The best thing about Penn is the opportunity to do just about everything. My activities range from costume designing for musi...
The best thing about Penn is the opportunity to do just about everything. My activities range from costume designing for musicals to singing light opera to the sport of curling to being a big sister for a student in West Philly. Being in the city provides a great outlet for many of the classes and extra curriculars - there are classes about the art, music, and architecture just to start. But there is enough going on on campus that you needn't go into center Philly if you don't want to. Penn is an Ivy, and a good one at that, so the work load is consistantly heavy. But, as evidenced from how involved everyone is, work rarely gets too overwhelming. And activity groups know that school wrok comes first, exxpecially during Mid-terms and Finals. One of the things I love most about Penn is the sense of community. The dorms have a lot of programming to get the Halls together and involved. Also, each activity gets you involved in a community. It's really easy to make really strong friendships this way.
The student body at Penn is diverse but excepting. On the whole the students are liberal, both in politics and acceptance of other students on campus. I think every and any person can find a place to fit in at Penn. Although some of the richest students stand out, there are litterally people from every class, every state, and most countries.
Penn does have more Jewish students than some of the other Ivys, but it's not Brandeis. Penn is very diverse and this includes religion as well as ethnicity. The Asian steretype comes from students that are not used to being surrounded by a diverse student body but it is no way a bad thing or an overwhelming amount. All the schools within the University are at Ivy level, and although they are all different, every student at Penn works hard. The only stereotype I'd say has some truth is about Wharton. It is the hardest school to get into at Penn, and lots of the students have a lot of money there. As to the partying, it is common but not a necessity. I wouldn't say it is more than other colleges. The frat scene is very accessible but not overwhelming. If you are looking to drink you'll have no trouble but if the opposite is true, you'll also have a great time.
As with any middle to large University, there are some large lecture classes. Introduction classes in Economics, Psychology, and Calculus can get up to 200 students. But all lectures ahve small recitation where once a week you meet in a group of about 15 to discuss the lecture and ask questions. All the professors and recitation leaders are available through office hours and before and after class to help you - they want to you to succeed. Most of the grades in most of the classes are normalized, but there is some competition to be above the average. Grades are most competitive in Wharton (the business school). Penn does have quite a few requirements, but most of them you can fill with classes you'd take anyway. They are distribution requirements, meaning a subject you can satisfy with one of twenty or so classes. The professors I've had have been very good and knowledgeable in their topics. Although they are some of the best in their fields, they have been willing to discuss with me after class or schedule a meeting with me. The only time I've had trouble with a teacher is in recitation, where many of the grad student teachers speak limited english.
There is so much to do at Penn! You'll find yourself having to skip one event for another and wish there were more hours in a day! If Greek life is your scene, there is a frat for every type of person. There is a great cafe featuring local and popular music as well as occasional political speakers, and if you venture into the Center City you can find anything. In my dorm, everyone props their doors open when they want company or goes out into the study lounge to have big group study sessions. The dorm staff sponsors cookie nights and tv dinner parties to get the dormmates together. Buildings on campus with regular events include the Women's Center, the Writer's House, the LGBT center, the student union, and each college house individually. Also, many sports and clubs have social gatherings to foster a sense of community.
Upenn is stereotypically Jewish and Asian. The girls are Harvard-Westlake girls (rich Cali girls) in Uggs, Burberry, and Seven Jeans. The business school is stereotyped to have a lot of Indians and the engineering school to have a lot of East Asians. And within the University different schools stereotype each other. Wharton is rich and stuck-up, Engineering is nerdy an overworked, nursing is all girls and disconnected from all others, and the College of Arts and Sciences is lovingly referred to as the College of Arts and Crafts. Also, Upenn is considered the "Party Ivy" in that we are supposed to party harder and/or more often than other Ivy League Schools.
Best thing about Penn: location. One thing I'd change: the admission rate. Size: just right. How people react: they immediate...
Best thing about Penn: location. One thing I'd change: the admission rate. Size: just right. How people react: they immediately become more interested in what I'm saying because they assume I'm a genius. Where I spend most of my time: at the boathouse. College town mos def. School pride: I think so. Most frequent student complaints: dining.
Students that would feel out of place: Palestinians. Different type of students interations: never happens. Four tables in the dining hall: table of jocks, table of giggling girls, table of people from Stouffer, table of the awkward girl who always eats by herself. Where most students are from: PA, NY, NJ. Financial backgrounds: rich. Politics: mostly center or right. most students are apathetic. Do students talk about earning potential: yes.
for the most part
Professors don't know my name. Favorite class: ASL. Least: Writing seminar. Student study time: I'd say fairly morderate. Class participation: higher than I'd thought, less substantial than I'd thought. Intellectual conversations: no. Students' competitiveness: not irrationally so. My major: ditzy girls.
Dorms open: no. Athletic events: football's pretty popular. Guest speakers get good audiences. Theatre... not if they're from the Theatre dept. Closest friends: they live in my residence hall. Awake at 2am: I'm not. I have to go to practice. Fraternities/Sororities: you'll know at least 6 people who are pledging, probably more, and from different groups that you know. Last weekend: went to Center city for a movie. Saturday nights: go to a comedy event, check out Center city, do work.
either all Jews or all asians
The reputation and academics are the best. I'd change the diversity. Too small. They don't know it's Ivy League. Studying in ...
The reputation and academics are the best. I'd change the diversity. Too small. They don't know it's Ivy League. Studying in a study room. Not a college town. Admistration tries to be helpful. Controversy regarding Islamo Facism Week. Not much school pride. Not really. My friends. Too hard/too much work.
I love diversity and try to get as much as possible but often, people stay within their cultural groups. A lot of left people. money orientated
Some, but not really. Favorite class is cross cultural awareness and least favorite is accounting. Study a lot. Yes common. I like wharton. too hard, tho
Frats/sorororitie and performance groups. I study a lot on some weekends and then go out every ngiht on other weekends
Rich, snobby, smart, Jewish, superficial, pre professional
The first thing to understand about Penn is that its in Philadelphia- WEST Philadelphia. While Philadelphia has a lot to offe...
The first thing to understand about Penn is that its in Philadelphia- WEST Philadelphia. While Philadelphia has a lot to offer as a city, West Philadelphia has never felt like the nicest nor safest area to live in, despite Penn's efforts to increase public safety. It is also separated from center city Philadelphia by a river, so a lot of students tend to stay near campus. The neighborhood and its separation from the city action are probably the biggest downsides of Penn (tied with the fact that most of the kids here are pretty sheltered and freshman year think that drinking themselves into a stupor constitutes "fun")... The good news is that the school is a perfect size and the campus is nice. There is a central walk so you often run into people you know on the way to class, and never feel lost in the crowd. There is a pretty good amount of internal school pride, but unfortunately a lot of people outside the Penn community seem to have never heard of Penn. We have t-shirts that say "Not Penn State" for this exact reason. If I could change anything at Penn I would change this. It has proven to be a setback when applying for jobs to be lumped in with all the other state school applicants.
While Penn has a widespread mix of students, the general population is pretty socially conservative (although politically the school is liberal). As a Southern Californian I have never quite felt at home at Penn. The students seem very preppy to me and had a much different high school experience than I did. The best way to explain this is: when I am with Penn students I feel like I am with my younger brother or sister. Most of the things they experience for the first time when coming to college- drinking, being away from home, going out, relationships etc.- the kids where I'm from experienced at 15. While this is not true for everyone, overall the maturity level here is a little low compared with other schools. That being said, there is a large enough population that people tend to find their place. A lot of students wear sweats to class, a college thing I will never understand. Uggs and leggings seems to be a pretty popular combo among the northerners. The rest wear jeans, various outfits...it varies. You can wear anything to class and it won't seem strange.
There is definitely a large contingency of Jewish and wealthy people at Penn, but I don't think it by any means defines the school. There is a pretty diverse student population, although the majority of students seem to be from the northeast. I don't know how Penn compares to the other ivies in terms of being the party ivy...but there are a lot of people both at the bars and in the library on the weekend so I don't know how accurate that stereotype is.
The professors here are amazing. Most of my classes have had less than 20 students and almost every professor I have had knows my name and stops to say hi when I see them outside class. My favorite classes have been the small seminars (which is about 80% of the classes I have taken). I took a writing seminar freshman year titled 'Beastly Visions and Talking Creatures,' which is my favorite class to date. It was basically an animal rights class disguised as an English class and the teacher was an eccentric woman that reminded me of Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. She took us to local restaurants and farmers markets that advocated free-range and fair treatment of animals (translation- free delicious food and a class for a good cause). My least favorite class was one of the intro classes for the Communication major (awful professor) and a geology class (I am not a fan of the general requirement at Penn, although they did reform the requirements starting with the class 2 years behind me). The students here are amazingly intelligent, and it is not rare to be engaged in intellectual conversations outside class. While they are competitive, in the College this is not as noticeable as it is in Wharton where the curves are stronger. The education in the College (liberal arts) is very theoretically based. It is academia for learnings sake. Very little of what I have learned has practical application for getting a job. The other 3 schools within Penn- Engineering, Nursing, Wharton Business School, take a much more practical approach to education. Wharton students practically have jobs handed to them when they graduate.
Students in dorms leave their doors open for the most part (or at least they did when I was a freshman). The freshmen dorms (particularly the Quad) are great. There is an instant community and they put on tons of activities. There are hundreds of organizations at Penn. In terms of Greek organizations, there is a presence but it is not overbearing. I am in a sorority but most of my closest friends aren't. There is lots to do outside of the Greek system. The social and dating scene here is not my favorite. Penn is renowned for its population of rather unattractive guys. Most college students don't seem to want to 'tie themselves down' though so the lack of a good dating scene may not be a problem. 2am Tuesday I am definitely last-minute writing that essay that's due Wednesday.
Jappy, smart, rich, international, spoiled kids. Penn is also considered the "social ivy."
Hmm, I think Penn is just right in size for me - not too large or small. The ten minute walk between Engineering and the high...
Hmm, I think Penn is just right in size for me - not too large or small. The ten minute walk between Engineering and the high rise dorms is just bearable enough, and the public transportation, albeit a little shitty, is so incredibly convenient. Downtown Philly is awesome, although I do wish I had more time to check it out. School pride is not very big here, which is kinda sad - probably because our sports teams (in particular, football) aren't very good and the focus is on academics. Anything unusual? Well nothing that would make me live here for the rest of my life, but I think Penn has its own loving embrace and Locust Walk on the first night of deep fall and in the spring is simply beautiful.
Not at all. Yes there are the few here and there who are like that, but really in general all the people I've met are great kids - people who have really cool backgrounds and experiences and ideas!
Well, when I first thought of Penn, images of groupies of WASPs with popped collars and baby blue polo shirts would flood my mind. I had always thought Penn was way too preppy and full of people who were too full of themselves.
The best thing about Penn is its social scene - we have a great mixture of scenes and there's something for everyone. You can...
The best thing about Penn is its social scene - we have a great mixture of scenes and there's something for everyone. You can go downtown into downtown Philadelphia and party at a club, go to one of the many campus bars, or head to a frat party. Also there's always something going on, regardless of what day of the week it is. When I tell people I go to Penn, what they say really depends. The average person will immediately say, "Oh, Penn State?" or just assume that it's Penn State and ask me something about our football team. However, most people who "matter" (i.e. people who you want to know about Penn such as employers and what not) are always impressed, especially if you're in Wharton. I spend most of time either at the one or two frats in which I know the most guys or at one of two campus bars, Blarney and Smokes (when I go out). University City (aka West Philadelphia, where Penn is) is a great balance of college town/not college town. We have the city right there, within walking distance when it's nice out (or a 5 dollar cab ride when it's not!) so we can do that. But at the same time, Penn has a distinct campus and everyone living in this area is for the most part affiliated with the University. It's great to have bars to go to where everyone is in college. I think the administration of Penn is fine, but they're a little bureaucratic - but then again, what administration isn't? Change tends to take a long time around here, even if it seems it's something that should obviously be done. The biggest recent controversy is the departure of our Dean of Admissions, Lee Stetson. No one was told why he left - it's this giant secret - but everyone kind of assumes it was for something illegal, like sexual harassment or something. it's making the school look really bad because they're doing this giant cover up. I don't think Penn has that much school pride. As far as sports go, there are certain groups of people who get into it, and I definitely like going to football and basketball games(no one cares about any other sport). We have traditions that we do at each game, and Penn itself has some great traditions (i.e. Spring Fling, Hey Day, Senior Week, etc), but in general people are sort of apathetic about school spirit.
I think any student would fit in comfortably at Penn. I myself am multiracial and have found no problem fitting in. There are definitely distinct groups for every kind of race, religion, etc. There is a huge dichotomy in what kids wear to class - a lot of people show up in sweatpants and a fleece, but then there are the girls in skirts and heels. I'd say the average student just wears jeans and a tee shirt. Some groups at Penn definitely self-segregate. For example, there is a dorm that is predominantly African American, and I feel like that community sticks to itself. The same holds true for a lot of the Asians, South Asians, and Jewish people on campus. This is why I've avoided getting stuck in one group. In the dining hall, the four tables would be: a table of athletes, because they tend to stick together; a table of nerdy kids with textbooks out; a table of African American students; a table of random kids with seemingly nothing in common. I'd say the majority of people are from New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. California, Texas, and Florida also have a large representation.
We are definitely the Social Ivy - having experienced many other Ivy social scenes, I can for sure say that Penn's is number one. I feel like people here have a great balance of work and play - we get our stuff done and we're all smart, but we know how to go out and have a good time. As far as being preppy/stuck up, there are definitely people like that here but I'd say the majority aren't that way at all. Although, I do admit that most people have a superiority complex when it comes to students from Drexel - no one really wants to associate with them.
Professors can really go either way. The classes here range between huge lectures to tiny seminars. But, I've noticed that in medium-sized lectures (around 50-70 people), professors often require you to put a name tag on your desk so that they familiarize themselves with your name. And there are definitely professors who know everyone's name by the end of the semester. My favorite class here at Penn has been The Business of the Sports Industry. I don't particularly want to go into sports (although I might after this class), but I loved the way that the professor brought everything back to what we learn in our basic Wharton classes. He basically showed us that sport franchises are like any other business. It was really cool. I would say that most people at Penn have a very healthy work ethic - otherwise, how would they have gotten in? People are always at the library, or in coffee shops working. Still, we know how to let loose and have fun and I love that balance here. My two majors are Marketing and Retailing. I love that they're off the beaten path (most everyone in Wharton majors in Finance) and that they're more subjective, and not just number-based. It really allows me to think critically and think outside of the box. There's one professor that I spend time with out of class - he was my Econ 101 professor freshman year and I almost failed. Since then, we have been really close and he has become my mentor. We have lunch at least once a month to check in.
I don't know what the most popular clubs are, but Greek Life is pretty big here - about 25% of the campus is Greek. If you're looking at the people who actually go out and have a social life, the percentage is probably larger. I am in a sorority (Chi Omega) and it has really helped me expand my social circle and world here at Penn. I've met people that I never would have otherwise and I love all the events we have with frats, the downtown parties we throw, and the bonding I get to do with my sisters. I'd say the majority of freshmen leave their doors open - I know we did. And even after that, when I lived in an on-campus apartment sophomore year, our door was always open. Athletic events are marginally popular - "big" games (such as Princeton, the Big 5, etc) are always packed, but only football and basketball actually draw fans. The people who go get really into it, though. Penn usually gets some great guest speakers, so those almost always sell out. We've had Bill and Chelsea Clinton, Whoopi Goldberh, Peyton Manning, etc. The dating scene at Penn is so bipolar. Either you're casually hooking up with someone (or lots of someones) or you're in a serious relationship - there's no middle ground. This annoys me because I'm not looking for anything super serious but guys won't do the "dating" thing. I met my closest friends on my hall freshman year, which I think is pretty standard. I've met more through my sorority though, and added people through those people. On a Tuesday at 2 am, I'm definitely at Blarney (one of our campus bars) playing Quizzo (a bar game that goes on every Tuesday). The game would just be ending and people would be starting to head home. The bar always gets packed and it's so much fun -if you win, you get a $75 bar tab! Spring FLing is the biggest event of the year - basically a weeklong drunk fest. THe school puts on a carnival in the Quad (a freshman dorm area) with moonbounces, dunk tanks, etc and everyone just drinks themselves silly for a week. There's also a concert - my freshman year was O.A.R. and last year was Ben Folds and Third Eye Blind. Other traditions are Hey Day (where juniors march through campus and seniors throw stuff at them to "initiate" them into senior year - this happens on the last day of classes) and Senior Week (the week in between when finals end and graduation where each day seniors have a differnt event to do). I would say people party a lot. There tends to be something going on almost every night of the week. Tuesday is Quizzo at Blarney, Wednesday is Sink or Swim at Smokes, Thursday is either Smokes/Blarney or a downtown club event, Friday is more chill just hanging out at a frat or with your friends, and Saturday is big frat party night. Greek Life is important for those who are in it, but it's not the end of your social life if you're not. I'd say it's more important for a guy to be in a frat than for a girl to be in a sorority. Last weekend I went downtown for a date party my sorority had, and again the next night for a party thrown by a frat on campus; I also hosted a Beer Olympics at my house. On a Saturday night you can go see a movie, hang out with friends, go out to dinner at the amazing restaurants in Philly...
Penn (which by the way is the correct way to refer to it, not UPenn) is generally referred to as the "Social Ivy", although among Ivy League schools we probably have a reputation as being less prestigious. Among schools near us (like Drexel, Villanova, etc), Penn kids are known as being really preppy and kind of stuck up.
Anybody who grew up in suburbia, as I did myself, has quite a bubble to pop. West Philadelphia is like nowhere else. One am...
Anybody who grew up in suburbia, as I did myself, has quite a bubble to pop. West Philadelphia is like nowhere else. One amazing thing about living here is being right on the edge of a community that you might never otherwise see. West Philly, despite the bad rap it gets for crime, has great old colonial rowhouses, some farmer's markets, a park close to campus, and really excellent restaurants. Some personal favorites are Dock Street Brewery (in a converted firehouse) and Dahlak (Ethiopian). And you can't know West Philly without going into their schools. I've tutored kids from kindergarten to 11th grade in local schools, and I know there are a lot of programs for dance, mentoring, sports, computer skills, chess, debate, etc. that also accept Penn volunteers. If you come to Penn, GET INVOLVED with the community--you won't regret it.
Because we're a relatively big school, there's enough of a cross-section of people that you won't get stuck hanging out with future investment bankers unless you want to. The douchebag stereotype is alive and well in many Wharton (business) or econ classes; psychology & sociology classes are at least 50% high-strung, high-pitched, high-income girls; the engineers tend to be as nerdy here as anywhere; and the occasional political extremist (from either side) preaches obnoxious views from any available venue. I'm not sure that anyone would be quite out of place. We had a guy who rode a unicycle around campus a few years ago... I guess that was weird.
If you are stuck-up, obnoxious, or focused only on your career, please go elsewhere--we're all set in that department!
Only for a small portion of the population. We do tend to be career-minded, much more than the typical college (probably because we have nursing, engineering, and business schools for undergraduates), but I find that there are quite a few people who don't party hard and also a lot who are not rich & preppy. We have very active minority populations, a strong LGBTQ community, and good groups with religious focus. It's a mixed bag. Except that there really are a lot of Jews.
Get through introductory courses as fast as you can. If you're in the College, upper level classes are really amazing, especially in the history political science departments. There are a ton of courses with alternative formats. For instance, I had a class that met 6-9 on Wednesday nights and had field trips a couple times during the semester to visit the organizations we were studying. We ended up at the District Attorney's office the last week of school. There are classes that are geared entirely around designing a mural with the community in West Philly and then painting it. Architecture classes also have a really strong practical component. There's even one political science class about incarceration that meets each week at a local jail (students take a Penn van there and back) and is made up an equal number of Penn students and inmates. The list definitely goes on.
The good thing about Penn is that there's always something going on. Every day, I get emails about interesting events coming up, whether it's a guest speaker (this year we've had Bill Clinton, Teach For America's Wendy Kopp, Karl Rove, and Keenan from "All That", to name a few), a subsidized trip to New York to see a Broadway show, a camping trip with Penn Outdoors, or a party downtown. I never have enough time and/or money to do everything I want to do. The bad news is that most of these alcohol-free activities are during the week. On the weekends, it's completely possible to hang out with friends without alcohol, but it's usually more of a create-your-own-activity sort of thing.
We are generally stereotyped as preppy/rich, work hard and play hard (lots of parties), smart, and career-minded. And Jewish.
they're all smart
we don't really call it "UPenn". Most people just say "Penn" the best thing about Penn is the location of the campus. When...
we don't really call it "UPenn". Most people just say "Penn" the best thing about Penn is the location of the campus. When you walk down Locust Walk, you feel like you're part of a true college environment. The location is wonderful - you have access to a large city, yet the convenience of one unified campus; you have the opportunity to take classes in historic buildings, yet you can also take hands-on classes in the West Philadelphia community. I would change the weather. I hate slush. Also known as "wintry mix" (that awful wet snow that makes the streets brown and gross) I would also add more green space. Fortunately, though, we have close access to the Skuykill River park and Penn is adding a big park in the years to come. My school is just the right size. Large enough that I'm still meeting new people every day, but small enough that I run into people I know every time I enter a class or step outside. I spend most of my time in the Van Pelt library or in my apartment (Harrison high rise). Not a college town, but a college neighborhood within a big city. People's reaction to "I go to Penn"?: people everywhere - "Oh, Penn State?" people everywhere -"Where's that?" people from the south - "Why'd you go to school all the way in Pennsylvania?" (I'm from Georgia) people from philly- "Woahh...UPenn! (said in a way indicating that I'm probably stuck-up and elitist) I'm kind of scared of the administration. I want to know what they do with our ridiculous endowment. And I think they waste too much money on catering and tents for parties. The biggest controversy was last Halloween when Amy Gutmann hosted a halloween costume party and a kid came dressed as a terrorist and Amy Gutmann posed in a picture with him. But that got blown out of proportion. There is a decent amount of school pride. Or at least a strong desire to brand our school's name so that people know we aren't a public school, but rather an Ivy League institution. But we're pretty apathetic about athletics. I will always remember New Student Orientation (NSO) and Spring Fling. Most common complaints are about the dining hall food. But I think that most of the moaning is from whiny brats who think a normal meal is take-out from Stephen Starr restaurants.
I'm involved with both the feminist and Christian communities at Penn. They are both very vibrant communities with growing influence on campus. The African-American population does not have a very big presence, but it is growing. Unfortunately, I think that students from lower socioeconomic classes might feel out of place or at least intimidated by some of the absurdly/disgustingly wealthy students on campus. Students wear anything and everything to class. The Wharton kids wear suits. The sorority girls wear leggings. The athletes wear Penn athletic sweats. Everyone else wears jeans or sweatpants. Different types of students do interact, but then everyone regresses back to their cliques. Four tables: 1) Jewish community - subdivided into Orthodox, Conservative and Reform 2) Sororities and Fraternities - drunk. doing rush rituals. 3) "Secret" societies - Oz and Tabard. Trying not to get people to steal their lunch boxes 4) Students - the academics. kids here to learn and have fun. most penn kids are from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania Penn kids are generally rich. Penn Dems is huge. Penn kids are generally left. Wharton kids are generally right. But there isn't a very big activist community. students talk about salaries a lot. too much, in fact.q
Partially. There is a significant Jewish population on campus (which you can witness by the seemingly isolated campus during services on Friday nights). There is also a significant Asian population (just look in Huntsman Hall)
You have to make an effort to get professors to know your name. My favorite class was through the graduate school of government - Fels. It was called "Women Leaders and Emerging Democracies" and was taught by former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies (her son is dating Chelsea Clinton). The class was very hands-on and we heard a lot of wonderful guest speakers. Students study a reasonable amount. In class participation is an important part of classes Some Penn students have intellectual conversations out of class. Others just gossip. And others just talk about summer internships and investment banks (cough cough, Wharton) Students are very competitive. Especially pre-meds and Wharton kids. Most unique class - Community Based Environmental Health. We learned about health risks and the developed a plan to fix an environmental health problem in West Philly. My major is Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). It's an interdisciplinary major based off of the Oxford major by the same name. And Harvard has the same program but they call it Social Studies. It was Bill Clinton's major. I LOVE PPE. It teaches you liberal arts combined with practical real-life skills You have to make an effort to see professors outside class. The academic requirements are good, except there are too many science requirements (especially for non-science majors). Wharton is geared toward getting a job. The other schools are geared towards learning.
Most popular - Sororities, Fraternities, Penn Dems, Wharton Women, Mask and Wig The F-Word is a feminist literary magazine that publishes an issue each semester. We are a venue to spread the feminist voices of Penn men and women. Campus Crusade for Christ is a nondenominational Christian community. We hold Bible studies and large group meetings every week. Students in the Quad and Hill leave their doors open. Not in the high rises. Basketball games are pretty popular. Guest speakers are popular depending on who it is. Penn kids don't date. They hook-up. I met my closest friends through my religious community and from my freshman hall. 2am on Tuesday - I'm cramming to do my homework for Wednesday. Traditions: Spring Fling, Skimmer, Hey Day, New Student Orientation, Amy Gutmann's Halloween Party people party thursday-saturday on Saturday night you can go downtown for dinner, see a play or the Philadelphia Orchestra, go to a student performance, hang out with friends, study, etc I go downtown all the time. Go to art exhibits, shop at Trader Joe's, shop on Walnut Street, wander around Rittenhouse Square, run along the Skuykill River, etc
some people call us the "Jewniversity of Pennsylvasia"; we're known as the "party Ivy";
The best thing is its campus: It is the perfect blend between living in a city, without having it be too overwhelming such as...
The best thing is its campus: It is the perfect blend between living in a city, without having it be too overwhelming such as NY, and without being stuck in a small town. There is also an actual campus, but it is not a closed campus (like Columbia) or a completely open one (like NYU), which creates a sense of belonging and community at times. All of your classes are within 2 to 10 blocks, and there are a lot of shops around. Not to mention that all the buildings are historical and beautiful. However, it is easy to get stuck in a rut and never go "off campus" and into the city, staying within the confines of some 10 blocks or so. The good part is that the city is only 20 blocks away, east and west, and there is public transportation within the city as well as to the suburbs. Philadelphia is not the most welcoming city, but once you get out and explore you will find neat hidden places that are not commonly frequented by college kids. The second best part goes hand in hand with the campus: you have the option of living "off campus" without actually being off campus. You can live within one or two blocks of the usual dorms and buildings, pay the same or even less than a dorm, and have your own apartment with your own furniture, and make it feel like a home. Obviously university city prices are inflated, but in general apartments in the city are expensive. The worst part about Penn is the administration. It depends a lot in which school you're in (SAS, SEAS, Wharton, etc) but in my experience I have had the worst and the best advisors. The admin staff in general does not care about you, and makes every effort to make you feel as uncomfortable and pissed off as you can. Not to mention that there is not one semester where I file a petition for something, and only one has been accepted. The facilities in general are very good. I use to think the dorms were awful, but then I saw other universities' dorms. We have an awesome gym a few blocks away from anywhere, a huge library, another library, lots of study areas, and *most* of the classrooms (ie Wharton) are well fitted with technology, although the interiors are sometimes very unwelcoming. I feel the UA, or undergraduate assembly, definitely works and listens to the students, implementing a lot of their suggestions within a year or two. There are a lot of groups on campus, although the joke is that there are more accapella groups than any of the others combined.
In general the student body is very open. There is diversity among students: a lot of Hindu, Asian, and other Internationals. It is also LGBT friendly. I am Mexican, and Penn probably boasts the most number of Mexicans (40, compared to 2 or 3 in other places) and Latinos among the other top universities (especially those in the North, not those not in Texas or California). There is definitely a vibrant Latino community here. However, the stereotypes hold up. Most of the students are from New Jersey or Philly or the Northeast, some are a bit snobbish and rich. Come January, everyone, regardless of major (Business, Finance, History, Psychology, English) is obsessed with OCR, on campus recruiting, and landing an internship at Goldman Sachs or Lehmann Brothers.
Yes and no. There are a lot of snobby rich kids who you know just got in because they donated an entire building or something. And there's the typical stuck up Gucci-wearing Blackberry-addicted Whartonite. But there's also the typical fine arts student with ripped clothes and paint blotches all over, or the typical blonde with the uggs and miniskirt in any psychology or communications class, as well as the low-hygiene bad dresser nerd in engineering. But there's also many people who don't fit them. The stereotypes are true insomuch as the people you notice match them. But there are a lot of very diverse people at Penn. The problem is that it's hard to find them. First, most different people don't go to the usual parties, they all attend very different social gatherings. They also probably take different classes from the usual mainstream classes. And it's very easy to get sucked into the same small social circle, meeting new people with one degree of separation at most.
Academics is highly volatile. It depends on the department, the course, the professor, the students in the class, and you. The good part is that there is the option of doing a dual degree, which involves two bachelors (not just two majors), and I know in some universities this is not possible or very hard to do (like Stanford). There are many schools and a wide variety of majors, as well as the option of doing an individualized major, and changing majors is quite easy. In the College, or SAS, there are a lot of general requirements, which is good if you are only getting one major because you can explore and expand; but they get very annoying when you are trying to complete the requirements for a minor, and another major in another school. The administration is terrible too. The psychology major is a joke, but I guess that's true everywhere. In general, being in SAS is not that strenuous in terms of work, even if you take 150% workload (6 credits). The College has been for me a terrible experience, and moreso because I can contrast it directly with Engineering. The administrators in the College don't motivate you, quite the opposite: they get pissed if you try to do more than you should. The first time I took 6 credits (the limit is 5) my advisor was very angry and condescening. In Engineering, it is more common to take more credits. In Engineering, for any type of request, you just fill out a petition and turn it in. In the college, it is a whole process to fill out any sort of petition; you have to go talk to an advisor first, who will supposedly 'advise' you, when you just actually waste 1 hour. Engineering, or SEAS, has more specific requirements because it is obviously a more specialized major. This is good since you end up actually learning something useful. You also have to take a lot of social sciences and humanities, giving you freedom to explore other areas, and not just science. The environment in Engineering is a LOT more welcoming than in the College. SEAS organizes semesterly events, the advisors in general are better, you get to know people better, and there is a sense of community. Students are very competitive. Grading is usually on a curve, meaning the average is a B/B+, so you only have to do better than everyone else to get an A, which can be easy or hard (depends on the course). I've taken very hard courses and done well, very easy courses and done poorly. I feel that in general professors don't care about you. They don't know your name, and don't care to know. There are some rare ones that know who you are, nod their head when they pass you in the hall, but beyond that do not really venture further.
The most popular organizations are the frats. It is annoying when one is not a part of one, or doesn't care to be in one. However, it is easy to just ignore it. There are a lot of private house parties on weekends, which are the better ones if you don't like the frats. You can also go off campus to a nice restaurant, to a cheap restaurant, to a club, to a jazz bar, to the movies, etc. There's lots to do. Dating is apparently gender reversed: the guys are the shy ones. I wouldn't know, personally. There are a lot of other dance troupes, accapella, theatre groups, spoken word poetry, and miscellaneous events to attend year round, some of which are very worth it and some are not. I have only lately started to go, and I regret not going before. There are also lots of free events, talks, and conferences, all of which involve free food. In fact, a girl once showed how you can survive on free event food for a week. In all honesty, I have had a hard time making friends, and I don't know if it's because of the culture clash or the actual people at Penn. I believe I have made a total of 10 friends over 4 years, and kept about 5. And most of them are from my same hometown. The cool part though is that I would have never met them back home.
Snobby rich kids from Jersey going to Wharton to sell their souls now and buy their yachts later, or the Jap from New Jersey getting her psych or PPE major and a ring.
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