Philadelphia, PA
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 1007 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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3 College Freshman

Campus Housing: Freshman Rooming – For freshman: the quad is socially wonderful but the rooms are kind of old and vary in size. People in hill have very small rooms so wind up spending the majority of time in lounges and thus wind up becoming very close with their hall (around 30 people). Other than the quad and hill, places are not great socially but tend to be much roomier and nicer.

4 College Sophomore

Transportation: SEPTA is the most convenient thing ever --- can get you almost anywhere you need to go within Philly / regional rails can take you to PA, DE, NJ, NY

Taxis are also abundant and cheaper than NYC

4 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: With so many different people, it's impossible NOT to meet people

4 people found this useful Report
2 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: Dining Halls – Overall, repetitive and bland. But it definitely makes freshman year easier, not having to worry about finding your own food.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Weather: The weather can really be bipolar. You have days where it is freezing followed by days where it is blazing hot. Sometimes it snows in October and then you have a week of 60 degree days in December

4 College Sophomore

Drug Safety: Drugs are probably less prevalent than drinking at Penn but it is still pretty significant. Obviously you are not supposed to do either but the policy is that if you need help medically, that you can always get it without fearing the consequences. Safety is a priority over punishment. Peer pressure is not really an issue. If you don't want to do drugs, there is no sort of imposed pressure.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: Dorm Life – Dorm living is the only way to appropriately experience what college is about. The costs are significant, but they are far outweighed by the convenience of being close to classes and the overall social atmosphere of being in a dorm. Living with other people is the best way to get connected and make friends and it can truly be life changing.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Facilities: Great Campus Life, Performing Arts Groups – There's a lot of things to do, especially regarding dance and a cappella groups.

4 College Sophomore

Academics: Numerous Majors and Interesting Courses – There are so many interesting majors, and interesting courses for non-majors. The professors are helpful and really help students understand the material.

4 College Sophomore

Greek Life: I Do Not Know – I would say that they are welcome here and they being treated fairly and with respect.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: Well, i think it is very good and normal because i have not yet been to the dinning off-Campus, so I do not know really.

5 College Sophomore

Health & Safety: Safety on Compus – The security can be described as outstanding and great. The University is truly trying to keep all students safe and I think they are doing a wonderful job at it.

1 College Sophomore

Overall Experience: Diversity? Not Really – The University of Pennsylvania loves to put itself out there as a school with diversity, but unfortunately, this is a misnomer. Although, yes, there are many different types of people at the school (Jews, homosexuals, asians, shut-ins, and sports fanatics), this results in a school in which people are surprisingly cold to anyone that is not "like themselves". If you're not an asian, chances are you won't be making too friends with many/any of them. If your Jewish, chances are you'll be joining a Jewish fraternity/sorority or becoming part of one of the "all we talk about is religion"-type groups in order to keep a social circle. If you're a sports player, don't plan on spending much time with many other people besides your teammates if you still want to more-or-less stay on top of your work. Same goes for theatre people, performers, musicians, etc. The only people that are going to accept you at the school are the people that you will be forced to be with due to your activities or race/ethnicity. The result of this is a school in which, yes, there are a variety of different people, but not a lot of accepting, friendly individuals who are sociable and approachable. Besides the people in your small niché that you may or may not find here, Philadelphia, and UPENN campus in particular, is an unfortunate conjugation of either arrogant, over-privileged, or just plain-old rude individuals (sometimes all at once). So, my words of advice: UPENN is undeniably a great school academically- you will receive a fantastic education if you come and a diploma that may or may not mean something in this economy. BUT, if what you care about in a college are the people, the culture, and the great memories that will come with it, then the University of Pennsylvania is not the place to go. I will be transferring to a place where the weather isn't s*** and people will actually give the time of day.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: Never an Issue – As far as campus security goes, there are Police everywhere for safety reasons. Penn has the largest private police force in the state after all, but it's all for your safety. Now, I have never heard of anybody getting a write-up for drinking issues themselves. Obviously if you assault, rape, steal or something else, the Penn police will arrest you, but for the majority of less severe offenses, their don't really care, and, honestly, you can even ask the Penn security guards for information as to where the parties are, and they'll tell you.
Academic strictness is there, but it's a seldom used venue at the school. Most everybody here is here to learn and work, otherwise transferring might be your best option.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Diversity: Nominally, Penn's diverse. It has kids from however many hundreds of countries and virtually every state, but the majority are from PA, NJ, MD, NY and the like. Yes, a majority of the school's a "minority", but each contingent of people tends to keep to themselves. Clicks exist a lot, especially among sports teams, who all join the same frats, etc.

As far as Sexual orientation goes, Penn is one of the most liberal, at least nominally. It seems as though everybody has the same sort of typical opinions about how wonderful it is to respect persons of different sexual orientations

4 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Good Food, Expensive Plans, Unflexible Options – Most Freshmen buy either the unlimited or fewest meal plans. Personally, I have the unlimited. The food's good, at least everywhere other than Commons, which is the largest, but by far worst dining hall on campus. McClelland express is pretty good, but it can get really slowed down at crowded times. Hill is a cosistently good option at well, but at lunch it is a mad-house. King's Court is worth it if you have the time to get there because it offers great food and is seldom crowded.

Most dining dollars options are much, much better than the meal plans, especially the Bistro in Houston.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Computers: Variety of Mac and PC Labs – There are so many labs filled with Mac Desktop computers and the library has rooms filled with computers. The network reliability and speed is great, but I have had some difficulty at times. WiFi is available EVERYWHERE, even if you are on College Green or in the Law School.

4 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: International Crowd – Lots of attractive and intellectual guys and girls!

3 people found this useful Report
3 Recent Alumnus

Overall Experience: Hopefully the Rest of the School Is Better Than the Nursing Shcool. In general I think that the School of Nursing leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe my expectations are too high, but if this is number two in the nation, I'd really hate to see what a 'bad' school is like...The good news is that they offer a ton of clinical sites that many other schools can't offer. The price isn't that great since the aid doesn't cover it all.

4 Recent Alumnus

Transportation: Great Unless You Have a Kid – The school offers a shuttle on evenings and weekends, but they won't let you in if you have a child and no booster seat. Its okay to ride in cabs, buses, etc without one, but the school is more strict. Generally buses will get you where you need to go, and it takes less time than waiting for the shuttles anyway.

1 person found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Off-Campus Dining: You Can Always Find Something. There are a ton of restaurants around town. You can find pretty much any cuisine in any price range. 40th & Chestnut has a great collection of international restaurants that are affordable.

4 College Freshman

Greek Life: Great Parties, Great Standard of Living – Greeks make their presence known to freshmen during NSO through their parties. From that point onwards, many of the finest men and women have their hearts set on rushing. These parties are essentially the core of the Penn nightlife, and most parties are pretty decent or better.

A factor though, is that for men, frequently a ratio is enforced, generally a 2 girls : 1 guy ratio. So it really helps to have a lot of girl friends when you do go out.

Greek Housing on the other hand, is a major part of campus life, but it varies wildly in quality from one frat to another. Some of the frats are housed in notable buildings on campus, while others are housed "on-campus" but a few blocks away from the center. Again, most frats have pretty decent houses, but some have phenomenal ones.

3 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Campus Housing: Not Enough Good Housing, but Plenty of Decent Places – The best housing for freshmen is in the Quad. No questions asked. Hill, Kings Court-English, and Stouffer are all good choices, but the Quad provides that quintessential freshman experience.

For upperclassmen, the options tend to be more limited. Generally, most people want to live in the high-rises as upperclassmen instead of the lower-rises, such as Gregory. This can make the competition to get into the high-rises intense, but the rooms are quite worth it, provided you make it.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Computers: They're Everywhere, Fast, and Efficient – On-Campus Computer labs are pretty much in every dorm and every building in some capacity. These computers are always really quick, and they are more than ample for everyday use.

Also, some of the on-campus printers can be used from your own personal computer as well, but that network is quite limited, so frequently you need to log onto one of the Penn computers near the printer you want to use instead.

Also, most people bring laptops to Penn, and some classes strongly recommend them (such as freshmen-dominated writing seminars). With these, wireless access can be quite spotty, especially in rooms with lots of laptops in use ; however, generally, the in-dorm wifi is quite good.

1 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: Shallow People – The girls here are much more attractive than I thought they would be. HOWEVER, the overwhelming majority of them want nothing but to study or get really really drunk. If you're looking for a relationship with a nice, intellectual girl, this place is the most miserable choice imaginable.

10 people 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 . . .

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