Penn State vs UPenn: What is the Ivy League? (2023)

Penn State vs UPenn: What is the Ivy League? (1)

University of Pennsylvania vs. Pennsylvania State University – Chances are you've heard of these schools (and maybe even thought they were the same thing!). But do you know the basic differences between them? Also, many people know that one of these schools is part of the Ivy League, but which one?Is it the Penn State Ivy League? Or is it Penn Ivy League?

We answer all those questions here in our complete UPenn vs Penn State guide. Then we'll go over the pros and cons of attending each college and provide key tips for determining which school is best for you.

Is it the Penn State Ivy League? UPenn is an ivy?

Many people ask, "Is it the Penn State Ivy League? Or is it the UPenn Ivy League?"

This is the truth: UPennesa member of the Ivy League, while Penn State is not. The main reason so many people are confused about this is that the two schools have very similar sounding names (University of Pennsylvania vs. Pennsylvania State University).

UPenn is usually just called Penn, which makes it sound almost identical to Penn State.(so much thateven the newspapers confused the two!).

Another reason why it's confusing is that the Ivy League is only made up of private universities, yet UPenn appears to be a public state university when, in fact, it's not! (For the record, Penn Stateesa public school, so there are no surprises).

So what are theivy league schools?Here is the complete listalong with your currentnews from usaratings, so you can see how Penn compares to the other Ivies:

ivy league universitynews from usaClassification
princeton university1
Harvard University3 (tie)
yale university3 (tie)
University of Pennsylvania7
dartmouth college12
brown university13
Cornell University17
columbia university18

The gist of it is this:UPenn is a highly regarded private Ivy League institution, while Penn State is a large, highly ranked public university..

In reality, the two schools are not connected to each other in any major way, except for the fact that they are very well known and located in Pennsylvania.

Now what are some of the biggest differences between UPenn and Penn State?

Penn State vs UPenn: What is the Ivy League? (2)University of Pennsylvania(Bryan Y. W. Pimple/Wikimedia Commons)

Comparison between the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State

In this section, we give you aFull Comparison of UPenn vs Penn Stateto show how different (and sometimes very similar) these two renowned universities are.

University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvania State University
Surnamesballpoint pen, UPennPenn State, PSU
LocationPhiladelphia, PennsylvaniaState College, Pennsylvania
Public or Private?PrivatePublic
Part of the Ivy League?SimNo
graduation enrollment9.96240.600
news from usaClassification777
niche gradeA+A+
acceptance level6%58%
average GPA3.93.76 (to College Park); 3.45 (for all other campuses)
Average SAT/ACT ScoreSAT DOWN:1530
fees and charges$ 63.452Not State: $18,898
Out of state: $36,476
Student-teacher ratio7:115:1
Number of schools/colleges12 (7 = graduate only)20
Number of Elderly~90 years older>275 races
most popular seniorsBusiness, management science, philosophy.Biology, communication, economics
# of student clubs~600>1.000
greek life~ 50 fraternities and sororities>70 fraternities and sororities
sportsNCAA Division INCAA Division I
Average salary 2 years after graduation$ 89.000$ 41.900
general reputationHighly prestigious Ivy League university known for its pre-professional programs, #1 business school and party scene.Very good public university known for its large size, social life, breadth of academic programs, and participation in the Big Ten Conference

Let's see all these UPenn vs Penn State facts in more detail.


The University of Pennsylvania is often called UPenn or Penn for short, while Pennsylvania State University is called Penn State or PSU.

Recall that "Penn" refers to the private Ivy League institution.It's similar to how you would call Columbia University just Columbia, or Brown University just Brown.


UPenn is located atPhiladelphia, the largest city in the state, in the southeastern tip of Pennsylvania. It takes about two hours to drive from Penn to New York City.

Penn State vs UPenn: What is the Ivy League? (3)

Meanwhile, Penn State's main campus (called University Park) is based incity ​​university, a smaller college town surrounded by mountains and located right in the center of the state.

(Video) Is Penn State Ivy League?

It's about a three-hour drive in either direction to Pittsburgh or Philadelphia (where Penn is headquartered). Please note that while Penn has a main campus, Penn State has24 campuses across the state.

Penn State vs UPenn: What is the Ivy League? (4)

type of university

We already covered this above, but just to reiterate,Penn is a private Ivy League university, while Penn State is a public state university.. Check out our in-depth guide to learn more aboutdifferences between private and public schools.


Few realize how different the two schools are in size or total numbers of college students. While Penn has around 10,000 undergraduate students, Penn State has around 40,000:that's itfour times as many students. In fact, Penn State isone of the largest schools in the United Statesregarding registration.

Ratings and ratings

As you might have guessed, Penn, being a more prestigious Ivy, ranks much higher than Penn State in publications and websites such asnews from usa,Forbes, youNiche.

Said that,Penn State performs well, often ranked in the top 100 and even in thetop 25 of the best public universities in the US.

Here is the current national standings for the University of Pennsylvania vs. Penn State:

news from usaForbesNicheniche grade
state of pennsylvania7732364A+

As you can see in this graph,Penn is consistently ranked among the top 10 national universities, making it an extremely prestigious school..

Interestingly, both Penn and Penn State gotA+ gradesof Niche students, indicating that student satisfaction is extraordinarily high at both institutions.


Current acceptance rates are 58% for Penn State and just 6% for Penn. This means that Penn, which is the most prestigious school in the Ivy League, isformharder to get into than penn state.

So out of 100 applicants, just over half will get into Penn State, but only six will get into Penn. That puts Penn on the same level of selectivity as Johns Hopkins, Duke and the University of Chicago. It also makes it one of themost selective colleges.

Regarding the academic profiles of candidates admitted to UPenn and Penn State,Penn students have higher stats, with an average high school GPA of 3.9 (compared to Penn State's 3.76).

UPenn also has higher average test scores: Admitted applicants scored averages of 1,530 on the SAT and 34 on the ACT, compared to Penn State's lowest average scores of 1,300 on the SAT and 29 on the ACT.

What that means is thatYou will need to have a much more competitive application to get into Penn than getting into Penn State.

Penn State vs UPenn: What is the Ivy League? (5)Pennsylvania State University (state of pennsylvania/Flickr)

fees and charges

You probably know that private US universities are generally much more expensive in tuition and fees than public universities (especially if you are in the state). The same rule applies to UPenn vs. Penn State.

As a private and prestigious university,UPenn charges approximately $63,452 per year in tuition and fees forallnational studentsregardless of the state of residence. That's a lot of money that doesn't even include hosting or food plans.

On the other hand, Penn State, being a state public school,charges only $18,898 for in-state students and $36,476 for out-of-state students(which is still, surprisingly, about $25,000 cheaper than the Penn cost).

After all,Penn may be the most affordable option for you.. Penn is blind to needs andcovers 100% of financial needsthrough a combination of grants and scholarships (no loans). In 2020-21, theMedium relief package at Pennit was $56,095.

(Video) College Rankings: The 5 Tiers of Colleges in America

Student-teacher ratio

The student-faculty ratio shows how many students there are per professor in an institution.The lower this ratio, the better., as this means students spend more time one-on-one with their teachers.

UPenn has aimpressive 7:1student-to-faculty ratio, while Penn State has a good but unsurprising 15:1 ratio. So expect smaller class sizes on average at UPenn than at Penn State.

Schools and Academics

Penn State is the larger of the two institutions, not only with more undergraduates overall, but also with more schools and universities:Penn State has 20 colleges compared to Penn State's 12.

Penn State has also surpassed Penn in the sheer number of careers it offers. Although UPenn offers approximately 90 courses in various fields,Penn State offers more than 275 careers. If you're looking for options, Penn State is the place to be.


Both UPenn and Penn State are known for their lively social scenes and for having an abundance of clubs and extracurricular activities: the two universities each offer more than 500 student clubs and organizations, withPenn State offers more than 1,000.

Greek life is also big at both schools, each offering dozens of fraternities and sororities.

Finally, UPenn and Penn State are part of theNCAA Division IAs for athletics.

average salary of alumni

The median starting salary two years before graduation is significantly different for UPenn and Penn State alumni. For UPenn alumni,the median salary two years after graduation is a staggering $89,000.Meanwhile, at Penn State it costs $41,900, about $50,000 less.

Generally speaking, this means that you are likely to earn a better salary by graduating from UPenn than from Penn State.

Penn State vs UPenn: What is the Ivy League? (6)

Pros and Cons of Watching UPenn v Penn State

UPenn vs Penn State – Both schools are great to attend, but each naturally has its own set of pros and cons that you need to consider before applying. Below are the biggest pros and cons of the two renowned schools.

Advantages of attending UPenn

  • It is a prestigious Ivy League school.Simply having the "Ivy" tag helps Penn stand out from other top schools. The university is very competitive, so you know it has a great reputation.
  • It has a great social scene.UPenn is known not only for its education, but also for its cool parties, Greek life and wide variety of clubs.

Disadvantages of Attending UPenn

  • It has a high price.Tuition and fees are around $60,000, but keep in mind that financial aid is pretty good at Penn, so you'll likely only have to pay a small portion of that price. Still, try to consider other factors, like housing and food, whose costs can add up quickly when you live in a big city like Philadelphia.
  • It is prone to confusion with Penn State, a lower ranked non-Ivy.Although Penn is ranked in the top 10 universities, many people still confuse it with Penn State due to their similar names and locations. So be prepared to tell people semi-regularly that yes, Penn is an ivy and no, it's not the same as Penn State.

Advantages of Studying at Penn State

  • It has a wide variety of careers and extracurricular activities.Penn State has huge enrollment numbers, yes, but it's also impressive in its number of races (over 245) and student organizations (over 1,000 clubs and 70 fraternities/sororities). If you're looking for an academically thriving school with a great social scene, Penn State should be at the top of your list.
  • It is home to a renowned branch of distance learning. Penn State World Campusis PSU's online branch. More than 150 academic degrees and certificates are available online, giving students a lot of flexibility and choice of classes.

Disadvantages of Attending Penn State

  • Your ratings are pretty good, but not amazing.While Penn State is undoubtedly a great choice for many students, its ranking on lists of accredited colleges is not as high as Penn's, so consider whether this is something that might be important to you.
  • Its location makes the campus feel a bit isolated.State College is a great college town, but beyond the University Park campus and this town there isn't much, which can be difficult for some students who don't like feeling so far away from big cities.

UPenn vs Penn State: Which Should You Apply For?

When it comes to the University of Pennsylvania vs. Penn State, it can be tricky to figure out which school is right for you (and you might very well end up applying to both!).

Here are six factors to considerto help you determine whether UPenn or Penn State is a better fit for your college applications.

#1: Size

size usuallyhe doesimportant when it comes to universities, as students tend to feel more comfortable in certain environments. While some students prefer larger schools where they can meet lots of different people, others prefer smaller schools with more intimate student bodies.

With UPenn vs Penn State, UPenn is a mid-sized school with about 10,000 undergraduates, while Penn State is averylarge school with about 40,000 university students.

If you prefer a tighter community, UPenn would be a better option for you. But if you like the idea of ​​a more diverse and bustling environment, the PSU would be an ideal choice.

#2: General Prestige

Another factor to consider is the general prestige and reputation of the school.Being part of the Ivy League, Penn certainly has more prestige than Penn State.

However, Penn State has made an impressive name for itself. These days, the university is primarily known for its academic quality (especially when compared to other state universities), top-notch online campus, and Big Ten football team.

Penn State vs UPenn: What is the Ivy League? (7)

No. 3: Cost and Financial Aid

Cost is often a big factor in determining whether you can go to a particular school for college. Generally speaking, public schools (like Penn State) will be much cheaper than private schools (like Penn), especially if you qualify to teach in the state.

(Video) Every Ivy League Explained in 8 Minutes

Remember, however, that there is more to consider than just tuition and fees:You should also think about housing, meal plans, transportation, and money for basic expenses..

Since Penn is in a big city, you'll need to have more money saved up for things like housing and hanging out with friends in the city. Penn State, on the other hand, is located in a smaller college town, so this sort of thing won't be as expensive.

Don't forget to factor in financial aid.While UPenn is much more expensive than Penn State in terms of tuition, it promises to meet 100% of students' financial needs through grants and scholarships (and no loans!), so this can end up saving you a lot of money.

It is advisable that you take some time to research thefinancial aid policies and packagesfrom bothpennsylvaniaystate of pennsylvaniato see what you might qualify for at each school.

No. 4: Academic Programs Offered

Try to think about what you would like to studybeforeapply to college; that way, you'll know for sure if the school you're considering actually offers the course you're looking for.

Both Penn and Penn State offer a wide variety of majors and majors; although,Penn State has an even wider variety of courses, so if you are undecided, this school is probably the wisest choice. review theFull list of courses at Pennit's himcomplete list na Penn State.

You must also take into accountwhether your intended specialty has a better reputation at Penn or Penn State. For example, while both schools have excellent nursing programs, Penn's nursing program ismuch higher ratingdo que Penn State.

#5: Location and environment

Although UPenn and Penn State are headquartered in Pennsylvania,are inverydifferent parts of the state. UPenn is at the southeast end of the state's largest city, Philadelphia, while Penn State is in the middle of the state, in a smaller college town without much surroundings.

If you're worried about feeling isolated, Penn State probably isn't the best option for you. On the other hand, if you're not a big fan of big city life (and the high costs often associated with metropolises), UPenn might not offer an ideal setting.

No. 6: Selectivity

It is important to consider the overall selectivity of UPenn vs. Penn State before applying to either (or both) for college.Remember that Penn isquitemore competitive than Penn State.

If your academic profile (i.e., your GPA and SAT or ACT scores) generally matches that of applicants admitted to UPenn or Penn State, then this school may be considered atarget school. If your GPA and test scores are well below school averages, that school (UPenn or UPenn and Penn State) could be considered ago to school. Finally, if your GPA and SAT or ACT scores are well above averages in, say, Penn State, then you might see that as asafety school.

Try using ourcollege acceptance calculatorto get a better idea of ​​your chances of admission to UPenn and Penn State.

Penn State vs UPenn: What is the Ivy League? (8)

Conclusion: Penn State Ivy League or UPenn?

So is Penn State Ivy League? Or is it Penn Ivy League? Penn State, or PSU, is a large public university that isnopart of the Ivy League, while UPenn, or Penn, is a prestigious private university thatesna Ivy League.

Although the two universities are often confused with one another due to their similar names,they couldn't be more different.

UPenn is a top Ivy League university and one of the most selective universities in the country. Academically, the institution is primarily known for its top-notch business school and nursing program. Beyond the classroom, Penn is also home to a thriving social scene.

Meanwhile, Penn State is a highly ranked public state university known for its academic quality and its impressive array of academic programs and extracurricular activities. He is also the creator of a renowned field of distance learning.

While Penn and Penn State are equally fantastic schools to attend,up toyouto find out which school is best for youbased on their respective pros and cons and factors such as size, location and financial aid.

That follow?

Ready to learn more about what it takes to get into UPenn v Penn State?so take a lookour Penn admission requirements pagesystate of pennsylvaniato see how you fit.

How are UC schools different from CSU schools?learn about theKey differences between these two California-based public university systemsin our expert guide.

(Video) Rejected by NYU & Accepted by Ivy League| Penn State Scholarship| Lessons learnt for US Universities

Did you know that CUNY and SUNY are two different university systems based in the state of New York?Get an overview of how these two systems work inour side by side comparison.

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Hannah Muniz

About the author

Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and a BA from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, he taught English in Japan through the JET program. He is passionate about education, writing and travel.

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