Location
University Park, PA
Undergrads
37,917
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews 4229 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: College town, not a huge town but has everything a college kid could want. Movies, a Mall, parks and such.

4 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: We're not in a huge city, but there is always something to do.

3 College Senior

Weather: It rains quite a bit. It's usually cold. Summers are amazing though.

5 College Senior

Nightlife: Bars for those over 21, many other parties regardless of age

2 College Sophomore

Weather: Snow and freezing rain are common in the winter but it is very rare that classes are canceled and you should NEVER expect a campus-wide closing. During the 19 years I've lived near the Penn State campus, it's happened once. Walking to classes across the huge campus in inclimate weather can be extremely annoying. The spring and early fall weather tends to be very nice for hanging out outside but, the weather overall tends to be very erratic and can change very quickly. You should keep an umbrella in your backpack.

2 College Sophomore

Scholarships: The financial aid I receive is in the form of a tuition discount because one of my parents works for the University. Setting up my account so that I would receive my discount was a very easy, one-time process that took about two weeks. A close friend of mine that deals with receiving grants/loans from the financial aid office on a semesterly basis has had some trouble. For example, the loans for the spring 2013 semester weren't distributed until about 2 weeks into the semester which meant that he was unable to buy his textbooks until 2 weeks into his classes and missed an assignment or two.

3 College Sophomore

Health & Safety: I always feel comfortable walking around campus and the surrounding town is also very safe. Every year there are minor thefts, ect in the dorms and the semester I lived in the dorms, there was an incident where a non-student gained access to one of the residence halls and was attempting to sell drugs. Overall, most on-campus crime is underage drinking. There is a fair campus police presence which is definitely good for piece of mind. However, most of the police officers that patrol camus are work-study students so, all they can really do in the event of an incident is call the town police.

3 College Sophomore

Weather: At surface level, the weather is terrible. It snows A LOT and is cold most of the academic year. But on days when it is nice, you would be hard-pressed to find a prettier campus. Also, students with all different issues tend to come together over the weather, as cliche as that sounds.

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5 College Sophomore

Athletics: Once a lion, always a lion. PSU has an amazing atmosphere regarding sports. It is no secret that our school has been in the news a lot recently, with a lot of negative publicity regarding our athletic programs. All I can say to the matter is this, what happened was terrible and should have never happened. But the horrifc actions of a few should not outweigh the good actions of many. Our school maintains a positive school spirit and never-give-up attitude.

2 College Sophomore

Greek Life: Greek life definitely exists if that is something that interests you. However it is by no means the only way of having fun or developing an extensive friends network. Generally, those involved love it and those who choose not to participate hate it because it gives our school a bad reputation. Overall don't be discouraged from attending PSU just because of horror stories regarding Greek life because that is not representative of the majority of Penn State students

5 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: State College is one of the best college towns in the nation. Although it is in the middle of Pennsylvania, you will never find yourself bored. There is always something to do around campus or downtown. There are mountains and lakes nearby to do outdoor activities. The downtown establishments are very student-friendly. You can't ask for a better town for a large university

3 College Freshman

Computers: Computer labs are pretty full during finals but there are a good number of labs on campus. Most of the labs have good availability.

2 College Freshman

Weather: The weather is the main thing holding Penn State back. It is only warm about 3 or 4 months out of the year. During the winter, you get light snow storms 4 or 5 times a week. Although the cold may be a bit of a shock at first, you get used to it pretty quickly.

5 College Freshman

Greek Life: Greek life is a big deal at Penn State. Because the school is so large, it does not completely dominant the social scene but it is quite prevalent. Those is greek life only make up about 15% of the student body but you definitely see a lot of people wearing their letters around campus. It is big for freshman because they do not have off campus housing yet.

3 College Freshman

Diversity: There are plenty of different races and religions on campus but overall they make up a small percentage of the rest of the school. Most of the school is white, but there are a good amount of international students.

4 College Freshman

Academics: Not bad! I'm in engineering, and there are plenty of resources to help you on campus. I know there will be a ton of work, but that's expected as an engineer. If you want the opportunities, and you go for them, they are available for you. I e-mailed a professor about a position in his research lab this fall, and got it with no problems.

3 College Freshman

Academics: Honestly, the academics can really vary. It mostly depends on what professors you have. Ratemyprofessor.com is extremely helpful when choosing classes, but sometimes you just end up with a horrible professor. Most professors are extremely helpful during office hours, even if they don't teach too well in class

5 College Freshman

Athletics: Varsity sports on campus are huge, especially with the new "One Team" initiative this year. We are ALL Penn State, and we make sure that our teams know it. Especially with all that has happened in the past two years, the fans come out to show our teams how much they mean to us, and the teams perform their hearts out.

3 College Freshman

Weather: Weather on campus can be absolutely crazy and unpredictable - it will snow on Monday, be 70 degrees and sunny on Tuesday morning, and thunderstorming Tuesday night. It gets EXTREMELY cold in the winter, and snows quite a bit. Never more than a few inches at a time, so classes are (almost) never canceled. Heated sidewalks make walking to class easy though

4 College Freshman

Health & Safety: There isn't really much crime on the Penn State campus, but of course it happens sometimes. I've never felt unsafe on campus, and the campus police are easily reached at any hour of the day. All of the dorms have automatic-locking doors, and only students who live in that building are authorized to enter. There are a lot of security measures being taken on campus.

4 College Freshman

Computers: There are many computer labs available to students at Penn State. Some commons areas have both PCs and Macs, and others have just PCs. Every student gets 100 free sheets of printing per semester to use in the computer labs, which is very generous and convenient. The network is reliable and the speed is adequate. Despite the availability of computers and printers on campus, it is necessary to have your own laptop in your room, because most classes' homework is online.

4 College Freshman

Campus Housing: Penn State housing is sufficient, but the freshman dorms aren't all that great. They're very small and don't have a lot of space to store things. The only way to fit a good amount of things under the bed is to use Bed Risers. East halls is the only residence hall area that is far away from everything, except the Bryce Jordan Center and Beaver Stadium.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: Penn State is unique in its traditions and values, along with the fact that it is a university dedicated to research. Penn State has so many options for major and minor programs, and you can really make a major that caters to your specific interests. There is so much school spirit on campus, in light of everything that has happened in the past year, but it has brought the community closer together.

5 College Freshman

Facilities: Penn State's campus life is excellent. There are so many resources available to students, and the campus is beautiful. There are so many places to hang out and there are always so many things going on. Football season is always the best.

3 College Junior

Campus Strictness: Campus has gotten stricter but its for the safety of its students. I feel better knowing there is a greater presence of security of campus than lack thereof.

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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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