University of Pennsylvania Panel
Our Admissions Experts share their insider perspectives on what it is like to be a student at UPenn.
2021-08-22 University of Pennsylvania Panel
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on, on the University of Pennsylvania Panel. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our. So our home a B unfortunately was not able to make it tonight, given that he is in the ER, we think he will be okay, but instead we have Amanda or as well. Hi everyone. Um, I’m Amanda. I am a finance and statistics, double concentration in the Wharton school. Um, and I’m also pursuing an accelerated masters in data science with the school of engineering and applied sciences.
Um, I’m actually a rising senior and going to begin my next. My last year at school next [00:01:00] week, I think around August 31st. So that’ll be super exciting. Um, and happy to share a little bit more about.
Um, so just to give a brief overview for those of you who might not be too familiar with Penn, where in a city, on the east coast, Philadelphia, it’s a private school and it’s relatively large. Um, on the undergraduate side, it’s about 10,000 undergraduate students. And these are really split into four different sub schools within the entire university.
So you have the Wharton school, which is about five. Students per grade, you have nursing, which is much smaller than 500 students per grade engineering. And you also have the college of arts and sciences, which is easily the largest school at Penn. Um, and. Which school you’re in, kind of depends on where you apply into ’em and what major you want to be in.
But overall, um, it’s a large school in terms of number of students, kind of a [00:02:00] small campus, which is great because that means less walking. You get to see people as you walk down locust, um, and overall they have a lot of faculty. So you get a lot of one-on-one time, especially as you get into more specialized class.
Just kind of some history about Penn. Um, you can read a little bit more about this, but actually I want to jump to the last bullet on the side, which I found very relevant as a freshman. Um, basically it’s this superstition. I don’t know if freshmen still believe it. But that if you are, there’s a big Campa compass, um, kind of like built into the sidewalk on one of the central intersections at Penn.
Um, and the superstition is that if you walk across the compass and you’re going to fail one of your midterms as a freshmen, um, and so you can always kind of tell who the freshmen are by who like goes out of their way to. Across the street in a way from this diet camp compass. Um, and I was [00:03:00] definitely guilty of this throughout my entire fall semester.
And these are just the four academic colleges that I mentioned earlier. Um, within them, there are a lot of majors, sometimes majors will be offered in multiple schools. Um, so for example, you can study computer science in the school of engineering and applied sciences. But in certain majors under the college of arts and sciences, you can also apply to computer science.
So definitely be careful about which school you apply to do your research. Because once you’re in that school, it requires another application to track.
so I’ll just give you guys a few more moments to like on the pole.
Um, and the [00:04:00] great thing is that Penn also has a lot of graduate schools and as a high school student, I think a lot of you might be wondering why this is relevant since you guys are applying for undergraduate. Um, and the reason is that a lot of these, um, these graduate programs have cross offerings or opportunities.
For undergraduates as well. Um, so for example, if you’re interested in law, a few of my friends happen to do research or even part-time internships that they get through these, um, law professors with the Kerry law school. Um, and that’s true for a lot of these graduate programs. So it’s true for business engineering, et cetera.
It also allows you to occasionally. Sub matriculate into some of these schools. So for example, I’m with the graduate school of engineering and applied sciences with the accelerated masters, um, you can also, for example, get an accelerated master’s in the graduate school of education. [00:05:00] Um, so there’s a lot of opportunities that we as undergrads benefit from, um, due to the strong presence of graduate academic division.
Um, there are definitely some majors at Penn and I’m sure this is true for all school that are much more popular than others. Um, I would say that business, so that includes business and management. Within Wharton are all extremely popular. Um, econ in the college of arts and sciences is also extremely popular and of course, bio and nursing are very popular as well.
Um, and we have a strong presence of athletics, D one as with all the athletics, um, within the Ivy league. And, um, these students are really quite integrated into the entire school as well.
Um, [00:06:00] with extracurricular opportunities at Penn, it’s quite robust. There are a ton of student run organizations, as you guys can see. Um, and the difference not just for Penn. Pretty much all colleges between high school, extra curriculars and college extracurriculars is primarily that these are entirely student run.
You have very little adult interference, um, and you get to integrate with the real world a lot more. So, for example, um, some of your extracurriculars, if you’re in a students arts performing group, like if you’re in a singing club, um, Counterparts, for example, they go on to organize their own tour in California over spring break sometimes.
Um, or if you’re in a pre-professional plan, like a consulting club, almost all of your engagements will be with real-world clients like companies that you interact with on the day to day. Um, you also have sports clubs, of course, for people who don’t want [00:07:00] to, or you want to kind of stay fit, but. Dedicate half their life to the, um, high requirements of D one athletics.
Um, and I would say that for Greek life, it’s approximately 30% of students. So it’s definitely a strong presence on campus, but also not the majority.
So I’ll give you guys another few moments to answer this.
looks like we have quite a few yeses and a few not Schurz. Well, hopefully Amanda can swipe.
So this is our home’s answer for why he chose pad, um, academics, urban environment. Strong alumni community, all which I can attest [00:08:00] to as well. And this is why I chose Penn. Um, basically I had learned about Penn’s culture before actually applying, because I had spent a summer there and having spoken to a lot of students specifically within Wharton, but also in the college of arts and sciences as well.
I learned that Penn was very practical and everything that. Everything that all their students do. So whether it’s a club that you’re a part of or a class that you’re taking, um, the culture at Penn is always to apply what you’re doing to some real world purpose. Um, so the theory is often, sorry. The practical nature of learning is often prioritized over the.
Um, and similar to our home, the things that mattered to me as well was being able to study in an urban location. I think being in a city, I’ve recognized [00:09:00] how nice it is to be able to step outside and say, if it’s 9:00 PM that I want food, have an array of options because we live in a very urban location.
Um, having spoken to my schools, my friends at other schools who are, um, living in college towns, they definitely have. Much more limited opportunities where it’s a little bit more difficult to get around. And so I think being in Philadelphia really kind of eliminates that those barriers.
So we have one more poll and we would love to know where you are in the college process.
and talking a little bit more about the application process. Um, so pens application passes is very similar to what you’ll [00:10:00] find at other similar schools. You have an early decision option, which is binding. Essentially, that means that if you apply early decision, you’re making a commitment to attend.
You’ve had, if you get in, um, and withdraw your other applications to other schools. So if you get in, um, you’ll find out or whatever your decision is, you’ll find out mid December. And then from there, you can choose to either continue applying to other colleges if you get deferred or if you get rejected.
Um, but if you get in the great benefit is that then you’re done. Like you don’t need to worry about applying to other colleges. You can pretty much take their spring of your senior year and just relax a little. Um, but if you’re not ready to make that commitment and a lot of people aren’t for an array of reasons, whether it’s, you’re not sure about Penn versus another school, um, you are not ready to make that financial commitment.
You want to see your financial aid package [00:11:00] first, then you can choose instead to apply to the regular decision deadline on January. Um, and this will just give you a little bit more time and if you get in, it’s not binding. Um, and the only thing that I would say for early decision is that if you’re sure that you want to attend to Penn, I would definitely apply ed, because it does give you a pretty big boost because the admissions committee now knows that you are committed, that you prioritize them above all other schools.
And they’ll take that as a sign of, um, your fit and your interest, which they can. For the supplements that they require, they have a Y pen and they have a specific, why do you want to apply to the college within Penn that you’re applying to? So if you’re applying to Wharton, you should tailor your essay to why you want to attend Wharton.
Um, and if you apply to nursing, you have to tailor it to nursing. Of course. Um, and so these are the two essays that you will have to answer. Um, overall, I would say. [00:12:00] Definitely think a little bit more about whether or not whether or not you’re ready to make that commitment to ed. I think it’s a pretty big commitment.
I applied ed. So happy to answer any questions that you guys have questions about, why, um, about how I made that decision or if I was conflicted, but, um, this is just a brief overview of the Penn application process.
And these are some of the statistics and just numbers of the admitted students. I know that they can be a little bit daunting for some people. And I would say that overall, um, I would just take these in the context of what your background is. So for example, if you are a first generation. Um, student in your family who wants to apply to college and you don’t have a 3.9, I wouldn’t worry about it.
It really depends on what your background is, what resources you’ve had available. And so I think [00:13:00] context of where your application is coming from is going to be far more important to the admissions officers than whether your numbers fall within this range or at the top of this range, et cetera. Um, and for financial aid, it is need-based and I believe it’s need-blind.
Um, so that just means that the Penn application and whether you get in or not is completely independent of how much aid you’ll need. And so if you need more aid, you don’t have to worry about Penn taking that into consideration and saying, we don’t have that money. Um, we can’t accept this.
So that’s just kind of a quick overview of pen of the culture and the history behind Penn. I’m sure that you guys have a lot of answers or a lot of questions. Hopefully I have the answers. I’m so happy to do a little bit of Q and a now. Wonderful. Okay. So I just want to remind everyone that if [00:14:00] you’d like to download the slides, the link is in the handouts tab.
So moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them in the public chat. So you can see and then read them out loud before our panelists gives you an answer as a heads up. If your Q QA tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, double check. You joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not the webinar landing page.
All right. Our first question is what is unique about. Um, that’s a really good question. I think that’s something that I asked myself a lot and as an applicant in high school, applying versus where I am now, my answers would have been a little bit different. So I’ll give you the inside view as a senior. I think first of all, what I’ve noticed at Penn is that the people are extremely pre-professional.
So I’ll be completely transparent. This can be both good or bad depending on what your [00:15:00] ambitions are, but the people at Penn are very, um, pre-professional in that they usually have a set career in mind around sophomore to junior year. Um, internships are always top of mind and this can be, I think, a very intense culture.
Sometimes it can be a little bit overwhelming. Um, but in the end, because you see people around you getting internships, because you see people around you talking about interviews and mock interviews and how to prepare, um, students are generally extremely well-prepared and have very strong. Penn has very strong pipelines, two really strong firms, um, law schools, whatever career you want to do.
Um, at the same time, I will say that the Penn network is incredibly strong for a lot of the careers that you choose to you choose to, um, pursue. So I realized this, this summer as someone who is actually interning and now going to go back full [00:16:00] time to the firm, um, I didn’t appreciate how strong the Penn network is and where Penn sends people until I was actually in the office.
And. Half the people that I met or a quarter of the people that I met were from Penn. And they had graduated a few years earlier and it was just very easy to connect. It was like having a friendly face in a very big office and in a very overwhelming corporate culture was really nice. Um, and I think that’s something that you typically don’t discover about Penn until you actually start interning.
Okay. Our next question is, uh, Is Amanda a junior in engineering. And what is the overall experience with engineering at U Penn? I am a senior Morton, so my last three years have been. Taking Wharton classes or having like the Wharton experience, although I’ve of course taken classes across the other [00:17:00] schools as well.
Um, the confusion might stem from the fact that I am a first year or a second year master’s students, um, at the same time. So basically I applied into the accelerated master’s program that is available for all Penn undergrads. As long as you meet some. Requirements and you have a minimum GPA. Um, and so I’ve had a little bit of the engineering experience.
What I would say is based on my experience, based on what my friends in engineering have told me. Um, the experience with engineering is that it’s very, um, computer science focused. Uh, so a lot of my friends in engineering who originally wanted to study something else have eventually switched over to computer science for better or for worse.
Um, typically that’s just because a lot of the careers. And that being a lot of these stable careers that you hear the most about at Penn ended up being in CS. Um, but overall, I would say that there are definitely students [00:18:00] across all majors. Um, they definitely have a little bit of a tougher curriculum than some of the majors and other schools.
Um, but I still see a lot of my engineering friends with the same social life. I’m still hanging out with all their friends on the weekends. So. I’d say that the engineering experience isn’t completely different from the experience at other schools, speaking of social life. Our next question is what is the social life like on campus?
I think the social life is pretty much what you want it to be, which means that you definitely have large frat parties. Of course, during COVID. That was a little bit different, but in my freshman, sophomore, Potentially senior year, you have these large get togethers because we’re in a city. There are also a lot of, um, concerts or clubbing events downtown.
So you as an upperclassmen can go to those as well. [00:19:00] Um, but at the same time you have the opposite end of the spectrum. You can also go to hang out with your friends and just have a location. And someone’s apartment. So it’s really what you want it to be. Um, and I’d say for freshmen, it’s a little bit more geared towards big groups of people in frat parties.
Um, that’s like the majority, as people try to meet each other, but over time it definitely becomes a little bit more tailored to what you uniquely want.
Our next question is, is Penn more competitive or. I assume like, are students more competitive or collaborative? Got it with the, um, I think I would say collaborative. So I think there’s definitely a. A perspective or a misconception that Penn students are extremely cutthroat. And I would say that that most likely comes from the [00:20:00] fact that students are really competitive about what internships they get.
Um, and who gets what interviews, but it’s never to the point of you don’t help someone who is interviewing for the same firm as you, for example. Um, so I would say on the whole people at Penn are extremely collaborative, especially within classes, a lot of the grades and the classes are group-based projects and team-based, um, and so like, there’s really no.
You don’t ever feel like you’re competing with someone else for one specific thing, it just feels like there’s a limited number of opportunities sometimes. And you want to be one of the people who gets it. Um, but I wouldn’t say that that’s true until around your late sophomore year, early junior year.
Our next question is, uh, could you elaborate about the Huntsman program? Yeah. So the Huntsman program is one of the dual degree programs that Penn offers [00:21:00] the others being the drum Fisher management and technology program, the Wharton, a nursing program, um, the life sciences and management program and the MLS program.
I would take a look at all of these. I know that I just dropped their names really quickly, but if you’re interested in something beyond just business, These programs are usually dual degrees between the Wharton school and another school. And so the Huntsman program is a dual degree between Wharton and the college of arts and sciences.
And within the college of arts and sciences, you specifically have an international relations major. And not only that, but you usually, you always have to choose a specific target language. Um, which means that. Over your four years at Penn, you’re committing to studying Spanish at a very high level, and you also have to spend one semester abroad then in a Spanish speaking country, or you’re committing to [00:22:00] studying Korean.
Um, and therefore you have to spend one semester in a Korean speaking country. And by the way, I’m seeing some people private message me. Um, I would say, just try to funnel those questions into the Q and a chat, just so Hannah can put them into the public and I can answer them directly for everyone. Um, but within the Huntsman program, I think, um, the application and for all of these dual degree programs, it’ll look a little bit different and that you have to say.
Why you’re interested in Huntsman. And what about your background prepares you for Huntsman? A lot of the students in Huntsman are extremely tight knit because within pan it’s like having your own group of 50 or so people who share a lot of your classes, you share a lot of your experiences live in the same dorm as you, um, in your freshman year.
And you just have to talk about why you want to have both of these majors. Um, I hope that answers your question, but definitely I think some more information would be available online in [00:23:00] case you had any more specific details about the application. Okay. Our next question is what were your specific reasons for deciding to attend UVA?
Yeah. Um, I think my reasons for why I wanted to TA to attend pan are very interrelated to the Wharton school because that’s my home college within Penn. And so as someone who is very curious about a lot of things, but also incredibly indecisive, I felt that business would be a really great way for me to explore everything from finance to marketing, to.
Retail and fashion to healthcare. Um, because there’s so many business applications across pretty much everything that I have questions about. Um, and on top of that, I had spent a summer in Philadelphia at a pre Penn program, um, doing some business stuff [00:24:00] and I had had the chance to live in the city. I realized how convenient it was to be able to grab an ASA.
If I was hungry or to stop by Starbucks. And I think that these aren’t, these were things that I noticed that weren’t available on a lot of other campuses. And so I realized that intersection of business and wanting to be in a city made Penn a really good choice for me.
Our next question is how would you describe your experiences with professors? Um, I think it’s. A range. There’s definitely a spectrum. So I think on one end of the spectrum, there are a lot of introductory classes, especially as a freshmen where you have to take, um, a general education requirement, for example.
And so I enrolled in a really big class of probably over 80 to 90 students and I never want spoke to the professor. Um, and if I had any questions, I would always [00:25:00] go to the teaching assistant who was incredibly helpful. She was a graduate students. Um, and so that was sort of where my staff interaction came from, but the professors were just lecturing and they didn’t get involved with the students day to day.
On the other hand, you have professors who care a lot about their class. You can tell how passionate they are about. Um, and they go out of their way to help their students. And I’d say that I would have more of these experiences than the large class professors or guest lecturing type of experience. Um, but these are experiences where the professors are really passionate.
These are the experiences for classes that are a little bit more specialized and not introductory. Um, and so these are the class. These are the professors who will answer your question in an email at 1:00 AM, for example, Or they’ll host extra office hours because they can tell how stressed the students are the night before the exam.
And it’ll just be very impromptu. [00:26:00] Um, and so I’d say on the whole, my experience with professors has been incredibly great and I really enjoyed a lot of my classes because of the professors these last year.
Okay, our next question is, can you apply early decision to multiple schools? And if you can, then what if you get into more than one school ed? So you can’t apply to multiple schools, early decision. Um, when you apply early decision, you’re basically saying I’m only applying to this school. Uh, you can however, apply to other schools.
That are non-binding contracts. So you can apply to a lot of public schools that have non-binding early action, for example, or you can apply to, you can apply early to schools, regular decision, if you just want to submit your application early. Um, but because of the way that early decision requires you to legally commit to the [00:27:00] school, if you apply, you can only apply early decision to this one school.
Okay, our next question is, if you were asked to use three words to describe U Penn, what would they be? Um, this is a tricky question.
I have like three phrases, but three words. I’d say pre-professional, um, I would say. Balanced. And when I say balanced, I mean, everyone has a really good balance between social life and, um, any professional engagements that are classes, et cetera. And the last case, the last one, I would say. Opportunity. I’ve been thoroughly overwhelmed at the number of available fellowships research, assistant ships, um, even like an accelerated master’s programs that pan allows you to take part of as [00:28:00] an undergrad.
Um, and pretty much any opportunity that you’re interested in. There’s probably something at Penn that caters to this. Okay, our next question is, would you say that Penn experiences grade deflation, or inflation? Um, this is a funny question because I don’t know what other schools classes look like. So I kind of have a conception based on what I’ve seen online or from my friends.
And I would say that I think. It depends on the, it depends on the college that you’re in. So I’d say that within the college of sorry, within the school of engineering. I wouldn’t say it’s deflation, but it’s definitely a little bit tougher to get a good grade than it might be in Wharton where the classes are typically [00:29:00] curved to a B plus, which means that about half the students were 30%, at least 30% of the students usually get an a or an a minus in every class.
Um, which I think is a pretty significant portion.
Okay. Our next question is, uh, I did research on UPN and it says that it can cover 100% of a student’s financial needs leaving a student that free when graduating based on your experience and time at Penn, would you agree with. So I’ll caveat anything I say after this, by saying I’m not the financial aid expert.
Um, I would encourage you guys to go to the Penn website and like look at their financial aid page and putting your own information to see the estimation of what you would get. But I’ll say that speaking from my friends’ experiences, this might be a little bit of a. [00:30:00] Misconstrue. Cool. Um, I definitely have friends who are graduating with loans and they are worried about those loans.
So I think that financial aid is definitely a tricky thing to navigate. Um, and I’m not a hundred percent sure that all the students, a hundred percent of the students do not graduate debt free based on my friend’s expense. I would say likely when they say a hundred percent of a student’s financial needs, that’s going to be demonstrated financial need, according to the FAFSA, which does not necessarily mean that you won’t have to take out loans for school.
Um, just to agree with what Amanda said. Um, okay. Our next question is what is the average class? What are the smallest and largest class sizes and are the classes small enough that I can ask for help? Um, average class size? [00:31:00] I think it depends again on the split between introductory classes and upperclassmen specialized classes.
So when you’re a freshman and you’re taking a lot of introductory classes, um, a lot of these class sizes can be. I would say like around a hundred people. Um, and that’s just the people that you’ll be sitting in a big lecture hall with the professor might be teaching multiple sections. So they might be teaching for example, 300 students in one semester.
Um, the smallest class size can be as small as like eight to 10. I’ve definitely had classes that are eight to 10 students, and it’s supposed to be very team-based and very collaborative and you have to participate every class pretty much. Um, but I would say on the whole, a lot of the classes that you’ll end up taking, once you figure out what sort of major you want to pursue, what sort of specialization within that major you might want to pursue, you’ll then have classes that are [00:32:00] probably around 20 to 30 people per class.
And that will be. There will be like three sections, for example. So that one professor will be teaching maybe 90 students. Um, I’d say that these classes are always small enough that you can ask for help. Um, even in the big classes, like for example, because Penn was virtual last semester, they dramatically increase the cap, the.
Pore size of a really popular computer science class. So the professors were pretty much teaching around 500 students, but because it was virtual, that wasn’t a big issue. The way that I was able to ask for help or ask. People for their thoughts on why my code wasn’t working for example, was through both collaboration with other students.
So you would be able to post your question on a big platform called Piatsa and get an answer from multiple students within the day. Um, and at the same time, they have a really robust teaching staff. So when you have these giant classes, if [00:33:00] they know that this is a class where students typically have a lot of questions, then they’ll have a lot of really good TAs who can help you.
Um, and then on the other side, with these like 20 to 30 people size classes, you can definitely ask the professors for help. You can go to their office hours and they also have really great TA’s as well.
Okay. Our next question is what are things you dislike about Penn? Um, I think that something that I’ve noticed about Penn that has been a little bit frustrating is. As a result of this pre professionalism, a lot of students come in with really different ambitions or passions about what they want to do in life.
And by the end of their sophomore year, sometimes they’ll get funneled into one of the really conventional career paths. Um, so for example, within more in finance and consulting, [00:34:00] Investment banking and consulting are two of the most subscribed professions that you go into after graduation. Um, people who want to go into law or people who want to become doctors.
Or people who want to go into social impact, a lot of them ultimately end up getting funneled into one of these two tracks between investment banking or consulting, because that’s what you hear upperclassmen talking about all the time. That’s what is the most transparent in terms of here’s how you prefer, here’s how you prepare for the interviews.
Here’s how you, um, Like go about recruiting for these. And it’s a lot more difficult because there are lower resources and fewer people above you who talk about professions like social impact or product management, um, such that a lot of students ultimately get bottled into really conventional career paths.
And it’s rare to see people doing something super [00:35:00] different at Penn.
Our next question is, what is the campus like at Penn? What are the surroundings like? Um, is it, uh, is it like New York or a small town? So yeah. Could you elaborate on yeah, unfairly? It’s definitely not like New York. Um, as I have been told many times, and I’m originally from New Jersey, so I grew up. Going to New York quite a bit.
Um, but I would say that Penn Philly is really great for us students college sort of city in that it’s different from New York. It’s a lot smaller, it’s a lot quieter. And because we are in university city, which basically just means Penn’s campus is integrated into the city, but it’s not a lot of, you know, Residents who are adults living in the [00:36:00] city of that, of our campus?
Um, it feels, it feels pretty safe. Um, but I would say it feels very. It feels a lot smaller than New York. Um, and it feels a lot more community-based than New York. Because for example, when I walk out of my dorm, um, my dorm apartments, I walk down the street and guaranteed, I will see at least two people that I know.
Um, because even though Penn is situated in the city, it’s pretty much only students at Penn who are living in that area. Um, so in order to actually get into the city city, you have to go by like 10 minute subway. It’s called the SAPTA in Philly. Um, 10 minute public transportation, and then you’ll get into a city that’s a little bit more like Penn.
Okay. Our next [00:37:00] question is what are a couple of specific things that U Penn looks for versus other similar colleges? And similarly, what are a couple of gotchas specific to Penn? So I assume like things that they are not looking for in students. Interesting. Um, I think it, again depends a little bit. On the school that you’re applying to within Penn.
And I keep saying that, but it just shows how important your homeschool within Penn is. Once you are a students on the whole, I’ll say that Penn really looks for an understanding of their culture. So an understanding of practicality, maybe not pre professionalism, but the idea that you can take something that you learned from the classroom and apply it to something that you’re doing in one of your clubs.
Um, so the ability to take what you’re doing and basically, [00:38:00] always think about how does this impact the real world? What does this mean and how can I apply it in the things that I’m doing, not as a part of the class. Um, I think that’s one thing. So experiential learning, interactive learning, practicality, whatever you want to call it.
And the other thing that I think Penn and so much, a lot of other schools look for is just intellectual vitality. So being able to ask a lot of questions, um, being able to draw insights or take initiative and see something new that you can do that other people aren’t doing right now are, or a way that you can improve something.
And one of your high school. Um, and I think the way that it depends on your specific college is really specific to your major. So. For example, we’re in cares a lot about leadership because they’re trying to cultivate the next generation of business leaders. Um, they also care a lot about math and whether or not you’ve taken BC calculus, for example, or how you’ve done in your [00:39:00] math classes.
Because a lot of the classes at Wharton can get very analytical and they do have some sort of quantitative element to it. So they want to make sure that you’re able to handle the academic setbacks. Um, on top of handling all the other things that go on at Penn, like the student life, the social life and things like that.
Um, a couple of gotchas I really would not, I don’t think there’s any specific gotchas that I know of at Penn that are unique to Penn and like other schools might really like ease. So I’ll speak a little bit more broadly at Penn and other similar to your schools. Um, Things that will automatically raise a red flag.
Are if your, for example, if your essay. It’s not specific enough to Penn. So they care a lot about the fact that you’ve done your research. The fact that you guys are all attending to this, attending this panel, listening to what the culture is like at Penn, for example, is fantastic start. [00:40:00] Um, but they care a lot about the fact that you know, that Penn is situated within a city and not a college town or that Penn has, um, opportunities to do.
Um, a specific concentration within Wharton and not a major. Um, so just being able to use the right terminology and use the right, uh, I guess like phrases that capture Penn’s culture is what they would be looking for. And the reverse would be, I guess what you’d call it on.
All right. Our next question is what is the most important part of an application and what is the thing that makes you stand out in Wharton’s applications specifically? So I’ll reiterate quickly what I said about leadership and math. Those are two things that the admissions officers and the admissions committee have spoken about.
We’re in [00:41:00] specifically. Um, but more broadly speaking for what you can do for your application. Now, I think being able to write these essays in a way that emphasizes your intellectual vitality, your interest in business and how you’ve already begun to explore business and how that has generated your interest, such that you actually want to spend four years studying business, um, in college, um, your maybe not your.
Math skills, unless that’s genuinely something that really stands out on your application, but your leadership. So your ability to, um, drive change or take initiative within your school or your community. I think these are all things that if you pick out the right stories can really stand out in your essays.
And so working on your essays right now, I think would be the thing that. Is the most important right now because everything else in terms of your transcripts, your sat [00:42:00] scores, your club, leadership positions, even like those are how those are already set in stone. Almost. There’s not as much you can do to move the needle.
So I would say for people who are really interested in Wharton and Penn in general, focus on your essays and then for Wharton focus on within your essays, bringing out these themes that I’ve mentioned like liters.
Okay. So we’re going to take a quick break in the middle of the Q and a, and I want to let you know what you can do if you want to, um, work with an advisor from our team of over 155 advisors and admissions officers sign up for a free consultation with us by going to CollegeAdvisor.com and clicking the green chat button in the bottom right of the screen.
From there just right in consultation and a live team member will get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with us. All right. And back to [00:43:00] the Q and a, our next question is, um, can you major in two degrees, for example, one in the school of applied sciences and one in the Wharton school without having to do.
Yeah, that’s a really good question. You absolutely can. A lot of people do it. Um, the way that you would go about doing this is you would apply as a single degree into one college. So for example, you would apply into the school of engineering as. Mechanical engineering major. If you realize that your time at Penn, that you are really interested in also learning finance and that, um, there are a lot of ways that finance can supplement your mechanical engineering degree as a freshmen.
And as I think a sophomore in your first semester, you can apply to try not to transfer, to basically take on a dual degree. [00:44:00] Um, and so then what this would be called would be an uncoordinated dual degree. Um, coordinated dual degrees would refer to the programs that you mentioned like M and T, but a ton of students end up taking dual degrees.
The only caveat is that it’s a little bit more work than a coordinated degree, and it’s also a little bit more work than what you would obviously have otherwise. Um, because. These coordinated degrees have a lot of wave, uh, requirements that you can wave that they allow you to wave as part of the degree.
And if you’re uncoordinated and you just kind of do it yourself, then you have to fulfill each of the requirements in each of the schools, which ultimately means that you have to take a lot of class.
Okay, our next question is I’m going to leave high school, sorry with many college credits and was wondering if you knew if they would transfer over or if I would have to retake [00:45:00] classes when I get to Penn. So I think, and I’m not a hundred percent sure on this, but I think that Penn accepts college. From some universities, but not all universities.
So for example, someone that I know who has taken a lot of math classes at the university level, um, that university was not accepted by Penn or was not recognized. So the credits didn’t transfer, um, and he, we took those classes. If your credits don’t transfer, there is an alternative Penn offers. Tests every semester that basically allow you to demonstrate that, you know, your content, and if you score 70% or higher, for example, then you can get that as a requirement.
So for example, I took multi-variable calculus in high school, so I didn’t want to take it again in college. I basically just sat down for a test. It was 14 [00:46:00] questions and. As a result, I was able to get that on my transcript as a credit recognized by Penn. Um, the other thing that I would say is for anyone who is interested in waiting out this kind of an adjacent tip, but anyone who’s interested in waiving out of certain classes, If you take the AP exams now and score four or five, depending on what Penn’s requirement is, that’s often a lot better than taking a college class.
For example, if you take BC calculus, um, and take the AP exam, that will be an automatic wave from certain schools that had.
Okay. Our next question is what research would you recommend doing as we write the why us. Um, I think things that always seem to pop up in WIPAN essays would be student. Because there’s [00:47:00] such a huge part of Penn, being able to understand and help the admissions committee understand how you’ll fit in, not just within the classroom, but also extracurricularly and within the broader Penn community is super helpful.
Um, so for example, if you’ve done a lot of. Um, if you’ve done a lot of robotics in high school, and you want to continue that, but you don’t want to take on, you know, a mechanical engineering major. It’s helpful for your story to kind of link what you’ve done in robotics and say, I’m excited to apply these schools to this, or, sorry, these skills that I’ve picked up, or these experiences to this specific club.
Uh, school of engineering and applied sciences. Um, and so I would just really look for maybe. Two or so clubs that you have a really strong interest in, maybe speak to students who are in that club, reach out. If [00:48:00] you know, people who go to Penn, who could tell you a little bit more about what it’s like to be a student in that club or what they know about the.
And here, like what the genuine experience is. Um, I’d say that, that’s the thing that pops up the most often. Something else that I would just suggest is being able to pinpoint opportunities that are really unique to Penn. So for example, saying that you want to research, um, you want to research, uh, something within biology or you want to research like oncology at Penn is too broad.
Um, you could easily say that you want to do that for Columbia or any other school at a similar level. And that’s something that Penn is going to be looking for. So I would say within oncology, figure out what professor might you be interested in researching with and what is specifically unique and interesting about that professor’s research that you wouldn’t be able to get at another school.
So is it that he developed some new technique on how to, um, [00:49:00] how to do. XYZ or a new treatment. Um, and you’ve actually seen that in action with your friend’s family member or something like that. I think being able to link these really unique and specific elements of what, um, Penn offers into your essays is pretty much, um, what I would recommend when you write your essays.
I will say one more thing about that too, is the process of researching that about the different schools that you’re interested in. Also is we’ll help you figure out which ones are the ones that you are the most interested in because those little details are ended up making a huge difference in your college experience.
Okay. Our next question is how did you make an early decision? Um, I assume, and Hannah correct me if I’m wrong. That means that. Asking why I chose to do earlier. Yeah. And, and how [00:50:00] you, how you decided to apply to the school that you chose? Okay. Um, early decision, I think as someone I mentioned this earlier, but I’m incredibly indecisive.
So this was, I felt like a really big commitment. I was definitely really nervous and wavering back and forth about it for a little bit. Ultimately I felt that pan Y. All the right things that I was looking for in terms of it was close to home, but not too close to home. Um, it was in a city which I wanted, but not a huge city, such that there would be no community.
It was in a city that was situated still within, um, Or the campus was situated in a city, but still within the university community. Um, it had Wharton and because I was interested in business because I was curious about a lot of the business applications of, for example, how the clubs that I buy are priced or why CVS does certain [00:51:00] promotions on these different types of.
Um, medications, for example, um, these are all questions that I was really interested in that I felt like Wharton could help me answer. And then last of all, I think I was a really good fit for the culture because I am a very practical person. Generally, when I do something I think very carefully about what does this mean?
How can I use this in my everyday? Or what is the purpose of what I’m doing? And I think those are the questions that drive a lot of what people do at Penn. A lot of what professors teach at Penn. And so it was just the combination of all of these things that ultimately I felt like early decision to Penn was the right choice for me.
On top of that, I knew that Wharton was incredibly competitive. So I felt that any concerns that I had about Penn were outweighed by the fact that I wanted. Boost in my application and show pan that I was committed to attending. Um, and so that was also a big factor.[00:52:00]
Okay. Our next question is, do you need to pick a major upfront and can you transfer easily later? You don’t need to pick a major upfront. You only need to pick a school. Um, that being said. I think it might be a little bit easier to write your why pen or why this specific school essay when you pick a major.
Um, so for example, if you’re a nursing. There’s a lot that you can write about, um, already, but if you’re applying to the college of arts and sciences, or sorry, if you’re applying to Wharton, it’s hard to talk about what you want to do in business without talking about specific elements of business, like marketing or management that you find.
Interesting. The one thing that I would say is, um, if you’re really unsure about your major, uh, you can always mark it as undecided. For example, the college of arts and sciences have. So many majors that Penn [00:53:00] understands that their students are most likely going to change. And if you’re not sure, and you want to talk about how you like Penn, because it offers you the ability to explore so many majors within the school.
That’s also one way to spend the essay, um, in terms of transfer. You can change your major within your school with no problem. Um, this means that within the college of arts and sciences, if I want to study philosophy and that’s how I apply, uh, no one will care or flag me down. If I say, actually I want to study math.
Um, and I want that to be my major. So you can switch it as many times as you want, as long as you’re on track to graduate within the four years. Um, whether or not you can transfer schools, that’s a different story. So, if you say you want to study philosophy and the college of arts and sciences, and then later realize you want to do computer science, it’s not a tough transition.
Um, but it’s not an easy one either. So there is a little bit of stress [00:54:00] for certain students who, for example, applying to college of arts and sciences, and then realize that they really, really want to do business and Wharton. A lot of students don’t get the transfer. Um, and so I would say that, think about what school you wanna apply to eat like most right now, and just do it from the get-go.
Um, because it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get the transfer. And again, it’s not super competitive. It’s not very tough, but it’s just not required. I know a few of my friends have not gotten the transfers that they’ve applied for.
Our next question is what is the schedule like at U Penn for a student athlete. Okay. Um, again, we’ll caveat this by saying, because I’m not a student athlete, it might be different depending on your school. It might be different depending on your major, but based on what I’ve seen based on my friends who are.
Um, like the track and field team. [00:55:00] Um, I think that typically what I’ve heard is you’ll have practice really early in the morning. You’ll usually have to take a lot of your classes in the morning, like 9:00 AM, for example. And then I’ve heard that you also have practice in the afternoon. Of course, this is something that really depends on your sport because some sports practice more than others.
Um, some. Athletes within the sport practice more than others. For example, if you’re a Catholic within track and field. Um, and so while it is a huge time commitment, a lot of the students that I’m friends with also make time to be a part of other initiatives at Penn. So they still have time. For example, to join a business fraternity.
Um, and make friends there or to join, uh, another club that they might be interested in. So it’s definitely a lot of time, but not prohibitive. [00:56:00] Okay. I think this is probably going to be our last question, but how do you manage time between your studies and homework extracurriculars as well as social life?
This is honestly something that I’m still figuring out myself. Um, I think it’s something that people have had do very well. They tend to have, you know, strong academics. They care about their classes a lot, but at the same time, they care about hanging out with their friends. And so for me, personally, the way that I manage is I will prioritize and most students will prioritize their academics Monday through Thursday.
And then Thursday night or Friday where you might not have as many classes hanging out with your friends. Um, same thing for Saturday, and then Sunday you’ll be back on your app. Um, and then throughout the week at night, so let’s say like 7:00 PM, 8:00 PM on a Monday night or Tuesday night, for example, you’ll also [00:57:00] have club meetings.
So this just means you might have to meet with your team if you’re in a consulting club and you’re working on a team-based project, or it might mean that you have to attend a general. Meeting, which basically just means that you’re going to be sitting in a big lecture hall, hearing a presentation about a certain topic that week that will teach you about investing, for example.
Um, so I’d say that it really depends on the weekday, but it also depends on the person.
All right. Actually, I think we might have time for one more, which will be, um, what is a usual day like in the life of view Penn station? Um, this is so interesting because I feel like I haven’t had a usual day since pre COVID, so I have to think a little bit farther back, but I would say usually I’ll get up around nine [00:58:00] and then I’ll have a lot of people will have classes or be doing score between classes from nine to around four 30.
Um, and then after that, you’ll usually maybe go to the gym and then at night you’ll have one or two club meetings for 30 minutes to an hour. Um, and then after that, I’ll go back to my apartment. I’ll finish up my schoolwork and that’s on a week night. Um, if it’s on, let’s say like a Friday or Saturday, then you might wake up, go to the grocery store, hang out with your friends for a little bit, or grab food with people that you want to catch up.
Um, maybe do some club work during the afternoon or go to the gym and then at night you can hang out with your friends. So for freshmen, maybe that means going to a frat party for upperclassmen, um, that could look like going to a concert or hanging out with your friends in a small group. Um, so it really varies, but I’d say that that’s sort of what the most typical night would look.[00:59:00]
Okay. So I think that will be the end of the Q and a thank you everyone so much for coming. And Amanda, thank you so much for presenting. Awesome. Good luck with your applications, everyone. So this is the end of the webinar. We had a wonderful time telling you about the university of Pennsylvania and here’s the rest of our out our August series.
So, uh, coming up this week is creating a pre-med school list, uh, HBC use and finding scholarships and financial aid. Have a wonderful night, everyone. Bye .