Penn State College Review

Penn State is a great school for students who want a big school feel and welcoming community.


Maggie Hardy

The administrative building at Penn State “Old Main” is an iconic symbol of the college.

Maggie Hardy, Staff Writer

Chances are, most students have probably heard of Penn State University at one point or another. Whether that was from its championship winning sports teams, excellent academics, or incredible school spirit, the name is pretty well known around the country. After visiting and touring the campus, I hope this review provides a small window into the incredible university that it is.

With an undergraduate enrollment of about 47,000 at its main campus, University Park, alone, it is massive in size. Located in northeastern Pennsylvania overlooking the incredible mountains and valleys, this campus looks like a city by itself. The drive up consisted of farms and small neighborhoods for miles, the closest major city to Penn State being Pittsburgh, which is about a three-hour drive. Although it is not located near a city, you hardly notice. With very little around, you can see the campus from miles away, and you would never guess it was just a college campus. Within the mountains there are towering dorms, state of the art academic facilities, and of course, the second-largest college football stadium in the country. Along with University Park, Penn State also has 24 branch campus around the state of Pennsylvania, including campuses in Altoona, Abington, Harrisburg, and Lehigh Valley. If you are looking for the big school feel, Penn State definitely fits in that category.

The lack of cities surrounding Penn State may deter some students, but because of its size and activity, you truly don’t need one near by.

— Maggie Hardy

Although Penn State is not located near a city, there is plenty to do on its campus. With over 1000 student led organizations, you can find a club for any of your interests. If there isn’t one you like, Penn State even encourages its students to start their own clubs! Whether you are looking for intramural sports, theater clubs, philanthropy groups, etc., Penn State has it all. One of the largest and well-known organizations and events at Penn State is THON, a 46-hour dance marathon for pediatric cancer. The event raised over $13 million in 2022. Besides clubs, Penn State hosts many other events like concerts, plays, or shows, so there is always something to attend. Downtown State College (the small town center on the edge of campus) also has plenty to do. With an assortment of restaurants, shops, hotels, etc., the campus is filled with activities, leaving very little need to travel off campus. The lack of cities surrounding Penn State may deter some students, but because of its size and activity, you truly don’t need one near by.

Sports are huge at Penn State and are a central part of college life in the fall. Beaver Stadium is the second largest college stadium in the U.S. (Maggie Hardy)

Penn States academics are among some of the best in the country. It recently ranked #63 in Best Colleges, and #23 in best Public Universities, offering top engineering, education, and business schools. Their honors college is considered one of the best, and overall Penn State offers high quality education for every student attending. Freshman that attend do typically tend to have a few lecture hall classes with up to 200 students, but often those classes are offered a second time throughout the week in smaller groups of 20 to 30. The large classes are also typically the classes that all freshman are required to take regardless of major, so as students move through their major, class sizes will go down and their education will become more personalized. All professors also have office hours that every student is encouraged to participate in. These sessions allow students to get to know their professors better, and ask questions one on one. Penn States alumni network is ranked #1 in Public Schools in the country, so finding a job after college is almost a guarantee. During my tour, my tour guide said she did not know a single person graduating without a job, so its expansive network helps set students up for success.

Penn State is a great university with something to offer every student’s unique needs. Quality education, dedicated school spirit, and endless activities and events-this university has a little of everything. It is perfect for an outgoing, sociable student looking for that big school feel. One of the top public universities in the country, Penn State would be a great choice for any student.