Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University - Comments and Student Experiences|
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 think...at 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.
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.