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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4 College Freshman

Greek Life: The sororities live in the dorm while frats have houses mostly off-campus (a couple are on-campus). Greek life is big and it seems fairly easy to get in. (I didn't rush but I heard only a few girls didn't get into a sorority but it was their choice to not join). The frats throw parties and that's where most freshmen girls spend their weekends.

5 College Freshman

Health & Safety: The student health center is extraordinarily helpful and efficient. There is a pharmacy in the health center that you can get prescriptions filled, which as a freshman is great. Campus is as safe as a college campus can be. I feel safe walking around alone at the night during the week, even though I occasionally get creeped out a little. The biggest crimes here are usually alcohol related, i.e. public urination. There is also sexual assault, but basically just be smart and stick with your group.

3 College Freshman

Campus Housing: Freshmen are mostly placed in East halls and Pollock. They're small and old. But they are essential to the freshmen experience. Pollock is closer to campus but East is crazy. The nicest dorms are West and South, and North has suites. The most conveniently located are Pollock and South for most of the classes and to town. You are only guaranteed housing for your first year, after that it's a lottery for on-campus housing. A majority of students move off-campus. The housing process is crazy. You have to essentially decide where you are living the next year in October, and nothing is guaranteed.

3 College Freshman

Transportation: There is the State College Airport but there aren't a lot of flights and they are expensive. The most common method of transportation to go to other cities is the Megabus. They're fairly cheap but they break down all the time. I haven't heard of any trains and if you can find a ride, great. On-campus transportation is OK. I don't rely on it to get to class because it's usually overcrowded and/or behind schedule. But there is an app available on your smartphone for the CATA bus.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: State College is 100% a college town. The sports scene revolves around mostly the football team, but the others sports teams are well-supported. Professional sports trace back to either Pittsburgh or Philly, both about 3 hours away. There is shopping all throughout downtown and the Nittany Mall off-campus but accessible by bus. The locals love sober students. When they get drunk and destructive, not so much.

4 College Freshman

Campus Housing: It really depends which housing complex you're in.

5 College Freshman

Nightlife: One of the top party schools in the country.

5 College Freshman

Majors: Great help in finding an internship via alumni.

5 College Freshman

Majors: Great program with a lot of help from teachers

4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: It's okay. Plenty of late night snacks.

5 College Freshman

Diversity: There are a TON of Asian foreign exchange students. But for the most part, there is a lot of diversity. I came from a small, almost entirely white Conservative town so coming here it seems much more diverse and refreshing.

5 College Freshman

Academics: As a student who was initially reluctant to come to Penn State, I originally came here because my program was ranked amongst the Ivy League schools as one of the best in the nation. Then, I decided to switch majors. And when I did, I found that that program is also one of the best around. Bottom line: Penn State has almost every major imaginable and not only do they have it, but it is probably ranked amongst the best in the nation. The alumni network is incredible for getting jobs. The courses are challenging regardless of your major because the university is preparing to be a well-rounded individual. You are going to have a few hours of work every night, but it doesn't seem like too much. You still have time to be involved elsewhere.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Academics: Scheduling classes can be a nightmare if you wait until the last minute to plan it out. For your major you might have to take classes that seem irrelevant, but it is for the best. Penn State is noted as having a great engineering school, business school, teaching school, and basically every other school. Opportunities are constantly being presented to you if you want to take them, and most professors are willing to help you. Especially in math and sciences, a lot of foreign professors teach and it is difficult to understand them. But by utilizing teaching assistants (TAs) and study groups, this shouldn't inhibit your success.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Facilities: The student union is fairly modern and always active. The gym in Rec Hall is gorgeous. Some classrooms are beautiful and modern, others are as old as the university itself. The library is great. Campus is huge and has many secret spaces to study if you can't concentrate in your room.

2 College Freshman

Parking: State College parking is ridiculously expensive. I don't have a car on-campus, but my sister has one off-campus and the cost is painful to her wallet. On-campus is even worse. Unless you live far away and your parents won't pick you up for breaks, don't bring a car. Everywhere is very accessible without one.

2 College Freshman

Scholarships: If you parents make a decent living, forget about getting any money from here. It sucks, but that's the way it is.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: Penn State is supposed to be a dry campus and they are doing their best to shed their image as a party school so if you're obnoxious and hammered in the dorms, your RA will probably write you up. Penn Staters are fiercely loyal and are very dedicated to our Honor Code. ("and may no act of ours bring shame...")

4 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Using your ID card, you have your meal points and LionCash attached. Meal points are used in the dining halls and in a lot of on-campus convenience stores/ dining options. LionCash is used for laundry and at a number of off-campus stores and restaurants. You put LionCash on your card using a credit card. The dining commons are standard college food. It's really great the first few weeks and then it gets very repetitive. It's not bad, and you can always find alternatives on-campus. The HUB (student union) has Panda Express, Sbarro, Starbucks, Burger King, etc. and they except meal points. But eating in the HUB everyday is more expensive and will drain your meal points.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Majors: You aren't officially into your specific major program until you apply spring of your sophomore year. When you apply as an incoming freshman, you get into a specific college that your intended major is in. Then you must complete your entrance to major requirements before applying to be in your major.

5 College Freshman

Majors: I am only a freshman, but professors constantly reiterate how accessible internships, especially in the business school. If you seek out the opportunities, you'll be happy to know they are well within your reach.

4 College Freshman

Drug Safety: Penn State is notoriously a party school. If you don't drink, you can still go out and have a good time, but it's harder. As for drugs, they are noticeable, people do them, but unless you friends do them, you aren't pressured. If you do drink, you obviously have to keep yourself together otherwise you can get an underage if you're obnoxious in front of a cop.

4 College Freshman

Computers: There are computer labs available and accessible, but it's difficult to find a student who doesn't have their own laptop.

3 College Freshman

Weather: Winter isn't bad as long as you have clothing and boots for winter. Summer time is warmer with temps in 80's. Need to get window A/C. It is worth paying for a 10,000 BTU. Less use and easy on budget. Certain days it is partly cloudy so the wind is nice and cool.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Diversity: Too many foreigners but hard to get to know anyone. They keep to their own group.

1 College Freshman

Parking: You are better off living near campus.Car is usually best if used for grocery shopping. Parking garage mostly used for games. No student parking in garage because it is full. Parking spot is too far from classes. I shouldn't have gotten a pass. I walk mostly instead of driving.

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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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