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Penn State Among the Most (or Least) Stressful Schools in the Country

Depending on how you look at it, Penn State is either one of the most stressful schools in the country, or provides students with more value for less stress.

This debate stems from The Daily Beast’s list of America’s most stressful colleges, where Dear Old State was ranked the 47th most stressful school.

Now, as I was initially wondering, how is it that Penn State, a school located in a place called Happy Valley, would be in the top 50 for stressful schools? As it turns out, we are actually among the least stressful schools of the same caliber, as these rankings only included the top 50 universities as ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

The five factors that determined these rankings were cost, competitiveness (how “academically rigorous” the school is), acceptance rate, engineering, and crime on campus. Each factor was weighted, with cost and competitiveness each accounting for 35% and the rest each accounting for 10%.

Penn State finished in the bottom ten in the acceptance rate (44), competitiveness (47), and crime (42) ranks, and was just outside of it for the tuition rank (39) with a total cost of $24,304 per year (yes, out-of-staters, I hear your screams right now). Engineering was ranked 21st.

A few other quick facts:

  • Topping the list was Columbia University followed by Stanford, Harvard, Pennsylvania, and Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Other Big Ten schools listed: Northwestern (9), Michigan (33), Illinois (44), and Wisconsin (49).
  • Other PA schools listed: Pennsylvania (4), Carnegie Mellon (19), and Lehigh (34).


What do you think? Does Penn State’s ranking on this list surprise you, and in what way? Are engineering majors really that much more stressed out? Comment below!

About the Author

John Tecce

John is a senior in the Smeal College of Business majoring in Marketing. He currently serves as the President of the Paternoville Coordination Committee and as a THON Chair for Nittany Nation. He tweets a lot.


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