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 Sophomore

Transportation: Most people walk here, the occasional car is often borrowed by friends to take care of large moving tasks.

4 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: Off Campus Food – Pretty diverse, if one gets tired of the fast food the food trucks always provide a cheap alternative.

1 College Freshman

Campus Housing: Terrible System – The application process for Housing has changed this year. A lot of people were forced to live off campus or with substandard housing. By the time the University notifies you that you don't have housing, most off campus vacancies have already been filled. Rooms are small, and mice can be found in all residential housing. Residential services is VERY unhelpful and rude. The Quad can be very dirty. Also, housing is extremely expensive, although many units do not have any air conditioning. Most college houses need to be renovated. My experience with housing has been terrible. There is simply not enough housing for undergraduates.

2 people found this useful Report
1 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Food is expensive and there are not enough options. Hours are inconvenient. It is better to not get a meal plan with all the great restaurants around for the same (and often cheaper) price. I have also found roaches and sometimes mice in dining halls, as well as unfresh food.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Academics: Very Big School – Workload and grading curves are very stressful and competitive. Larger intro classes have less professor availability.

1 person found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Nightlife: There are three main college bars on campus where students go on the weekends. One has a dance floor--the other two do not. Drink prices are decent--cheaper than Center City bars. Underage students can go to frat parties, which can be fun, depending on the frat. Most people take the subway or cabs into Center City if they want to go out there.

3 Recent Alumnus

Off-Campus Housing: There is a lot of off campus housing at Penn. There are houses with various numbers of bedrooms to accommodate groups of several sizes. They are cheap, and there is free residential parking around. However, some of the houses are dirty and run down.

4 Recent Alumnus

Academics: I enjoyed the sociology classes I took. I found most of them to be interesting. We had research papers and tests, but I did not think that the workload was at all overwhelming. I also had a lot of excellent professors who were passionate about their subjects.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Off-Campus Housing: Easy If Done in Advance – I chose to fulfill my fall term requirements early this year to avoid a limited choice or no choice at all. The process was very easy because I am a student- i.e. no guarantor needed. I went with the company that seemed to have a monopoly of the properties that are in close proximity to campus. They offer varied and unique properties, that are well-kept and very nice, based on the ones I had seen.
My university has an off-campus housing office, which I think would be quite helpful, considering the emails I receive from them regularly. However I have not used their services. They offer help finding an apartment, as well as guides on off-campus living.

3 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Open Community – West Philadelphia is where the university is situated. An open campus means an opportunity of interaction with not just students, but people of the local area; this is true also when going off campus, to walk around the beautiful old townhouse lined streets, each unique and worth a second to observe- either due to their interesting choice in decor including color scheme, or because of their stately, old presence.
There are many local restaurants that support the school community, from chain stores, to the more unique locally owned locals. There are places tucked away on the aforementioned streets that invites you to explore the area.

5 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: Very Little Punishment – It is not an unfamiliar site to see a student walking around with an open bottle. The Penn Police are extremely understanding and rarely give students any trouble. The few friends I have who have gotten into trouble with the police have gotten into physical altercations with them.

3 College Freshman

Health & Safety: Dangerous Surroundings, Large Security Presence – Despite the poor neighborhoods surrounding Penn and the frequent poor individuals lingering around campus, students never run into any trouble with the locals. However, theft (my bicycle was stolen) is definitely an issue. Be proactive in securing personal items and the safety should not be a problem. At night, there are security guards on every corner and walking escorts are offered.

Penn makes health a priority. Even in the event of alcohol related illness, the student emergency response team will respond and assure you are taken care of with little disciplinary action.

3 College Freshman

Nightlife: Night Life – Frats have some good s***, if you have a fake, you can get into Blarney's or Smoke's, or even go downtown, if you wanna blow a lot of money.

1 person found this useful Report
1 College Sophomore

Scholarships: Not much financial aid even though there is a huge endowment.

3 people found this useful Report
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.

2 people found this useful Report
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.

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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