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University of Pennsylvania


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Kaytlena
What are the most popular student activities/groups?

One popular student group is SPEC, which brings celebrities to Penn. Every year, they have famous speakers come in (recently...

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

One popular student group is SPEC, which brings celebrities to Penn. Every year, they have famous speakers come in (recently, James Franco, Bill Cosby, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt). They also organize Spring Fling, which is one massive party for a whole weekend in April. There's a carnival in the Quad with music and food, and then there's a concert one night with people like Flo Rida, Akon, and Kid Cudi. People from all over come to Penn during that weekend. But Penn has a large umbrella of student groups on campus, and you'll most likely be able to find one that suits your interests. And if not, it's really easy to start one of your own. I started a group called the UPenn China Care Club, which raises money for orphans in China with medical disabilities, and also provides a mentorship program for children in Philadelphia who have been adopted from China. It was easy to register the club, and easy to recruit students! The social life at Penn is known to be relatively better than at other Ivies, because it has lots of nearby bars and clubs, making it easy to find something to do on weekend nights. And getting downtown is not hard either. Philadelphia has a ton of great restaurants, and going to BYOs is definitely a popular activity among Penn students. I don't think there's really a drinking stereotype, because you can find students at both ends of the spectrum. There are some who never drink, and some who are at a bar more days of the week than they aren't. It all depends on your preferences. Unfortunately, athletic events aren't too popular because the sports teams aren't that great, but football games are fun to go to nonetheless. It's also pretty easy to get involved with the club/intramural sports teams.

What are the academics like at your school?

The academics at Penn are intense. I think the most competitive students are studying pre-med, because all of the introductory science courses are designed to be extremely difficult to weed out students who "can't handle" medical school. Penn tends to advertise that it has an "open curriculum", and compared to other schools, that may be true. However, I generally found that to be misleading. There are thirteen general requirements, and many times it is difficult to find a course that both fulfills a requirement and suits your academic interests. Penn is known for being very pre-professional. This is evident in the rigorous On Campus Recruitment process, and it's generally high success rate. Also, a great thing about Penn is that all of the graduate schools are on campus, so it's easy to interact with graduate students, and there's a very professional atmosphere. In my experience, the Chinese department has been exceptional. The classes are small (usually around 12-18 students) and the teachers are very attentive. They will always respond to your emailed questions as soon as possible. The workload is pretty heavy, which is understandable, but it's worth it because you learn a lot. And they're always willing to interact with you outside of class. My teacher even took my class to get Chinese food one night.

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

I think one common stereotype about Penn is that it doesn't have much of a campus. Compared to other rural and suburban schools, that's probably true. However, being a city school, Penn has a pretty impressive campus. Locust Walk is beautiful in all seasons and it's essentially only accessible by foot so you don't have the disruption of city traffic. And all of this is in the awesome city of Philadelphia, so you have advantages from both the campus and the city.

Bianca
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Congratulations on being admitted to college! This summer vacation will seem very long, so to ease back into the mental state...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Congratulations on being admitted to college! This summer vacation will seem very long, so to ease back into the mental state of learning, I would recommend skimming through your college textbooks over break. When selecting classes, plan ahead by looking at prerequisites for courses you would like to take during later semesters. Be outgoing and explore the surrounding metropolitan area during orientation week. You will likely feel homesick at times, but remember that your family is only a phone call away. Once school starts, focus on doing your best instead of stressing about the curve, and form study groups with classmates. Also, don’t forget to visit professors during office hours to discuss the course material, ask questions, and build relationships. In addition, seek opportunities outside of the classroom like research positions and internships, and get involved with extracurriculars to pursue the things you are passionate about and make friends. Time management will be very important so be aware of assignment deadlines and exams well in advance, and work productively in between classes. Finally, do not forget about the world beyond the campus. Watch the news regularly to stay up to date on politics, the economy, and breaking global developments.

What kind of person should not attend this school?

Penn is a great school for students who have a true desire to learn and are passionate about their academic interests. Even though there are four distinct undergraduate schools, the interdisciplinary focus encourages you to take courses in many different fields and broaden your horizons. It is not the best school for students who are solely focused on maintaining a high GPA and test scores to be admitted to an Ivy League school. It is also important to be intellectually curious in order to appreciate the broad range of opportunities such as research and liberal arts seminars that Penn offers.

What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

The University of Pennsylvania does a great job at identifying what is best for its students so it is very difficult to think of something that is frustrating. One suggestion I would make is for Penn to adopt a course “shopping period” like the ones offered by several of its peer institutions. It would allow students to try out different classes for the first two weeks of each semester before enrolling in them.

Christopher
What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

I'd say there are 4 different stereotypes of penn students, depending on which school you're in; Wharton, the College, Engine...

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

I'd say there are 4 different stereotypes of penn students, depending on which school you're in; Wharton, the College, Engineering, or Nursing. "Whartonites" are known as the cut-throat profit driven, win at all costs type of people. They're the ones setting the curves, going to office hours, and fighting for every last point on every exam. In the college of arts and sciences, we're more laid back, well rounded students. Often indecisive, and prone to complain about class, while staying up til 4 a.m. in van pelt to finish off the 15 page paper due tomorrow. Penn is known as the "social ivy", and students in the college have no problem living up to that name. It's not unusual to see students out at parties as early as thursday night. Engineering students pretty much don't exist outside of the engineering buildings. Their work ethic is different than Wharton students, in that it's not so competitive or money driven, as it is just genuine interest in learning the material, and passing with an A+. Consequently, between 7 class schedules and back to back to back all nighters, engineers pretty much stick to themselves. Nursing students are the soft, nice people who always say hi, and never seem to be too stressed about anything. They seem to live laid back lives, only ever complaining about 7 a.m. clinicals. While of course not every person in these respective schools is a member of these stereotypes, on the whole, they seem to be pretty accurate in capturing the personality of the schools. Thats perhaps why one of the first questions a penn student asks another penn student after first meeting is, "which school are you in?"

Sonali
What is your overall opinion of this school?

The best thing about Penn is definitely the people or the students. All students are motivated to do well, but also passionat...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

The best thing about Penn is definitely the people or the students. All students are motivated to do well, but also passionate about multiple interests. The amount of diversity you encounter is tremendous. It is the perfect blend of a campus life located in a city and the perfect example of a school with well-rounded students. Penn is also known for its research and professional resources. No matter what career you are considering Penn is the place to be. It is the school with the highest percentage of students with internships. There are numerous opportunities to get involved in research. One complaint might be that the culture is too pre-professional, but Penn has a great liberal arts program as well. It has some of the best programs in linguistics, psychology and urban studies. Penn is a campus where innovation and research is encouraged and fulfilled. Furthermore, it is one of the best colleges in terms of engaging and serving the community.

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

The typical Penn kid usually lives a double life. They work hard during the day and week, but make time to go out Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights...sometimes even more. Most Penn kids are pre-professional. You have the whartonites looking into consulting and IB, the pre-meds, engineers and lawyers. The great thing about Penn students though, is that despite being highly academically and professionally driven, they are passionate about many things. Penn is great for diversity. Only here would you find an Asian Computer Science major that is in the campus Hip Hop dance team.

Riley
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Dear Self, Experiencing everything that I have the best advise that I could give you is don't be afraid, be bold and go for ...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Dear Self, Experiencing everything that I have the best advise that I could give you is don't be afraid, be bold and go for what your heart desires. Always work hard and trust yourself. Dont let anyone tell you that you are less than great. Take every opportinity given to you and experience everything possible, it helps you become a better person. Always be kind to everyone because it builds character and helps you succeed. If times get hard just remember what is the most important in life family and friends. In the end just remember Grandpa's advice "Keep on, Keep'in on".

Amanda
Describe the students at your school.

I studied amongst a diversity of affable students that came from wealthy, educated origins.

Describe the students at your school.

I studied amongst a diversity of affable students that came from wealthy, educated origins.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

As the economic downturn continues and unemployment soars in the United States, I would advise my college-bound self to attend a more economical, state university rather than an Ivy League institution. I would advise myself to keep college costs low and save funds for graduate studies. In reference to college life, I would recommend myself to network effectively in my respective departments and through extracurricular activities, and to be courageous in asking questions ands "putting yourself out there". Additionally, I would tell myself that being proud of your individuality, avoiding peer pressure and challenging yourself through new circumstances will only make you a stronger person.

What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about freshman year?

Before attending the University of Pennsylvania, I wish someone had educated me on the importance of networking and "putting yourself out there" as a college student. Additionally, it would have been helpful if I were aware of potential scholarships available to undergraduates as the cost-of-attendance has led to much debt.

Vanessa
Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

Penn is a mosaic where the best and brightest minds in both professors and students come together and form one cohesive netwo...

Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

Penn is a mosaic where the best and brightest minds in both professors and students come together and form one cohesive network where everyone can find a place to excel.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

College has given me the opportunity to learn from the best and the brightest minds in both professors and peers, as well as the opportunity to explore new horizons, develop a global perspective, hone my leadership skills and, most of all, to be the best that I can be now and long into the future. College has also shaped my views on which career path I want to pursue and the options available for me to get there. It has solidified my passion for the sciences and pursuing a career in medical research, while allowing me to forge strong relationships with future leaders and build professional and social networks. Through leadership positions and local volunteering opportunities, I have become an even more responsible adult both on campus and in my community. I have been able to feed my endless intellectual curiosity and experience the various cultures. I have numerous opportunities with some of the best researchers in the world, which will help maximize my college experience. College is helping me achieve my career goals, be the best in my field, and have a positive impact on my generation.

What kind of person should attend this school?

The type of person who should attend this school is a person who has a strong work ethic. Penn is full of the brightest minds from all over the world, and in order to succeed, one needs to invest a lot of time and effort. The person should also be passionate about what they are studying because their passion will drive them to maximize all of the incredible resources available to them at Penn. Most importantly, the person should be open because Penn exposes one to a wide variety of people, opportunities, and experiences.

Daniel
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

At Penn, I have learned that one's academic pursuit ultimately is an independent endeavor. The resources are all available, b...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

At Penn, I have learned that one's academic pursuit ultimately is an independent endeavor. The resources are all available, but they aren't useful unless one goes out to find them. As a student on the medical career track, I feel well-equipped to succeed in medical school. Penn's balanced culture of academic, social, and extracurricular activities has helped me lead a balanced lifestyle. That was one of the main reasons that I wanted to go to Penn, for its balance, and I feel that I have become a more balanced person because of Penn.

What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about freshman year?

It is important to do well on your AP exams in order to receive credit because Penn only honors top scores. Also, if majoring in a science, it is good to commit early because the course load is very stringent for science majors. I wish someone had told me to try challenging courses from freshman year. In hindsight, I think it's far more valuable to challenge oneself from the getgo rather than easing into the more challenging courses after freshman year.

Andi
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Penn has a university campus within a major city, and students spend more time exploring downtown Philly after exhausting Uni...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Penn has a university campus within a major city, and students spend more time exploring downtown Philly after exhausting University City's shopping, restaurants, and bars. Some undergrads also get internships downtown, especially communications majors (eg, with local tv stations, newspapers, magazines, pr firms).

Describe the students at your school.

The typical Penn student is white (or Asian), upper-middle class, and from a suburban public high school on the East or West coast of the US. Many people are on financial aid of some kind, including work-study. There is little to no socio-economic snobbery; Penn tuition is a substantial expense for all but a tiny number of students. The financial aid rules leave a window of well-to-do students who are ineligible for work-study but still short of cash, and many of them work in the cafeteria ("dining services"), which is a non work-study job. They include some foreign students who are absurdly wealthy in their home countries but work for spending-money during the school year.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

Penn has two world-class hospitals on its campus (HUP and CHoP: Hospital of University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia). This doesn't affect the lives of most Penn students, but for those of us who live with chronic health conditions it makes a huge difference to have help literally at our doorstep. I was diagnosed with a major condition during my second year at Penn. Thanks to HUP, I had top medical care and though I could have taken a leave of absence, having HUP on campus meant I could get the help I needed without missing a semester. The College worked with me to rearrange my course-load and contacted my professors to get extensions of deadlines and explain my absence from class. I graduated on time with honors and distinction in my major. Without HUP on campus and helpful administrators, I might not have survived, much less thrived academically and socially.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Patrially accurate, but with 10,000 undergrads there is room for every kind of person. I was part of a more intellectual group of performers and writers, and loved every minute.

What are the academics like at your school?

Penn's core requirement is a huge strength of the University. No specific classes are required, but even the most reluctant Engineering student will have to write academic papers, and left-brain Theatre Arts majors have to take math and science. Luckily, a wide variety of courses are available, so English majors don't have to duke it out with the pre-meds if they don't want to fight for a place on thre curve. I took a psychology class and a course in linguistics, and loved both. Everyone has to take a foreign language or pass a proficiency test. I can't speak for Wharton, Engineering, or Nursing students, but I found my professors very accessible and easy to approach. Because I went to office hours and took multiple classes with my favorite professors, I had no trouble getting letters of recommendation for graduate school, even though I asked for them several years after college graduation.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Penn's large size means that just about everyone finds a group of friends easily. Many people become close with the friends they make in the dorms during the first weeks of school Freshman year, and those who don't like their hall-mates will meet their social group through extra-curriculars and student clubs. The trick is that you have to seek these groups out, and be willing to spend time at Hillel, the Writer's House, the Newman Center, or whatever extra-curricular "second home" interests you. There are plenty of students at Penn who don't drink alcohol, but people who are offended by the thought or sight of people who drink might feel uncomfortable living on campus.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Pre-professional; Rich; East Coast; work hard/play hard; competitive/cut-throat;

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  • 11,525
  • Tuition & Fees
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