Location
University Park, PA
Undergrads
37,917
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews 4635 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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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.

1 person found this useful Report
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.

4 College Sophomore

Transportation: Penn State is a big campus, over a mile from one end to the other. A Cata bus system runs all around campus and the town of State College. There is an app that tracks the progress of the buses. It is an easy to use and effective system.

5 College Sophomore

Overall Experience: Penn State is the best, and I am glad I made the decision to come here. The campus is very large when at University Park (there are about 40,000) and that can be intimidating to people. With the big campus though comes massive amounts of resources and opportunities. With the campus you will meet many different people and find your niche as well. The sports events are great, besides the normal dose of college football and basketball other sports are great to attend as well (for example wrestling). Overall great college.

3 College Sophomore

Campus Strictness: To be honest, Penn State is a large university. Some things are going to go by undetected. Much of the alcohol and party monitoring could be increased.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Facilities: Penn state is a very social campus. The people are generally friendly too. I am always meting someone new to hangout with.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Facilities: I am looking to transfer into the fall.. So far the university has been great to me and have been very helpful.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: Although I have not lived on campus, I would imagine it being an awesome experience. It is quite expensive, but if you are willing to pay for it, it is quality housing.

1 person found this useful Report
1 College Sophomore

Drug Safety: Drinking here is one of the worst I've seen so far. Alcohol abuse here from of age to underage is pretty severe. I am often concerned for the students so I interact with, especially late at night downtown.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: Although I am not officially a student, I work with many students and have gotten the opportunity to know many of them on a personal level. The crowd here is definitely much different from Illinois.. The caliber is much higher in quality.

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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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