University of Pennsylvania

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#5, overall score 80.5/100

Fun Fact:

During the third quarter of football games, students throw toast onto the field when singing the lyrics “Here’s a toast to dear old Penn.” The bread is cleaned up with a special toast Zamboni.

Why should Jewish students attend UPenn? The University of Pennsylvania is one of the most rich, dynamic and stimulating places you can imagine. Penn students are incredibly smart, creative and entrepreneurial, but they also like to have fun. Whatever your interests or your future trajectory, Penn has the faculty, staff and peer network to help you grow into the person you want to be. In terms of Jewish life, it doesn’t really get better than Penn. Hillel is strong, diverse and inclusive, and offers so many different ways to engage with Jewish life, whether you are a Hillel regular or never enter the building. More than that, Penn Hillel’s mission isn’t to get you to join our club — it’s to help make sure that while you’re in college, you can figure out what Judaism means to you as an emerging adult away from your family and hometown. The four years on campus are a critical time of self-authorship, and Penn Hillel is here to help you in whatever form it takes. — Rabbi Mike Uram, executive director, Penn Hillel

The Orthodox Jewish Community at the University of Pennsylvania is the most vibrant and exciting community of its kind on any college campus in America. It offers a complete array of services to Penn students and to the local community, including social activities; learning opportunities; daily, Shabbat and holiday davening; and social service programs. — Rabbi Yaakov and Racheli Taubes, OU-JLIC educators


  • Location: Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Region: Mid-Atlantic
  • Campus type: Big city
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 10,019
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 1,750
  • Jewish population share: 17%
  • Student newspaper: The Daily Pennsylvanian
  • NCAA Division: I
  • NCAA team: Quakers
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Void / Venus

COST & AID Score: 7.5/15

  • Score: 7.5/15
  • Tuition: $53,534
  • Room & board costs: $15,066
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $33,460
  • Average loan debt: $23,224
  • Starting median salary: $68,100
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: Yes

ACADEMICS Score: 20/20

  • Score: 20/20
  • Acceptance rate: 9%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 6:1
  • Median SAT range: 1420-1560
  • Jewish Studies program: Yes
  • Jewish Studies major: Yes
  • Hebrew major: No

ISRAEL Score: 16/20

SAFETY Score: 5/11

  • Score: 5/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 1
  • Campus crime rate: 4.21/1,000 students (medium low)
  • City crime rate: 41.3/1,000 people (medium high)
  • LGBT center: Yes

JEWISH LIFE Score: 32/34

  • Score: 32/34
  • Hillel: Penn Hillel
  • Chabad: Lubavitch House at the University of Pennsylvania
  • OU-JLIC: Yes
  • Jewish fraternities: AEPi, ΣAM, ZBT
  • Jewish sororities: SDT
  • Jewish dorm: Rodin College House
  • Jewish a capella group: The Shabbatones
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 30
  • Hillel Friday night services: 6
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 475
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 26 (7 Orthodox, 11 Conservative, 8 Reform)
  • Eruv: Yes
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Ivanka Trump
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: The Moral Voices Fellowship for Rwanda is a year-long interfaith and interethnic dialogue program that culminates in a 10-day trip to Rwanda to volunteer at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? All over country, though mostly from the Northeast and population centers including New York, Los Angeles, South Florida, Philadelphia and Chicago. Jewish students also come from around the world, from places such as Israel and South and Central America.
  • Kosher food details: Students can eat lunch and dinner at Hillel using the meal plan, cash or credit. There are also Kosher sandwiches and other grocery-type items available in different dining areas throughout campus.

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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