Philadelphia, PA
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 920 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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2 College Sophomore

Parking: I have not had much experience myself with parking so my review is based on my parents' experience with it when they drop me off and pick me up. Parking is difficult as is to be expected in a big city like Philadelphia.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Strictness: A Police Force Focused on the Protection of Students – The police force is not really concerned about the presence of underage drinking . Its members are mainly concerned that students engaging in this behavior do so safely.

2 College Senior

Parking: I live off campus and public transportation is the way to go around Philadelphia. However, I like the fact that if I'm running late, I'm able to jump into my car and grab a metered space. The caveat to this is that it's $2 for every hour with usually a max of three hours. Don't even think about just 'winging' it because the parking authority loves their job.

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Senior

Greek Life: Gender Inequity – I don't like how all of the sororities are off campus while the frats are in the center of campus. I understand that women have not always been allowed to attend here, but some things need to change. Its all about location.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Health & Safety: Great. It's included with tuition and easy to make an appointment.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Great College Town – University City in Philadelphia is fantastic! There are so many different cafe's, restaurants, and historical sights to visit. There are many fraternities, clubs and groups to get involved with on campus.

5 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: Philadelphia, Little Italy or French Quarter – Restaurants native to Philadelphia come with food from around the country and the world. There are plenty of international options to pick from. There is a Thai place right on campus, which is outstanding. There is also an amazing pizza place in center city (walking distance) known as Giovanni's (right by a huge Five Guys).

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Junior

Academics: Biochemistry and Biophysics – I highly recommend these majors here at Penn. I'm in a biochemistry honors group that is heavy on all of the sciences and really enthusiastic about research, so I came to college and was immediately immersed in everything. It has definitely been a challenge, but the professors, curricula, and the amount of knowledge are topic quality.

4 College Junior

Academics: Great All Around – I have found the professors, for the most part, engaging, helpful, incredibly knowledge, and interesting people. I have taken 24 courses up to this point, and I would only rate 1 or 2 as not-so-great, but definitely not bad. Penn allows excelling students to excel and for more normal students to also find their place. One amazing thing that I have found is that, no matter what subject you take a class in, you are sure to be challenged and thoroughly engaged by everything about the course.

3 College Junior

Health & Safety: Good for West Philly – I feel totally safe on campus, but there is semi-regular crime right around campus. Considering that we live in West Philadelphia, I think that security does a fine job in maintaining safety. There is petty theft as always, so you have to be careful, but I have always been comfortable enough here.

4 College Junior

Nightlife: Something for Everyone – Whether you want a college party, a night at the clubs, checking out the city, hanging out with friends, or even studying, there are people here that have the same activities they enjoy. All the options mean that you're never bored, making Philadelphia the perfect college city.

3 College Junior

Transportation: Not the Best, but Not the Worst – Philadelphia has fairly decent public transportation, and lots of taxis. If you're used to public transportation, it's pretty easy to learn. The buses are a bit confusing, as they're never on time and don't always go where they say they are. But it is a city, and everything is pretty much within walking distance or by subway/bus.

5 College Junior

Academics: It's Ivy League – That may sound pretentious, but if you're paying over $50,000 a year for education, you damn well expect there to be good academics. And so I would say that the professors are extremely accomplished, there's awesome courses, and the work is challenging. There are interesting programs and speakers, and lots of research opportunities.

4 College Junior

Academics: International Relations – I love my major--perhaps because it's something I'm really interested in. But more than that, if you get to know the faculty on a personal level, then you not only meet great professionals in the field, but gain wonderful advisers. They have extensive connections and love to help out their favorites in the major (normally those who participate in the major's extra programs and clubs). So be involved and work hard, and you will be rewarded--often in the form of an internship or job offer.

3 College Junior

Nightlife: Best nightlife is for those who are 21 and older, as many bars/restaurants are wary of underage drinkers. There are a few 18+ clubs, and how much fun you have really depends on who your with. Many fraternities hold open parties, but again, depends on who you're width and whether or no you enjoy the Greek scene. It really depends on your friends, and what your idea of a good time is.

1 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: Ditch the Meal Plan ASAP – The dining halls are a horrible value. You're charged $16/meal unless you get unlimited and half the time you end up eating a sandwich because everything else they have is too gross to eat. Houston Market and the cafes that take dining dollars are good though. You're better off just using dining dollars than getting a full meal plan.

1 person found this useful Report
1 College Sophomore

Parking: There are parking meters everywhere around campus. It costs too much to park. It's just horrible.

3 College Sophomore

Athletics: Sports Are Average – Varsity sports at Penn are average because students usually are busy doing work. On weekends and rivalry games (Harvard or Princeton), the crowd is ridiculous (in a good way)!

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Weather: Bizarre Year – This year was kind of odd in terms of weather. There was a lot of fluctuation from season to season, dry spells to thunderstorms, calm to windy. It can get to you, especially on long walks to class.

5 Recent Alumnus

Scholarships: WONDERFUL Experience – My parents had a wonderful experience with the financial aid department when I was an undergrad (1994-1997), and I have had the same excellent experience now in grad school. UPenn had a very easy to use online system for loan applications, Student Financial Services is always available, and they really do try to find you as much aid as possible. I could not be more pleased with my experiences here.

1 person found this useful Report
5 Recent Alumnus

Majors: Nursing School Unparalleled – I LOVE the nursing school. They really do prepare you to be a leader in the nursing field. You can learn the skills of nursing in other programs, but UPenn Nursing really helps you to excel in the field. The workload is heavy, the curriculum challenging, and the facilities top notch. It all adds up to a terrific experience that prepares you to succeed.

1 person found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Computers: Great Availability – Computer labs can get crowded near finals, but there any many computer labs. The wireless access is what I love! Easy to connect and a VERY wide range. Very reliable network with excellent speed. It's just a shame that you have to pay for printing, but I guess you can't have everything.

1 person found this useful Report
3 Recent Alumnus

Off-Campus Housing: Getting Better but Expensive – Lots of options, but the better the apartment the more expensive. It's also very hard to find something late in the season.

4 College Sophomore

Transportation: Everything Is in Walking Distance – You can walk anywhere you need to go on campus and if you decide that walking isn't fast enough, get a subscription to Penn's rent a cycle program or just bring you're on bus. Other than that you can septa, zipcar, train, fly or taxi wherever you need to go.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Weather: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia – It's always sunny in Philly. But in all seriousness, the weather is definitely manageable.

1 person found this useful Report

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Outside of the Quad
Outside of the Quad
Outside of the Quad Outside of the Quad So pretty!
Photo by annieshin

Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Perry Petra-Wong
Pasadena, Calif.
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
View all previous student authors

Students seem to be extremely content and do not regret their decision to come to Penn, even though the school definitely has a pre-professional feel. Despite this fact, it is extremely common to find yourself in an intellectual conversation, and the students really do work hard, while remembering that college is about fun as well. The opportunities provided at Penn are astounding; in fact there is almost too much to do. Most students base the reasons for their happiness around the people, the academics, the urban environment, and the endless opportunities. People who enjoy their experience at Penn tend to appreciate city life, socializing, and a busy schedule. Usually, students do not hesitate to endorse Penn, and many feel that everyone should love the school as much as they do.

Many adults call their years as an undergraduate the best four years of their lives. Penn students certainly can not make that prediction so soon, but most would agree that their time at Penn has been the best years of their life so far. Obviously, Penn is not the school for everyone, but the student body consists of interesting, intelligent, and well-rounded people, which creates a stimulating and fun environment for most. If you come to Penn, I can almost guarantee that you will meet fascinating people, find something to be passionate about, and enjoy the benefits of living in a vibrant city. You can also feel confident that an education from Penn will prepare you for what lies beyond your undergraduate years. The Penn Overall Experience is defined by the combination of the rich history and academic rigor of an Ivy League school and the school spirit and propensity for socializing of many other schools. This "work hard, play hard" mentality is what many Quakers, and prospective Quakers, find so appealing.

Admitted Students' GPA/Test Scores More on admissions . . .

Applicant Status At University of Pennsylvania

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