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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3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: According to others it seems fair, but it depends on you.

4 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: Strict but Fair – The school has a fair policy in regards to drinking, ensuring that students are responsible: if you end up sick while drinking and go to a local healthcare provider, you will not be penalized. Penn places safety and well being above all else, and the policies reflect that. The college tends to be strict but fair.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Facilities: Everything One Needs – Anything one may be interested in is present on campus. With great campus facilities and ease of access to various specialized buildings, student life is greatly enhanced by the facilities. An active student government, combined with caring school officials work hand in hand to ensure students have all the facilities which they desire.

4 College Freshman

Health & Safety: Excellent and Safe – With emergency booths omnipresent, and a present security force, it is impossible to feel anxious on campus. Entrances to dorm buildings have guards and require a passcard, so it is impossible for strangers to get in. Campus security is really polite, but have a strict hand on conspicuous drinking.

4 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: Not Bad – It's not something you typically notice if you've lived in the city all your life, but the guys and girls are pretty normal and cool at Penn. They are diverse in backgrounds so you'll have a lot of different people, but in general everyone gets along pretty well.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Academics: DMD Rocks! My major is Digital Media Design at UPenn. This unique major is targeted towards those who want to end up in the computer graphics and animation field. The workload can be tough due to the nature of the subject (computer programming) but if you're passionate about it it's completely worth it. The combination of art and computer programming makes for a fun balance. Those who graduate as DMD majors end up in fantastic places, from Pixar to Facebook.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Computers: You Can Survive Without a Laptop – I had to go a month without my laptop and the overall convenience of computer labs made that fine. Of course, everyone has a laptop anyway because that's just the most convenient. Try to have a personal printer because you do have to pay for printing, unless you get in with an academic dept or print at the LGBT center. AirPennNet works (I guess), but expect problems if you have a Mac. A *lot* of problems.

3 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: Cafeteria Food – Dining Hall food is awful. There are times when it can be bearable, but I actually lost weight... 10 pounds, in fact. Granted, I was a special case and had other things going on, but I'm far from being the only one who disliked the food. Whatever you do, stay FAR AWAY from Commons. Miss Anita at the front is really sweet, but unfortunately I can't eat her for dinner, making the venture quite worthless. Hillel is good for the extra $2, and Kings Court is small and thus rather underrated. Hill is the best dining hall overall (though not saying much), and Hill Brunch cannot be missed. I do actually get excited for the chocolate chip pancakes. Thankfully, there are Dining Dollars to use at Houston Hall, ABP, and Subway, for reasonable prices. And when all else fails... plenty of restaurants at which to eat/get delivery.

5 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Philly Is the Perfect Location – I knew I had to come to school in a big city because I was sick of the lethargy of suburbia. I came to Philly and it was the *perfect* choice. West Philadelphia is a great community, and for all the whispering about its safety, I feel perfectly fine... there are of course just some places that you don't go at night, especially alone. University City is such a nice area and there's a lot to do just in walking distance that it's easy to forget that the city is larger. But it is... between Center City's fun nightlife, parks, and eclectic restaurants/shopping; the beautiful history in Old City, and the charming neighborhoods in South Philly (not gonna lie, North Philly scares me)... this city has been perfect for me. The reason I pin it as the perfect city is that for cheap I can travel by bus to New York or DC and be there within 2 or 3 hours, respectively (with the train, even less time). Philly's a great city, but it's also a hub for the 2 greatest cities on the Northeast coast.

4 College Sophomore

Academics: The Libraries Rock – Penn Libraries aren't as luxurious as HYP's, but there's a wide range from which to choose depending on your study habits. You can study all night if you so desire, even if the surroundings are a bit austere. But there are also little carrels in Van Pelt (the main library) you can use on the upper floors where it is silent... and comfy couches on the lower floors with a bit of a higher noise level (but not too much). Fisher is absolutely gorgeous: the most beautiful building I have ever seen at Penn, and great to study in (just don't get caught coughing, sneezing, or breathing too loudly)

4 College Sophomore

Transportation: Everyone Complains About SEPTA, but It's Great – While it may be true that one can sniff the stench of urine on SEPTA, it's quite cleaner than some NYC transit and quite efficient. You can get essentially anywhere you need using public transportation, and each way is only $2 - less if you buy tokens in a pack. There are several stops around campus for local transit. Also, buses like Chinatown, Bolt, and Megabus can take you to NYC, DC, Boston, Pittsburgh, etc, for cheap. There is never any need for a car, especially because parking can be a costly nuisance in the city. Still, some kids do have them, particularly the older ones who drive home regularly.

4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: Be 21+ or You're on-Campus Forever – I have a great time going out at Penn, be it on campus or off. Thursday and Saturday nights tend to be the best, but Fridays can be really good downtown. Some of the frats are known for their parties, but if the atmosphere of natty light, basements, and jungle juice starts to get old, there are plenty of bars around campus that are great both for Happy Hour and the night. Of course, Center City is always fun and it's even in walking distance, although with SEPTA or a cab you can be in all the hotspots for cheap. And there's a lot to do in Philly at night.

4 College Sophomore

Academics: There Are Truly Brilliant Professors Here – I have taken classes with the former head of the US Civil Rights commission, a renowned constitutional scholar, an ex-professional dancer... all sorts of creative, interesting, very accomplished, and very smart people. They are especially plentiful at an institution like this, so it's merely up to us as students to seek them out.

4 College Freshman

Campus Dining: It's Ok – It's fine. The dining halls are pretty good - better than most schools. There are food-trucks out on Spruce street which are really good. There are a lot of great restaurants around campus. Reading terminal market isn't too far, if you take the trolley.

4 College Freshman

Health & Safety: Excellent. Has escorts at night for security. HUP is obviously one of the best hospitals. There are safety issues outside of campus though.

5 College Freshman

Academics: Professors are extremely approachable and easy to talk to. It is very easy to get a research internship around here. There are also several excellent interdisciplinary programs that make Penn unique - the market for people who specialize only in one pure field is saturated. Today's industries, especially in technology, demand for employees and entrepreneurs who have an interdisciplinary background. Penn prepares you for that.

5 College Sophomore

Academics: Most Extensive and Excellent Network Opportunities – There are just so many great opportunities at Wharton.

3 Recent Alumnus

Academics: Limited by Broadness of Scope – My program (Liberal Arts) had students from a lot of varying backgrounds and levels of scholarship, and I felt the time it took to get everyone on the same page often meant there was less time to go in depth into the material. However, the classes I had with less students, or with more an esoteric interest base to start with, were excellent. I would assume students studying in more focused programs experienced more rigorous academics.

3 College Sophomore

Drug Safety: Drinking is very visible on campus, and the Penn Police don't really care about anyone drinking, as long as no one is out of control or being dangerous.

2 College Sophomore

Diversity: At Penn, there is a lot of diversity in race and hometown, but very little diversity in economic status. Obviously they are outliers, but for the most part, most people fit the Penn stereotype.

4 College Student

Transportation: You're Well-Served – Philly, as a huge and major American city, is pretty comfortable concerning public transportation. Moreover, security and transportation services for students at Penn are extremely convinient.

3 College Student

Campus Strictness: Don't Worry Too Much – College is, after a lot of hard-working, time for fun and social life. If you like drinking, do it, but don't make it crystal clear for everyone that you're often drunk. It's just a matter of being discrete and moderate. Have fun in way that you'll feel good and won't bother anyone. That's the best advice not only if you're going to Penn, but anywhere else.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Student

Off-Campus Housing: Living on campus is definetely the best option at Penn, specially because of safety matters. Although you'll be able to count on some Penn security help off-campus, the campus is likely to be place where you can feel 100% safe at Philly. Moreover, the social advantage of living on campus in very unique and you wouldn't like to miss the chance of increasing the likelihood of meeting amazing people everyday during 4 years.

4 College Student

Scholarships: Give Me the Money – Excellent experience because their technology is quite up to date.
Only allow the students to come into the office when the letter of their last name is being served.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Student

Parking: Please, Leave a Space – Parking is horrible but remember, we are across the street from the University of Penn Hospital and this makes for difficult parking.Permit cost are outrageous costing 250.00 a month. Ticketing and fines in this area can range from 50.00-350.00 if your car is towed. Forget about parking spaces, they literally do not exist. No one in their right mind will drive or try to park in this area. Philly car share is available to students, and they are quite accessible for students.


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Outside of the Quad
Outside of the Quad
Outside of the Quad Outside of the Quad So pretty!
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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 . . .

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