Location
University Park, PA
Undergrads
37,917
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews 4679 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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3 College Freshman

Academics: Loads of classes with little representation in credits. Most music ed majors are taking anywhere from 8 to 14 classes, possibly even more, and 17 to 21 credits.

4 College Freshman

Academics: There are loads of classes offered and the professors are usually great.

2 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Everything is carbs. It is bland, low-grade food. It is difficult to eat healthily on this campus without emptying your bank account.

3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: I've been to a few apartments downtown and they're pretty bad. The farther from campus you get, the nicer they are.

5 College Freshman

Athletics: It's Penn State. Football is the most important thing here to a lot of kids.

4 College Freshman

Campus Housing: As long as you submit your contract on time, you shouldn't have a problem with housing.

3 College Freshman

Computers: There are Macs everywhere on this campus. But it often takes forever to sign in.

2 College Freshman

Drug Safety: Every Friday and Saturday night, guaranteed 90% of the people you see walking downtown and even on campus are drunk.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Right of campus is the downtown area where there are a lot of shops and restaurants. They all support Penn State.

3 College Freshman

Scholarships: You may receive financial aid, but it is never a lot.

4 College Sophomore

Overall Experience: There really is something here for everyone. I had my reservations about going to such a huge, sports-oriented school, but I've met people and had experiences here that I never could have found anywhere else. I wouldn't trade my Penn State education for anything.

4 College Sophomore

Health & Safety: I walk alone all the time, but that's never bothered me. I feel safer on campus than I do at home.

2 College Sophomore

Drug Safety: Penn State is huge on drinking, that's no secret. If you want to drink, you're not gonna have a problem finding a way to do it. It's not quite universal, but it's pretty damn close.

4 College Sophomore

Computers: TONS of computer labs, but good luck finding one during finals week. When it comes to campus Internet, it's usually pretty good (and ResCom is really helpful), but I do wish that wireless was available in more dorms.

5 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: In a school of 40,000 undergraduates, you're bound to find a lot of attractive people. Enough said.

4 College Sophomore

Transportation: Practically everything of interest is within walking distance -- and if not, it's just a short bus ride away. Bus fare is relatively cheap (on campus, it's free) and the stops are all over the place, which is convenient. (The crowds of drunks on Friday and Saturday evenings are hardly worth it, though.)

5 College Sophomore

Facilities: Student clubs and organizations exist for practically everything (Bigfoot club, anyone?), and there's no shortage of places to go to study or hang out with your friends. I've been on campus for two years now and I'm still discovering new things about the place (though I will say that the Arboretum has always been a particular favorite of mine).

5 College Sophomore

Facilities: There's always, always, ALWAYS something to do at Penn State, and the facilities offered here are some of the best in the country. The school wants to see its students succeed and helps them to do so in every way possible; it feels like there's some sort of career/internship/service fair here every month. Not to mention, we have the largest alumni network in the nation, and that's pretty darn impressive.

3 College Sophomore

Scholarships: Financial aid is a headache, but I don't expect that it's really any better at other schools. The Financial Aid Office is generally helpful, though they've been a bit snippy with me at times in the past. I do have one academic scholarship through the school, but most of the scholarships I've applied for have been through outside resources.

5 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: There's a little bit of everything here, and websites like OrderUp.com make getting food delivered to your room at two in the morning all the easier. (Plus, we've got Insomnia Cookies. There's nothing better.)

4 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: Surprisingly good. Tons of variety, tons of options, tons of locations. A bit pricey at some places, but the food is generally worth it.

4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: There's always a party to go to on weekends. I haven't had much exposure to the bar/club scene yet, but there are definitely plenty of places to choose from, all within walking distance of campus. Fun is pretty convenient up here.

2 College Sophomore

Weather: Bring an umbrella with you everywhere or you WILL regret it. (Oh, and if you're naive enough to hope that classes will be canceled when there's 8+ inches of snow on the ground in winter... you've got another thing coming.)

5 College Sophomore

Greek Life: Greek life is everywhere. I am not a part of Greek life myself and don't pay much attention to frat parties and the like, but, even so, it's impossible to avoid the presence of Greek life on campus. Greeks are a huge part of every major school activity, and I can't get to half of my classes without walking past the ornate houses on frat row. Most other non-Greeks I've encountered don't care for them one way or another, but their presence is absolute.

5 College Sophomore

Athletics: Athletics here are top-notch. At a quick glance it seems like everyone is involved in them in some way -- whether in the stands or on the field, the vast majority of students here value sports and physical activity and arguably possess more school spirit than anyplace else in the nation.

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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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