Philadelphia, PA
University of Pennsylvania


158 Ratings

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Recent Reviews

Michael
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Penn is a diverse place in a great location. In a major city that serves as a cultural center, and situated directly in a dis...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Penn is a diverse place in a great location. In a major city that serves as a cultural center, and situated directly in a distressed part of that city. The opportunities for exploration, learning, and helping a community are unparalleled at any university. The resources available to students are phenomenal, however in some of the schools grading can be a bit tough. The administration is competent and responsive - Amy Gutmann, one of academia's pre-eminent political scientists, is a perfect president to further the vision of Benjamin Franklin. The university has taken difficult positions on issues like music piracy, and also promotes free speech like few other institutions (and not just free speech for those who agree with the administration or majority of students!)

Describe the students at your school.

Very diverse, but self-segregating. It sort of defeats the purpose of diversity when you see people in large groups of people who are all the same. In addition, there are many classes and departments that focus on regions of the world and cultures, but the vast majority of people who take those classes are a part of those cultures and backgrounds. It is an overwhelmingly liberal campus, but political dialogue is very civil and is encouraged by professors and the administration. I have never felt uncomfortable as a Republican at Penn, and it was a privilege to coordinate and participate in debates and seminars with my Democratic colleagues.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Some of the above do apply to substantial portions of the student body, but not to the University as a whole

What are the academics like at your school?

Academic resources, class options, quality of professors, opportunities after graduation are all beyond compare outside of the Golden Trinity of Harvard/Princeton/Yale. Competition is fierce, particularly in the Wharton School, which has a strict curve and students are licking their chops over 100-hour-per week banking jobs. Professors are, for the most part, quite accessible and approachable. There is a good balance between theory and practice, to both refine the learning process or scientific method, as well as to succeed in graduate school or a career. One of the coolest classes I took was called Consulting to Growth Companies. I served on a consulting team to work with a small, but growing, company screened by the Wharton School, and assess their needs and draft a report instructing the company on how to meet their goals and grow their business.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Penn is a wonderful place to do whatever it is you want to do. Cultural organizations, political groups, religious gatherings, varsity and intramural sports, volunteering and citizenship, parties, etc etc. In addition, the campus is just minutes from central Philadelphia, which boasts great restaurants, museums, theater, and professional sports. Greek life is fairly common, but not required for social status. Dorms have a collegial atmosphere, and Locust Walk is an intriguing marketplace of activities and ideas.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Rich, liberal, jappy, Uggs, liberal, parties, less-than-deserving-of-ivy-league-status-students, liberal, associated with Penn State, and i'm not sure if i said liberal

Harper
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Penn doesn't have much of a "campus" but it is a great college experience. Although University City revolves around Penn, the...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Penn doesn't have much of a "campus" but it is a great college experience. Although University City revolves around Penn, the amount of activities around Philadelphia is amazing.

Describe the students at your school.

The student body is very diverse

What are the academics like at your school?

Academics are rigorous but as long as you do your work, it is not too hard.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Penn has a great mixture of frat life and bar scene. Plus there are an unlimited amount of things to do in the city.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Wealthy Jewish kids, love to spend money at clubs, smart but love to party

Scott
What is your overall opinion of this school?

penn's size is perfect. as freshman, living in either the quad or in hill, you meet so many friends, but there's always more ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

penn's size is perfect. as freshman, living in either the quad or in hill, you meet so many friends, but there's always more people to meet. also, location-wise, penn is the perfect combination. its a city school, but when actually in the campus itself and walking down locust walk, you would have no idea you were in the middle of philadelphia. locust walk is amazing in that every day there are always people trying to hand you flyers and advertising events. it's the heartbeat of the campus.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

there are more than enough activities for everyone, and there is never a thursday, friday, or saturday night where nothing is going on. the fraternities are always having parties, and there are local clubs where everyone can go as well. sports at penn are always awesome to go to as well. watching basketball games in the palestra is one of the most memorable moments, with the place packed to the brim. so much energy is flowing in there. franklin field is also amazing. being down on the sprint turf playing or practicing is truly unique, especially with the lights on at night and fans cheering you on.

Jesse
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Penn is a master of advertisement. It makes itself seem like some resource rich in a phenomenal city with a burgeoning social...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Penn is a master of advertisement. It makes itself seem like some resource rich in a phenomenal city with a burgeoning social scene. Lies. Most of the resources are worthless and fraught with incompetence, Philadelphia is a violent and dirty hole in the ground and the social scene at Penn is, for the most part, about as grand as a box turtle since most people are so dull.

Describe the students at your school.

I came to Penn excited about the life that I would have as a gay student here. I had heard much about the gay scene and looked forward to being a part of it. I arrived and we slapped in the face by the fact that I'm black. The fact of the matter is that if you are not white, the great gay scene will not be open to you. Unless you're so attractive that others are willing to overlook your minority status, your time at Penn as a gay person of color will be characterized by frustration, loneliness and feelings of misprision toward white gay men inspired by your own indignity.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

I applied to Penn early decision. If I could do it all over again, I would apply to some other schools too and not do early decision. Now I'm here wondering if I could have gone somewhere else where I would be happier. The "what if" syndrome is a terrible ailment.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Most people are not snobs, the rest stands true for most students.

What are the academics like at your school?

Professors will give you the time of day if you make them, but you'll have to make yourself known to them. Students compete and hearing them complain about "failing" because they have a B- in a class where you have an F is becomes old very quickly. The Writing Seminars are a prodigious waste of time, and energy.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Don't live in the Quad, because Spring Fling takes place there and it's simply a bunch of drunken idiots running about. I am not looking forward to it. My closest friends and I bonded over our hatred of the social scene here at Penn and shared struggles. If you do not drink, I suggest you start or find a collection of very good books to occupy your free time. I came here under the pretense that my refusal to drink would not hinder my social life...and was quickly disappointed.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

We're supposed to be snobby, affluent, liquor-guzzling and vapid.

Carson
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Beautiful, cohesive campus in the middle of big city. People worry that the amount of people at Penn inherently means that t...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Beautiful, cohesive campus in the middle of big city. People worry that the amount of people at Penn inherently means that the student body is fragmented, but in reality the number of people does not detract from the campus' unity. Locust walk is where most students spend their time: either walking between classes, sitting at a table or on the green eating lunch, or flyering for their club. The college town is amazing. Each day you have the choice of enjoying activities on-campus at university city or off-campus in the city of Philadelphia. Everyone loves Penn's administration, ask anyone on Locust how they feel about Amy Guttman and you'll understand. She hosts an unforgettable halloween party every year. The biggest recent controversy was last year when a person dressed as a suicide bomber for halloween party wanted to take a picture with his "gun" at Guttman's head. There is a lot of school pride! Everyone camps out for season tickets to the basketball games and makes toast to throw on the field at football games. I will always remember when I was at Penn for accepted student days, one of the guys flyering for a party invited my mom. If that isn't exemplary of the student body, I don't know what is. We love to have fun.

Describe the students at your school.

Everyone is really accepting. There is no other way to put it. There was a drag show for the LGBT the other night and it was a packed event. If you don't work hard and play hard, this isn't the place for you. People wear anything from pajamas and sweatpants to the latest fashion, but never heels (they get stuck in the cracks between the cobblestones on Locust walk!).

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

to an extent; students will spend the whole day in the library so they can spend the whole night out. we like to have our cake and eat it too.

What are the academics like at your school?

Absolutely! Every professor hold office hours for you to get clarification on homework or for you just to pop in just to talk. It's the Ivy League; if you don't think you're going to study, you're mistaken. Some days it's hard to find a spot in the library. The most spirited discussions about politics, philosophy, and other topics happen outside the classroom. Students are not competitive at all. There is this universal feeling of "cooperate and graduate" that pervades the campus. Someone is always willing to help you with your homework or send you notes that you missed when you were sick.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

The most popular groups are performing arts groups, whether it's dance, theater, slam poetry, or a cappella.

Eric
What is your overall opinion of this school?

I guess this my time to rant on UPenn. From how the university deals with clubs and fraternities, to how they accomodate liv...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

I guess this my time to rant on UPenn. From how the university deals with clubs and fraternities, to how they accomodate living situations and campus dining, I constantly feel like I am being robbed and slapped in the face by an administration that does not care about its undergraduate students. The school considers its students a nuisance, that about somes it up. The quality of student here is outstanding, personalities and ambitions in all, but in my mind the students are the only thing that holds up the shoddy infrasture and administration of the school.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

Work hard, play hard. Jewish. New York lifestyle (for better or worse, but overall for worse). Pre-professional. Greek scene is the social scene. The people who "go out" are in the Greek Scene. Very preppy. Not many tan/blond girls. Food is absolutely terrible: both the university dining plan and nearby eateries. Philly has great restaurants, but they are pricey. Terrible living conditions. Mice is every dorm room. Small living quarters. Freshmen are in for a rude awakening when they realize that the university makes very little effort to improve basic standards of living such as food and shelter. Wharton curve makes classes too competitive and makes for a rather hostile classroom environment in business classes. Low school spirit for sports team, all the sports fans at UPenn root for other colleges, but I guess that's typical for an Ivy League school.

What are the academics like at your school?

At Wharton, the greatest business school in the world, do not expect to be in an intimate classroom setting until your late junior or senior year. While the courses are demanding, there is very little hand-holding through the infamous Wharton core - the ten basic business classes that are completed during the sophomore and junior year. Be prepared to go through a brutal running of the bulls type classroom atmosphere where you cram for tests and feel very little personal satisfaction.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

If your social, there are only two excuses not to be in a fraternity: 1)If your on a sports team and 2) If you are international and find your group among other international students. I have seen too many great, active, and fun kids fade into loneliness and oblivion because they are the few who are not in a fraternity. The truth is that at an Ivy League school, there is naturally a smaller proportion of the student body that does go out. Combine that with the fact that Penn has a very high rate of students in the Greek scene, and its easy to see why the people who go out and in fraternities or sororities.

Samantha
What is your overall opinion of this school?

It's a city school but it still has a beautiful campus. I wouldn't change anything. At times, Penn can feel too large, howeve...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

It's a city school but it still has a beautiful campus. I wouldn't change anything. At times, Penn can feel too large, however, once you settle down with your group of friends, it doesn't feel large anymore. It becomes pretty intimate pretty quickly once you find your crowd. When I tell people I go to UPenn, they say "Main Campus?" to which I respond, "Penn, not Penn State". As a freshman, I spend most of my time in the Quad. We live in the city, there's no such thing as a college town here. UPenn's administration is fine. The biggest recent controversy was when Stetson, the Dean of Admissions, just up and left and we still don't know why. There's a decent amount of school pride, especially during sports games (against Princeton). The most unusual thing about UPenn is that the social circles tend to feel very small and everyone knows everyone and everyone talks about everyone. People are very gossipy. I'll always (kind of) remember my first Spring Fling. Unforgettable.

Describe the students at your school.

All of those groups are very active on campus and are effective in having their voices heard. No one would feel out of place at UPenn; there are all types of people here. A lot of students get dressed up for class, and a lot of students come to class in pajamas. You can wear what you want. Different types of students do interact (through classes, random social connections etc), however, there can be some tension between guys in different frats. Asian kids, Indian kids, jocks/frat guys/sorority girls, artsy kids. I feel a lot of Upenn students are either international or they come from the East Coast and California and not much in between. Wealthy financial backgrounds are most prevalent. Students are very politically aware and active. Many tend to be left, I know a few who are strong right, but many are liberal. Students don't really talk about how much they'll earn one day. I feel like that's a weird topic of conversation, anyway.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

Penn is a different world. Depending on which social circle you're in, it can be pretty intense. However, if you're up for it, it's amazing. And if you're a low key person, you can function just fine...there are tons of low key people here. It's what you make of it and if you asked three people about their lives and experiences here, I guarantee you'll get three unbelievably different responses.

What are the academics like at your school?

My professors know my name in seminar classes, obviously not large lectures. My favorite class was an Anthropology class called "Death". Needless to say, the subject matter was interesting and the professor was also very informative and interactive. Students study as much as they need to. I have friends who go out every night and have a 3.8 GPA, but I also have friends who study very hard to get a decent GPA...it depends. Class participation is quite common, however, most of the time, if you listen carefully, the person speaking doesn't actually know what they're talking about. People talk just to talk. Again, it depends on the student. I have friends with whom I can have intellectual conversations, but I also have friends who can't hold a conversation. Students can be quite competitive. Most unique class taken: see above. I am currently undeclared and it's wonderful. I do not spend time with professors outside of class, however, I am only a freshman. I feel that the academic requirements here are legitimate. They encompass a wide area of studies and give you the chance to expose yourself to different things. It's all what you make of it. People in Wharton, Nursing, or Engineering tend to be geared towards getting a job, while people in the School of Arts and Sciences are geared towards learning for it's own sake and seeing what job opportunities might come out of that.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Greek life is pretty popular, however, if you're unaffiliated, it doesn't make much of a difference. I'm a member of Sigma Delta Tau, a sorority on campus. Students sometimes leave their doors open. Athletic events are moderately popular. Guys tend to be hardcore about the basketball games (I only went to Penn-Princeton) and when it's nice out, people go to the football games. Performing Arts is huge here. There are a million Performing Arts groups on campus and it's so easy to get involved with them. The shows are great! The dating scene is weird. If you hook up with someone when you're drunk, don't expect to see that person again unless you knew them before. Don't expect a relationship to blossom out of a random hookup. People hook up when they're drunk. That's really it. Relationships seem to be a rarity freshman (and maybe even sophomore) year. I met my closest friends through this kid I knew the first week of school. I'm not friends with him anymore...awkward. I probably wouldn't be awake at 2am on a Tuesday unless I were doing work in Van Pelt. We throw toast at every football game, Spring Fling happens every year...I think that's it. You party as much as you want to. I could easily find a party (house, bar, etc) every night if I wanted to (some of my guy friends do). I only go out 3 nights a week on average. Frats and sororities are great but definitely not a mandatory part of the social scene here at Penn. Last weekend, I went downtown to a bar for a friend's birthday and then came back to a frat on campus on Thursday. Friday, I had a mixer for my sorority, and Saturday, I frat hopped. You can do plenty on a Saturday night that doesn't involve drinking. You can go anywhere and not drink and still have a good time. I go to a lot of parties at clubs downtown. That is a very popular thing to do and it is a welcome change from the frat party scene on campus.

Alex
What is your overall opinion of this school?

The best thing about Penn is the opportunity to do just about everything. My activities range from costume designing for musi...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

The best thing about Penn is the opportunity to do just about everything. My activities range from costume designing for musicals to singing light opera to the sport of curling to being a big sister for a student in West Philly. Being in the city provides a great outlet for many of the classes and extra curriculars - there are classes about the art, music, and architecture just to start. But there is enough going on on campus that you needn't go into center Philly if you don't want to. Penn is an Ivy, and a good one at that, so the work load is consistantly heavy. But, as evidenced from how involved everyone is, work rarely gets too overwhelming. And activity groups know that school wrok comes first, exxpecially during Mid-terms and Finals. One of the things I love most about Penn is the sense of community. The dorms have a lot of programming to get the Halls together and involved. Also, each activity gets you involved in a community. It's really easy to make really strong friendships this way.

Describe the students at your school.

The student body at Penn is diverse but excepting. On the whole the students are liberal, both in politics and acceptance of other students on campus. I think every and any person can find a place to fit in at Penn. Although some of the richest students stand out, there are litterally people from every class, every state, and most countries.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Penn does have more Jewish students than some of the other Ivys, but it's not Brandeis. Penn is very diverse and this includes religion as well as ethnicity. The Asian steretype comes from students that are not used to being surrounded by a diverse student body but it is no way a bad thing or an overwhelming amount. All the schools within the University are at Ivy level, and although they are all different, every student at Penn works hard. The only stereotype I'd say has some truth is about Wharton. It is the hardest school to get into at Penn, and lots of the students have a lot of money there. As to the partying, it is common but not a necessity. I wouldn't say it is more than other colleges. The frat scene is very accessible but not overwhelming. If you are looking to drink you'll have no trouble but if the opposite is true, you'll also have a great time.

What are the academics like at your school?

As with any middle to large University, there are some large lecture classes. Introduction classes in Economics, Psychology, and Calculus can get up to 200 students. But all lectures ahve small recitation where once a week you meet in a group of about 15 to discuss the lecture and ask questions. All the professors and recitation leaders are available through office hours and before and after class to help you - they want to you to succeed. Most of the grades in most of the classes are normalized, but there is some competition to be above the average. Grades are most competitive in Wharton (the business school). Penn does have quite a few requirements, but most of them you can fill with classes you'd take anyway. They are distribution requirements, meaning a subject you can satisfy with one of twenty or so classes. The professors I've had have been very good and knowledgeable in their topics. Although they are some of the best in their fields, they have been willing to discuss with me after class or schedule a meeting with me. The only time I've had trouble with a teacher is in recitation, where many of the grad student teachers speak limited english.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

There is so much to do at Penn! You'll find yourself having to skip one event for another and wish there were more hours in a day! If Greek life is your scene, there is a frat for every type of person. There is a great cafe featuring local and popular music as well as occasional political speakers, and if you venture into the Center City you can find anything. In my dorm, everyone props their doors open when they want company or goes out into the study lounge to have big group study sessions. The dorm staff sponsors cookie nights and tv dinner parties to get the dormmates together. Buildings on campus with regular events include the Women's Center, the Writer's House, the LGBT center, the student union, and each college house individually. Also, many sports and clubs have social gatherings to foster a sense of community.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Upenn is stereotypically Jewish and Asian. The girls are Harvard-Westlake girls (rich Cali girls) in Uggs, Burberry, and Seven Jeans. The business school is stereotyped to have a lot of Indians and the engineering school to have a lot of East Asians. And within the University different schools stereotype each other. Wharton is rich and stuck-up, Engineering is nerdy an overworked, nursing is all girls and disconnected from all others, and the College of Arts and Sciences is lovingly referred to as the College of Arts and Crafts. Also, Upenn is considered the "Party Ivy" in that we are supposed to party harder and/or more often than other Ivy League Schools.

Brett
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Best thing about Penn: location. One thing I'd change: the admission rate. Size: just right. How people react: they immediate...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Best thing about Penn: location. One thing I'd change: the admission rate. Size: just right. How people react: they immediately become more interested in what I'm saying because they assume I'm a genius. Where I spend most of my time: at the boathouse. College town mos def. School pride: I think so. Most frequent student complaints: dining.

Describe the students at your school.

Students that would feel out of place: Palestinians. Different type of students interations: never happens. Four tables in the dining hall: table of jocks, table of giggling girls, table of people from Stouffer, table of the awkward girl who always eats by herself. Where most students are from: PA, NY, NJ. Financial backgrounds: rich. Politics: mostly center or right. most students are apathetic. Do students talk about earning potential: yes.

What are the academics like at your school?

Professors don't know my name. Favorite class: ASL. Least: Writing seminar. Student study time: I'd say fairly morderate. Class participation: higher than I'd thought, less substantial than I'd thought. Intellectual conversations: no. Students' competitiveness: not irrationally so. My major: ditzy girls.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Dorms open: no. Athletic events: football's pretty popular. Guest speakers get good audiences. Theatre... not if they're from the Theatre dept. Closest friends: they live in my residence hall. Awake at 2am: I'm not. I have to go to practice. Fraternities/Sororities: you'll know at least 6 people who are pledging, probably more, and from different groups that you know. Last weekend: went to Center city for a movie. Saturday nights: go to a comedy event, check out Center city, do work.

Royce
What is your overall opinion of this school?

The reputation and academics are the best. I'd change the diversity. Too small. They don't know it's Ivy League. Studying in ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

The reputation and academics are the best. I'd change the diversity. Too small. They don't know it's Ivy League. Studying in a study room. Not a college town. Admistration tries to be helpful. Controversy regarding Islamo Facism Week. Not much school pride. Not really. My friends. Too hard/too much work.

Describe the students at your school.

I love diversity and try to get as much as possible but often, people stay within their cultural groups. A lot of left people. money orientated

What are the academics like at your school?

Some, but not really. Favorite class is cross cultural awareness and least favorite is accounting. Study a lot. Yes common. I like wharton. too hard, tho

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Frats/sorororitie and performance groups. I study a lot on some weekends and then go out every ngiht on other weekends

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Rich, snobby, smart, Jewish, superficial, pre professional

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