a salad.

3 Recent Alumnus

Computers: There are seemingly lots of computer labs on campus but during finals everyone uses them and there are not enough.

4 Recent Alumnus

Academics: Lots of different majors to choose from and all of the professors are somewhat important in their respective fields.

4 Recent Alumnus

Academics: I feel like most of the professors are helpful and inspiring. My peers are motivated and I am excited to get my degree.

3 Recent Alumnus

Nightlife: There are a fair amount of bars but not many clubs. Also there are almost no underage nights or gay bars.

3 Recent Alumnus

Scholarships: It went okay but it could have gone smoother. There are many rules and the process is confusing.

4 Recent Alumnus

Guys & Girls: There's a wide variety of girls and boys on campus; almost every "type" is represented.

5 Recent Alumnus

Athletics: My school is huge on athletics; especially football. It creates a feeling of community on campus.

3 Recent Alumnus

Drug Safety: My school is known as somewhat of a "party school" but it does not affect the serious students. The police are somewhat lenient on underage drinking.

4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: On-campus housing is only guaranteed for freshman year, so many students prefer to live off campus. There are a huge variety of apartments and housing near campus, and most students have a good experience with living off campus.

4 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: I don't think Penn State is very strict with its policies. Alcohol is not allowed in the dorms, no matter what your age, but many students get away with it.

4 College Freshman

Campus Dining: There are a lot of options to eat on campus, and overall I don't think the quality is that bad. Of course, some dining halls are better than others. East dining commons are considered the worst, and West is famous for its cookies. The price isn't that bad if you have a meal plan, but for off-campus students it is very costly to eat on campus.

3 College Freshman

Drug Safety: Alcohol is a very common problem at Penn State. A majority of students drink, no matter what the age, and it is not difficult to get alcohol if you are underage. Drugs are not as common, and I have never had any problems with peer pressure or encounters with drugs.

5 College Freshman

Nightlife: Penn State is known for its social scene. There are a large amount of bars and clubs, and there are frat/house/apartment parties on almost any night of the week. Most people walk or use the free bus system to get downtown.

4 College Freshman

Diversity: Most of the students are white, so there is not a huge amount of racial diversity, but there are a lot of international students that come here which helps. For the most part I think there is a wide amount of diversity in regard to economic background, political beliefs, religion and sexual orientation simply due to the fact that there are so many students.

5 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: There are a ton of restaurants in downtown State College with a lot of variety.

3 College Freshman

Transportation: There is a bus system that is free on-campus and cheap for going places close to campus such as the mall or off-campus apartments. There are a lot of loops and bus stops, so typically it is not a long wait for a bus. However, the bus can get very crowded, especially over the winter and when it is raining. To travel home from campus, the only public transportation is a bus that can get very expensive. There is no train station anywhere near Penn State

2 College Freshman

Scholarships: Penn State does not offer very many scholarships and it is difficult to get financial aid

4 College Freshman

Computers: There are computer labs all over the place, and most of the time there are plenty of computers available. There is free wifi all over campus except for in the dorms, so if you have your own computer you have to buy an Ethernet cable

5 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: Because Penn State is so big, there is a huge variety of guys and girls

3 College Sophomore

Drug Safety: Alcohol is prevalent on the Penn State campus, it is not called Happy Valley for nothing. There are apartments and fraternity parties off campus all the time. If you are looking to drink, you can easily find a party on the weekend. However, there is no pressure to drink. If you choose not to drink, no one treats you differently because of it (you will probably get better grades than those that choose to drink anyways).

5 College Sophomore

Athletics: Every sporting event that I have been to at Penn State has been great: football, wrestling, volleyball, all are great events. Due to Penn State being a Division I school each sport competes at a high level and is fun to watch. The student section is a great experience at sporting events, fan support is evident, and the facilities are great. In addition most events other than a few select sports (football, hockey, and men's basketball) are free to students. You just go, show your student id, and you are in the event.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: The dining hall provides food that is both good tasting and diverse. The dining commons will have special events with different food such as a holiday dinner. It is very easy to eat healthy with the different varieties of fruits and vegetables. There are also vegan options in the commons. In addition to the all you can eat style commons, there are plenty of stop and go places, and shops that have their own flavors all over campus.

4 College Sophomore

Diversity: Penn State, especially University Park is a very diverse campus. For example there are over 6,000 international students at Penn State and they come from all corners of the globe. Regarding acceptance, Penn State residence life does a good job of emphasizing acceptance and building friendships in the residence halls. There are also plenty of clubs and organizations that represent the different groups on campus.

4 College Sophomore

Computers: Once your computer is hooked into the wireless network, you can access wireless anywhere on campus and it is both reliable and fast.

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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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