A Student Review of Pennsylvania State University

Rebecca earned her bachelor’s degree in advertising from Pennsylvania State University. She specializes in Spanish tutoring, AP European history tutoring, and a number of other subjects. Below, she shares her experience at Pennsylvania State University:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options. 

Rebecca: Penn State is located in State College, PA. It’s a rural setting, but it almost feels like a small city. The campus is very large, but seamlessly blends into the downtown. The two seem very integrated. I felt extremely safe at all hours of the day and night. The public bus transportation is great for the most part. A car may be needed for grocery shopping off campus, but it’s not necessary because the bus line does run there. A bike can be useful, too, if you live far off campus and need to get to class quickly.

How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Rebecca: I found the staff was very welcoming, helpful, and available as long as you were willing to put the time and effort into classes and your academic schedule. I met with countless professors to go over materials for class, worked with TA’s to understand topics in larger classrooms, and worked with my academic adviser every semester to set myself up for success throughout my college career.

How would you describe the dorm life—rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Rebecca: The dorms were typical of any campus: clean and average sized. I was in an all-freshman dorm, but some of my friends were in mixed grade level dorms. The dining options are excellent and have all types of cuisines, as well as the choice to dine in a hall or to take it with you. I was able to make a large assortment of friends on my dorm floor and building as a whole. We remained close throughout my college career.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? 

Rebecca: Since the school is so massive, there are a large number of programs and schools of study to choose from. Penn State has an excellent law program, communication school, engineering program, and a well-known business school. I studied advertising in the College of Communications because I wanted to work as a creative or account executive at an agency. There were a lot of career and internship, as well as networking, opportunities within my college.

How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Rebecca: The majority of my friends as a freshman were from my dorm, classes, or clubs I joined. As a second-semester freshman, I joined a sorority and met more individuals through that. Greek life is significant at Penn State, but one can choose not to be in Greek life and still have a thriving social life through different organizations or groups of friends.

How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? 

Rebecca: The Career Center was very helpful. They had resume workshops, a database full of job listings, and rooms available for interviews by phone or Skype. Many reputable companies recruited at our many job fairs throughout the year.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?

Rebecca: Since Penn State has such a large campus, it’s easy to find a study space that works for you. We have various libraries, as well as lounges or quiet corners around campus to study by yourself or meet with a group regarding a project.

Describe the surrounding town.

Rebecca: Despite the fact that Penn State is located in rural PA, the town of State College is thriving. Downtown, there are a large number of restaurants and cafes that cater to both students and locals. The downtown is also home to boutiques, shops, larger chain stores, and a local theater. One can always find something to do downtown. If one is looking for more things to do off-campus, there are more restaurants, shops, chain stores, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and large grocery stores. The campus and downtown are very close to each other, so students can easily access downtown amenities or go off-campus by a bus or walking.

How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Rebecca: The student body is quite big. The undergrad population is near 40,000. I loved having a large student body. There was so much to get involved in; you could always meet new people and everyone had so much school pride.

Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Rebecca: I took a sociology course that I heard was popular my senior year. The professor was kind of crazy, but made the experience extremely memorable. He was very hands-on and made the entire class of 700 people take part in hands-on activities. He also brought up and discussed many topics that are considered taboo or politically incorrect in today’s society. Whether or not you agree with what he said, I guarantee that you will leave class mind-blown.



Check out Rebecca’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.