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Hello Everyone!

I will probably be moving to Upenn in the next Fall (2018), and I was wondering if someone had more up-to-date advice about housing. I want to live somewhere close to campus, so I am thinking about living in University City. Are there areas to avoid there? Does Anyone know about International House Philadelphia? It seems to be a good option to live, has anyone lived there? Is it a good place for grad students, or is it more for undergraduates?

Any advice would be very much appreciated! Thank you :)

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Hello everyone, I will be attending uPenn in 2021-2022 academic year for a Visiting Research Scholar Opportunity. I am considering living on campus because I feel I'd be more safe (I'm a black wo

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On 2/25/2018 at 8:14 PM, Psych.dsd said:

Hello Everyone!

I will probably be moving to Upenn in the next Fall (2018), and I was wondering if someone had more up-to-date advice about housing. I want to live somewhere close to campus, so I am thinking about living in University City. Are there areas to avoid there? Does Anyone know about International House Philadelphia? It seems to be a good option to live, has anyone lived there? Is it a good place for grad students, or is it more for undergraduates?

Any advice would be very much appreciated! Thank you :)

Hi! I grew up in Philadelphia & lived there briefly as an adult. Wanted to make sure someone responded to you! If you haven't found housing yet: I briefly lived & knew many folks in the Spruce Hill area which is JUST outside University City and has has tons of housing! I had excellent experiences throughout my spending time the neighborhoods surrounding Clark park (spruce hill, squirrel hill, cedar park). University City itself is pretty tiny so i would imagine that housing could get competitive and expensive pretty quickly. These areas would be a very short commute, 5-10 minutes, and would probably be more affordable/have more options in terms of parking, green space, etc. In general I found all of west philadelphia to be very affordable and a more residential feel as compared to south philly and downtown, which have a definite "CITY" feeling; lots of teeny tiny apartments! 

Edited by jvvne
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On 3/29/2018 at 10:31 AM, jvvne said:

Hi! I grew up in Philadelphia & lived there briefly as an adult. Wanted to make sure someone responded to you! If you haven't found housing yet: I briefly lived & knew many folks in the Spruce Hill area which is JUST outside University City and has has tons of housing! I had excellent experiences throughout my spending time the neighborhoods surrounding Clark park (spruce hill, squirrel hill, cedar park). University City itself is pretty tiny so i would imagine that housing could get competitive and expensive pretty quickly. These areas would be a very short commute, 5-10 minutes, and would probably be more affordable/have more options in terms of parking, green space, etc. In general I found all of west philadelphia to be very affordable and a more residential feel as compared to south philly and downtown, which have a definite "CITY" feeling; lots of teeny tiny apartments! 

I would also suggest looking around Clark Park. Its a very cute residential area with a lot of cafes and is closeto many trolly lines. Also I didn't go to Penn, I went to Temple but lived in West Philly. I knew some people who lived in International House and I never heard anything bad about it. But you might want to talk to current or recent residents. Either way, West Philly is great.

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I think I'm bringing this topic back from the dead, but I'm likely going to go to Villanova in the fall. They don't have graduate housing, so I'm wondering if it would be better to find housing in Philadelphia and take public transport, or to try to find housing closer to campus?

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On 2/10/2019 at 9:53 AM, historygeek said:

I think I'm bringing this topic back from the dead, but I'm likely going to go to Villanova in the fall. They don't have graduate housing, so I'm wondering if it would be better to find housing in Philadelphia and take public transport, or to try to find housing closer to campus?

I think the first question you might want to ask yourself is how long of a commute are you okay with. If you decide to get a place in Philadelphia, be sure that it has easy access to one of the stations serving the SEPTA regional rail. You may have some weather delays during the winter, but overall the trains are reliable and it would take you around 30-40 minutes to get to Villanova. The problem may be that housing near the Philadelphia-located regional rail stations that go out to Villanova may be in more expensive areas, but you can actually get fairly reasonable housing in Philadelphia relative to other cities. For instance, I lived in a very nice building right next to Rittenhouse Square in Center City for 1,100 with all utilities included. Your other option if you wish to stick with public transport is to just live anywhere near a station along either the Norris High-speed Line or the Paoli/Thorndale Regional Rail line. There are plenty of nice places like Narberth, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, and Haverford (the last three also having great universities) that may have housing available for student renting. All of them would put you closer to Villanova as well. 

P.S. This stretch is called the "Main line" and is home to a lot of wealthy families, but there is cheaper housing to be found even there, so do not be put off immediately by sticker shock if you look in these areas.

Edited by daradara
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Hi! I just got an offer at UPenn and will probably accept. I'm from the midwest and at this point have never lived in a city larger than 150,000 people. Most of my family are the same way and are really worried about me being safe living in Philly. My parents seem to think that everyone in such a big city gets mugged at least once a week, and are really pressing me to live on campus at UPenn for a year while I learn which neighborhoods are "safe" to live in. Does anyone have any experience with on-campus grad housing at UPenn, know of any nearby neighborhoods, or have tips to make safety midwest-parent approved? Thanks!

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41 minutes ago, bonesandbakes said:

Hi! I just got an offer at UPenn and will probably accept. I'm from the midwest and at this point have never lived in a city larger than 150,000 people. Most of my family are the same way and are really worried about me being safe living in Philly. My parents seem to think that everyone in such a big city gets mugged at least once a week, and are really pressing me to live on campus at UPenn for a year while I learn which neighborhoods are "safe" to live in. Does anyone have any experience with on-campus grad housing at UPenn, know of any nearby neighborhoods, or have tips to make safety midwest-parent approved? Thanks!

Most of the areas around UPenn are very safe. The graduate housing is right in the middle of the campus and would be a great choice. My recommendation is to look at the google map below to see which places are safe (green), less safe (yellow), getting a bit dicey (orange), and "not safe" (red). This is a bit outdated, so even a lot of the red would be orange, yellow, or green today. For instance, Mantua, Brewery Town, and Point Breeze are much nicer today than they were, but are not recommended as a living place for a first time city person. Even most of the red areas are certainly not "no go" areas, though you will have little need to wander into neighborhoods such as Kingsessing. As you can see, you can easily avoid red neighborhoods anyhow. I lived in Philadelphia for many years, and I was never a victim of crime, nor did I know anyone who was a victim of crime. The city really is quite safe, and has only been getting safer over the last decade. There are occasional robberies in some of the more southwesterly yellow parts near the UPenn campus. A lot of students cluster hereto live, and the fraternity/sorority housing is here too, so it occasionally attracts attention. I suggest you look at Penn Alerts and get in touch with the public safety division if you have any questions about housing safety. In any case, the majority of the campus is swamped with police presence, and it is an incredibly safe environment. 

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?oe=UTF8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&hl=en&t=h&msa=0&start=60&num=200&ll=39.95285039883474%2C-75.21377128424047&spn=0.076884%2C0.181103&z=15&mid=1HzxpniA-9y5MpbLwK1n_FyNNP90

 

https://www.publicsafety.upenn.edu/pennready/upennalert/

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On 2/10/2019 at 12:53 PM, historygeek said:

I think I'm bringing this topic back from the dead, but I'm likely going to go to Villanova in the fall. They don't have graduate housing, so I'm wondering if it would be better to find housing in Philadelphia and take public transport, or to try to find housing closer to campus?

I agree with Daradara's comments. Center city is quite affordable for renting and many Nova grads do this and commute a couple times a week to campus on SEPTA. There are also many who live in the smaller communities along the mainline. I came from the Mid-West and had a hard time accepting housing costs in this area, but didn't want to sacrifice being close to campus so I spent a lot of time checking out different areas. I ended up in Bryn Mawr at the Radnor House apartment building and there are many other Nova grads renting here as well. I would recommend Radnor House as it is only 10 minutes walk from the edge of campus, has many units so its easier to find an opening, and its affordable for the area ($1,200-$1,300 for a 2 bedroom with outdoor pool). I'm in Political Science but I have some friends in the history program and they speak very well of it.

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My partner and I are currently in Harrisburg. I am heading to Penn this Fall, but he will keep his job in Harrisburg. How challenging and costly would it be for him to commute between Philly and Harrisburg daily? Anyone has any experience/knowledge on this? Thanks! 

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Hello!

I was accepted to the Social Work Graduate program at Bryn Mawr for the upcoming year. I have family in the Harrisburg area, but nothing in Philadelphia. My admissions advisor said that most graduate students live in Philadelphia and commute out to Bryn Mawr for class two days a week. What would be some good areas to look into that are close to the train that is out to Bryn Mawr?

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On 3/4/2020 at 3:28 PM, Tea_Drinker said:

My partner and I are currently in Harrisburg. I am heading to Penn this Fall, but he will keep his job in Harrisburg. How challenging and costly would it be for him to commute between Philly and Harrisburg daily? Anyone has any experience/knowledge on this? Thanks! 

It's about 100 miles each way from Harrisburg to Philadelphia, so the better part of 2 hours.  Most of that is on the PA Turnpike, so there are tolls.  It would be very expensive and very exhausting.

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Hi! Starting a Master's program at Upenn in August, and I'm looking for a roommate in the West Philly/Clark Park area. Not tied to this particular neighborhood, but I would prefer to be close to campus, a grocery store, and maybe a SEPTA line. Budget around $600.

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Hey all! I'll be attending UPenn for a PhD in Religion this upcoming fall and am exploring options for housing, including potentially looking for a roommate. I'm pretty flexible but would love to stay near campus.

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Sorry for double-posting, another thought crossed my mind. 

At my undergrad institution public transit was free with your student ID, does the same go for using SEPTA or the like in Philly as a grad student?

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On 4/15/2020 at 12:48 PM, NyarkoSan said:

Sorry for double-posting, another thought crossed my mind. 

At my undergrad institution public transit was free with your student ID, does the same go for using SEPTA or the like in Philly as a grad student?

@NyarkoSan some schools may participate in programs that allow you to get reduced cost SEPTA passes but no there is no free pubic transit for students.  Some schools have dedicated shuttle services though that you can leverage to move between areas of the city. 

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Loved Philadelphia but sadly enough the crime was horrid, particularly in South Philly and Kensington where I was almost killed a few times there.

The folks I knew who attended U Penn lived out in West Philly. If you are lucky Center CIty is a kickass area to live in. Lots of art galleries, awesome food (Starr Restaurants), and even a fairly vibrant Chinatown makes this a worthy place to be.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a most awesome collection to check out (and not just the Rocky thingey). If you don't drive don't live too far out.

Prices are getting cheaper to live in Philadelphia since 2004. I think most folks migrated out to Doylestown or to NYC... but as a graduate student the U Penn scene and the concomitant bookstore are fabulous. Check out the ICA museum on campus too. It's fly and fresh with some of the best contemporary art you can dig.

Edited by SocialKonstruct
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Hello everyone,

I will be attending uPenn in 2021-2022 academic year for a Visiting Research Scholar Opportunity. I am considering living on campus because I feel I'd be more safe (I'm a black woman). Any advice in terms of housing and how to connect with other people ? (I am coming on my own).

And if I understand well, you do not recommend walking alone at night and stuff like that, right? 

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On 6/2/2020 at 7:48 PM, Adelaide9216 said:

Hello everyone,

I will be attending uPenn in 2021-2022 academic year for a Visiting Research Scholar Opportunity. I am considering living on campus because I feel I'd be more safe (I'm a black woman). Any advice in terms of housing and how to connect with other people ? (I am coming on my own).

And if I understand well, you do not recommend walking alone at night and stuff like that, right? 

You will be fine in Center City (and tbh the protests were a much needed thing). Kensington and South Philly are the only two places I avoid graciously during the evening.

Congrats and I know that you will love this place. I miss the racial diversity since I am here in SLC but when I go to graduate school then I hope to hop to a much more diverse area.

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