All posts tagged University tips

  • Tax Rules for International Students in the US

    tax tips for students

    The tax you pay in the US is determined by your status as a resident for tax purposes.

    What is a Non-Resident Alien?

    Typically, a non-resident alien is someone who is legally present in the US but doesn’t have a green card. Non-resident aliens (NRAs) must pay income tax on income earned from a US source. If you are a non-resident alien, you must keep records of all sources of income so the IRS can see proof of what should be taxed and what should be exempt.


    Students in F-1 and J-1 status are typically considered NRAs for the first 5 years in student status, including the tax year (January 1 – December 31). In the 6th year, you become a resident for tax purposes.

    Scholars in J-1 status are considered NRAs for the first 2 years so scholars who arrived in 2015 or later are non-residents for the 2016 tax year.

    Other non-immigrant statuses: Dependent on the substantial presence test


    FORM 8843

    Required of all Fs and Js—even without any income

    All non-immigrants in F or J status that are deemed “non-residents for tax purposes” must mail a form 8843  if they were in the U.S. for any part of the tax year, January 1 to December 31.

    If you didn’t have any income, you can mail this form alone. If you did have income, the 8843 form is to be included with other forms in your non-resident tax return.


    What is a tax return and what’s the deadline?

    Your tax return reports your income and taxes withheld, if any, during the tax year (January 1 – December 31). If you’ve overpaid taxes, you’ll get a refund and if there’s a shortfall, you’ll owe money. If you work in the U.S. or have other U.S. sourced income, you may have taxes withheld.

    April 18, 2016 is the deadline for your 2015 tax return.

    Every year, you have to file an income tax return with the federal tax authorities. Each state has its own tax regulations so you also may need to file a state tax return.

    Sprintax can help you prepare both your federal and state tax returns.

    Sources of income include:

    • On-campus and off-campus employment
    • Scholarship/fellowship grants/stipends
    • Graduate or teaching assistantships
    • Salary for a teaching or research appointment

    Tax Treaties

    You may be also eligible for a tax treaty that may limit your taxable income. Sprintax can check for this when you fill in your details.


    Documents you’ll need:

    tax documents

    • Passport
    • Visa/Immigration info-including Form DS-2019 or Form I-20
    • Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (if any)
    • U.S. entry and exit dates for all visits
    • Tax-related forms


    Tax forms

    You may receive one or more of the following—or none— depending on your circumstances!



    W-2 form reports your wages from each employer.


    1)  Reports scholarships, fellowships, grants, awards and any other payment made to you by a U.S. source that was NOT compensation for services, i.e. for which you did NOT work. If your scholarship or fellowship provided tuition exemption or reduction, but no stipend, you will not receive a 1042-S form since you didn’t receive a payment that is considered income.

    2) Also reports earned income that is exempt from tax because of a tax treaty between your country of residence and the U.S.


    Bank interest, stocks, funds


    Preparing your tax return

    You can use Sprintax to prepare your non-resident tax return.

    Sprintax will also:

    • Determine your tax residency status
    • Identify what forms you need to file
    • Apply any tax treaty benefits
    • Complete and generate the forms you need, along with mailing instructions
    • 24/7 Live Chat help


    Sprintax can also:

    • Prepare state tax returns (for a fee)
    • Generate form 843 to request a refund of Social Security / FIC payments if withheld in error (for a fee).


    Create a Sprintax Account

    1. To get started, click here to create an account
  • Illinois Institute of Technology: Tips

    illiinois institute of technology

    (Image: Joe Ravi CC-BY-SA 3.0)

    Illinois Institute of Technology was founded in 1940 as a result of the merging of the Armour Institute and Lewis Institute. Often referred to as Illinois Tech or IIT, the tech is a PH-D granting private research university located in Chicago. It offers programs in engineering, architecture, psychology, communications, industrial technology, design, law, science, and business.


    In the mid-1990s, the college underwent revitalization as a result of a $120 million donation from alumnus Robert Pritzker and Robert Galvin which facilitated the completion of new buildings on the main campus and the renovation of Wishnick Hall. A large research park was also developed to help foster the focus on biotechnology and the relationship between business and technology.



    1. Shuttle bus

    The university offers a year-round shuttle service that’s free for students, faculty, and staff. It will take you around all the main campuses, including Main Campus, Downtown Campus, Daniel F and Ada L. Rice Campus, and Moffett Campus.


    2. Public transport

    Chicago Transit Authority operates public transport in Chicago with buses that will take you to and from campus to nearby neighborhoods and the city center.


    3. Bicycle

    Students who wish to cycle on campus don’t have to worry about buying an expensive bicycle. There’s a bike-sharing scheme for short trips on the Main Campus, perfect for getting to class quickly. You can buy a 24 hour pass or join up for the year at Divvy.



    1. Campus

    All first year students are required to live on campus, with very few exemptions. Residence Halls at Illinois Tech are designed to adjust you to student life and offer easy access to the facilities. A good way to find out more about housing is to take a campus tour.


    2. Off-campus

    For students that aren’t required to live on campus, renting an apartment off campus can often be a cheaper option. It may not be as convenient as living on campus, but you may find it gives you more freedom and choice. You can search for apartment rentals here.


    3. Short-term accommodation

    You might want to explore the campus before you begin your Freshman year or perhaps have your family to stay. Fort short-term accommodation, there are many hotels located near Illinois Tech, including the Chicago Loop Hotel,  The Amber Inn, and the Travelodge Downtown Chicago, which are all close to campus.



    1. Campus dining

    Most campus residents are required to be on a meal plan. There is a wide selection of dining options to choose from on campus; enjoy the buffet style hall in The Commons, a quick coffee at 10West or lunch-to-go at Center Court. Many more are listed on their website here.


    2. Restaurants

    Make the most of your time in Chicago by checking out some of the local restaurants, cafes, and eateries in the vicinity of the tech. Grab a slice of piping hot pizza at Giordano’s Pizzeria on West Jackson Boulevard or visit Laurence Fisheries after a stroll along the canal. You’ll find a list of nearby restaurants on the tech’s website here.


    3. Grocery shopping

    Plenty of grocery stores are within easy reach of the tech, including Harvestime Foods for general grocery shopping, Cermak Fresh Market for ethnic foods, and Hong Kong Market for Asian food. If you prefer organic and natural food, head to Whole Foods Market or for something a bit more upscale, call into Treasure Island Foods. 

    Heading to the US to study? Don’t forget to download our FREE guide for international students in the US below!

  • Tips: The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

    University of Minnesota

    The University of Minnesota Twin Cities is set on the banks of the Mississippi and is the largest and oldest campus of The University of Minnesota. It has the sixth largest main campus student population, with 51,853 students in 2012/2013.

    Their sports teams are known as The Minnesota Gophers and compete in the Big Ten Conference, the oldest division 1 collegiate athletic conference in the US.


    Where to stay

    1. On campus

    90% of new students at The University of Minnesota choose to live on campus and avail of easy access to the facilities. It’s a great way to meet people and the most convenient option for classes. You’ll also get close access to the library, student organizations, and centers.

    Once you’re enrolled, you’ll have the option of living in residence halls or in one of over 30 Living Interest Communities where students who share similar interests live together in a dedicated area of the residence hall. This will give you the chance to collaborate with like-minded students on projects that interest you and further your career/life goals.


    2. Off-campus

    Besides living in a residence hall on campus, you have the choice of staying in one of the surrounding neighborhoods located right next to campus:

    Stadium Village

    Are you a sport lover? Then you’ll love living in stadium village, home to the Golden Gophers TFC Bank Stadium. As well as home to the University of Minnesota sports arenas, there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops serving the local student population.


    Home to a large student population, Dinkytown is a commercial district in the Marcy-Holmes residential neighborhood in Minneapolis. It lies on the north side of the university’s east bank campus and is full of great restaurants, cafés, and bars.

    Seven Corners/Cedar Riverside

    A melting pot of cultures, the Seven Corners/Cedar Riverside neighborhood is also home to many sports fans who attend events at the local Metrodome. If you live here, you’ll get to enjoy the friendly nature of the inhabitants and a diverse range of ethnic food.


    3. Homestay

    Another safe and often cheaper option is to live with a local family near the university. You’ll be immersed in the culture and get daily help with your English. As well as a private room, you’ll get a set number of meals included and access to laundry facilities.

    Other benefits are meeting the locals and getting to see places beyond the tourist trail; your hosts will be the perfect guides for your trip!


    Getting around

    1. Bicycle

    The University of Minnesota Twin Cities has a bike-friendly campus, and cycling is one of the cheapest and quickest ways to get around. If you can’t afford to purchase a bicycle, you can join the bicycle-sharing network and check out a bike at any of the 10 locations on campus and more than 100 locations downtown. You simply pay a fee to join up for a month or buy daily passes.


    2. Public transport

    Using public transport is a cheap way to get to and from the university and this way you don’t have to worry about parking. You can purchase discounted student passes for the metro area and a free shuttle service will take you around the main campuses.


    3. Car

    Parking on campus is limited, so buying a car may not be the best option. You can rent a car with Fleet Services or use a Zipcar to get around without the hassle of worrying about parking or selling a car when you’re heading back home.



    1. Campus food

    You’ll find lots of options for dining on campus in cafés and restaurants such as Subway, Bistro West, and Panda Express. You’ll find a comprehensive list of dining locations on the university’s website here. You can also purchase meal plans to cover your food costs on campus throughout the year.


    2. Cheap eats

    Being a student can be expensive with books and fees to pay for, but luckily there are some decently priced cafés and restaurants close to the university and in nearby towns.

    Dinkytown is a favorite neighborhood for students; you can grab a hearty breakfast at Al’s Breakfast or try one of the discounted lunch specials at Hong Kong Noodles.

    Other cheap eats include Element Pizza on Broadway St or Zen Box Izakaya on South Washington Ave.


    3. Grocery shopping

    Save some cash by cooking fresh food from scratch! Eating ready-made meals can be convenient, but cooking fresh food will keep you healthy.

    If you don’t want to travel for your shopping, you can get it delivered by Gopher Grocery; you simply browse for what you want online and pay.

    For organic and sustainable produce, go to Lunds and Byerlys on University Ave SE; they also have a great deli and sell freshly baked goods directly from their bakery.


    Free Guide for International Students

    Going to the US to study? Download our free study guide for international students in the US.

  • Georgia Institute of Technology: Tips

    Georgia Institute of Technology

    Consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the US and the world, Georgia Institute of Technology is also listed as the smartest public college in the US. Around 20% of students are from overseas and their ”Women in Engineering” program has encouraged many more female students to enrol in recent years.

    Georgia Tech alumni are known as ‘Yellow Jackets’ and Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States, is counted among them along with the fictitious George P. Burdell, who was officially enrolled in 1927 as a practical joke and has since served in the military, gotten married, and featured on Mad Magazine’s Board of Directors. He is now a campus icon.



    1. On campus

    Once you’re enrolled in Georgia Tech, you’ll have the choice to live in one of the residence halls on campus. The rooms are two, three, and four-person rooms and will give you the chance to get to know your fellow students.

    You’ll have easy access to all the facilities on campus, such as the library and computers, and you can enjoy all the social events taking place nearby. It’s one of the best ways to completely immerse yourself in student life and all your meals will be catered for.


    2. Rent an apartment

    Georgia Tech is located in Midtown, Downtown Atlanta, and with plenty of bus and railways routes, renting an apartment off-campus can be a convenient, cheaper, and more exciting option than living on campus, especially if you’ve finished your freshman year.

    The most popular areas for renting off campus accommodation are Midtown, Westside, and Atlantic Static, which are all within easy reach of the tech. If you’re searching for an apartment, check if there is furniture included, as apartments in the US often come with little or no furniture. You can search the Off-Campus Housing Directory for available rentals.


    2. Homestay

    An even cheaper option than renting an apartment is to stay in a private residence in the area with a family. They’ll cook you a set number of meals per day, and utilities and laundry facilities will be included in the monthly price. It’s also a great way to get to know the locals and visit places that you otherwise might miss.

    If English isn’t your first language, then living in a homestay will hugely benefit your language skills. Try searching for suitable host families near Georgia Tech.


    Getting around

    1. Campus Transit

    Georgia Tech is well served by the Campus Transit service that can be used for free by students, alumni, staff, and parents. Stinger buses serve different parts of campus Monday to Friday and are available all year round, except Institute holidays. Click here for a map.

    The Tech Trolley will pick you up from the midtown MARTA station and you can find full timetables and maps here.


    2. The MARTA

    Atlanta is well served by the Metropolitan Area Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) buses and trains which cover most areas. The easiest way to plan your trip is to make use of the Trip Planner function on the MARTA website.


    3. By car

    If you don’t want to invest in a car that you’ll eventually have to sell, you might want to use Zipcar instead. When you join Zipcar, you’ll get access to cars all around campus, so you simply pick one up and leave it at a designated point on campus when you’re done!


    Food on a budget

    1. Campus dining

    Georgia Tech offers tons of options for campus dining, including award-winning restaurants, food trucks, and shops selling everything from pizzas to fresh, local cuisine.

    As a first year student, you have the option to choose from a variety of Freshman Meal Plans which will give you access to the community restaurants and a set number of meals per week. They aren’t always the cheapest, but offer a convenient way to access healthy food without having to cook.


    2. Best places to eat

    You won’t be at a loss to find good places to eat near Georgia Tech. The city of Atlanta is in love with Southern food, so you’ll find no shortage of places serving authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken, such as Eats on Ponce de Leon Ave.

    For cheap yet tasty Mexican food, try Tacqueria Del Sol, or if your parents come to visit, you might like to try something a little bit more upscale and immerse yourself in the five-course tasting menu at Restaurant Eugene on Peachtree Rd.


    3. Grocery shopping

    The West Side Market on campus sells groceries including fresh vegetables, meat, and other items during the week.  Alternatively, you can take a 30 min walk or 8 min bus-ride to Kroger on Ponce De Leon where you’ll also find an excellent sushi bar.

    You can also shop at one of the Publix Supermarkets, where staff are known to be friendly and will help you find what you’re looking for. The Stinger Buses run a shuttle service to and from the Publix grocery store on weekends and will drop you back on campus.


    Download our free guide

    Heading to the US to study? Then download our free guide for international students, with everything you need to know about becoming a student in the US.

  • University of California, Berkeley: Tips for International Students

    University of California, Berkeley

    The oldest campus in the University of California system, The University of California, Berkeley, is situated in the city of Berkeley on the east coast of San Francisco Bay, California.

    This prestigious university is ranked number four in the world by the Academic Work Ranking of World Universities and is renowned for its experts in mathematics and science. Scientists at Berkeley University California have discovered 16 chemical elements in total, more than any other university in the world.



    1. On campus

    There are plenty of campus housing options on offer at Berkeley, including traditional residence halls, suite apartments, and even theme houses that offer accommodation with a particular academic focus. You can find out more here on campus housing options.


    2. Rental accommodation

    You don’t have to stay on campus if you don’t choose to; Berkeley offers a wide selection of rental accommodation you can search for on Cal Rentals. You’ll find listings for apartments or you can search for roommates on the site. The website also has a comprehensive list of safety tips, so you won’t unwittingly get scammed out of your rental deposit!


    3. University Village

    If you have a family, are married, or are a single parent, Berkeley offers family student accommodation in its University Village.  It’s situated on a 58 acre complex with one, two, and three bedroom apartments and townhouses. It’s just 3.5 miles from campus and has its own child center, recreational center, café, and laundry rooms.

    If you’re a first year student looking for accommodation, then you should start your search here.



    1. Rail

    Students are encouraged to use public transport to get to Berkeley due to the lack of parking spaces on campus. One of the most common ways to get into the university from the surrounding areas is the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train system that operates from Richmond, Fremont, Bay Point/Concord, and San Francisco/Daly City.

    The BART will drop you at Downtown Berkeley Station one block from the west side of the campus. You can purchase student discount rail tickets from the Parking and Transportation Office.


    2. East Bay buses

    The AC Transit buses, serving Alameda County, let you use your Class Pass, which you’ll get once you’re registered as a student and enrolled on your course. You can also use your Class Pass on the Bear Transit shuttle buses that will take you all around campus. The university provides shuttle buses at night also so you can get home safely after-hours.


    3. Bicycle

    There are bicycle paths and stands all over campus so it’s likely one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get around. It’s pretty secure too, with over 120 parking spaces for bicycles at four secure, covered locations. These facilities are only accessible by entering a secure access code, so you won’t have to worry about your bike getting stolen.

    Student-run organization, BicyCAL, runs events throughout the year and the bicycle co-operative will also help you with parts and maintenance.


    Food on a budget:

    1. On campus

    Berkeley offers a wide range of dining options on campus with everything from sushi and sandwiches to vegetarian and vegan. Even if you have an allergy or require a special diet, Berkeley will take care of you.

    It features in the top 20 best colleges in the US for food and the staff are passionate about healthy eating and sustainability. Any student can buy a meal plan, entitling you to a set number of meals on campus throughout the year.


    2. Eating out 

    There are lots of great low cost food joints in Berkeley. For a cheap and cheerful breakfast, try Café Durant’s combo plates, full of tasty goodness that won’t break your budget.  Au Coquelet is popular with students for its coffee and weekend brunch menu, and for cheap Asian food, try Wat Mongkolratanaram, an authentic little Thai gem where you’ll get huge portions.


    3. Shopping for food

    As well as the standard superstores like Trader Joe’s and Safeway, Berkeley has many local, independent stores and markets where you can find fresh, cheap produce. You’ll find some unique items in Berkeley’s Natural Grocery Co and you can get great discounts when you collect coupons for Monterey Market.

    Free Guide for International Students

    Going to Berkeley? Download our free guide to the US for International Students.

  • Tips for Yale University

    Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, has graduated five US presidents, 52 Nobel Laureates, and hundreds of high level US diplomats, including former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and current Secretary of State, John Kerry. Yale is a private Ivy-League University and the third oldest institute of higher learning in the US.

    It was founded in 1701 in Saybrook Colony and renamed Yale College in 1718 in recognition of a gift from Elihu Yale, Governor of the British East India Company at the time.  It has over 12 constituent schools, including the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and ten professional schools.



    1. Train

    New Haven is a small city of 130,000 residents two and a half hours south of Boston and is easily accessible by train, bus, car, and airplane. Union Station is minutes from Yale and the regular Metro North will take you between New York and New Haven. Amtrak runs from New Haven to Vermont, Providence, and Boston.  Search Metro-North and Amtrak for information on ticket prices and discount passes.


    2. Bus

    You can hop on a Greyhound or Peter Pan bus out of New Haven at Union Station. Yale also provides shuttle transport for students all year round, except for holidays, and the service is free.  Buses are reasonably priced and offer student discounts. Search for routes here.


    3. Bike

    If you want to use a bicycle, there are several places where you’ll find shared bicycles on campus. The university has partnered with Zagster, a bike-sharing scheme, so you don’t have to worry about buying a bike when you get there.

    It’s easy to navigate Yale on a bike and you won’t have to worry about parking. A Bike-to-Work-Breakfast event takes place every third Friday of the month where cyclists get the chance to meet, have coffee, and enjoy breakfast with other cyclists. Find out more here.



    1. Campus

    Most freshmen live at Yale’s Old Campus, which is made up of 14 buildings, including eight dormitories, two chapels, and a four-acre courtyard. Before you start your freshman year, you’ll be assigned to one of Yale’s twelve residential colleges and be affiliated with this college for the next four years. Once you become a sophomore, you’ll be moved into your designated college.


    2. New Haven

    Home to Yale University for nearly three centuries, New Haven is a busy center for business and arts and a great place to live and work. Freshmen mainly live on campus, but many graduates choose to live in the city.

    You can start your search for apartments in New Haven by looking at Yale University’s affiliated website listings on Elm Campus Partners and OffCampusLiving. Both websites have authenticated student reviews.


    3. Hotels

    There are a number of hotels close to campus where you can stay and many are listed on Yale’s website here. You are free to drop into the Yale Visitor Center to find out more information about Yale and get a guided tour of the campus.

    Foreign language and private tours are also available by appointment. If you’re not sure about Yale, but are considering applying, this is a great way to get to know the university!



    1. Campus dining

    Yale serves a wide selection of food on campus at its various dining halls for students and the style is all-you-care-to-eat. As an undergraduate, you can choose from a number of meal plans to suit your budget. You can use these meal plans at a variety of restaurants and café across campus. For more information, check out their website here.


    2. New Haven

    New Haven offers plenty of choice when it comes to cafés and restaurants, and there are a number of places that won’t hurt your pocket. For example, Moe’s on Whitney will give you free chips and salsa with any order, and you can grab a burrito at La Conchita for as little as $5.

    For a cheap bagel or muffin for breakfast, try the Book Trader Café before 10 am or Patricia’s restaurant on Whalley Ave. China King do a great lunch special, and if you like sushi, then Mizu offers an all you can eat special you can share with your friends for $20.


    3. Grocery shopping

    You’ll find all the basics, such as meat, fresh veggies, and canned food at Stop & Shop on Whalley Ave, within walking distance of the campus. Elm City Market co-op on Chapel Street will save you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you plan on cooking a lot of your own meals throughout the year.

    For relatively cheap prices and pre-prepared meals, go to Trader Joe’s on Boston Post Rd. Whole Foods Market on the same road also have a variety of retail stores, serving fresh, healthy produce.


    Good luck! And don’t forget to download our free guide for international students in the US below.


  • Tips for Harvard University

    harvard university

    Harvard University is one of the oldest universities in the US and has produced no less than eight US presidents. Situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the private Ivy League research university’s history, wealth, and influence make it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.


    Where to live

    1. Harvard University housing

    Living on campus at Harvard offers many rewards, including easy access to public and Harvard transportation, free high speed internet, laundry facilities, fitness rooms, and after hour’s emergency care. You’ll find an overview of Harvard housing options on their website.


    2. Off-campus housing

    It’s good to research what areas are close to Harvard before you go searching for apartment listings off campus. Members of the Harvard community can research off-campus housing on You can also search for potential roommates, but first you must register as an incoming student.


    2. Homestays near Harvard

    If you’re curious about what life is like for an American family and want to brush up on your English, renting a room in a homestay could be the answer! You’ll get fed each day and have access to laundry facilities. The family will also act as your guide should you have any questions.


    Harvard transport

    1. Harvard shuttles

    During the academic year, Harvard offers shuttle services through the Cambridge and Allston campuses. MASCO operates Harvard’s medical school shuttle which runs between the Longwood medical area campus and Harvard University campus.


    2. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

    Harvard offers students a 50% subsidy on MBTA passes which form Greater Boston’s public transport system. You can order transit passes for this service and private transfer providers once you’re enrolled on a course.


    3. Bike

    Harvard is constantly working to provide a safe, secure campus for bicycles and there are thousands of bike parking spaces, including covered locations where you can secure your bicycle. If you don’t want to purchase a bike, you can join the Hubway Bike Share Program, which has more than 1,300 bikes at 140 stations throughout Boston.


    Harvard dining

    1. Campus

    Harvard University Dining Services is the oldest collegiate food service in the US and one of the largest, so there will be no lack of choice when it comes to your dinner! As part of the campus dining experience, Harvard offers a single, unlimited meal plan for students with food made from fresh, quality ingredients.

    They are committed to accommodating people with allergies or special dietary requirements, and students should go to their dining hall manager to discuss their needs. You can explore Harvard’s dining services on their website.


    2. Dining out

    There are plenty of great restaurants in Cambridge, including the eclectic and always lively Café Luna on Massachusetts Ave, the excellent Veggie restaurant, Veggie Galaxy and Vegan Bakery, and the upmarket Oleana on Hampshire Street. A great place to start your search is TripAdvisor.


    3. Shopping

    If you’re looking for something healthy and organic, try Boston Organics in Harvard square. You can sign up to get a home delivery of fresh produce to your door as often as you like. Market in the Square reputedly sells the best sandwiches and for everything else, you’ll find a Trader Joe’s on Memorial Drive.


    Good luck! Don’t forget to download our FREE guide below!

  • Tips: Pennsylvania State University

    Pennsylvania state university

    In 2014, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) had over 95,000 students enroll at its 24 campuses, making it one of the biggest universities in the US. Founded in 1855, Penn State has two law schools, a College of Medicine, 19 Commonwealth campuses, and five Special Mission campuses.  The public research university has an academic record on par with many Ivy-League schools in the US and has been labelled one of the ‘’Public Ivies’’.

    Every year, Penn State hosts a 46 hour dance marathon to raise funds for children and families affected by pediatric cancer. It has become the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, raising $13,343,517.33 alone in 2014.



    1. Campus

    For first year students at University Park, Penn State, living on campus is mandatory. As a freshman, you’ll be sent to live in either North, South, East, West, or Pollock Halls. Once you accept your offer of admission to Penn State, you are in effect signing a housing contract also, which means you’re obliged to live on campus. Here’s more information.


    2. Students with families

    Undergraduate students with families can apply to live in the White Course Apartments in University Park. The park features three-bed townhouses and one and two-bed apartments designed for singles, families, and couples. Among the facilities are a community center and garden, children’s play area, and laundry facilities. Eligible students can submit a lease application to be considered for the apartments.


    3. Short-stay accommodation

    If you’re on a short trip to Penn State or your family wants to pay a visit, there are a number of good hotels close to campus. The Penn State Conference Hotel offers comfortable rooms close to the university with free Wi-Fi, dedicated work spaces, a fitness center, and a free shuttle service. You’ll find a comprehensive list of accommodation near campus here.



    1. On campus

    If you’re a freshman at Penn State, a meal plan is compulsory, and you’ll spend much of your time eating at the campus dining halls. Once you accept your offer, you can log onto their ‘’eliving’’ website to choose your campus meal plan.

    The dining halls are in the all-you-care-to-eat buffet style but the campus also provides options for casual dining, such as the Blue Chip Bistro, Au Bon Pain, The Nittany Lion Inn, the Penn State Bakery and many more listed here.


    2. Cheap eats

    In the mood for something cheap and vegetarian? Pay a visit to Pita Canaba Café to grab a falafel sandwich or a slice of something authentically Middle Eastern like the Lebanese Chipotle.

    For cheap, diner-like food, go to Baby’s Burgers and Shakes on S Garner St and stick a song on the jukeboke as you dig into a juicy burger.

    There are also plenty of Asian restaurants and pizzerias close by, such as Little Szechuan on W College Ave or Faccia Luna Pizzeria on S Atherton St. Check out TripAdvisor or Yelp for a comprehensive list and reviews.


    3. Grocery shopping

    There are four major grocery chain-stores located in the State College, including Wegman’s, Trader Joe’s, Weis Markets, and Giant Food Stores. You’ll find a comprehensive list of the big supermarkets here.

    Eat healthy and support local farmers by shopping at The State College Farmer’s Market that takes place from 11.30am-5.30pm on Tuesdays and Fridays, May to Mid-November.


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