Housing & Dining
What is the difference between Penn's College Houses and traditional dorm-style living?
Penn's College House system integrates living spaces with opportunities for learning and connecting with faculty and peers from all class years. The College Houses provide academic support, leadership opportunities, and a connection to intellectual life at Penn. For more information about this system, please visit the College Houses and Academic Services website.
What furnishings will my student’s room have?
Different College Houses have varying furnishings, depending on how many students will be living in the room. Residential Services has information about room furnishings in your student’s College House in addition to a helpful packing list.
How can my student request a room change?
Students can find more information and a link to request a room change on Residential Services' website. This page also includes information about room change request deadlines, types of rooms available, and information for special accommodations.
When are the dining locations on campus open?
A list of campus dining locations and their hours of operation is available here. Various locations on campus are open from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., five days a week. Whether your student needs an on-the-go option or wants to take a study break in a café, there are plenty of options available.
Please note that restrictions due to the current COVID-19 pandemic may limit in-person dining and cause varience in dining location times and availability. Please see the Penn Dining website for the most current details.
What options are available for my student with a dietary restriction (allergies, vegetarian, etc.)?
When your student registers for a dining plan, they will be prompted to notify dining about any special dietary needs. Dining’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist will then reach out to each of those students, establishing that critical one-on-one interaction and offering additional support.
Generally, each dining location offers a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options, as well as options made without gluten-containing ingredients.
For a kosher meal, students can head to the Falk Dining Café located on the first floor of Penn Hillel. For halal meals, students can go to Kings Court English House. Additionally, Kosher and Halal grab and go items are available in retail dining locations. Jain menu items are available in all of dining’s all-you-care-to-eat cafés.
If your student has a food allergy, please know that products containing the 8 most common food allergies (wheat, egg, milk, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish) are used throughout the cafés when deemed appropriate from a culinary perspective. Every effort is made to ensure they are either; called it out in our station signage, or the preparation method used, which would indicate an allergen, is listed. Special Dietary Needs Awareness and Cross-Contact Minimization training is a key component to our approach, and dining managers and chefs are well-trained to help your student with food allergy questions on any given day.
Again, dining’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is always available to help your student navigate the dining program.
Dining’s menus can be found here.
Do dining dollars and/or meal swipes carry over between semesters?
Unused meal swipes do not carry over between fall and spring semesters; however, dining dollars do!
Is there an advantage to using dining dollars versus cash?
Yes! Students enjoy a 5% discount at Houston Market, Gourmet Grocer, Mark's Cafe, New College House, McClelland Express, Joe's Cafe, and Accenture Cafe when they use their dining dollars.
Does my student need to do an entire semester abroad? Are there shorter options available?
Many students opt for shortened study abroad experiences to participate in academic research or internships. Penn Abroad provides a great starting point for your student to explore different programs and experiences, including summer study abroad opportunities and international internships.
How much will my student’s study abroad program cost?
For a semester abroad, the cost of the program will be equivalent to Penn tuition plus a study abroad fee. Housing, airfare, and personal expenses are separate from this amount. Each program has a budget sheet that your student can reference when planning for his or her time abroad. For more information regarding cost and financial aid, see Penn Abroad’s Finances page.
Where do students live while they are abroad?
Housing varies based on the program your student participates in. Three common living scenarios are in a dormitory with other international students, with a host family, or in apartment-style housing. Your student should carefully read the information from his or her program of interest to understand the available housing arrangements.
My student is stressed out over schoolwork, midterms, and/or final exams. What resources are available to help?
For help with study strategies, academic reading and writing, and time management skills, students can visit the Office of Learning Resources at the Weingarten Learning Resources Center. Students can call the office for an appointment at 215-573-9235, or they can come to walk-in hours. Walk-in hours are extended during final exam periods.
Mail, Storage & Transit
How should I address mail to my student?
To send mail to your student’s campus address, you will need to know the name of their College House, room number, and mailbox number. For example, if your student lives in Hill College House, you would address mail as follows:
RM 100 HILL MB 200
3333 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6193
More information about proper mailing formats can be found here.
How can I send a care package to my student?
Care packages or birthday cakes can be ordered through Penn Student Agencies. There are options for holidays throughout the year, as well as packages during final exam periods. You can place your order with PSA here.
What storage options are available for students during the summer or a semester abroad?
Penn has an agreement with SchoolStorage to provide storage space for students. Your student can place an order online to arrange pickup and drop off of his or her items at a convenient time and location. Residential Services has tips and information on storing and shipping items here.
What options are there for my student to get around Philadelphia?
There are plenty of options to get around Philadelphia offered by both Penn and SEPTA regional transit. You can find a list of stops and schedules for Penn's buses and shuttles here. Additionally, SEPTA runs regional trains to the Airport for easy commuting before and after breaks, as well as the LUCY bus system around University City.
Student Health Service
What kinds of services does SHS provide?
Student Health Service provides an array of services for students, including immunizations, sports medicine, allergy care, and nutrition. The Campus Health branch of SHS helps promote stress reduction and health education through various campus programs. You can find a full list of services here.
How can my student make an appointment with SHS?
Students can schedule an appointment with the Student Health Service online, by phone at 215-746-3535, or in person at 3535 Market Street. In the case of a medical emergency such as an illness or injury, students should call SHS, who will help students navigate treatment options and determine whether additional medical care is needed.
What kind of insurance does my student need? Does my student need additional vaccinations before coming to Penn or traveling abroad?
Insurance and immunization requirements, as well as a list of frequently asked questions, is available on the SHS website. Students may need additional immunizations before studying or traveling abroad; SHS provides comprehensive pre and post-travel consultations to ensure students stay safe and healthy during their experiences abroad. Your student can find more information and make a consultation appointment here.
How can my student make an appointment with Career Services? Are there walk-in hours?
Students can request appointments online through Handshake, the Career Services portal. Students can also meet with advisors on a walk-in basis--hours and more information about available services can be found here.
When do employers/internship recruiters visit campus?
Students can find a full list of On-Campus Recruiting dates, workshops, and information sessions on the Career Services calendar of events. For information specifically about On-Campus Recruiting, visit the OCR website.