StudentsReview :: Pennsylvania State University - Extra Detail about the Comment
Search for Schools by Region

or within distance of city

Similar Schools
Boston College -- Chestnut Hill, MA
George Washington University -- District of Columbia, DC
Harvard University -- Cambridge, MA

  Who's got the Best?

Perceptual Rankings:
You Make 'Em.
We Post 'Em.
You Vote 'Em Up.
You Vote 'Em Down.
Aww yeah.

Pennsylvania State University

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityA Faculty AccessibilityA
Useful SchoolworkA Excess CompetitionC
Academic SuccessB Creativity/ InnovationC
Individual ValueD- University Resource UseB-
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyB+ FriendlinessA-
Campus MaintenanceA Social LifeF
Surrounding CityF Extra CurricularsD-
Describes the student body as:

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Helpful

Quite Bright
Lowest Rating
Social Life
Highest Rating
He cares more about Social Life than the average student.
Date: Nov 08 2008
Major: English (This Major's Salary over time)
I spent my first two years at a Penn State satellite campus and transferred to University Park this semester. I have mixed feelings about being here.

Positives: Academically, it seems good to quite strong. The Schreyer Honors Program in particular is excellent. They set up honors classes to be more like graduate seminars. Also, because there aren't many students in the Schreyer Program (at least in English) it helps to create a fairly close-knit academic environment. The other students in Schreyer are smart. Taking classes with intellectually curious students is a real blessing. Also, professors are helpful, though demanding (at least in Schreyer).

The campus is attractive, especially the older part of campus around the Old Main building. The library is fantastic, with more resources than you'd ever be able to make use of.

You'll have no trouble finding a part-time job. Since there are so many students, employers in State College are quite flexible with scheduling, etc.

Negatives: State College is quite isolated. It's about 2 1/2 hours from Pittsburgh and about 3-3 1/2 hours from Philadelphia. Which means once you leave State College, there's nothing for miles and miles except Pennsylvania farmland, trees, and mountains. If that's your thing, though, you might not mind it so much. It depends on what you're looking for. I grew up in rural PA, and was looking for a change of scenery, and some more stimulation from my environment. I didn't really find it. The town itself is comprised largely of bars and student apartment buildings. There is an overprice mall and surrounding shopping centers about ten minutes away.

The student body (generally speaking) are not very academically focused. It's difficult to meet people interested in intellectual or artistic things. Also, it's difficult to meet interesting people in general. Students here drink. A lot. If you don't drink much, or it makes you uncomfortable to think of alcohol as a basis for one's lifestyle, you'll find it even more difficult to meet people.

Football is a big, big, deal. Everyone here is an obsessive Penn State football fan. Students sometimes riot in the streets out of sheer exuberance. If you don't care so much for that, you're probably going to feel overwhelmingly out of place (as I often have), particularly during game weekends, when it seems everyone is a blue-clad Nittany Lions fanatic.

The weather is often poor. In the fall, many, if not most, days are overcast. A cloud of gloom often hangs over "Happy Valley." It also gets numbingly cold here in the winter, and the winds tend to sweep off the surrounding mountains.

Financial aid isn't very good. I'm lucky in that my parents don't make much money, so my federal Pell grant and PHEAA state grant covered half the tuition for the semester. Despite a nearly flawless GPA, though, I only recieved a one-time gift award of $1000. Bottom line: don't expect much financial help, unless it's loans, from Penn State (at least University Park campus).

To sum up my experience: I spent a lot of time here alone, feeling alienated and frustrated. Luckily, my mind was kept fairly busy with a part-time job and schoolwork. But it has been a difficult semester. I found it difficult in the extreme to meet like-minded people. You can't come here and expect to make friends overnight, at least if you're an artistic/intellectual type like me. There just aren't many people here like that. I also live off campus, about a ten-minute walk away, and perhaps that affected my ability to meet people more than I think.

People who love football and sports in general, don't mind the ridiculous alcohol consumption of nearly everyone around them, don't feel stifled by rural PA lanscapes, aren't affected psychologically by poor weather, and aren't as academically focused may have a very different experience than I did. Just make sure you visit PSU several times if you really want to attend. Visit in the winter to make sure you can take the cold. If you can, stay for a weekend, and just walk around by yourself and talk to people rather than sticking to official university tours and activities. And really examine yourself and ask yourself if you are the type of person who will thrive in this type of environment.

If you enjoy reading literature in your spare time, listening or playing music other than top-40 stuff, having intelligent conversation, are largely uninterested in sports, spend more time on weekends sober than drunk, or are looking for the mental stimulation of a larger urban area, you'll be hopelessly and cruelly disappointed. Don't come here. In my opinion, there are better places to go to learn and better ways to spend tens of thousands of dollars.

Ask a Question or add a response!
Compare Penn State/PSUSave Penn State/PSU