So I was just randomly clicking on links, trying to find inspiration, when I stumbled upon a nodeshell for Pennsylvania College of Technology, the college that I attended (and still drive by everyday on the way to work), so I'm going to take that as a sign from the universe to fill everyone in on Penn Tech.

The Pennsylvania College of Technology, or Penn Tech (because who wants to say "Pennsylvania College of Technology" all the time) actually wasn't always called that. When the school was originally founded in 1941 in Williamsport, PA, it was the Williamsport Technical Institute. During World War II the school provided war production training and was operational 24 hours a day. (I didn't know this before doing this writeup, so that's kind of neat.) In 1965 the school's name was changed to Williamsport Area Community College, known to locals as WACC. Some of the local older generation, like my uncle, who attended in the 1970s for computer technology, still refer to Penn Tech as WACC. But in 1989 WACC jumped on the Pennsylvania State University bandwagon, became an affiliate and changed the school's name to the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Personally, I like WACC better because it's more fun to say but I didn't get to help name the joint so, oh well.

As I stated before, Penn Tech is located in Williamsport, a city in central Pennyslvania. The area surrounding Williamsport is mainly rural, which seems to surprise a lot of students who either are from out of state or from big cities like Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. Many of my fellow students in speech class were befuddled by the central PA tradition of having classes off the first day of buck season. In case you aren't a central Pennsylvanian, the reason most schools have the first day of buck season off is because many teachers and students are hunters, so a lot of people would just be "sick" anyway if schools were open for business.

But don't let the rural surroundings fool you, Williamsport does experience the same problems that other big cities have, mainly crime. Many students think that just because Williamsport is surrounded by a rural area, they don't have to worry like they would if they were in Philadelphia or a similar place. I don't want to scare people or anything, I'm just saying that you still have to be careful when walking around campus, especially since the one side of campus is not really separated from the city at all, I've noticed that this seems to be the area where incidents occur the most. Like I said, I'm not saying this to freak anyone out, I just don't want people to be fooled by the seemingly rural setting.

One of the things that makes Penn Tech unique is how they structure your classes. In most universities, they ease you into college by giving you only general education classes for your first semester, so you don't even touch your major courses until at least your second semester there. Penn Tech does give you some general education courses to start, but there are a couple of your major classes too. This is actually very beneficial, at least it was for me, because you'll get to experience your major right off the bat and be able to make a judgement call on whether that major is right for you. I'm actually very grateful that this is how Penn Tech offers their classes because it helped me realize that my first major, graphic design, wasn't right for me. I had time to switch to a major that was more my style, which oddly enough was accounting, but that's a story for another day.

Penn Tech has six academic schools:

  • Business & Hospitality
  • Construction & Design Technologies
  • Health Sciences
  • Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies
  • Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications
  • Transportation & Natural Rescources Technologies.
Obviously, one of the areas Penn Tech is known for is technology education, but there are other areas that are well known, such as the nursing program. While I was on campus, the general consensus was that the nursing program (or any of the health science programs really) was the toughest program to get accepted into. Which is kind of ironic, as one of Penn Tech's student provided mottos is "You got a check and a pen? Welcome to Penn Tech." Also, while I'm on the subject, I would like to give a shout out to all the health science majors because I have heard a lot about how tough that program is; kudos for sticking with it, I know I would've flunked out if by some miracle I'd been accepted. (But I will not apologize for not agreeing to be your guinea pig when you all were practicing putting in IV needles and came down to the lower floor looking for volunteers, because that shit hurts). The automotive technology and HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) programs are also popular around here. I know this because in my physics class, out of the 25 students that were there, I was the only person not in one of these majors, which made me a curiosity. (That and the fact that I was one of the only two girls, which demonstrates Penn Tech's interesting male to female ratio, a state of affairs constantly bemoaned by the majority of the male population).

I suppose if you were to ask me if I enjoyed my overall experience at Penn Tech, my answer would be generally positive. My one major hang-up was how much I ended up shelling out for an accounting degree that I could've gotten way cheaper at Lock Haven University, but you're paying for the "Penn State" connection really. That's partially on me, because when I applied I needed a decent graphic design program and LHU's program was kind of lean. Besides that, I enjoyed my time there, especially once I got situated with my final major. I really enjoyed the little quirks that we had there. Like how we referred to buildings by acronyms instead of the names they had been given for example, the ACC is really called the Klump Academic Center but I don't think I ever heard anyone call it by that name in the two and a half years I was there. (I actually had to look up the name for this, and I don't even know where in the world we picked up that extra "C".) My friend from LHU thinks it's the technical side of the college of technology peeking out. I also like how most of the professors were accepting of the fact that a lot of the full time students were not only commuters (about 70% of students lived off campus), but they also had jobs, so they would work with you on making school and work cohabitate nicely.

So if you're in the market for a college, I guess Penn Tech isn't a horrible place to go, but my advice is to go for one of the programs they are known for; make it worth your while. If you're just going for a major you can get at any old university, save your money and go to a state school, because they are way cheaper; don't make my mistake. But if you are interested in Penn Tech, I'm putting the link to their website here at the bottom, because that's where I went to refresh my memory on some things like the academic school names. (They'll also be able to give you tons of other information that I didn't go into because this is just a little overview type thing.)

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