Philadelphia, PA
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 916 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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4 College Sophomore

Health & Safety: Very safe, always can see Penn security patrolling around campus, and they offer walking escorts if you feel uncomfortable.

3 College Freshman

Drug Safety: Not Noticeable If You Want to Ignore It – If you're into drugs, there are people who enjoy it. If you want to pretend they don't exist, you can. They're not an integral part of the social scene unless you want them to be.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Athletics: BASKETBALL!!! The basketball here has suddenly become very big, as we did so well this year. Many people go to games (making up for the lack of attendees at our football games... ouch) to cheer on the Quakers. As a freshman, it was a great way to get into the spirit of the school. Other sports are actually quite good here as well, though many people don't know about them. The gymnastics team won a big championship here this year, as well as a few other sports teams. But if you were to pick the biggest spectator sport here - you'd hear BASKETBALL from everyone who fills the palestra every weekend during basketball season.

3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: The food is honestly not bad, but it gets extremely repetitive. Houston Hall has good options that are made in front of you, but places like Hill dining hall seem to have similar food night after night. Hill used to have a pasta toss option, where you could pick what you wanted to be put into a bowl with pasta, but a few months after the start of the year, they switched to just offering one type of pasta with veggies or meat in it. It's not bad, but I miss the variety!

5 College Freshman

Overall Experience: Unexpected Surprises – At first glance, the University can seem a little anti-intellectual and pre-professional, but behind closed doors and once you meet your kind of people, the discussions get super interesting and you remember that people got here because they are intellectual and smart. Sure, once in a while you'll run into one of those people who care only about the grade and their career, but the most of them like thinking and discussing ideas and concepts. The University is always bustling with energy and there is always something to do. On a nice day, a walk to Center City is really nice and takes less than 30 minutes and it's nice to have that option as a changeup from the campus scene.

5 College Freshman

Academics: Strong in Every Field – Though the curriculum can be a little tedious (including the infamous writing seminars), it really does help discover new interests and introduce a liberal arts curriculum in a school that is more pre-professional focused. The classes are great, the professors seem to always be helpful, available, and there because they want to be teaching and interacting with undergraduates. I've had professors who've done their doctorates under names you would find several times in your biology textbook, yet they're always available through email and always receptive to questions. Every department here is really strong - biology, economics, Korean studies, Romance languages, you name it, we've got it.

3 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: Some Good Things and Bad Things – *DISCLAIMER- none of these things are meant to be racist/stereotypical... just the truth*

My take on Penn is that there are so many different kinds of people. There are people you are going to relate to.. and people you're not going to relate to. Overall, here are some pointers:

1) There is a major Jewish community at Penn, but it kind of keeps to itself. I don't really know very many Jewish people, but I do eat with friends whenever I go to the Jewish dining hall.

2) Hella asians. They are everywhere! But my roommate was asian and she was the coolest person that I met at Penn. Just keep an open mind! There are plenty who won't raise their heads from their Wharton books, but there are tons of really cool ones, too.

3) People always give Wharton kids a bad rep. Sure, there are some that just want to build huge capitalistic business empires, but there are some really awesome ones, too.

4) Personally, I find engineering kids to be less friendly than Wharton kids. They tend to be very competitive in classes.

So, those were some of things on the "bad" end, I guess. In reality, every kind of person exists at Penn. Artsy kids, nerdy kids, sports jocks, everything.

22 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Weather: Not as Bad as Everyone Makes It Out to Be – Honestly, I was imagining being in six feet of snow before coming to Philly, but its actually not that bad. Granted we had a warm winter, I didn't really mind the winter at all. Just make sure you bring some good snow boots and a North Face for the bad days. Other than that, you're going to be studying a lot anyways! Winter time is a good time to enjoy the indoors, have fun with your hall mates, and go to movies/parties. Also, it didn't even get cold here until like late November... so bring shorts/dresses/skirts girls!

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Nightlife: Greek Life Is Lively, Philadelphia Somewhat Disappointing – I'm in a sorority and I absolutely love it. I would encourage anyone to join one at Penn, because they're not at all like sororities in the South. It's tougher for guys to go to parties on campus without being in a Frat, so that's kind of a down-side to the night-life on campus. As far as nightlife in Philadelphia, there actually aren't a lot of 18+ clubs. If you're 21, you have more options... but still, its not that great. Nothing compared to NYC.

2 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Ivy League in a Lively City – Although some students are too "scared" of West Philly horror stories or decide to not take advantage of the Philly area, Philadelphia is an awesome place to live. Whenever you get bored of campus, there's always something to do in Philadelphia. Tons of restaurants, Old City has a great night life, Center City has tons of shopping, Fitler's Square and the Schuykill River Park have a family-oriented, clean environment. There's literally endless possibilities. Philadelphia is a young city, filled with creative people.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Transportation: It's easy to get anywhere on campus by walking. SEPTA is the best option for travel into Center City.

5 College Freshman

Diversity: Penn is definitely one of the most diverse campuses in the nation. There are students of every ethnicity, religion, political view, and sexual orientation. Everyone is accepting of everyone else.

4 College Freshman

Campus Housing: Campus Living – I really enjoy living on Campus at UPenn. The atmosphere is quite social and everyone makes friends really easily. The dorm rooms are a bit small in the Quad, and the shared bathrooms are a pain, but overall the environment is very friendly and healthy.

2 College Freshman

Parking: If You Really Want It, but No Need – Very few people have cars on campus. There's just no need for them. But if you really want to get a car for school, then Penn will let you park in the garage at 40th and Walnut, and there's pretty much always spaces from what I understand, but it's pretty far away from the center of campus.

4 College Freshman

Scholarships: Compared with other schools, Penn gave me a pretty competitive offer, and the process has all been pretty straightforward. Any times I had questions, I had no problems getting them answered.
And when I explained my circumstances, they were able to look and find a couple extra thousand dollars when I appealed the original offer. Very much appreciated!

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Weather: It's Never Sunny in Philadelphia ... . It rains a lot here. Much more than I realized it would.
Even so though, it also hasn't been as cold as I expected, and when it's nice outside, it really is pretty nice.
The weather's also pretty icky at the end of summer when it's still pretty warm and humid, if you don't have any AC in your dorm.

4 College Freshman

Computers: Very Good Campus Computing – I am a freshman and have been able to get by so far this year without a laptop. I am only one of a few, and it often does get to be a hassle sometimes not having my own computer; however, it's definitely doable. There are 24/7 computer labs in all of the college houses. There are also computers available at different libraries around campus. Printing is not free, but if you are in desperate need for free printing at some time, you can always go to the Arch building. I've heard that the WiFi reliability isn't always that great, though.

4 College Freshman

Weather: Much Better Than What I Expected – It is actually not as cold as people said. This year, the temperature is still higher than 32 Fahrenheit in December. However, it is very dry here.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Drug Safety: Not a Problem at All – Never really encounter any one who uses drug for a long time. Penn is an Ivy League school. People really care about themselves.

4 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: At Upenn, there are many cultures represented, but none so much as an American urban class. People pay a lot of attention to their looks, almost too much so. Most girls you meet are attractive and know how to have fun, while most of the boys try to look cool and collegiate.

5 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: Finding off-campus housing is not that hard in Philadelphia; in fact most upperclassmen choose to live off campus. However, it can be expensive, though not as much as in other major cities.

4 College Freshman

Academics: Highly Competitive – At the University of Pennsylvania, I am in the College of Arts and Sciences, and so far I am satisfied with my choice. Upenn has high standards for academics and most people there are extremely intelligent. Professors are very helpful, but only if you reach out to them for help-if you stay in the background it is easy to fade into anonymity. All of the professors are highly accomplished in their fields, and the quality of the education is superb.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: Dorms Are Bleh, Everything Else Is Great – The gym is huge, the libraries are fantastic and have a 24-hour reading room, and if you forget your laptop, you can find a computer pretty much anywhere.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: High Rises – The High Rises are great for upperclassmen who want a kitchen and bathroom but still want to live on campus.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: 40Th Street – There are a ton of off-campus places to eat on 40th street between Locust and Walnut and on Walnut between 39th and 40th.


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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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