CM’s Guide to Penn State University

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Overall Experience

“One thing that has really surprised me is that even though it’s a huge school with 40,000 students, it seems like everyone knows everyone. I can’t even express how many times I’ve found out one of my good friends knows another one of my friends through classes or clubs. To sum up Penn State in a sentence, it’s the perfect school for those who want a true perfect college experience while still earning a good degree.” – Brennan Bench, Chemical Engineering, Class of 2017

“What I don’t like though is the stigma I get for going to Penn State. It’s not as bad now but I started classes here in the wake of the Sandusky trial and I felt like I couldn’t leave Centre County without worrying about how people were going to talk to me or treat me. I still get that sometimes but luckily most of the time it’s about how much we drink rather than something horrible that happened here that I had no control over.”- Madison Lippincott, English major, Class of 2017

“One thing that surprised me about Penn State was just how crazy everyone is about this place, from football weekends consisting of generations of Penn Staters all together rooting on our team, to just seeing families walk downtown dressed in Penn State gear. It made this place feel like a real community.” – Peter Mina, Energy Business and Finance major, Class of 2017

“Living in State College, you can get the facilities of a city while enjoying the pleasant and intimate social atmosphere of a town. I am surprised how friendly and approachable people are here when I first moved in. In my life, I lived both in cities and towns. State College is a fine line between both.” – Wilson Ishak, Materials Science and Engineering, Class of 2016

“I felt like because I grew up as a townie I would think Penn State was somewhat boring because I’ve been here my whole life, but it ended up being such a great experience. I love State College and what this small but beautiful place has to offer, with Penn State in my back yard it was great recognizing the beauty of the school and fulfilling assumptions I didn’t have before I came to school here.” – Ashley Felice, Public Relations, Class of 2015

Student Scale

Academics: A-

Classes: B-

Professors: B+

Social Life: A+

Greek life: B

Extracurricular Activities: A

The Vibe: Colorful Big School

If you have Sperry’s and a Ralph Lauren Polo, you can slide through any big frat doors. If you’re more of a Sporty Spice, then this B1G Ten School is perfect for you, too. Anyone can fit in anywhere.

What it feels like to go here

They don’t call it Happy Valley for nothin’. Anyone can find their place at Penn State–no matter if they’re a huge jock, a tiny girl that carries Long Champ bags or the kid that smokes pot out of his dorm window. Everyone is all wrapped up in the Penn State world. The outdoors club travels to Mount Nittany while the Snowboard club goes to Tussey Mountain every weekend in the winter. The Arboretum is great in the spring and summer months with the Berkey Creamery serving its famous ice cream and decadent chocolate milk only steps away. Athletes don their blue Nike tracksuits and scooters with pride. Greek letters are common in all classes as well as Mac computers, Hershel backpacks, Starbucks cups and the familiar North Face Parka–necessary for the freezing winters at PSU. Penn State’s college experience isn’t just about college–it’s about the full Penn State lifestyle.

Never have I Ever…

How much are students partying?

If you want a unit of measurement as to how much students are partying, the answer would have to be around 3-4 days a week–and every day if it’s “Sylly Week.” Penn State is known as a pretty big party school especially with all the Greek life, big name concerts and unlimited bars downtown. I’m Schmacked has made a few appearances as well, throwing raunchy, bad-decision-fueled parties, creating an even wilder party scene.

What will you get in trouble for at your school?

Where do I begin? University Police have such a small area to patrol, so you get in trouble for anything and everything. Freshmen often become targets because they have such a far walk from the dorms to the nightlife downtown. And in that far walk, a lot can go wrong. It’s not unusual for freshman to be caught with underage charges and if they’re really stupid, maybe a few public urination violations as well. Not into partying? Well, if you’re driving, no car is safe either. Traffic tickets are handed out like candy on Halloween night.

How much sex are students having?

If you’re a pretty girl or a hot guy, you have a 100 percent chance of having sex anytime you please. Even if you’re not that attractive, Tinder is popular enough on campus to help students met, greet and get between the sheets. Bottom line is, Penn State has 95,973 students, so if you want to have sex, there are plenty of students lining up to join you. If not, you can find plenty of abstinent students amongst those numbers as well.

Top 5 Quirks

  1. 107,000 strong–We are!
  2. 70 percent of the town’s residents are college students
  3. The Creamery (Death by Chocolate is heaven in a cone)
  4. Larping on Old Main lawn
  5. The Willard Preacher (We can’t ALL go to Hell)

Top 3 Majors

  1. Business
  2. Engineering
  3. Communications

Bragging Rights

  1. Nation’s largest network of Alumni
  2. Happy Valley is ranked best town in PA and fourteenth in the nation
  3. Ranked number one in the country for best online bachelor’s programs
  4. Alumni include Keegan-Michael Key, Ty Burrell and Guion Bluford, the first African American to travel in space.
  5. THON–The largest student run philanthropy in the world

Getting In

Penn State used to be a school that was very difficult to get into, but lately has shown some mercy for students that don’t have the highest SAT/ACT scores by implementing the Summer Session program. Those who don’t get accepted right away can go to Penn State’s Summer Session and take two classes before the school year begins. Right now the acceptance rate is 53 percent, which is pretty average nationwide. Penn State is also considerate when it comes to accepting relatives of alumni, not to mention the vast variety of branch campuses Penn State has to offer. The probability of getting into one of the 24 campuses across PA is very high.

Megan is a junior at Penn State University majoring in public relations with two minors in psychology and digital media metrics. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, her chihuahua Punky, and snowboarding in the winter.

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