Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
University Park, PA, USA

Reviews

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
4.02 Average Rating

Alexandra from Sewell, NJ

a current student here
7 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
i couldn't be more content with my choice of university for undergraduate education. penn state has so much to offer for students like me who don't put a limit to their dreams: highly-ranked academics, endless extra-curricular activities, greek life, study abroad options, and more. the campus is named one of the safest in the country, and the atmosphere is so serene that i never want to leave.
Tips for prospective students
if you want a campus-y school, you're in the right place. some people may first feel overwhelmed by the large size of the university, but within two weeks you will be comfortable with your schedule and the locations of the most important buildings. my best advice for students finding their niche? get involved. there is so much to do and so much to be involved in if you just look. also, thon is the most amazing organization i've ever had the chance to be involved with, and a lot of freshmen hesitate to get involved right away in the fall, so be on the lookout for ways to get involved with it! most importantly- do not get caught up on the social scene. you have to learn to time manage from the get-go or you will have trouble staying on top of your grades. you just need to keep the end in mind, and you should do just fine. this means that you should remember that you are at penn state to get a great education, so your classes and schoolwork should remain your first priority. college is the step before your career, and that is something that needs to be taken very seriously.
Academic Rigor
penn state is named one of the country's public ivy universities. the academic rigor at penn state definitely reflects that. the professors are all highly acclaimed and the work load depends on how many credits you are taking that semester, as well as your major. as a science major, my classes are very challenging as i compete against thousands of others for entrance to my major in the next two years. professors teach in ways that challenge the students. no class can be labeled as easy, and the challenge is something that you want to look for as an undergraduate because it means that you are getting a quality education and that you are really getting the most out of it.
Dorm Life
because their are so many students who attend penn state, the dorms are rather small. i don't have any complaints though. the bathrooms are cleaned daily, each floor has several different trashcans that follow an exclusive recycling program, and the rooms each have enough room (in my opinion) for all of the essentials. their is heat in the winter because it gets really cold, just not air conditioning in the summer. i didn't find that to be a problem because it starts to get cool in september, and you can just open the windows to get fresh air. each ra has floor bonding activities planned every once and awhile, so there fun things to do. each dorm complex has its own dining hall and study area, and each building has a floor designated with rooms for studying. there are also vending machines on the first floor of every building.
Food and Dining
there are five dining halls located around campus, each offering a variety of different foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. there are places to eat in the hub which is located in a central location on campus. the hub offers fast-food places like sbarro, panda express, chick fil a, and burger king, as well as sandwich places and salad bars. it can get expensive eating in the hub-so beware. their are also two coffee places in the hub. there are convenience stores located in each dining hall. penn state also offers a website called lion menus, which features dozens of restaurants-pizza parlors, sandwich places, chinese, italian, and dessert places that you can order food right to your dorm or apartment. you can pay with cash, a credit card, or lion cash. downtown features over fifty restaurants and bars including chili's, subway, coldstone, dp dough, wings over, and other restaurants traditional to penn state. lets just say there are more than enough options when it comes to dining. most restaurants take lion cash.
What to do for fun
aside from greek life and the frat scene, there is much more to do. different restaurants and ice cream places downtown, free concerts for students, comedians, guest speakers, and a free movie in the hub every thursday-sunday night. there is a local mall just ten minutes outside campus as well as several movie theaters. there are many bars for students of age, and a new nightclub coming this spring for students age 18 and older called levels. there is a sporting event for a different team almost every night. football season tickets are a must! football season is a lot of fun. there are also several shops downtown for some light shopping.
Clubs and Activities
endless opportunities. if you can dream it, it's there. that is the only way to describe the activities available to students. with the 40,000 students on campus, there is bound to be something to do for everyone. volunteer opportunities, im and recreational sports, dance companies and clubs, and much more. there are clubs for almost every major as well as many organizations that fund-raise for thon, the university's largest philanthropy.
Greek Life
i pledged my first semester to a national service sorority, omega phi alpha at penn state. it has been the greatest decision i have made their thus far and it helped me find my place. their are so many options for students wishing to be a part of greek life at penn state: service sororities and fraternities, panhellenic council, ifc council, national panhellenic council, and even fraternities for certain ethnicity's and majors.
Campus Safety
i never feel scared or afraid, even when going back to my dorm at night. they offer bus services for free around campus and downtown. the buses run until 2 am through the week and until 4 am on weekends.
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Ashley from Silver Spring, MD

a current student here
7 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The learning environment is so amazing at Penn State. There is literally something for everyone. A class for any type of interest. The professors show you things you never even thought about or heard about. The lessons are so in depth and there are many small versions of normally huge classes you can take if you feel you learn better in a smaller teaching environment. It is weird at times because a lot of people study so much. You can't help but want to join in!
Am enjoying being here
I love being at Penn State. I actually never want to leave. The people are so nice, you feel like you are in the twilight zone. It's so easy to make friends and keep them the entire time you are there. There are many things to do if you are not lazy haha. The parties are amazing, but its better not to let your life revolve around them.
Bang for the buck
We all know that staying at PSU is actually really expensive. Not Harvard expensive, but getting there. Some people may not have the money to pay for it, but there are alot of things you can do to keep the cost down. Live in supplemental housing instead of double rooms, have a smaller meal plan, don't spend so much money on things you do not need. For example, buying clothes while at school. Most of the stores are really expensive and nine times out of ten, you will be able to find the same thing at the mall at home for wayyyyy cheaper. Also get loans, grants, and scholarships. As many as you can to lighten the load, because at the end of the day it is soooo worth it. :)
Tips for prospective students
-Make sure you really want to be at PSU, because honestly you either love it or you hate it, and many people love it and won't get in because YOU wanted to get in and then end up hating it. So visit first.
-Have a lot of extracurriculars because PSU has alot of extracurriculars. It will prepare you for the balancing act of school, sleep, social life and extras
-Be eternally thankful for the sleep you have now. Take advantage of it. Because you won't have it for long
Great for these types of students
There are some schools who have smart people. There are other schools who have party people. Penn state is not just a party school or a highly intelligent school. Penn state is a school for smart people who like to party. This is why we are not ivy league.
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Ashley from Shohola, PA

a current student here
7 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Your Gen Eds are a hit or miss but your teachers will generally know their stuff, some more than others. Overall, my classes taught me what they were supposed to and I genuinely enjoyed learning the courses I had chosen. You're the one responsible, however. If you don't attend your classes, you will suffer the direct and indirect consequences. In addition to the formal education, you have the college experience at the tips of your fingers and each day you venture downtown or anywhere for the matter, you interact with others and learn how to adapt into a young adult.
Am enjoying being here
Despite the bipolar weather, I love campus. Living in the North suites (one of the nicer dorms), I am nearby all of my classes and everything really is in within walking distance. Each season carries its own distinct pleasure whether it be enjoying the colors of spring and fall or bundling up and enjoying company during the winter. The CATA buses are very convenient when wanting to travel further than campus and even for on campus; the bus stops are right where you would want them to be. Being a Big Ten school, the football games are a must if you want to feel the best that the school has to offer with all its pride and enthusiasm.
Bang for the buck
It is expensive even while paying in-state tuition; however, there are so many resources and free activities available to anyone who seeks them out. It really is all about getting involved and taking advantage of what your money gets you at Penn State. Free movie showings are offered every weekend at the HUB, you can check out very expensive objects such as laptops or cameras for free, weekly concerts are shown for free, and much more. It's all about being out and about and enjoying the university.
Tips for prospective students
Apply early for admission and the FAFSA. Be ready to shout out PENN STATE with all your might. East is where most freshmen end up and it's the least desirable dorms even though some love the freshmen experience there. West has the best food. Walking is faster than taking the bus if you aren't lazy. Be prepared to compromise with your roommate(s).
Great for these types of students
If you want the total college experience (intense finals, crazy party scene, intense football games, crazy amounts of fun), then Penn State is for you. Even if you aren't somebody who isn't into Greek life or sports, there are so many different clubs, stores, and places that can cater to any interests. It's really what you make it.
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Jacob from Bellefonte, PA

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Your Penn State Experience hinges solely on what you make of it. The University is bursting at the seams with opportunity, you just have to be your best advocate and find them. If you do, it'll be the most rewarding experience of your life.
Tips for prospective students
Penn State is HUGE and it's very easy to feel lost in the mix. If things don't click immediately, don't get discouraged. It takes time to find the right people, but it's worth the wait.
Academic Rigor
I'm in communications so I can't speak to the harder degrees, but in my area of interest, I feel challenged and rewarded when I complete courses.
Dorm Life
I only lived in the dorms my Freshman year so I can't say much about it other than my experience in East Halls, which is currently being completely remodeled. Not a wonderful experience, but I didn't hate my time. The already renovated buildings are much nicer so my experience is already obsolete.
Food and Dining
West is by far the best dining commons, but all of them have their merits. It's ultimately your personal preference based on which places serves what!
What to do for fun
There is literally something for everyone, and if there's not, then you can make the club yourself. You'll never be bored if you find things you love to do!
Bang for the buck
As I said before, the experience is what you make if it. I've been a part of some pretty incredible things here, so I'd say it's definitely worth the cost. Other universities might be less expensive, but they don't afford you all the opportunities Penn State does. I'm not even out of school yet and the alumni network has already helped me out time and time again, which is an invaluable asset.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Penn State Football. That about sums it all up.
Great for these types of students
Any and all. I've met everyone on the spectrum and they've all got great things to say about where they fit in.
Clubs and Activities
I think there's something like a thousand clubs on campus. So I'd say it's pretty good.
Greek Life
Avoid it at all costs.
Campus Safety
Penn State takes the utmost care in keeping students safe and has a detailed system for anything that goes wrong.
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Abdul Aziz from Malaysia

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
This is a school if you want to get your quality education and at the same time, find your own passion for life.

This school is not only conducive environmentally especially for students, both locals and internationals, but also very supportive of your race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation.

One more thing, State College is very safe even in the middle of the night if you want to walk home from library, no worries, more studies!
Tips for prospective students
Be honest and stay true to yourselves.
Academic Rigor
Some classes here are tough but the lecturers are very helpful and would want to see you succeed. Fully utilize the office hours and you gonna be okay!
Dorm Life
Dormitories here are very conducive and you get what you pay. Very clean and conducive for studying and socializing.
Food and Dining
There are variety of food here you could find if you are seeking for gluten-free food, vegan diet or even halal for Muslims. Everything is catered and they are all fantastic!
What to do for fun
The HUB provides many activities you could do especially for Friday nights and weekends. You could also go to Downtown or join any club based on your interests. Believe me, when I say your interests, there are basically everything. You name it, and there are they.
Bang for the buck
Yes it is! Service here is very friendly and you get fair treatment for anything you could imagine. Facilities this school provides are at the very best condition. The gym, the bus, the classroom, the computer labs, the science labs, library.... basically everything!!!
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
To you nature lovers, Arboretum here is wonderful! Go check it out yourselves.
Great for these types of students
Internationals are welcome here!!
Clubs and Activities
You tell me what you like to do, there is a club for it. From Student Government to academic associations, from intramural sports clubs to student programming clubs, from squirrel lovers club to Quidditch club. You name it!
Greek Life
IT IS HAPPENIN'!
Campus Safety
Very, very safe. You could walk alone in the middle of the night without any harassment or anything.
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Eric from Winburne, PA

a current student here
65 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Penn State is a first class University. Professors are both well informed and intriguing. Even the biggest lecture classes can seem like an engaging one on one meeting. The class listings also are very various and allow for much customization in the college experience. Ine general professors and advisers seem to genuinely care about my progress. The only con I find is that since the school is so large many of the courses fill up quickly so stay on your toes.
Am enjoying being here
Let's just say last year I was able to see A Day to Remember, EVE 6, and Comedian Daniel Tosh all for free. The college provides for safe fun events while the town still is large enough for those who want to go out and drink or party at a club to do so without much of an effort. Come on, PSU is one of the top party schools. Don't worry a little self control will keep you from wasting your college experience on parties.
Bang for the buck
The education is top notch, the experience is even better. Still the price tag is very steep. The only thing that holds back this school from absolute greatness is the steep price tag. Not to mention with government cuts the ticket is going to continue to rise because of new construction plans. Still with the proper financial aid and scholarships PSU is still the only choice for me. LETS GO STATE!!!
Tips for prospective students
Stay organized. Learn your buildings. And try to schedule yourself so you ensure you can still have some time for fun. As long as you stay focused college isn't to bad. Make sure you discuss financial aid with your parents, your counselors, with your college advisers, and even with the office of financial aid. This is a money intense university and you will need the help.
Great for these types of students
Great for anyone really. Even a small town boy like me who hates large crowds has found his place in good ole State. Numerous clubs, activities, and top of the line classes in any field make this a college accessible by anyone. Even the small town boy can fit in because the town is small enough while still accommodating the big city party kid. You will have a few lecture classes so if you completely are against lecture halls then stay clear of PSU but once you make it through some of the base level classes the sizes shrink. I refuse to say that anyone can't find their place. Happy Valley welcomes everyone.
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Caitlyn from State College, PA

a current student here
39 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
High school classes never provided the challenge that I felt that I needed academically, but when I got to Penn State I found that. Teachers no longer treated us as children and did their best to stimulate learning and provoke genuine thoughts and discussion. I never had to work harder for grades, but on the same token, I chose really challenging course work and I also learned a lot more that way. I highly reccomend Penn State for those who want to go to college and seriously EARN their degree, learning along the way.
Am enjoying being here
I LOVE Penn State. I honestly can't imagine myself anywhere else, and I wish that college lasted for more than four years! The whole summer, I wanted nothing more than to get back to school. Classes are flexible, the friends are great, there's a club, activity, group, event or party for everything and everyone so being social and being bored are never problems you have to worry about. It really is fantastic and I couldn't imagine spending the next three years of my life anywhere else.
Bang for the buck
Yes, Penn State is very expensive. You will never find anyone who goes here denying that fact. However, with the level of Education that we receive, the facilities, the social life, the athletic department and that the reputation of our school world wide, I find it more than worth it. Not only do you receive a fantastic education with plenty of extracurriculars and opportunities for success, but you also are attending a school with the world's largest alumni association, and where the name of your school on a resume will hold a lot of weight. However, there is no denying that sometimes you have to question just WHY Penn State is so expensive. Its a double edged sword, but I find it worth it.
Tips for prospective students
Yes, Penn State is well known for its drinking and for its Greek life. But don't let that be the be-all, end-all of your college career.
DON'T immediately get lost in the partying scene of Penn State - while its okay to party and have fun, learn how to do it in moderation so that you don't end up screwing up your G.P.A. (and in turn, screwing yourself over) in your first year - you'll still be paying for it two years later and its a lot easier to do than you'd think.
DO go to the involvement fairs. In Alumni hall in the HUB running for a week straight at the beginning of the semesters there are booths and booths of clubs and activities across the Penn State community, with different groups every day. If a group even mildly interests you, put your name on the list serv. You can always take it off later if you choose.
DO get a planner or some method of keeping track of when all projects and deadlines are due. They have a nasty way of creeping up on you.
DON'T take the buses unless you have to. Long walks across campus will help you NOT gain the Freshman 15.
DON'T make a habit of always skipping class. Sure its okay to miss one here or there, but by telling yourself that its okay to constantly miss class, you'll screw yourself over in the class and develop a habit that may be harder to break in the future.
Great for these types of students
Determined, Responsible, Organized, Liberal, Involved, Outgoing, Social, Fun-loving, Intelligent, Party-goers
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Jen from Newww Yorkkk

a current student here
16 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
No matter what class you take, your bound to pick up some information. Whether it is just a general education class or a class to enter your major, you will learn something. One of the benefits of going to such a large school is the diversity in the classes you can take. I guarantee anything you are interested in, Penn State has. From ballroom dancing to hip hop classes, to learning about ice cream and trees, from science to hotels, Penn State has everything you can imagine, and you can have fun doing it.
Am enjoying being here
I can not imagine going to any other school. Penn State is huge, but at the same time can feel so small. With over 40,000 students, each day varies. One day you can run into 50 people you know and the next not even one. Another benefit to such a large school is the extra curricular activities. There is a club or organization for EVERYTHING. Even if you didn't make the PSU teams, they have IM teams, or club teams for just about any sport you can think of and for males or females. There are clubs for any subjects such as the business or math, religious clubs, clubs supporting the environment, and if there is not a club that suits you, you can even start one. Greek life is also a huge part of Penn State. If you were considering joining a sorority or fraternity, this is the place to do it. There are over 20 sororities and many more fraternities. During rush, you are bound to find a place, somewhere to fit in, which helps adjusting to college life much easier.
Bang for the buck
A downside is the cost of PSU. It is one of the most expensive state schools I have seen, especially if you are like me and pay out of state tuition. But like I said this school is amazing and I would not want to go anywhere else. The campus is beautiful, the technology and facilities are always well kept and clean. Help and tutoring is always available, and the campus is always safe. If you have a problem paying for school, there are many scholarships you can apply for.
Tips for prospective students
DO not waste your time. The worst thing you can do is not take advantage of all the opportunities schools can offer. Networking, getting involved, joining clubs, getting to know your teachers can only benefit you.
DO learn how to budget your time. You need to be able to balance school work with having fun. This is probably one of the hardest things to do when you enter college. Its not like high school, teachers will not be lenient, and if you miss an exam you will get a 0. Stay on top of your work, and study in advance for test. Exams cover so much more material than they did in high school.
DO know your limit. When you go out, know when you need to stop, and when its time to go home. Always go out with friends and stay with someone you know. There are buses that run till around 2 - 2:30 at night, and are the easiest ways to get back to dorms. You can have a good time, just be safe about it.
DO go to your teacher and ask for help if you do not understand something. Don't let yourself get behind because if you do it is so much harder to catch up. Having to drop a class because your afraid of failing sucks!
DO take online classes with your friends. Some are easy general education classes that do not require as much work/time because you do not have to go sit in a classroom. Also taking them with people you know helps, you can ask each other questions.
DO stay on top of dates. It might sound stupid, but if you forget to do something, chances are your going to have problems. Housing and classes go quick. If you do not schedule when you are suppose to the class will fill and you will miss your chance to get it. There are deadlines for everything. Planners help a lot with keeping things organized.
Great for these types of students
Anyone! There are all kinds of people from all over the country that come to PSU. It is diverse and there is a place for everyone. If you are shy, loud, outgoing, or conservative, everyone adjusts and makes friends that last forever. PSU is full of spirit and pride. We are proud of our school. WE ARE... penn state!!
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Michelle

a past student here
8 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Penn State was a large beautiful school. It offered many different fields for students to choose to major in. There were many activities to do, organizations to join, and people to meet.
Tips for prospective students
Make sure to study hard and get to know your professors well. They will help you and even offer letters of recommendation when they become more familiar with you.
Academic Rigor
very tough in certain courses, gym classes obviously act as a nice break.
Dorm Life
its there if you want it and apartment life if you would prefer that instead.
Food and Dining
lots of different dining halls, can always find what you want
What to do for fun
Tons of activities to do. No matter what you are into, they have a club for it, and if not you can easily start one up.
Bang for the buck
I think it was a little too pricey to be honest.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Not really, everyone attends the football games and it is a lot of fun to even just sit out with your friends and tailgate if you don't have tickets. Just be smart and don't cause trouble.
Great for these types of students
If you love being active, being surrounded by a lot of people, don't mind being in a larger classroom environment then this is the place for you.
Clubs and Activities
anything you like you can find there and if you don't find it for some reason you can start a club up.
Greek Life
Greek life is definitely present if you want it and can be easily found. If your not looking for it, then you wont even know its there. The campus is big enough to find what you want and avoid what you don't want.
Campus Safety
pretty safe for the most part, like anywhere else, be smart about where you walk, what time it is, and who you are with.
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Meghan from Downingtown, PA

a current student here
8 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Many of my classes are challenging, but the professors here (for the most part) are phenomenal. I've been in school since I was five, and I can honestly say in my first semester here alone, I've had probably three of my all time top teachers. They really care about their students and helping them understand the subject and not just memorize information for tests. They are understanding and just great people. It's a wonderful learning experience and makes it so much easier and enjoyable.
Am enjoying being here
I absolutley love Penn State Main Campus. The atomosphere, the people, the scenery, the buildings, the school pride, the football games...there is not a single thing I dislike. If I could stay here forever I would. Some people say you can get lost in huge schools but I disagree. The bigger the school, the more people, the more opportunities to meet new faces and have different experiences. Every day and every new activity is an exciting adventure. You never know who you'll run into or what you'll be doing next.
Bang for the buck
I'm an in-state student so I don't have to pay as much as out-of-state kids that I know, but they have said to me the same thing I feel. Penn State is worth the extra money. It's a top notch university but it's got a little bit of everything else too. Penn State is extremely well rounded and has something for everyone. If you're not into the whole football scene, the drama department is amazing, the amount of THON groups you can join is innumerable and the number other activities you can join is seriously in the 700s. Penn State is never a dull place to be and if you ever get bored, you must be trying really hard.
Tips for prospective students
Go on the website and seriously check out all the different things Penn State offers. Division sports teams, club teams, intramural sports of every kind, dance teams, theater, THON, student government, greek life, yearbook, radio, news reporting, choir...the list goes on and on. Take a tour of the campus or better yet come stay with someone who already goes here. I was torn between Maryland, Delaware and Penn State until I finally came and stayed for a weekend. By the end of the first day I knew that Penn State was the only place for me.
Also - the summer before I came I participated in the ORION wilderness orientation trip. It was an intense experience but it honestly made my transition to college so much easier. I came into my first semester with 10+ friends already. I definitely recommend it to everyone.
Great for these types of students
If you love big schools, always meeting new people, lots of walking, intense school spirit, football mania and don't mind the chilly PA winters...this school is definitely for you. If you're not sure, come visit for a weekend or even a day. I guarantee that just one day will change your mind.
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