Virtual College Tours: University of Pennsylvania
CollegeAdvisor.com presents its virtual college tour series on the University of Pennsylvania in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Our CollegeAdvisor panelist will share their insider perspectives on what it is like to be a student at Penn. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2021-05-19 Virtual College Tours University of Pennsylvania
Hi, everyone. Welcome to the college advisor, virtual college tour of the university of Pennsylvania. To orient everyone with the webinars timing, we’ll start off with the presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting questions now in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists.
Perfect. I’m Amanda. I’m currently a junior about to go into my senior year next fall, which is crazy. I’m studying business at the Wharton school at U Penn double concentrating, excuse me, in statistics and finance and concurrently. I’m pursuing my master’s in data science which you’ll hear a little bit more about.
But excited to give a brief overview of Penn to start. So Penn is in a city Philly which was one of the main reasons that I actually chose it. I wanted to be in an urban location. It’s a private school with about 26,000 students total, but only 10,000 undergrads. And campus I’ve been told is pretty small.
So just to give you a size estimate of what 300 acres is actually like, it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to walk from one side of the campus to the next. And the student faculty ratio is really good, which means that if you choose the right classes, you can definitely get a lot of face time with the professors of that.
To give up a brief overview of how I approached the college application process. I started quite early. I started the essay writing process in June of my junior year, actually. So about a month from where I am. Right now I’m in my junior year. And at that point I really was only working on the college, the common app, personal statements, since that’s all, I felt like I was really qualified to write about at the time.
And I had like my first draft around that June, but it would go through a lot of revisions before it was right. In that fall, I applied to U Penn early decision and I applied to EA to a handful of schools. And then before I heard back in December 13th, about my ed decision, I would apply regular decision to a handful of schools who had either early deadlines like the UC schools or scholarship deadlines like us.
And I was lucky enough to get an ed, so I didn’t have to go too in depth with the RD process, but definitely I would recommend starting it before you hear back so that you can have some more fun flexibility and not being a writing praise in December in case you don’t get the news that you’re hoping.
Thinking about actually where I wanted to apply to, there were a few main things that I really looked for. Most of the schools, since I’m from New Jersey were on the east coast. So one thing that I cared a lot about was location above all else. I really wanted to be in an urban location, like a city or near a city so that I could have access to pretty much anything I wanted.
Whenever I wanted and preferably I also wanted to stay close to home on the east. Size wise, I wanted it to be big enough that I could walk down campus and not know every single face and continuously be able to meet new people and make new friends out my four years. This was primarily because I had grown up in a town where my college or my high school graduating class was like 200 people.
So I knew everyone in my town and all their families. And I just wanted to shift from. I also this is super vague, but when I visited campus, which I visited most of the schools that I applied, that I was planning to apply to I wanted to understand like what the culture was like, how did it feel to actually be on campus?
What did the students seem like? Did they seem happy when they’re walking down the campus? And then last of all, to be completely honest and blunt I did care about prestige and I also cared about school. For example, I was really interested in business, which is why ultimately chose to ed, to Penn over some of the other schools I was interested in simply because it had really strong business majors and segwaying perfectly.
I chose U Penn because of its business strength. So that’s one of the main reasons Wharton seemed like a really good fit because I thought that business would be a really viable path that would open up a lot of doors. I’m a super indecisive person. So I didn’t want to commit myself to one industry and business.
I knew would allow me to go into healthcare. I would go into consumer retail, finance and I wanted to be able to explore that in college. A few other reasons. One other thing really is I actually lived at Penn over the summer before my senior year. I was staying at Penn because I was in a pet, a pre Penn like summer program.
And as someone who’s pretty risk averse, I liked it. Knowing what to expect if I got into the school since ed is a commitment, I wanted to know that I would enjoy being on campus and I would know what my life would look like, what the buildings would be like. And I think staying at Penn, I really enjoyed my experience here.
I thought that it was like a safe enough choice where I’d be happy. Location. As I mentioned earlier, it was close to home within two hours drive of where I lived and it was in a city like I wanted. And it’s also a medium size, so there’s 10,000 undergrads, 500 students or more, and definitely big enough that still to this day I walked down low and I don’t really know everyone that I’m that I’m surrounded.
So now we have a poll Hannah, if you could activate it, but we’d just love to get a sense of how many of you guys are actually planning to apply to U Penn. And it’s completely fine if you guys aren’t.
Okay. So I’ll give you a moment to respond to the poll.
And then we will now begin the tour, which I’m sure is what you guys were really hoping to see. I’ll start with the library. So the way that this tour is going to work is I’ll go over some of the talking points of what you can expect to see. And then Hannah will play the video of the actual library itself.
And just as a heads up, unfortunately, we can’t go inside the buildings. Campus was closed this semester, but hopefully you guys will be able to see at some point. So I chose to video van pelt library. It’s one of the two libraries on campus. It’s a bit more modern than the one right next to it, which is Fisher fine arts.
It’s more on the east side of campus. Yeah. On one side of the campus, that east side of campus, that’s really where a lot of engineering classes are a lot of nursing classes. And so it’s about 10 minutes from where I spend most of my time in Huntsman, because that’s where most of the business classes are.
So I don’t study too much at van pelt, but inside there is a reading room where you have to be completely quiet. It’s really modern. There’s a lot of sunlight. So it’s a really great place to study. If you’re looking to camp out. Five or six hours an entire weekend were not weekend, but weekend day.
Just because it’s so quiet and lit and everything. So if you could play the video. Thanks, Hannah.
Okay. So that’s been pelt it’s right in front of it is the button. As you guys can see you guys might’ve heard of it before. This is locust. We’ll see it more later. And yeah, it wasn’t in the video, but right next to it actually is fish and fine arts. So they’re within like two minutes of each other.
Okay. Next I’ll speak about the dining hall. I would say this is really only relevant for like mostly freshmen and sophomores who have to be on the dining plan. A good thing about being in Philly is there are so many restaurants on campus and even food trucks that are so much better than dining hall food, and also so much more worth your money.
I actually chose to show 1920 commons, to be honest, it’s probably one of the worst dining halls on campus, but it is the one that is in the most central location of campus for some reason. And you guys might be able to see it in the video. There is an Amazon at Penn downstairs, under commons. And this is just, if you want to order Amazon packages, it’ll get shipped here.
And then there’s also a Starbucks underneath, which was what people call . And a lot of people study there. So really again, only freshmen, sophomores really eat at commons. And oftentimes most people don’t even need a comments because it’s not that good. But yeah,
okay. That’s commons, there’s two levels. And then the love, the ground level is going to be the Starbucks.
Okay. So the dorms, I chose to show upperclassmen housing. But you will see the quad, which is the classic freshmen housing a little bit later. But the dorms that you guys are about to see are called the high rise. There are three really tall buildings which have about like 20 floors Hardwell, Roden, and Harrison.
So I actually lived in Roden in sophomore year with two roommates. Although most people end up living with three roommates in a quad and these buildings are pre furnished and they have pretty much everything that you need. So they have a bed, they have a couch microwave kitchen, so you don’t really need to buy anything.
There is a kitchen, there is a shared bathroom and then usually you’ll. In your own room or you’ll share double there are some cockroaches, but for the price, I would say compared to off-campus housing, it’s like pretty livable and you get what you pay for. And I really liked the high rises because it was really close to where I spent most of my time again, which is in Huntsman, where I had most of my classes.
So that’s Harrison and pretty much they all look the same. There’s like a first level four door. And then as you can see, there’s a ton of floors. And they’re all within five minutes of each other. So it doesn’t really matter which one you live in because yeah. They’re all in the same location.
The most beautiful place on campus. I chose as locust walk just because it has such great energy. It stretches all the way across campus for anyone who hasn’t had the privilege of being on Penn. So if you want to walk from one side of campus to the next you walk on Lopez. And because of that, when you’re walking down the street, you’ll always see people that, you know, but at the same time, because Penn is so big, you’ll see a ton of people that you don’t.
And it just is very lively. You’ll see people who are trying to hand out newspapers, you’ll see clubs campaigning. You might see people playing volleyball and frat house row, house, row. So overall, just the main place that people walk on when they’re trying to go from one place.
So this is starting on the west side of campus. And as you walk all the way down
yes. As you, oh, you can see people like also taking graduation pictures. They’re always on locust. It was really quick, so I don’t know if you guys caught it, but pretty much everything happens on that.
Most psychotic place on campus. I was thinking about putting locus here, but I ended up putting college green just because this is what you always see in all the brochures and cover pictures. This is on the east side of campus. So again, closer to where you would have the libraries closer to where you would have engineering classes.
And so I also don’t really spend as much time here, but this is where people play Frisbee. I like if you sit down and just want to chill there for a little bit, people can pick Nick here. You can like bring your dogs and play on the grass. And the building itself college hall is actually where the admissions hall is, which is potentially why you see it on all the cover photos.
yeah. And the red stuff behind the trees is actually Fisher fine arts, the library. So this is going to be college green itself. Just a huge patch of greenery. You can see people are taking grad photos again, because it is a pretty iconic.
Best memory. This is what I put as the quad. So you guys will get to see the biggest freshmen dorm. This is where I would say most people who are freshmen live. Most people live in the quad and then there’s one other freshmen dorm, which I’ll briefly talk about. It’s called hill and it’s on the east side of campus.
So that’s where engineers and nurses like to. But overall, I would say the quad is just such a place that fosters community. And I didn’t really even realize it until I began living in a different dorm in sophomore year, but in the quad, just everyone knows everyone. It becomes a norm just to walk into someone else’s room and your hall and start hanging out.
It’s very casual and all of my closest friends lived literally within Whoa, 30 seconds from me probably. And that’s something that I didn’t appreciate until I started living in Roden. When suddenly everyone lives like 10 minutes or five minutes from where I actually live. So I have to say that overall, the quad is the place where I have the best memories.
Yeah. And as you can see, the quad is huge. So this is upper quad where there’s one gate and then it spans all the way there. And then as the camera pans to the left, that’s panning towards lower quad and everything that you saw there, that’s all the quad there’s even more inside. That’s just the periphery.
Okay. This might be a little bit stressful. It’s totally okay. If you guys haven’t started yet. As I said, I started in June and I recognize that was crazy early, but we’d love to get a sense of where everyone is. In the college application process. So I’ll just give you guys a moment to respond to that.
Okay. And then just reflecting, a little bit on my overall experience at Penn. There are a lot of things that I really love about Penn, a lot of things, which I’ve talked about, they’re not in depth. But I would say that the flexibility is something that has been especially meaningful to me. As I mentioned earlier, I’m incredibly indecisive, so it took me a really long time to figure it out.
What I was actually passionate about, which is statistics and data science. So I literally bounced between a comparative literature, minor, a comp psy minor, a marketing concentration, English finance statistics. And I took a lot of what I would say seemingly are random classes. But. In the end, when I finally did find the things that I really liked I can still finish two concentrations in finance and statistics and also a masters in four years.
So I think the curriculum flexibility shows that they really do encourage you. Explore your options. And even if you don’t want to take two concentrations or a master’s and you just want your degree and be out of there, like you’ll have a lot of flexibility to take random classes and really explore in college.
Which I think is really perfect and ideal for our college experience, which is one of your last times to actually take advantage of learning for learning’s sake. And I would say one of my least favorite things about Penn is at least in Wharton, the sellout culture. I think a lot of freshmen and sophomores enter pan and they are almost inexplicably and immediately driven towards finance and people who, or consulting and people who.
Come in wanting to be lawyers for like international human rights will end up going into investment banking. And I think that’s the safe path, which is why it happens, but it’s sad to see. I’m also guilty of it because I’m going into consulting. And I think that a lot of us convince ourselves, it’s the stepping stone to doing something else in the future because these pads give you really good skills.
But it’s hard to see. That far down to the road and see if it’s actually something that will bring us to what we ultimately entered college, trying to do, for example, human rights law. Yeah. And things that I just generally think are important to know about Penn. This is obviously tinted by my experience as a business student, but even I think if you’re not important, it’s a really great school for people who love business and the corporate world, almost everyone that I know who isn’t in Morton is taking Wharton classes or taking a Wharton minor.
And I think it’s a really valuable expense. I would say it’s not a great school for entrepreneurs, at least that I’ve seen or people who want to do something off the beaten path. So if you are not a hundred percent sure if you want to do entrepreneurship, or if you want to do something else in business, 99% of the chance, you will end up being drawn towards that someplace.
Being financed or consulting. But overall I think it’s really a wonderful school for people who like to push their limits. I think the people at Penn are always doing something, so they’re always taking on part-time internships. They’re always taking on new clubs, leadership positions along with pushing themselves academically.
And I think that’s definitely helped me grow. Just seeing and being inspired by how much everyone around me is doing. And then finally, this is probably one of the most important things to know about Penn. The culture here is very practical and very professionally oriented. And you can see that in the undergraduate schools that we have business nursing engineering, all of which are pretty pre-professional and sets you up for a specific career path.
And so recruiting and having a job is a very big point of stress here, but it’s also very beneficial and helping you get on top of your shit very early.
Okay. Alrighty. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts. Moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through the 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 panelist gives you an answer as a heads up. If your, what if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not the webinar landing page. Alrighty. So our first question is you mentioned the engineering classes.
So I wanted to know how are you pens, aerospace engineering, and Astros the physics programs. So I wouldn’t be the most qualified person to speak to that specific program. So take everything I’m about to say with a grain of salt. What I do know about engineering is that the. Large, vast majority of people who enter engineering ultimately end up switching their major to computer science.
And the main reason for that is just because going back to the pre-professional culture that’s what is seen as safe. What there are a lot of resources around and so people get drawn to that the same way that people get drawn towards a finance concentration in war.
Our next question is, are students required to live on campus? And if so, can it be waived for someone who has allergies asthma? So students are required to live on campus. When I was a freshman, it was only freshmen who lived on campus, who were required to live on campus. But now Penn recently just changed it, such that everyone is required or everyone who is in freshman and sophomore year.
Are required to live on campus. As for getting waived, I very strongly doubt that they would and most likely what they would do is offer some sort of accommodation because I’m sure a lot of people might be in the same boat as you as well.
Our next question is what is the B E P concentration? The bap concentration which stands for business economics and public policy is a specific concentration in Wharton. So more broadly speaking, any concentration is just four classes, which makes it extremely easy to change your concentration at any time.
This goes back to the flexibility that I was talking about. And I don’t have about concentration, but I have taken that classes. And I do think that they are extremely interesting. They’re very public policy focused. So classes that I’ve taken for example are related to developing economies in countries in Africa and Southeast Asia, for instance.
And it was really enlightening, very different from the corporate finance classes that are required. At the same time next semester, I’ll be taking a bet class. That is I think urban fiscal policy, which is talking about what’s fiscal policy can do to help eliminate in income inequality, which I think is super interesting.
So if you’re going for that more economics and or social impact oriented concentration, I think that would be perfect.
Our next question is, are you able to major in something like mathematics, but then also able to minor in something from a different school at UPN? And if you are, is it common? Yeah, I would say it’s extremely common. I, most of my friends in Wharton are minoring in something in a different school. So a lot of them have, for example, computer science, majors, minors.
A lot of them have, one of them has a cinema studies minor. So that’s completely feasible and you’ll have even classes leftover after that.
The next question is what kind of extracurriculars will stand out for someone looking to apply as a finance major? Given that with COVID the opportunities are very few out there. I think it’s important for us to note that finance is one of the most oversubscribed majors at Penn or at Wharton. So if you want to apply.
As a finance concentration, I would say that having a clear passion and story for explaining why specifically you’re interested in finance is extremely important. For example, I applied as a marketing concentration because that’s what I thought I wanted to do going into Penn. So a lot of my experiences before that were marketing related, whether it was an internship that I had done.
Or even just applying the club leadership roles that I had done that were more marketing focused towards my, like why Wharton essay. And just more broadly speaking, I think having a lot of leadership experiences is extremely important across the board for whatever concentration you want to apply for Wharton.
So I think that would probably be my primary point of view.
Our next question is as a business major, how rigorous were your classes? I would say as a business major, my classes were not rigorous at all to be completely honest. Wharton classes are quite easy. And that’s one of the reasons that I didn’t enjoy it. Some of the concentrations that I tried out, for example marketing, which I took three out of the four classes that I needed to have a concentration, I found to be a little bit too intuitive.
And it seems like there was a lot of overlap and I didn’t feel like I was learning a lot from class to class. So I would say depending on your concentration, most Wharton classes are not that. I would say that statistics is one of the more challenging ones simply because the material is so vast compared to the other concentration classes that I’ve taken.
Our next question is how has the diversity on campus That’s a tough question for me to answer, because I do think that I, my friend group is not necessarily the most diverse but I think Wharton as a whole is quite diverse. There are a lot of affinity groups, sorry, just to clarify. On campus. Okay.
So I’ll speak more broadly to Penn. I think Penn as a whole is quite diverse. Keep in mind that I came from a background where my graduating class was 200 people. Most of them were the same ethnicity. And so I might be a little bit biased, but I do see a lot of Different backgrounds, different interests, different races on campus.
And there are a lot of different affinity groups and a lot of cultural houses and minority centered clubs that I think try to foster this diversity.
Our next question is the sat or act required? Okay. The reason I’m hesitating is because I know a lot of schools changed their policy given COVID, and I’m not a hundred percent sure if they changed them back. I know some of them did and some of them didn’t when I applied the sat or act one of the two was required.
I think that’s most likely what will, what it will be going forward. But because this is. The second year of COVID. I would double check on the website just to make sure that there’s nothing weird going on.
Our next question is how many extracurriculars were you in high school and how much did you think that affected your acceptance into Penn? And I guess also what extra credit. Okay. High school. Yeah, that’s a quite a common question. So I’ll say my main extracurriculars. I think there were three. I was in key club, very heavily involved.
And in my last year I was president, I was in. I was a firefighter, a volunteer firefighter, and that was also a big time commitment. And by my last year I was C3. So that’s assistant chief of the junior department. And then I was in the school newspaper, which I had been in all four years. And by the end I was editor in chief.
So I think those are the three main ones that I spent all my time in the others. The common app gives you seven places. 10 places total. So seven other places to list out activities. And I had a handful of activities and I filled out the 10 spots that you had, but really, I think those are the three that made a difference because they were the ones that I spent the most time on the ones that I had the biggest impact on because I had ended up taking leadership positions in each of them.
And also the ones that I had shown a lot of dedication towards by being involved for three to four years. I think that it didn’t affect it affected my acceptance into U Penn by simply being there. I think it would have been a red flag if I had no extracurriculars, but I don’t think it matters so much what you do as simply showing that you’re very dedicated and passionate about what you’re doing as well as showing that you have leadership positions, even if it’s just one leadership position.
I think that’s also always very beneficial.
Our next question is what are some secrets you can let us in about you pen like that one. I like this one too. I guess I’ll think about this from a, what do students who, what do students who are applying rarely find out? And I think most people who talk about Penn, especially because they go there are reluctant to say, yes, Bad about Penn.
So I’ll say that, I think there’s a common misconception that Penn is very cutthroat. I know that one of my friends, when she got in, she was like, oh my God, I heard that students like rip out the pages of textbooks so that you can’t study for from those pages. And I’d say that the that’s not true.
People here don’t try to sabotage each other. Not that I’ve ever seen. But I will say that the competition manifests itself in a way where people are always seeing if they can do more than the next person. And sometimes that’s good because it pushes you to challenge yourself. But sometimes it can also be a little bit toxic.
So you have to really be able to figure. What you can actually manage. And if you’re doing things for the right reasons, because a lot of times you’ll see people taking on extra internships over winter break, or people will be like getting, taking seven classes when the norm is supposed to be four to five or like joining five clubs.
And you’ll feel a lot of pressure from that. But ultimately I think once you have gone through the process and figured out what matters to you, it helps you figure out what your limited.
Our next question is, does U Penn accept dual enrollment credits? I don’t think I’m the most qualified person to answer that primarily because I’m not a hundred percent sure of what dual enrollment credits are, but if I’m right writing, oh, go ahead here. Oh, I was just going to say, I think it’s if you pass an AP test.
Oh, does that mean you can take one less class? Absolutely. It depends on the AP exam. So for example just again, going back to Wharton, because that’s the curriculum I’m familiar with. I took AP econ, both econ exams, and then if you get a five, then you can pass out. Econ 10, which is the introductory econ class that most students have to take.
If dual enrollment credits are referring to if you are enrolled in college and you get credit, I’m actually not a hundred percent sure. My only experience with that is my friend’s roommate took a bunch of math classes at the local university public university. Yeah. Minnesota or something and he was not allowed to transfer them.
So it doesn’t apply in all cases. And I would be careful to look on the website to see if your specific case applies.
Our next question is what is the social life like at Penn? When I applied at least I think things might have changed given COVID a little bit, but Penn was known as B. The social IB. And so I would say Penn definitely does have a very work, hard play, hard culture for a lot of people. And so that means that people will work really hard, like Monday through Wednesday, but Wednesday through Saturday, a lot of people will go out.
A lot of the social scene, especially for freshmen and sophomores revolves around like frat parties. There’s like bars on campus. If people have. Like under like fake IDs. But overall I would say that the social life takes place primarily in in that scene, at least when you mentioned it, that’s the first thing that I think about.
But then at the same time, I’d say that people at Penn are very social, always excited and eager to like even just grab coffee. So there’s definitely a vibrant social scene beyond just the drinking frat culture.
Our next question is what on your application do you think helped you the most on your acceptance? I think that’s a really good question. Honestly, I’ve asked myself that several times and I wish I had an answer, but I can only have an like a guess. And I would say that I think probably my recommendation letters are.
Helped me stand out because everything else, I think leadership positions, good grades. Those are all things that like anyone can achieve if they work hard enough throughout high school or a lot of people can achieve. So I think that my relationships with my teachers and I was fortunate enough to go to a very small school where I could build these very close knit relationships probably helped my application stand out.
But again, I really can’t say.
Our next question is there a different application process for each school? And can you switch schools sometime during your enrollment at UPN? That’s also a really good question. Yes, there is a different applicant. There is a different application process in that you’ll have to write your essay tailored to the specific school that you want to apply to.
So there’s going to be either like you, you’re going to want to write about why Wharton or you’re going to want to write about why engineering, for example can you switch schools? Yes, it might be difficult. So for example, it depends which way that you’re switching. If you’re switching, for example, from.
We’re into the college of arts and sciences. It’s a little bit easier because the college of arts and sciences is very big. They have a lot of, they have more room and not too many people try to make that switch. If instead you’re trying to transfer from, let’s say the college of arts and sciences into Wharton, then it’s a little bit tougher because a lot of students try to transfer into Wharton.
So there’s not as much capacity. And you’ll have to write an application for any school that you want to transfer into. So I would just advise. Figuring out what you’re really interested in and just applying to that school from the get-go instead of potentially trying to transfer and not making it, because I do know a lot of people who have tried to transfer schools and couldn’t and they were ultimately not happy with the major that they took on.
Our next question is, does the school help with job placement before grad students grad?
I want to say yes, but it’s not, it depends. I think the resources are there if you seek them out. So Penn career services is very helpful. They have specific career advisors for each undergraduate school. So there’s one specific two specifically for Wharton, a few specifically for nursing, et cetera.
They are very helpful in my experience, they’ll also set up opportunities where you can get mock interviewed and they will also do mock interviews if you sign up for the slots. But I will say that 90% of your job placement comes from your own preparation, as well as the people that you know who are upperclassmen, who can actually help you out.
Have gone through the process. So while the resources are there, I think that more resources that are more helpful, like elsewhere in the school.
Our next question is how does early action work and how many schools can you apply to early action? What are the pros, cons, et cetera, especially in terms of your own, the choices that you made. Early action. So I, for anyone who might not know, no early action is separate from early decision.
Early decision is binding. Not all schools offer the ability to apply early decision and early action has two types. There are single choice, early action, and then there’s simply early action. Single choice. Early action schools are Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford. If you choose to apply there, you can’t apply early decision and you can’t apply to any other school early action.
I believe. What I did is because I applied early decision to Penn, I applied to non-binding early action schools, which basically means I’m just submitting my application by the November 1st deadline for early consideration. So I’ll hear back earlier than I would if I applied regular decision. But if I get accepted, I don’t have to go.
What, how many schools can you apply to early action? You can apply to any school that offers non-binding early action that you have the capacity for. So I applied to Rutgers, which is the New Jersey state school. I applied to UVA, which offered early action. Was planning to apply to, oh, I applied to MIT and U Chicago and I was also planning to apply to U Michigan.
But the application was really long and I didn’t feel comfortable with where my essays were. So I chose to defer that to regular decision. And I would say the pros are 100%. I would urge anyone who is about to be a senior to apply early actions. If you are able to schools, that would be safeties.
Just because by the time. You get these decisions back. If you don’t get into your top choice school, at least you’ll have the comfort of knowing that you’re going to be going to college. So applying to an early action safety, for example, My school, which was Rutgers is super helpful. And most, I think public state schools have early action.
The cons is just, it’s like all about a trade-off with your time and resources time that you spend on an early application. Means that you’re spending less time polishing your personal statement or less time that you’re spending on your, for example, why Penn supplements. So it all depends on if you have the capacity to actually be able to hit that submit button and be happy with all the applications that you submitted.
Our next question is what are some of the internships that you took both before or, and after getting into Penn. Okay. I’ll say in high school I took two main internships. They were unofficial, like mostly just learning. One of them was official, but I would say mostly for me, they were about the learning opportunity.
So I worked at a retail startup and I worked with their marketing side. And it was mostly a way for me to explore both retail, entrepreneurship. What’s marketing might be like, and then. I also took on a random internship in cyber security. In the year after, in the summer, after I graduated, it was very low commitment.
It was like three hours for three days a week or something. So it was super low commitment. Honestly looking back on it. I don’t know why I took it. I think knowing myself was probably just something that I wanted to do over the summer since it was a relatively free summer for me, and a good way to explore something that I had no idea about before then.
And then in college internships that I took, I’ll say after my freshmen year, Went back as a TA for one of the Penn programs. Since I had such a good experience, I wanted to give that back to other people. At the same time, I was doing research for a professor in Wharton. And I learned R which is a coding language for data analysts.
And then after my sophomore summer or after my sophomore year originally, I was going to be doing a branding consultancy internship in New York. Because of COVID I had to pivot really quickly because that got canceled. And I ended up working in venture capitalism. And then this summer I haven’t actually started my internship, but I will be working in BCG as a consultant.
Pretty much doing management consulting. So exploring a bunch of different industries. Hopefully
our next question is can you get an accelerated MBA with four years at Wharton? And how does that work? You can get an accelerated MBA, but you can’t get it in four years. I think you have to do five years, so it’s four years of undergrad and then one year of an MBA, Wharton. And that is, I believe, assuming that you are a Wharton undergraduate students and you have to apply for the program.
I don’t know what the acceptance rate is. I actually don’t know anyone who did it. So I really can’t speak too much to. What the process of applying is, but the opportunity does exist.
Okay. We’re going to take a quick break in the middle of the questions. All of these are wonderful. So keep them. And I want to tell you what you can do. If you want to work one-on-one with an advisor from our team of over 155 advisors and admissions officers, you can sign up for a free consultation with us by going to college advisor.com and clicking the green chat button in the bottom, right of the screen from there, just write in consultation and a live team member will get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation.
All right. And we’re going back to the Q and a, our next question is, do you believe you need to have perfect grades such as straight A’s to get into U Penn? Or is it okay to have a few BS, especially when taking money, AP classes.
Yeah, absolutely. So I think that, sorry, not absolutely. You need to have straight A’s absolutely. To the second option. It is okay. To have a few lower grades on your transcripts. Especially in the context of taking a lot of APS or. Other acts, not extenuating circumstances, but other circumstances that might make it difficult for you to attain straight A’s.
So for example, if you are working a side job to help support your family, that’s something that matters a lot more to Patton and other schools. Tier than having straight A’s. I would also say it depends on what other people in your school like school are getting. So if it’s not common for people at your school to be able to achieve straight, A’s if your course load and your P your teachers are extremely difficult and no one’s getting an a in that class.
Colleges will see that. Because they’ll have a report about what the average GPA is, et cetera. And so no one will expect you to have straight A’s when no one else in your school is getting them. Although obviously it would be a plus.
Okay. So we haven’t been an international student who is wondering what is the most important part of the application for U Penn. Okay. I think the application it’s going to be the same for both international and domestic students. I would say that it’s, I can’t say for U Penn specifically, this is the one thing that they’re looking for.
That’s different from other schools across the board for Ivy league tier schools. I would say that having a really strong. Story is incredibly important because as I alluded to earlier, a lot of people will have these straight A’s. A lot of people will have really strong sat or act scores.
And a lot of people will have leadership positions in their extracurriculars. You don’t need all those things to be a competitive applicant, but the thing that will make you stand out when it’s so hard amongst like everyone who is applying is being able to articulate. Who you are beyond the numbers.
So what are the things that you’re passionate about? How does that lead you to Penn? And I think that across the board, no matter what college you’re applying to, being able to make your essay stand out is one of the things that really stands out to admissions officers.
Our next question is what are the requirements to graduate? I think that’s a pretty vague question. I can’t really speak to the requirements to graduate because it depends on what undergraduate major you’re in. So for example, engineering will require more credits and classes to graduate than some of the other schools.
So I would just take a look on the website that would be able to give you a more detailed breakdown of what sort of classes you need to actually graduate from Penn.
our next question is what are Penn’s bad qualities or what do you think they can do some improving on? That’s a really good question. I can only speak to what I personally see as Penn’s bad quality. Some other people might really like it. I would say that one of the things that I alluded to earlier is I think people at PAC.
And I don’t know if this is different at other schools, but people at Penn tend to just flock to what is popular. Ultimately many people end up giving up what they’re passionate about. So whether that’s computer science, technology, tech finance consulting, I think that there’s like definitely a big culture and a lot of resources dedicated specifically to industries that People come in, not necessarily being interested in something else that I think is very tiring at Penn is there’s like a culture to fake how good you’re doing.
And I think that this is similar at other schools at Stanford, they call it like something about the duck, like floating duck syndrome or something at Penn, we call it Penn face. Like people pretend like they have it all together when they are, they feel like they’re falling apart. And I think. Because of that, that can contribute to a toxic mental health culture at Penn.
And then building off of that. The last thing that I would say is at Penn, the mental health resources, what we call caps isn’t very well-resourced and it’s not very strong. And I think it’s an especially important part of Penn that we could improve upon.
Our next question is, can we get a glimpse of your story if that’s okay? Yeah, so I’m not a hundred percent sure what you mean by story, but if you’re referring to. What I was saying earlier about making your story really passionate and telling them what you’re passionate about. I can say that my story primarily revolves around my love for writing.
So for the longest time, I really wanted to be an author. I. When I was in middle school, like a manuscript that I submitted to Rick Ray Jordan’s publisher, because I was obsessed with Percy Jackson. So I talked a lot about how I just loved writing and how that led me to be curious about a lot of the things around me, just because I was looking for story ideas all the time.
So I was paying attention to a lot of the things around me, and then I was questioning them. And as you can see, like my personal statement was completely unrelated to the major that I wanted to be or any of the majors that I was applying as. And it was really just a story about who I was, my intellectual curiosity, what I was interested in learning about and thinking about in my everyday life.
our next question is how much financial aid does U Penn give out and what determines the amount of financial aid you received? So I, again, I’m not really a financial aid expert, so I don’t want to mislead anyone. I believe that there should be some sort of calculator on Penn’s website that if you input the information, they’ll give you an estimate.
And in order to actually get financial aid, you have to submit a form. So for example, the FAFSA form along with your application, and then when you get your decision, I think a few weeks later, you’ll get your financial aid award and you’ll be able to tell there, but I really can’t speak too much to the general like structure of financial aid.
Our next question is what’s something you wish you knew before applying or attending? I honestly, this, I dunno if this is answering the specific question that you were looking for, but I wish that I had. Been more open minded to different things at Penn. So I went in thinking that for sure, I would be a marketing concentration.
I hated finance. And that’s what I think. Would be my path. And so as I was exploring different requirement classes to fill out my general education requirements or my Wharton requirements, I realized that I was interested in a lot of things that I didn’t think I would be. So for example, statistics, my whole life.
My dad is a statistician. My sister’s a data scientist. So I really wanted to take a different path, thought that I would hate doing the same thing as them. And ultimately it ended up being the thing that sparked most of my interests. And so I really just wish that I had before applying and attending been more eager to explore, and that’s not specific to Penn, but hopefully can be still useful advice for anyone that’s.
Our next question is how is U Penn different from other great schools and who is the ideal U Penn student? So I can’t speak too much to other schools because I haven’t really attended other schools, but I can speak comparing my experience to my friend’s experiences. So I think again at pan the opportunity.
Are not narrow, but they seem narrow. So it seems like if you don’t know what else you want to do, the only options available are tech, finance consulting for people who are in engineering more and in the college of arts and sciences, obviously nursing has a different path. And. I would say that compared to other schools, it doesn’t seem really the case.
So for example, my best friend goes to Stanford and there’s much less of a culture to go into like corporate finance. And there is at Penn and she doesn’t know what exactly she wants to do, and she’s completely okay with it. And I think that’s the nature of everyone at Penn seems like they know what they’re doing already.
They have sometimes people have their full-time job by the time that they are a sophomore in their spring semester. And that just puts a lot of pressure on students here to feel like they have to figure out what they’re doing. And I don’t believe that. At other schools that I’ve seen at least at the same time, the other school that I might be able to speak to is like U Chicago which was the other school that I really liked when I had visited.
And I don’t know if this is actually the case, cause obviously I didn’t apply to U Chicago or I didn’t attend U Chicago, but I would say that you, Chicago seems much more. Focus on intellectual curiosity and learnings for learning sake. Whereas people at Penn, I think are more focused on practical.
Like how can this skill serve me in the real world? Sort of mentality. So I think the ideal person for U Penn is probably someone who is very practical minded, who always wants to make sure that they’re doing something that will be like very applicable in the future. Whether that. Not learning a random language that they’re never gonna use again, or whether that’s like taking a class that is they’re going to be able to speak about in an interview.
And then at the same time, I think people at Penn are generally more social. And so you don’t have to be an extrovert to be at Penn, but I do think people at Penn tend to have more more, like more focused on. The social side of things, whether that’s grabbing coffee with people or whether that’s like going to a frat party or something.
So I’d say that those are the two main qualities that jump to mind.
Our next question is at Penn. Is there flexibility in the courses you take? For example, if you’re majoring in engineering, can you take art classes? Yeah, a hundred percent. There’s a lot of flexibility engineering. There’s a little bit less flexibility because there are so many classes you have to take.
But it is very doable to get a minor on top of engineering and a lot of people even get second majors.
Our next question is. I you’ve explored this a bit, but what careers have recent graduates gone on to? Yeah, so a lot of people go into investment banking and this is true, not just for Wharton, but for Penn in general. Most of the college of arts and sciences students that I know ultimately end up recruiting for investment banking which is just it’s the main thing that you do when you want to go into finance.
And it’s if you want to help a company IPO, for example, an investment bank is what we’ll do that. If you want to merge with another company and investment bank, we’ll help you do that. The second one. I think career path would be consulting specifically management consulting. So if you’ve heard of like McKinsey, that’s like probably the most well-known management consultant firm.
And you’re basically helping businesses and companies solve some of their biggest issues. So for example, why are profits going down? How do we respond to COVID when no one’s shopping at malls? How do we enter this new market should be launched this product questions like that? And then I’d say the third, most, the third biggest career that I’ve seen ends up being in the tech industry.
So if that’s a lot of people go into software engineering or software development engineering specifically comps, I majors go into that and then. The last thing I would say would be product management. This is also tech and product management is the intersection of tech and business. There’s some coding, there’s some business and consulting.
So for people who might enjoy the intersection of those three,
okay. I think this is probably going to be our last question, but what is a typical day on campus? Okay. I’ll speak to pre COVID and what I think post COVID would be like, since by the time you guys enter college, hopefully COVID, won’t really be a thing anymore. I’d say like classes, most people would probably have.
Somewhere between two to three to four classes in a day, each class is about 90 minutes. And then once you’re done with classes, there’ll usually be a lot of meetings and not a lot, but let’s say one or two club meetings where those will probably be an hour each. So if you’re depending what sort of club you’re in, it might be like you’re presenting something like research that you did, or if you are in a performing arts group, you might have rehearsal at night.
That will be like three to four hours where you’re just spending time practicing with your teammates. And aside from that, it’s really up to you. A lot of people will choose to go to the gym. A lot of people will choose to like, Coffee chat other people. So for example, if you know someone in a club, who’s an upperclassmen and you want to catch up and learn a little bit more about their career path, you’re going to ask to grab coffee with them.
So that might be 30 minutes to an hour, depending on like how well you guys get along and how much time everyone has. And I’d say that’s probably what the typical days are usually comprised.
Awesome. So I think this’ll be the end of the Q and a thank you everyone so much for coming out tonight. And thank you, Amanda, for presenting. Yeah. I hope this was helpful and good luck to everyone who is working on the college applications.
This is the end of the webinar. We had a wonderful time telling you about the university of Pennsylvania and here’s our homemade webinar series. So tomorrow we have a a webinar on creating a passion project in high school. And next week we have Cornell and Yale universities. Thank you everyone so much for coming out.
And I hope you have a good night.