After years of college tours and applications, here you are with your acceptance letter to Penn State. You’re probably a mix of emotions- excited, nervous, indecisive. Perhaps you have plenty of other schools you’re thinking about, perhaps Penn State is the only place you applied, or maybe you got into a branch campus and are doing a two plus two program.
Before you make your decision, consider visiting again! I visited in October for the first time, and really loved it here. However, after I got accepted, I came up again in April and it was a whole different experience. Visiting a school without the stress of wondering if you’ll get in puts things in a totally different perspective.
Some advice for this revisit? Eat at a dining hall. My dad used to beg me to sit and eat at one of the dining halls every time we went on a college visit, and I used to be so embarrassed. Seriously though, you’ll want to know what your everyday food is going to be like. I recommend the Pollock dining hall!
Another thing that was a huge game changer for me, is taking a walk alone. Maybe you’re up on a visit with your parents or your siblings, but at the end of the day, it’s your college experience, and you’re the one that will be spending the next four or so years here. Go for a little walk and pretend you’re a student. It may feel like everyone can tell you’re still in high school, but trust me, we really can’t. Immerse yourself for twenty minutes or so and walk around campus, even listen in on some conversations if you can. I was with my parents by Rec Hall and heard music coming from one of the on-campus fraternity houses. It sounds silly, but I followed the music and walked down Burrowes by myself. It was a beautiful April day and there were people sitting outside, and some of them smiled at me. It was in that moment that I really felt I could be happy here.
In addition to getting an education, you’re going to live here, so focus on those aspects and come for another visit. Stop by some places downtown like Irvings, Metro, or McLanahan’s and get a feel for what downtown State College is like. If you have a friend that goes here, or even if you don’t, see if you can sit in on a class. Or, see if you’d be able to visit a friend for the weekend and stay with them. Those immersive moments really do make the difference when trying to make your acceptance decision.