Why You Should Choose Penn State: Advice For Future College Freshmen
It’s April, which means it’s crunch time for high school seniors — college decision deadlines are approaching and prospective student tours are taking over campus. Choosing a school was one of the most stressful decisions for me. When you’re spending thousands of dollars to go to a school, you want to make sure it’s the right one.
As a senior a few short weeks away from graduation, I can look back on the past four years and say with certainty that the decision to come to Penn State was the best choice I ever made. If you’re a high school senior considering Penn State, hopefully I can put your mind at ease and maybe even convince you to become a Nittany Lion.
There Are Always New People To Meet
A major benefit of going to a big school is that there are endless opportunities to meet new people. There is bound to be someone who shares the same interests as you in the sea of 40,000 students who go to University Park. If you’re worried about seeing people from your high school on campus, let go of it. The campus is so large that you rarely run into people you don’t want to see.
Don’t get too worried about being paired up with a random roommate freshman year. If you’re lucky, your freshman year roommate could become one of your best friends. If you end up not getting along with your freshman year roommate, everything will be fine. You only have to live with them for one year and you’ll have plenty of other friends to hang out with (because, once again, there are always new people to meet). Besides, having a story about your crazy freshman year roommate is basically a college rite of passage.
State College Starts To Feel Like Home Very Quickly
Even though Penn State is a big school, most people seem to settle into their niche pretty quickly. With an involvement fair the first week of every semester, it’s very easy to jump right in and get involved. There are countless little communities to join based on what organizations you become a part of or what activities you choose to do. Your circle of friends helps to make a big school seem smaller and the people you see every day honestly start to seem like a second family. Even though it’s nice to have a break from school work over the summer, most students are extremely eager to get back to Penn State and begin sophomore year.
You Can Literally Do Whatever You Want
There’s a ridiculous amount of clubs and organizations you can join at Penn State. There honestly seems to be a club for every obscure interest out there, but just in case there isn’t, it’s also super easy to start your own club. I remember walking through the involvement fair during freshman year and being overwhelmed by the possibilities. I ambitiously wrote my email address on several sign-up sheets and eventually had to narrow it down. Of course, a certain Penn State blog is always willing to dish out some advice.
There Is Always Something To Do
You will very rarely be bored. At the end of your four years at Penn State, you’ll realize that the time went by so fast because there is no shortage of fun in State College. From football games to THON to State Patty’s to Blue-White Weekend, there’s always something to look forward to. Since State College is obviously a college town, most businesses downtown are focused on catering to students.
You do not need to struggle by yourself if a concept or class is tripping you up. There’s a bunch of ways you can help yourself out before classes even start, like scheduling classes for times when you will actually go and looking up your professors before you sign up. If you struggle academically, Penn State offers so many resources to help you out. You can get help on your math homework and writing your English essays from tutors on campus. If you really need it, there are mutliple businesses downtown that specialize in making study guides and holding review sessions for classes that are notoriously difficult. However, Penn State offers so many free services that you shouldn’t need to spend money on additional outside help.
All The Amenities
Like most schools, Penn State has everything you need to stave off adulthood for a while. You can purchase a meal plan, live on campus, and do your laundry in your dorm freshman year. After that, you can either choose to enter the housing lottery to live on campus again or you can move to a downtown apartment. Likewise, many apartments downtown are furnished and have laundry rooms. Access to the gyms on campus is included in your student fees, and Penn State has fitness centers all over campus. No matter what dorm you live in, there will be a gym nearby.
If you’re a student who needs to work part-time to help finance your education, you’ll fit in at Penn State. I had an internship at Penn State as a student and a majority of my friends had jobs as well. There are countless employment opportunities in State College, whether they’re with Penn State or with a business downtown. I’ve never met a fellow student here who had a tough time finding work. There are so many part-time jobs offered by Penn State and there are numerous businesses downtown that have “Help Wanted” signs in their windows at any given time.
You do not need to be interested in football or THON to enjoy your time at Penn State. There are so many other things to do on campus and so many people with different interests that being a football super-fan isn’t a requirement to be a Penn State student.
That said, following Penn State sports has been one of the best things about college for me. As a freshman, I didn’t even have season football tickets (I still blame Ticketmaster), but it was fairly easy to buy tickets on the student ticket exchange. Going to football games on the weekends was a great way to switch gears from studying and going to tailgates was a great way to bond with friends and alumni. Following Penn State sports has given me great life experiences, like the opportunity to go to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Above all, rooting for Penn State sports teams is the ultimate bonding experience. The sense of community you feel singing the alma mater with classmates and alumni at the end of a football game is truly awesome.
In the spring, THON is a great way to be social and also give to a great cause. Many students at Penn State consider THON their favorite experience from their time in college. Even if you’re not super involved in THON, stoping by the BJC at some point during THON weekend can be humbling and will remind you what a great place Penn State is.
The Largest Alumni Association In The World
The one thing that is truly unique to Penn State: You’ll have access to the largest Alumni Association in the world. It’s incredible how much this will matter and how much it’ll affect your life. Choosing to come to Penn State means that you’re welcomed into a club that stretches to every corner of the world. I haven’t even graduated from Penn State yet, and I have already benefitted from the Penn State connection. Most students at Penn State seem to have a story about a time when an unexpected encounter with an alumnus resulted in some sort of perk.
No matter where you go to school, your college experience will be what you make it. If you choose to become a part of the community and really engage, then you will end up having a great four years — and Penn State absolutely gives you all the tools to make that happen. If you do choose to come to Penn State…buckle up, baby, it’s going to be a wild ride.
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About the Author
They’re in our city.
Sam Ficken’s winding football journey has taken him from Indiana to New York with several stops in between. Now, as a Jet, he’s finally settled down in a consistent role.
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