The Philadelphia Center

Discover Your Direction in Life

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I attend The Philly Off-Campus Experience, and how is it different from other internship programs?
PHL:EXP offers you the opportunity to gain college credit while living and learning independently. With our help, you will secure a professional, accredited internship and housing in the vibrant and diverse city of Philadelphia. You can explore career paths through real-world applications and rigorous, seminar-style courses. Upon completion of the program, you will leave Philadelphia with a strong sense of your abilities, social and professional aspirations, and a plan for your future. Unlike other internship programs, you will interview in-person with several potential supervisors and you will live independently with your peers in Philadelphia.

How long has The Philadelphia Center existed?
Since 1967 nearly 7000 students from over 90 schools and 50 countries have participated in The Philly Off-Campus Experience.

Where are TPC’s offices located?
The Philadelphia Center is located in the heart of Philadelphia, just a block from City Hall. Our address is 121 South Broad Street, 7th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

When do we find a place to live?
During the 16-week semester, you will find your own place to live during the first week of PHL:EXP. You will have signed a lease by the end of your first week in Philadelphia. TPC’s faculty and staff will guide you through this exciting and experiential process. You will stay at a nearby hotel during the first week of the program. The cost for the hotel room is included in TPC’s tuition. To help you bond quickly and begin meeting potential roommates, you will share the room with three other PHL:EXP students. If you are attending our 8-week summer program, you may choose to stay in dorm housing for an additional fee (or, if you prefer, you can find your own housing).

Where will I live?
Philadelphia spans over 140 square miles and has over 50 neighborhoods. Although Philadelphia is the fifth-largest city in the country, students typically live close to Center City, within easy walking distance or public transportation to TPC’s offices. Popular areas include Center City, University City, West Philadelphia, Chinatown, Old City, South Philadelphia, and the Art Museum area.

If I have friends or family that live in the Philadelphia area, can I live with them?
We encourage all students to participate in our housing process and we believe a lot of learning happens by living independently with your peers; however, we do not require you to participate in our housing process. If you plan to find accommodations outside TPC’s housing process we ask that you discuss your plans with us before the start of the program, so we can ensure your housing choice is appropriate for the program and accessible to TPC.

Will I get the internship I want?
Every student who attends The Philly Off-Campus Experience is guaranteed a meaningful internship, and our placement process helps you find the right one. While we cannot guarantee placements within specific organizations, our experiential process allows you to interview in-person with at least three organizations. It’s part of what makes PHL:EXP singular.

How does the placement process work?
The placement process begins with the careful completion of the Placement Information Survey that you will receive upon your acceptance. This information allows our placement director to begin preparing for your arrival. Once you arrive you will have an intake interview with your TPC faculty advisor. By researching our extensive placement database and connecting with our professional network, you will be able to choose the internship that best suits you. Some students arrive in Philadelphia with very clear notions of what they want from an internship while others will have widely varied interests. Interviewing allows you to discover what your role would be within an organization, what kinds of learning opportunities are available, to determine fit, and to learn more about who your potential supervisor would be. We hope you will arrive with an open mind and a willingness to try a variety of options.

Are the internships paid?
PHL:EXP internships are unpaid. You can receive up to 16 hours of academic credit—8 semester hours for your internship, and 4 semester hours each for your city seminar and elective course. You will receive an official transcript from Hope College, our managing institution, upon successful completion of the program. To ensure a meaningful, substantial, and productive internship experience, each student works closely with a faculty advisor and placement supervisor to make sure they are engaged in a rewarding hands-on educational experience.

How much does the Philly Off-Campus Experience cost?
A semester in Philly costs approximately the same amount as a semester on campus. In fact, many alumni report that they spent less in Philly than they would have on their home campus. Please refer to the Tuition, Financial Aid, and Budgeting page for detailed information.

Do I need a car?
We do not recommend that you bring a car to Philadelphia, because parking can be both difficult and expensive. The city’s grid layout makes walking easy, and we have many great transportation options. If you’re interested in exploring the East Coast, the myriad of inexpensive and frequent train and bus routes should do the trick!

How do I get to Philadelphia?
Most students fly, make a weekend drive with their parents, or take a bus. We encourage you to pack lightly for orientation week and send for the remainder of your belongings after you’ve obtained housing. 

Can international students participate?
Hundreds of international students have participated in the Philly Off-Campus Experience. Participants must be enrolled, full-time, in an American college or university. All students should have up-to-date documentation and a valid US Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

What is your application deadline?
PHL:EXP’s semester program complies with your home campus off-campus study deadlines. The application deadline for PHL:EXP’s summer program is March 15. Space is limited and placement in summer internships is highly competitive; therefore, we encourage you to apply as early as possible.

What are the dates for upcoming semesters?
Please visit our calendar page for upcoming program dates.

Will my TPC coursework fulfill requirements at my home campus?
Our city seminars and electives have been carefully developed to fulfill specific requirements—including major, minor, and core requirements—on many of our participating campuses. We urge you to speak with your home campus academic advisor or Registrar. Course descriptions can be found online.