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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College Sophomore

Off-Campus Housing: Not Really Sure – I'm not exactly sure how off campus housing works at Penn, as I am still living on campus. However, from what I hear it's a rather easy process and it works out to be cheaper than on-campus living

2 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Long Lines – It is over priced and has long lines. Few options.

3 College Freshman

Scholarships: Typically Good, but Be Careful – The school is capable of throwing a lot of money your way, but you have to be careful. I had to switch dorms mid-semester because of a bad housing situation, and my new dorm ended up costing more than the school would allot me for financial aid, and I was forced to take out loans. Additionally, I had to take a leave during a semester and the school mislead me into thinking that my financial aid would not be affected. It was almost a year ago, and the bill still hasn't been resolved! The financial aid department is very very slow, but they do give out a lot of money to those who need it. Just be very careful and persistent.

3 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: It's Complicated – There is definitely going to be some town-gown relationship issues arising when a school is in Philadelphia. Overall, however, there are a number of parks bars and museums throughout the city, and public transportation to downtown is pretty smooth, although the late night buses take forever!

2 College Freshman

Facilities: My honest opinion of UPenn is that it felt like a Vocational school for suits. The pre-professional feel is very dominant and seems to detract from the normal feel of undergraduate life. While socially the school is nice because it is big enough to find different niches, the population is large and it is easy to get lost in the crowd. It is hard to find guidance and I would recommend UPenn more for graduate students than for a true undergraduate college experience.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Eating Out Is Expensive, but Nice – The Philadelphia area is great for dining. There are some nicer restaurants and some fast food places and food trucks as well. It can get expensive, but there are plenty of great options around. Your best bet in the long run, however, is to buy groceries and start to learn to cook to save up for the occasional restaurant fling. You are in college after all. :)

3 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: Not Bad – I was very surprised by the turnout of the girls at UPenn. I transferred from another college and the girls here were a definite upgrade, despite my fears. The women aren't as attractive as those you find at a state school, but in general there were a lot of cute girls. As far as the bars I've been to, I haven't seen a lot of attractive women, but New York is not far away... As far as style, there is a range of how people dress. My first semester I literally had a schedule with a Spanish class of preppy-dressed underclassmen, a class with a bunch of formally dressed suited-up Whartonites, a couple of social science classes with urban-dressed students, and a film class with all sorts of different styles.

6 people found this useful Report
Niche User

Academics: The teachers are absolutely fantastic! Every single one I've ever had was very approachable, and office hours are usually right after class. I've only had one who I would call boring, but I've had many who I would call exceptional. Learning something like your econ teacher worked on the Federal Reserve Board or your physics professor has a few constants named after him is commonplace. The quality of the professors here is positively unparalleled. Penn's workload varies by school, but it's always rigorous. One of the main selling points for me was that Penn is known as the "Social Ivy," so work is always accompanied by play. Don't let that fool you, though, because there is always plenty of work to go around.

2 people found this useful Report
High School Student

Overall Experience: Penn was the best choice I ever made. As a prospective student, I got into several other Ivy League schools, but I ultimately chose Penn for its strong academics, as well as the context in which these academics are placed. At Penn, school can be a full-time 9-to-5 affair, or it can be a portion of your day. I love academics, but having academia forced down my throat at all hours of the day is not at all what four whole years of your life should be like. Instead, Penn allows students to have a discussion with their interests. All you have to do is speak up, and somebody will want to talk about your interests with you. Another aspect of life at Penn that I find especially preparatory for life as a college graduate is the city environment. At Penn, I feel wholly responsible for all of my actions, and the close availability of important institutions within walking distance that only the city can allow for has really helped me enjoy the skills I know I have built during college.

College Freshman

Health & Safety: Though the school is in West Philadelphia, the security at Penn is phenomenal. There is security at the entrance of every dorm, and you can't walk a block without seeing a guard on a bike. Blue light phone are all over campus, and students have to walk quite a few blocks to get into a bad area.

High School Student

Health & Safety: If anyone is worried about security, there is 24-hour access to Penn security escorts, and they will take you anywhere in University City. The incidences that occur are almost always a result of overconsumption of alcohol or plain stupidity. I feel 99 percent safe anywhere on campus at all times. Only when you go out into West Philly does it start to get sketchy.

High School Student

Off-Campus Dining: Wow! Philly has so much to offer in terms of food. From your street cart cheesesteaks to the gourmet Starr restaurants, there is an amazing place for any occasion. Couldn't have asked for more!

Niche User

Overall Experience: It's definitely a great experience. I love the city and the school. I would never want to be anywhere else. It has the stellar academics of an Ivy, a great city with tons to do, and wonderful people.

2 people found this useful Report
Niche User

Overall Experience: Going into my senior year, I can honestly say I would not rather be anywhere else. Penn has truly become a home-away-from-home, and I'm hopeful that I can continue the Penn experience, if I get accepted to the law school. Its location is unmatched, its facilities are beautiful, and it remains home to a brilliant faculty (including a number of Nobel Prize winners). All this makes Penn number-one to its students.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Overall Experience: I am absolutely in love with this school, and I could not imagine going anywhere else. I think that Penn allows a perfect combination of work and play. I love the people; I have found plenty of extracurricular activities to keep me busy; and I cannot wait for classes to start up again in the fall. Come here. You'll have fun, I promise.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Overall Experience: My overall experience at Penn has been marvelous. Penn is huge. I would have to say that it's more difficult to avoid making friends with good people than it is to do so. There are so many different types of people with interesting personalities all over campus, and a wide range of activities to help you meet them. The classes are truly exciting, and you learn a lot more from them than what's on the syllabus. Living in a city, on a vast campus, and attending one of the finest universities in the country is rarely disappointing and never boring. You can always fine something interesting to do and someone splendid to do it with.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Overall Experience: I wanted to go to school in a big city, so Penn definitely fits that role well, as it is nearly in the middle of Philadelphia. I enjoyed my freshman year, and I'm enthusiastic about my major, now that I've been through my first classes and met the professors of the department. They all are such brilliant professors, and I'm incredibly glad to have their knowledge at my disposal.

Niche User

Overall Experience: Penn's great. I wasn't sure about it coming in, but it's definitely turned out to be the right place for me.

Niche User

Overall Experience: I really love it here. It is excellent. Nobody has ever told me anything about their schools that can surpass Penn.

Niche User

Overall Experience: I could not picture myself being at any other university. I applied early decision to Penn because I just knew it was for me. The campus, the people, the classes, and the city are all amazing. I promise that if you do make the decision to come to Penn that you will not regret it at all.

2 people found this useful Report
Niche User

Overall Experience: I'm obsessed with Penn. I'm hoping to stay for grad school, and my sister will hopefully be attending as well. I have to say, going to Penn was the best decision I ever made! I love it here, and I can't imagine being anywhere else. I feel so at home, and I've made so many wonderful friends. I love being in the city, but when you're on campus sometimes, you even forget that you are in a city! It's there when you want it, but you can escape it, too. I just can't say enough good things about it. I can't believe my first year is over already. It's flying by, and that makes me sad because I love it so much!

Niche User

Overall Experience: I love Penn. It's definitely challenging, but the people I have met here are priceless. The teachers have been okay so far, but it all depends on what you classes you have to take. You make the best of what you have, and things usually turn out pretty well. I've gotten stressed at some points, but if you plan right, that can all be alleviated. There are also so many other things to do here other than academics . . . from sports, to performing arts, to cultural or political clubs. You get from Penn what you put into it and what you want from it. Come to Penn; it's a really cool place.

Niche User

Overall Experience: I am very happy. I really could not imagine being anywhere else. My choice when I was applying came down to Penn and Yale, and I could not be happier that I made the decision I did. The people at Penn are very down-to-earth, and my friends at most of the other Ivies have become sort of pretentious since they have started school. The great thing about Penn is our top ranking. Therefore, everyone knows that everyone on campus is intelligent and talented. At the same time, people are not full of themselves like the Harvard, Yale, and Princeton kids tend to be.

Niche User

Overall Experience: Penn has been a great experience, both academically and socially. If I had to do it all over again I would, without a doubt, return to Penn.

Niche User

Overall Experience: Fundamentally, what your decision will come down to is what kind of setting you want to be in. Penn is in a metropolis, giving you access to everything the city can offer-sports, arts, shopping, and attraction.


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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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