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Guest Ms. Geology

State College, PA

158 posts in this topic

Me too! I'm also looking at Penn State geosciences. How much would it cost to rent a one bedrm or studio within biking distance of campus?

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ahem, I think you mean State College (it's a real town). You can definitely find studio apts in walking distance under 500/mo, and I would say 500-600 for one bedroom apartments near campus.

It's an excellent town. Not loads to do, but it's 3-5 hours away from NYC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC...

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State College is really remote, and pretty small. Though it's "only 3-5" hrs from major cities, there are no major highways connecting it - much of the time you'll be on tiny two-lane roads going through tiny towns. The center of Old Main lawn (on the campus) is rumored to be the geographical center of the state.

Apartments are fairly expensive and are shockingly scarce. That's not to say that they're impossible to find, but it is not at all uncommon to find 4-people to a 2-bdrm apartment. Most of the 1 bdrms I saw were going for almost $1,000, but I'm sure you can find cheaper. For an outdated 2-bdrm apt in a run-down bldg close to campus... 5 years ago... the rent was about $900 IIRC.

State College is very overcast - supposedly has as many rainy days as Seattle.

That said, I have nothing against the place. Some good restaurants (Spats for Cajun, Zola for new American, the PSU Creamery for ice cream, Corner Room is a PSU standard) and nice bars (love the Brewery, where you can get pitchers of Yuengling served in Bell jars for $1.50. Yes, that's $1.50 A PITCHER. Or that's what it cost last time I was there). There are some cute shops, and the campus area is pretty walkable. There's some mediocre but close skiing @ Tussey Mountain and a couple of start up vineyards.

Don't ever try to get anywhere on a football game day... Good Lord, the traffic is out of this world.

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Rhodochrosite, you seem to be applying to the same schools as I have. What is your area of research? (It must be geology with your username.) Have you heard back from PSU yet?

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Rhodochrosite, you seem to be applying to the same schools as I have. What is your area of research? (It must be geology with your username.) Have you heard back from PSU yet?

I'm interested in a variety of geo-bio-chem issues. You?

I got into PSU and visited recently. I liked the department a lot, State College less so. On the plus side, it seems cheap to live there, according to current students and the cost of living calculators. Where else did you apply?

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(bump...)

I'm pretty sure I'm going to go to Penn State and am looking for information about off campus housing. I do not want to be anywhere near the typical undergraduate housing complexes/locations. Is anyone out there familiar enough with the area to point me to an apartment listing geared towards grad students/faculty/staff/community? Or at least tell me which complexes to stay away from?

I am (ahem) WELL past my undergrad days and want a quiet environment that accepts pets.

Anyone else going into the Mass Com program?

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Hi i am currently an undergrad at penn state, and will be attending grad school in the fall. In terms of housing i would say the majority of apartments downtown are filled with undergrads. So the closer you are to campus the more likely you'll be living next to undergrads; which also means its probably louder. I currently live about a 10 minute walk away from campus, and occasionally it has gotten pretty loud in this area, lots of parties and what not. So that is why i decided to get an apartment further away from campus, so that it is quiet and less undergrads.

So in general i would say that you can either find housing north of campus or south of campus. So to give you an idea where a lot of the apartment complexes are (the ones geared for grad students and the like) there are many off of North Atherton , and many off of South Atherton. A few of the areas that have a lot of housing in the North Atherton area would be around streets like Vairo Boulevard, Toftrees, and like Park Forest Ave. ALso on South Atherton there are a lot of places near Waupalani. I would recommend you do a google search for apartments in state college, and sort of look around at the different realators and check for availability. There is a site that will probably show up called apartment ratings .com where you can read reviews on different apartments (although sometimes its hard to get an idea cause online comments are biased negatively). I mean i would say use google. As far as price from what i have been looking for which is a 1 bedroom place, i have seen about 650 - 700/ish a month. So i think anything more than low 700's a month is a bit high for one bedroom. A few names that rent out properties you may want to look into are Copper Beech, Lions Gate, Vairo Village.

Yeah sorry if i have been rambling and such, but basically i would recommend just looking through the different apartment companies in state college and finding out what is available. Then maybe call the different places, and if they are further from campus ie like a 5-10 minute drive then they are probably not as loud and populated with undergrads. So you can call the places and find out more info. yeah...also the bus system in state college is the cata bus, so if that is important to you, you would want to check out if the apt is near a bus stop etc...

i guess if you have any more questions, ive been here for 4 years and can try and answer send me an email at bres6486@yahoo.com

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I may be going to Penn State for graduate school (although I haven't decided yet). From what I know, State College seems to be a very pleasant and safe place to live in, but I was wondering if it may get a bit boring once in while in a small town like that. I hear someone say that it's only five minutes' drive before all you see is cows!

Also, is a car neccessary to get around?

Anyone from Penn State here give me some tips? Thanks~

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You must have a car, in my opinion. There are buses that go to and from the shopping areas, but if you ever want to go anywhere, you're going to need a car. There is A LOT of farmland up in State College. The closest Amtrak station is Lewistown, which is 50 minutes away. Most of the PSU students I know have cars, and if I get in, I'm bringing the car. You can get to Philly on a bus, but that's about it - State College isn't exactly a major bus hub.

That said, it's not as boondocks as people sometimes make it out to be. The town has a charming little downtown area, shops, restaurants, there's a Target and a Wegmans (which is the best grocery store in the entire world). And of course State College is great if you like outdoor activities, hiking, etc. It's very convenient to lots of that type of thing.

Main Campus of PSU is my favourite campus ever, anywhere. They've got their own dairy, Berkey Creamery (http://www.creamery.psu.edu/) that makes DELICIOUS, DELICIOUS ice cream and cheese - you won't find a better Chipwich. There's also the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts every summer and people REALLY get into football up there. I'm trying to think of other tips I can give you about it, I'll comment more as things occur to me. :)

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Can we get this thread going again? I'm one of the polisci Penn State admits, and I'm seriously considering this program BUT state college or whatever is a DEFINITE negative. Can anyone give an idea of the grad community? etc?

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Whether or not you like State College is going to depend really largely on whether you like small towns. I happen to like small towns very much (and large amounts of wilderness).

I know a bunch of grad students there, mostly engineering. They drink a lot, but I'm not sure if that's a product of the town, the field, or just their personalities. :wink:

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I like small towns, but they're not the same as huge college towns, y'know? How close are you to civilization in State College? Basics first: movie theatres, good food, malls - then museusm, airports, etc.

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I like small towns, but they're not the same as huge college towns, y'know? How close are you to civilization in State College? Basics first: movie theatres, good food, malls - then museusm, airports, etc.

I'm a native State Collegian now at college elsewhere, so I can't tell you too much about student housing, but the town's really not as lame as it might sound. There are several theaters around, though you have to drive for the biggest one, and I think one downtown may have closed(?). There are plenty of good restaurants on and near campus, and a mall that's about a 15-20 minute drive away. Penn State has an art museum, mineral museum, etc., and there are student shows, big concerts, and other entertainment. The airport is a pretty short drive from town; it's not very big (and thus is sometimes pricey), but it's convenient. There's not much in the areas around State College, but I think it's possible to take a bus for day trips to NYC/Philly if you need a big city fix.

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Hi all!

I've also applied to PSU and have a good chance of getting in (so said one of the faculty in my program there). State College does sound.... interesting, at least, coming from Atlanta. ;) I'd like to know how accepting the natives are of homosexuality, though. I'm a gay man, and given the rural setting of the town, I have a mild concern about my safety and the like there.

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Hi all!

I've also applied to PSU and have a good chance of getting in (so said one of the faculty in my program there). State College does sound.... interesting, at least, coming from Atlanta. ;) I'd like to know how accepting the natives are of homosexuality, though. I'm a gay man, and given the rural setting of the town, I have a mild concern about my safety and the like there.

I don't think there's any reason to worry. The mayor of State College (Bill Welch) presided over a gay commitment ceremony at the student center last year and as far as I know got nothing but support (http://www.wjactv.com/news/15741879/detail.html). Things are a bit different in the rural areas outside of town, but I still think you'd be fine, and I doubt you'll ever go out there anyway. Apparently PSU has a Coalition of LGBTA Graduate Students, who you could contact for more info. http://www.clubs.psu.edu/up/psupride/coalition/

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Hi all!

I've also applied to PSU and have a good chance of getting in (so said one of the faculty in my program there). State College does sound.... interesting, at least, coming from Atlanta. ;) I'd like to know how accepting the natives are of homosexuality, though. I'm a gay man, and given the rural setting of the town, I have a mild concern about my safety and the like there.

I'm a gay guy that did undergrad at PSU, and for the most part I can say that you don't have much to worry about. It's a big place and most of the people are good about things, but compared to many universities, the student body is quite conservative and the true locals of the area may not be terribly accepting, but in all honesty, you won't deal with the locals much. I don't think you have any safety concerns, but you might hear some people voicing their ignorance once in a while. I now live outside DC though and I think I've probably gotten a similar amount of comments in both places, which is to say you shouldn't be worried at PSU. If you have any questions about gay life at PSU etc, feel free to send me a message.

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So can anyone who is at Penn State give us some information about the housing situation. I'd probably want a 1 br apt off campus, not surrounded by a million undergraduates.

Are there any nicer areas you'd ecommend? Any idea on the price ranges?

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I lived on campus my whole time as an undergrad (yes, I was one of those... haha) but I'm somewhat familiar with some of the off-campus options. There are some grad-only buildings downtown, or there are some places off the northern side of campus that tend to not be overrun by undergrads. Additionally, there are lots of options farther from campus that tend to be more popular with grads than undergrads, though a car is basically a necessity there are the bus system is certainly not that of a big city - your schedule options are quite limited, plus grocery shopping etc could be quite difficult. I'm sure others are much more knowledgeable but I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in from the start.

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Hey all,

I am a Phd student in Comparative Lit. at Penn State and I can only tell you that half of my incoming class is dropping out, and so am I. I have heard good things about science programs here but my ex , a PhD student at Computer Sciences also dropped out last year because they were so unfriendly, hostile and plain anti-social in his department. My gay friends do endure the horror of being bashed and are afraid to walk at night by themselves amongst the loud drunk jocks. It's heavily important to be into frats, partying and football here - academics come next. Everybody seems to be married and have a morgage. No racial/gender/cultural diversity. It's very rural and you are in the middle of nowhere. No real transportation to major cities, only an overpriced bus called Chinatown bus - imagine the conditions of that. Don't get fooled with the idea you can go to NYC all the time - only if you have a car and 8 hours to spend in a roundtrip. If you want diversity and cultural stimuli, do NOT come here, you'll not find it. Undergrds seem to love it but for grads it's a sad, isolated life with bad cold weather for 6 out of 9 school months.

hope it helped!

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Hey all,

I am a Phd student in Comparative Lit. at Penn State and I can only tell you that half of my incoming class is dropping out, and so am I. I have heard good things about science programs here but my ex , a PhD student at Computer Sciences also dropped out last year because they were so unfriendly, hostile and plain anti-social in his department. My gay friends do endure the horror of being bashed and are afraid to walk at night by themselves amongst the loud drunk jocks. It's heavily important to be into frats, partying and football here - academics come next. Everybody seems to be married and have a morgage. No racial/gender/cultural diversity. It's very rural and you are in the middle of nowhere. No real transportation to major cities, only an overpriced bus called Chinatown bus - imagine the conditions of that. Don't get fooled with the idea you can go to NYC all the time - only if you have a car and 8 hours to spend in a roundtrip. If you want diversity and cultural stimuli, do NOT come here, you'll not find it. Undergrds seem to love it but for grads it's a sad, isolated life with bad cold weather for 6 out of 9 school months.

hope it helped!

You are probably right, except for the Chinatown bus. It isn't that bad. All sleepy immigrant families and college students. Safer than the Greyhound.

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Hi all!

I've also applied to PSU and have a good chance of getting in (so said one of the faculty in my program there). State College does sound.... interesting, at least, coming from Atlanta. ;) I'd like to know how accepting the natives are of homosexuality, though. I'm a gay man, and given the rural setting of the town, I have a mild concern about my safety and the like there.

Being a Penn State alum and having been involved in the LGBTQA community, I can say that the campus and community climate is mixed. There is a great LGBTA Student Resource Center located in central campus, it has study space, a library, and is generally filled with students, esp around lunch time. Although, most of them are undergrads. There are a number of student groups as well, including a LGBTA Grad Coalition, oSTEM (Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and Undertones, a group for queer people of color, as well as a number of other groups. I've heard that for grad students, certain departments are not as a accepting as others, and I would be lying if I haven't heard a few pejoratives from drunk people while walking around downtown State College, but in general, there is a large LGBTQA community that, if you do a little outreach to, you'll find is very open and accepting and diverse.

Also, one bedroom apartments really close to campus or the downtown area are going to be expensive, $650+, but you can find very cheap housing if you go a bit further (by further I mean about .5mile-1.5 miles out, a 5-15min bus ride) from campus in any direction, and get a roommate. There is a lot of housing out near Target and Walmart and Wegmans (North Atherton street area), large 2 or 4 bedroom places that go for 300-450 a month with everything included. Similarly, there is are large apartment complexes for similar prices on the other side, down South Atherton street. Campus is so big that it can take 30 minutes to walk from one side to the other, so housing that is a 15-25 minute walk away doesn't seem that bad to us.

It is pretty secluded, but the downtown area is nice and directly across from campus. There is a theatre downtown that features shows and also acts as an independent movie theatre. There are some cool restaurants and bars in the area and plenty of activities going on with the University almost constantly. Plus, if you like sports, there is no better place to be than Beaver Stadium during a White House (entire stadium, about 108,000 people wearing white) and chanting We..Are to each other across the stadium.

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Hey all,

I am a Phd student in Comparative Lit. at Penn State and I can only tell you that half of my incoming class is dropping out, and so am I. I have heard good things about science programs here but my ex , a PhD student at Computer Sciences also dropped out last year because they were so unfriendly, hostile and plain anti-social in his department.

I can't speak for the IST department, but I can tell you that my department, Geography (in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences), is incredibly friendly and willing to do almost anything to help you out. All the people are very nice and social.

My gay friends do endure the horror of being bashed and are afraid to walk at night by themselves amongst the loud drunk jocks.

Again, I can speak out for the gay community, but State College is incredibly safe. I honestly feel safer here than I do in my suburban, Eastern PA home.

State College is rated as the 2nd safest town in America. (http://os.cqpress.com/citycrime/MetroCrime2008_Rank.pdf, http://wearecentralpa.com/content/fullt ... ?cid=46591)

It's heavily important to be into frats, partying and football here - academics come next.

Penn State is only 10% Greek. I'm in a fraternity and you can trust me when I say that it is NOT heavily important. The only people that heavily important are Greeks, themselves, and freshman. As a grad student, Greek life wouldn't matter to you anyway.

Its true that Penn State is seriously into football. I know people that aren't even into the game that go anyway just because of the amazing atmosphere on a game day. The people here have school pride coming out the wazoo!

Everybody seems to be married and have a morgage. No racial/gender/cultural diversity.

We do lack racial and cultural diversity. There is no argument there. However, that doesn't mean that there are just a bunch of racists here either. Everyone is very tolerant.

It's very rural and you are in the middle of nowhere. No real transportation to major cities, only an overpriced bus called Chinatown bus - imagine the conditions of that. Don't get fooled with the idea you can go to NYC all the time - only if you have a car and 8 hours to spend in a roundtrip.

Greyhound operates here (not that that's any better). The closest Amtrak station is only a 30 min. drive (most of the country can't say that!). The airport is only 15 min. from campus. It's regional, but it does the job.

Ruralness? Oh yeah, it is very rural here. But middle of nowhere is a stretch. Philly, Pittsburgh, New York, Baltimore, Washington D.C. are all within driving distance. Hershey Park is also very close (about 2 hours). It's only in the middle of nowhere if you restrict yourself to State College. The Centre Region has lots of little towns to explore. I annoys the hell out of me when people say this place is in the middle of nowhere just because they saw a cow.

Downtown is very nice with lots of shops and restaurants. Being a college town, there is a great night life, however depending on where you go it can be mostly drunk undergrads.

If you want diversity and cultural stimuli, do NOT come here, you'll not find it. Undergrds seem to love it but for grads it's a sad, isolated life with bad cold weather for 6 out of 9 school months.

hope it helped!

Agreed that the weather does suck here, but don't rule out Penn State just because this person didn't like it and dropped out. Visit at least. You'll find it is a very nice campus with a great downtown. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about PSU or SC. I can even send you pictures if you'd like.

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I grew up in State College and then went to Penn State, and it is worthwhile to realize the inherent dichotomy of the town. Penn State is very multicultural and generally tolerant, although leaning a little more to the right than most universities (still overall to the left). The surrounding townships about 15 minutes away are mostly farmland, overwhelmingly white, and decidedly right-wing. The town of State College is the mixing layer.

Races/multiculturalism: In my experience PSU is short on african-americans and hispanics. It's a state school and those are very low demographics in the state. In engineering, women are pretty uncommon as well. I am aware of no overt anti-hispanic racism and little overt anti-african-american racism, although I have no particular reason to be sensitive to either so I may have missed some. I believe gender issues are pretty universal.

LBGT: As I said, the campus is a little to the right for a US university, but is generally tolerant. The only real problem is that as a state school it attracts a lot of ... well ... rednecks. But they are usually under control. None of my gay or bi friends ever seemed to be particularly put down.

Campus: Big, sprawling, and not particularly attractive. Generally pleasant, however, and lots of resources - there is very little that PSU does not do.

Entertainment: The campus attracts a surprising array of shows and acts, because students are in abundance and represent the prime audience. There are also more bars per capita than anywhere else in the state and a good local music scene. There is some typical small-town type stuff (bowling alleys and movie theaters), otherwise head for one of the cities. Also check out the 4th of July fireworks, which is one of the biggest displays in the world and is entirely volunteer, so you can sign up and shoot shells.

Dining: Bars aside, the restaurants are surprisingly good for the area - I have met only a couple of restaurants in the Baltimore area that I would put against Spats or Zola, and they all cost much more. This is also the town where Ben and Jerry learned to make ice cream - check out the PSU Creamery for rich ice creams or Meyer's Dairy for fresh glass-bottled milk and fruitier ice creams - there is no good reason for buying "name brand" ice cream in this town. None.

Housing: Surprisingly expensive compared to other costs in the area, the result of being a college town. With a car you can find houses in the $800 range, downtown that is about what a 1-bedroom costs.

Proximity: ~2.5 hours to Pittsburgh, ~3.5 hours to Philly or Erie or Baltimore, ~4.5 hours to NYC.

Crime: Serious crime is very low - for most of my life the murder rate was on the order of once a decade. Lots of petty crime, mostly DWI or possession, very little that affects those not partaking.

School system (for those with kids): SCASD is highly regarded and provides a ton of opportunities for kids - the result of so many parents in academia. The school is part of the mixing pot, so there is some conflict between groups.

Weather: Not horrible, but nothing to look forward to. A lot of extremes.

Any question, feel free to ask.

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