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Pennsylvania State University

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I've just finished up the best school yearQuite BrightChemical Engineering
I've just finished up the best school year of my entire life. Last year, I came to Penn State thinking I would be surrounded by a cesspool of stereotypical Dumb jocks, and while that is partly true, it doesn't bother me that much anymore. This was the best year of my life

If you're an engineer, expect large gobs of work coming your way. The first sememster is manageable, but by second, you will find yourself irritated by the sheer amount of problem sets and design projects you will have to do. Make sure you schedule smaller classes with friends you've already met, or make friends with the people in your class. It will help a long way. Most people drop out of the hard sciences or engineering because of the sheer difficulty/workload involved, but if you can make it through this, you will probably find yourself with large piles of job offers in the mailbox during your senior year. Penn State has its strongest programs in Engineering, Buisness, and the pure sciences.

You may also want to incorporate the law of diminishing returns into an engineering cirriculum. If a 3.7 doesn't come to you easily and you end up with a 3.1, working twice as hard to get that 3.7 may not be worth it because of sacrifices in time, energy, social activites...You will work hard here if you choose to go into engineering, but few people are extremely competitive grade whores

Socially - if you're somewhat outgoing and sociable, you will find a good group of friends. During your first month, get to know the people on your floor and in class or else you will find yourself without a niche and have nothing to do on weekend nights later down the road. The sheer amount of people allows you to be exposed to a broad range of personalities. Finding a good group of friends, as anywhere, is almost essential to enjoying your experience at Penn State.

Parties and drinking are big. I personally like both a lot, but if you don't, expect to have more limited social options during the weekends OR be converted into a drinker by your friends (which happens a lot)

the girls here are pretty hot. Unfortunately, the average Penn State chick seems a bit more snobby than the average hometown chick. Expect a lot of eye candy...and if you're a half decent smooth talker, look foward to getting some nice random action.

Other things to expect:

-If you live in east halls freshman year, expect to walk 20 mins to your nearest class or wait 30 minutes to grab a bus

-Cold weather. Dreadfully cold weather.
-Rowdy floormates being loud until 3 am on weekdays, but this might only a freshman east halls sort of thing

-athletics. If you like sports, you'll find a lot of people who do (watching and playing)
-Video games - way bigger than people least among guys. Floormates never stopped playing Halo 2

-Oddballs - I don't know if it's just the concentration of people, or if Penn State, for whatever reason, actually attracts oddballs to the school. They came in numbers I never would have expected.

But most importantly, do what you desire the most. Do your own thing, make your own friends, work hard during the week, and have a damn good time, whatever it is that you're doing. Even if you're not fond of the forementioned things, it's damn possible to still have the time of your life. The sheer size of the school makes a lot of things possible. Don't come here with a negative attitude. Give people the benefit of the doubt when trying to get to know them. Make your experience here a memorable one.

1st Year Male -- Class 2008
Education Quality: A+, Innovation: C+
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Penn State, like any school, is what youQuite BrightGeography and Geosciences
Penn State, like any school, is what you make of it. The resources are there but YOU have to make an effort. As far as "just being a number" -- yes PSU is a large school and you are just a number at the university level; however, the great thing about PSU is that once you select a major then you are recognized as a person within your college/department. That is where you want to stand out and be known by name because these are the Profs and peers that are going to be your mentors and friends (and recommendation writers)Most Profs are willing to speak to you about your research interests and many will offer to have you work in their lab/ advise you on a independant project/ or thesis. Everything I took advantage of at PSU has helped me after graduation and I highly recommend it to anyone esp if you are looking to be in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.(in case it's relevant to someone: I was a Geography major/Geosciencs minor)
1st Year Female -- Class 2009
Faculty Accessibility: A+, Collaboration/Competitive: B+
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I believe that all reviews contain a certainQuite BrightEngineering Department
I believe that all reviews contain a certain bias. If students have positive experiences then they render favorable reviews. On the other hand, students reflect their negative experiences in their reviews. It is important to remember that the truth often lies somewhere in the middle. There is no one 'right' school for any student, and your college experience is what YOU make of it!

Having stated that I have only positive things to say about Penn State. I believe that I received an excellent education, and as a Schreyer Honors College scholar, I had many learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. I know that PSU has a party school rep, although I think that the same reputation could be hung on almost any school, with the exception of some small Christian colleges and BYU! If you want to party, then come to Penn State. However, if you want to work hard and learn in a world class educational environment, then come to Penn State! I had to maintain a higher GPA at PSU to remain in the SHC than any of my friends in their honors programs at other universities. I also had a graduation thesis requirement to satisfy. All those reviewers who comment on the poor work ethic of Penn State students might be reflecting on their own lack of effort, and perhaps that is why they were unsuccessful. Also, it amazes me that some students complain about the lack of diversity. What do they expect to find in a small college town in the middle of Pennsylvania? Seriously, if you want tons of diversity then choose a inner city college or university. Penn State attracts students from all over the world, but the majority of students come from the mid-Atlantic area, so the student body is only slightly diverse. However, there are clubs and organizations for many different groups of students. As with any school you will need to get involved, join organizations with like-minded people and you will find your peer group.

I had some really good professors and some not so good ones, but, again, I think this would be the same at any university. Penn State is a big school environment so choose to go elsewhere if you are not a self-starter, and still need some high school type hand-holding. Freshman year lecture classes seat hundreds of students, but if you sit in the front row then who cares how many others are in the same room seated behind you? I made some good friends, did some partying, went to some exciting sporting events (not just football), graduated in four years, landed a good job in my career field, and have some wonderful college memories. That's what it's all about! I would definitely choose Penn State all over again.

Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
Preparedness: B+ Reputation: A+
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