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Reviews 5187 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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2 College Sophomore

Local Area: Not to Much to Do – New Kensington is a very small town. Other than heading over to the Pittsburgh Mills mall, there is not too much to do. the Apartments are very close to campus and becuase of this, most people just hang around campus.

3 College Sophomore

Diversity: A Good Mix – I have noticed a great mix of people at Penn State. There are many religious groups, but they don't push themselves, which i greatly appreciate. There is a club for just about any interest you can consider, which i feel helps to welcome anyone.

5 Recent Alumnus

Overall Experience: AMAZING SCHOOL – Penn State is a great school academically and socially. Students really work hard Sunday through Thursday but know how to let loose and have fun on the weekends. I wouldn't trade my experience at PSU for anything. I have made so many life long friends and many of my professors have become mentors for me after graduation. Highly recommended!

5 Recent Alumnus

Campus Food: Dining Halls – Food in dining halls are delicious. They are also inexpensive even if you do not have a meal plan. There is a lot of variety and always enough for everyone.

1 Recent Alumnus

Technology: Printing on Campus – Students are only allowed 100 pages of printouts per semester. Then you must purchase pages through your elion account. This can become costly, especially if you do not have your own printer at home. Many professors require students to bring printed materials from websites to class, and it becomes a hassle when you have to constantly purchase more pages.

3 College Freshman

Greek Life: Our Greek Life at Penn State is strangely small compared to the size of the school. When speaking to my friends at other public universities smaller than us, it seems that the size alone of people in fraternities and sororities is nearly double the size. That being said, not everyone who wants to go Greek has the opportunity to. But not to worry, if you do not join Greek life there are countless other social and philanthropic things to do and many other friends to make. Your experience at Penn State will be great no matter what you do.

Also, it seems that the importance of Greek life, especially on the weekends, gets smaller and smaller the older students get. In a town like State College, there is not much to do besides go to Frat Parties or apartment parties if you are under 21. But as you get older, more of your friends get apartments and you all turn 21, this issue will cease to exist.

5 College Freshman

Athletics: Football Football Football – I know people hear this all the time, but football season at Penn State is truly a site to see. Not only the student section, but the turnout from alumni as well, is absolutely astonishing, not to mention the White Out, Blue Band, Nittany Lion, JoePa, and so much more.

3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: Decisions Must Be Made Early! While there are many options for nice apartments off campus, many of them require not only waiting in line, or "camping out" OVERNIGHT to ensure yourself an apartment for the following year, these decisions often must be made by October or November. While there are often available rooms in lower quality apartments later in the year, it would be nice if students were given until later in the year to decide where they want to live an entire year later.

3 College Freshman

Administration: Residence Halls Strictness – The residence halls are pretty strict about alcohol and drugs. If anyone gets caught, they are in for serious trouble.

4 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: The dress of everyone is typically the same. For girls, the majority of them wear Uggs and Northfaces. As for guys, there isn't much expectation of a fancy wardrobe.

3 College Freshman

Academics: For the most part, the professors care about their students and hand graded work back in a timely manner. However, there are those teachers who seem not to care so much and it feels like a waste of time.

3 Recent Alumnus

Administration: Effective but Reasonable – Underage drinking is a constant occurrence at Penn State, and managing every single instance of it would be impossible for university officials. Still, people do frequently get caught, and while single offenses may result in a citation or require completion of a drug/alcohol class, multiple offenses can result in dismissal from the university. Officials seem willing to overlook discrete, responsible drinking but do not tolerate obnoxious, destructive behavior.

5 Recent Alumnus

Party Scene: Something for Everyone – Being such a large school gives Penn State an advantage as far as variety goes. A big student population results in a wide range of choices for weekend entertainment. True, Penn State has a widespread drinking culture, but State College bars and clubs are not accessible to the under-21 crowd. Finding something that matches your interests, whether they be sports, live music, or Greek life, is easy because so many options are available.

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4 Recent Alumnus

Health & Safety: Very Safe – Penn State is a highly-populated campus, so students are active at all times of the day and night. Walkways are brightly lit and people are always around, whether they are awake to study or to socialize. University police officers also patrol campus at all hours. If you use good judgment--not walking alone while intoxicated, for example--you can avoid any potential unsafe situations.

4 College Freshman

Scholarships: Loans and Such – It was simple receiving financial aid, such as loans. I even got some grants and scholarships to help out also. There were no mix-ups or lost information. It was all very organized and simple.

5 College Freshman

Overall Experience: Excellent Experience – There is no experience as amazing as being a part of a Penn State football weekend. There is nothing like the atmosphere of the student section with the Blue Band playing 'Sweet Caroline,' and other crowd favorites. Going to a PSU football game is the one thing that every student should do while they are here. It is a very memorable experience. There is nothing like being surrounded by 110,000 friends and family sharing our Penn State school spirit.

3 College Freshman

Drug Safety: School Policy – The drug scene at Penn State is not big at all. The majority of activity is done with alcohol. The school enforces the policies within the dorms, but off campus is not regulated as much.

4 College Freshman

Transportation: Really Convenient Bus System – CATA bus serves almost the whole city. Buses run often, and stop at many locations. A bus pass is affordable $55 / month

3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Good Variety – Many restaurants off-campus, with varying costs. Also diverse selections, with dishes from different countries

4 College Sophomore

Weather: Altoona is a windy city. For the most part, the weather is fair. The past two winters have been rough. Can't complain.

1 College Sophomore

Parking: Parking in Altoona is expensive, respectively. A fine for being caught without a parking pass is 50 the first time and 100 the second as far as I know. Student helpers also give tickets to all cars without passes anytime before 5 pm, sometimes even after. No need for a car on campus, but driving to campus can be problematic. There are many parking spots, which is why I'm not sure why the university makes you purchase a parking pass.

4 College Sophomore

Local Area: Altoona is a small city and there are things to do, but not for college students. The campus is located in a valley, with no room for expansion, although they are trying to. Horse Shoe Curve is an attraction. Shopping is better than University Park in State College. Safety is unheard of. Cops don't have anything better to do than break up parties because most of the students are underage in Altoona. Sports are limited. The campus is located near the outskirts of Altoona, so there are a lot of places to hike and fish and bike. Most of the students I have spoken to can't wait to get out of Altoona because of the small classes and seeing the same people over and over again.

3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Food: Dining Options and Meals – There are many places to go around campus that take meal points. However in the dining commons they always have the same meals, with the same sides and everything. Once you know the entree you can guess everything else on the menu.

3 Recent Alumnus

Technology: Computer Labs and Printing – The computer labs are nice and updated. Printing is limited to 110 pages a semester which is ok if your classes don't require printing out slides. However, all of my six classes require me to print everything out therefore I find myself buying more printing pages.

4 College Junior

Greek Life: I am a part of the greek life as a member of Sigma Alpha professional agriculture sorority. Greek housing is quickly disappearing,as Penn State continually shuts down fraternities to expand their facilities. Greek involvement is extremely high, and I believe is viewed positively in the community.


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Pattee Library and Mall
Pattee Library and Mall

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Despite common reservations about the location and climate, most Penn State students are fiercely loyal to their alma mater. Penn State boasts one of the largest alumni populations in the United States; graduates are proud of their degrees, and employers recognize the University’s name immediately. Although the campus is located in a very rural area, school is technologically up-to-date and on the cutting-edge of current research.

Aside from academics, PSU is also known for its social scene, especially in relation to sports and parties. Nittany Lion football—home of the 2008 Big Ten Champions—is a national draw and a point of pride for both the University and the town of State College. For anyone interested in playing or watching varsity sports, PSU is a top choice. Penn State has also been ranked highly by many polls and “party school” surveys as one of the top party schools in the nation. While it certainly isn’t the wildest town, these rankings are definitely accurate. The small-town setting and large-school atmosphere makes for little else in the way of entertainment, so it can be hard to avoid encountering the party scene during your time as a student. Still, the mix of work and leisure seems to work well for most of the student body, and academic standards at Penn State remain relatively high. It’s easy to spend four years at Penn State as an ever-serious student, focused completely on whatever you choose to study. With so many opportunities to relax nearby, balance and moderation are some of the best skills to learn from your four years in college.

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