Philadelphia, PA
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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4 College Sophomore

Academics: The academics are good, but they are incredibly hard. If you don't plan on studying and working your ass off for more than 40 hours a week, don't bother coming. Professors are really hit-or-miss, as they would be at any school. The upper-level classes generally are more interesting and have better professors.

4 College Junior

Academics: Linguistics at Penn is one of the best in the world, but the undergraduate curriculum seems to value breadth rather than depth, and I never felt like I really built up my knowledge of any one thing but rather took Intro level classes in several areas, which often meant relearning the same basic material, albeit with slightly different goals.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Academics: An education from UPenn is great, since all of the students and faculty are always willing to help and act as a resource!

5 College Sophomore

Academics: The nursing program is run very well. We have a 95.3% pass rate on the NCLEX and a lot of labs to practice skills. We also have many facilities in close proximity for clinicals. The professors are great because many of them still hold jobs in the hospitals so we are getting our information from people who know what they are doing.

5 College Freshman

Academics: The international relations department is awesome. Beyond just providing a great curriculum, the heads of the department support students in the trajectory of selecting a career and getting employment.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 7th
    Smartest Professors
  • 12th
    Professors Most Interested in Classes
  • 27th
    Best Course Variety
  • 40th
    Most Available Classes
  • 48th
    Best Use of Teaching Assistants

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Perry Petra-Wong
Pasadena, Calif.
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
View all previous student authors

Penn students tend to be genuinely impressed with the knowledge and commitment of their professors but concede that, now and then, an uninterested or uninteresting teacher can slip into one’s schedule. While members of the faculty are usually more than willing to get to know their students, in larger classes, the student must take the initiative by attending office hours or requesting research opportunities. The University definitely encourages students to make this effort and will pay for lunch with a professor at the faculty lounge. Penn students who speak to upperclassmen and “shop around” for courses usually end up enjoying their course-load immensely; the enormous amount of classes offered at Penn (the course book is the size of a phone book) practically guarantees ample opportunities to find ideal classes and professors for each student.

Ben Franklin founded Penn with the idea that the young people of Philadelphia should receive a well-rounded and pre-professional, not just a religious, education. Many things have changed since 1749, but Penn is still a remarkably well-rounded school. The business program may be unsurpassed, but practically every department at Penn is strong and will provide students with knowledgeable professors and a wide area of relevant classes. Despite the fact that the undergraduate school is populated by almost 10,000 students, the majority of classes are comprised of less than 20.

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
Total FT Faculty
Faculty with Terminal Degree
Average Faculty Salary
Full-Time Retention Rate
Part-Time Retention Rate
Transfer-Out Rate
Graduation Rate
Programs/Majors Offered
Academic/Career Counseling?
Remedial Services?
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 Students: 72%
  • 20 to 49 Students: 21%
  • 50 or More Students: 7%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: No
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: Yes
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: No
Life Experience Credits: No
Undergraduate Schools/Divisions
  • College at Penn (School of Arts and Sciences)
  • School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • School of Nursing
  • Wharton School of Business
Degrees Awarded
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Certificate
  • Doctorate - Professional practice
  • Doctorate - Research/scholarship
  • Master's degree
  • Other
  • Post-bachelor's certificate
  • Post-master's certificate
Most Popular Majors
  • Business Administration and Management: 3%
  • Finance, General: 5%
  • Law: 2%
  • Marketing/Marketing Management, General: 2%
Special Study Options
  • Study abroad
  • Teacher certification (below the postsecondary level)
  • Weekend/evening college
Best Places to Study
  • Fisher Fine Arts Library
  • Houston Hall
  • Huntsman Hall
  • Van Pelt Library
Tips to Succeed
  • Do not get wrapped up with the big name of the University or feel pressured to have a dual degree or graduate from Wharton. There are people that will intimidate you, but remember that being the one to graduate with the least amount accomplished from Penn is still one of the biggest achievements as a student in the nation.
  • Do your homework.
  • Get on as many school mailing lists as possible.
  • Go to office hours.
  • Learn how to manage your time effectively (alternate solution: learn how to function on two hours sleep).
  • Shop around for classes during the add/drop period.
  • Success is not always measured by grades, so don't get too stuck on numbers.
  • Talk to upperclassmen for advice.
  • Work hard, but remember to have fun.
Did You Know?
  • In 1778, University Provost William Smith was serving prison time due to a political struggle with the Provincial Congress of Philadelphia and chose to continue teaching his moral philosophy class from Philadelphia's Old City Jail.
  • Penn's first commencement took place on May 17th, 1757, with a graduating class of just seven.
  • Penn is home to America's first medical school (1765), business school (1881), and law classes (1850).
  • The team of architects who designed the winning rebuilding plan at Ground Zero in New York City is headed by an architect from the University of Pennsylvania, Daniel Libeskind.
  • Honors and awards bestowed upon the faculty at Penn include 2 National Medals of Science, 28 Guggenheim Fellows, 21 Fulbright Scholars, 2 Nobel Prizes, 11 National Academy of Sciences, 3 National Academy of Engineering, 11 Institute of Medicine, and 23 NEH Fellows.

Student Polls

Rate your school's academic environment on the following topics    Based on 44 responses

Very poor
  • Academic advisers
  • Class availability
  • Consistency in grading
  • Course subject variety
  • Curriculum flexibility
  • Gen-Ed requirements
  • Manageability of workload
  • Online course options
  • Quality of teaching assistants (TAs)
  • Scheduling/registration process
  • Technology in the classroom

Who are the most notable alumni from this school?    Based on 5 responses

  • 38% John Legend
  • 31% Donald Trump
  • 23% Elizabeth Banks
  • 8% Vanessa Bayer - Saturday Night Live
  • 0% Rabbi Israel Goldstein - co-founder, Brandeis University
  • 0% Sadie Alexander - first African American female Ph.D.
  • 0% William Henry Harrison - 9th U.S. president
  • 0% Candice Bergen - actress, "Murphy Brown"
  • 0% William Brennan - Supreme Court justice
  • 0% Harold E. Ford Jr. - U.S. congressman
  • 0% Doug Glanville - MLB center-fielder

Rate your school's professors on the following topics    Based on 44 responses

Very poor
  • Accessibility
  • Communication skills
  • General knowledge
  • Interest in class subjects
  • Interest in students
  • Time spent in classroom
  • Use of teaching assistants


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