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

Breathe. Learn to maximize your high school experience by finding the right balance of work and play. While college is very i...

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

Breathe. Learn to maximize your high school experience by finding the right balance of work and play. While college is very important, it is not important enough to sell your health just to reach too high for the stars. Dream big. Don't dwell aimlessly in the past. Look towards the future, and believe. However, don't dream too big because when reaching far out of reality's realm can be detrimental to mental health later. Sometimes it'll hurt when you can't seem to grasp what you want, but there's always something else to dream big on. Explore. Assess all the options that you can take, but always keep in mind that there is a countless number of paths you can follow later. Science or math--not your friends? There's others waiting. "See feelingly". Don't always see through your "eyes". Learn to become empathic and become more in tune with the rest of the world. Stay modest and accept what you have, and don't hesitate to reach out for something else. Learn to "see" things in another light. Don't just graduate to a higher level of academics but to a better person.

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

I wished I was told the importance of high school before college. Great colleges are very competitive nowadays, only taking the brightest. When I graduated from grade school, I just aimlessly entered into any random high school. Little did I know that the school wasn't incredible. I go to college now, and I feel very behind compared to anyone else. My family are immigrants from Hong Kong, and I was born here. Our family was not in tune with the rest of the United States yet as they have been always working.

What kind of person should not attend this school?

I think those who did not develop empathy or sympathy to a certain degree should not go to college. I feel like to graduate from high school, you should not only graduate to a higher academic learning, but also social learning. I think people should learn the reality of how most parts of the world do not have it as lucky as the United States do. Just being able to apply to college, stand, actually breathe, laugh, and smile, they should just feel blessed and reap the most out of life instead of criticizing it endlessly.

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

Congratulations on getting accepted into college. I'm pretty sure you think now all you have to do is pass your final classes...

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

Congratulations on getting accepted into college. I'm pretty sure you think now all you have to do is pass your final classes of high school, get that diploma, and move to your new home in September, right? Wrong! Speaking as someone who is in college and ignored a certain opportunity, I'm begging you to take on something that really doesn't sound attractive: summer programs at your university. Now I know that doesn't sound like an attractive thing to do, going to classes (that don't have an effect on your GPA, by the way) during the summer instead of relaxing. It sounded like a waste of time to me too until I realized the impact starting at new student orientation. Those who went through the summer program had a better connection to the campus. They already knew classmates and upperclassmen and knew how to get around campus. Because of this sense of community stemming from enduring classes, they also were more successful in classs during the initial semester because they knew how to get help immediately. Take a summer program and become a freshman that knows what to do before the fall semester starts.

What kind of person should not attend this school?

There are two types of people who shouldn't attend this school: those who aren't willing to take on a huge mental challenge and loners. If you're one or both of these types of people, Penn will make you miserable. With introductory classes like Management 100, you're immediately thrust into a class that doesn't judge you by how you perfrom individually nearly as much as it judges you by how you perform as part of a team. Not only are you challenged to perform well, you have to work with others.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

I brag most about the fact that this school is a "studious, but fun" school. Although the classes are extremely challenging, forcing you to work as part of a team, there's also a way to have fun on campus or in the surrounding area that is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania every day. Whether you like to party, listen to poetry or music, or discover new cultures, Penn is one of the best places to take on a mental challenge all while having loads of fun.

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

My school is unique and unconventional but at the same time very modern in its teaching and beliefs.

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

My school is unique and unconventional but at the same time very modern in its teaching and beliefs.

Describe the students at your school.

My classmates are extremely driven individuals from all aspects of society that excel both in class and outside of class

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

As a high schooler I was extremely focused and driven, the end goal being college. Now, as a freshman settled into college I wish I could go back and tell myself that college is not the end of the road, rather the beginning of a new journey. As I tell my high school senior friends now, grades are not everything. Even after coming to an Ivy League school, I discovered that a 4.0 gpa isn't what got most of my peers into this school. More than anything it was their passion for learning and their creativity in thinking. I would tell my high school senior self that despite academic success, nothing can replace the memories of the times I had with my friends and family. When I reflect on high school, it is not the 100s I scored on tests, or the report cards that I think about, but rather my three best friends and the overall experience of knowing that we were not yet adults, with the promise of the rest of our lives ahead of us.

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

The history. The University of Pennsylvania has decades of history on most colleges. You can sense this in the feel of the ...

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

The history. The University of Pennsylvania has decades of history on most colleges. You can sense this in the feel of the campus environment, in the silly traditions Penn supports, in the aging fraternity houses in the middle of campus, in the world's first computer, in the close proximity to downtown historic Philadelphia, and in the multitude of alumni who return for events and sporting games. At Penn you feel a part of a bigger path of intellectual studies and you recognize the significance of the college you are attending.

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

Rush a sorority. This sounds trivial and superficial, but I took the road of "I don't need to pay for friends" and chose not to rush. Whether or not you will join a sorority is left entirely to your future self, but my advice would be to at least rush. In rushing freshman year I imagine I would have broken the personal box I built. It probably would have frozen and crumbled standing outside a sorority house in January in a painfully long line. But instead, I chose not to rush and so my box remained until much later than freshman year. I was afraid to rush, I was afraid to try. Rushing is your step one. Rushing will give you a heads up to the multitude of people, groups, and opportunities on campus. Step two will be taking advantage of all those opportunities you learned about in line rushing. You will now be comfortable springing into groups and activities. You'll get involved with a non-profit or a political group or whatever entices your future self. But, by not completing step one, my own step two was delayed. Rushing is Introduction 101 to trying everything on campus.

Elizabeth
Describe the students at your school.

My classmates are amazing: they hail from all over the world and display their diverse ideas and lively personalities through...

Describe the students at your school.

My classmates are amazing: they hail from all over the world and display their diverse ideas and lively personalities through their engaging discussions about the most interesting topics, anywhere and at anytime.

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

If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself not to worry so much. The transition to college life is overwhelming, especially when you are thrown into an unknown environment and have to learn to be independent very quickly, but you aren't the only one who is experiencing college for the first time. Millions of students just like you, who have been panicking and agonizing over college applications and writing essays that best capture their thoughts and personality, will join you on this experience of a lifetime. College is a place where you can expand your horizons and become engaged in deep philosophical discussions that can last for hours on end inside or outside of the classroom. However, college is also where you can meet new people and develop friendships that can last a lifetime. Even though college is a new place and you may be worried that you won't be able to manage your time well or have enough time to get involved in every activity on campus, just remember that the new friends you meet in college will always be there to support you.

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

I wish that I had been more aware of the numerous resources that my school had to offer and how accessible they were to all students. I would have also liked to learn more about the various events that took place on campus and how it was possible for students to have the time and energy to engage in so many different activities, while still focusing on academics. It would have also been nice to learn more about how to transition to college life in general and more about living in a dorm.

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

Even though Penn has a pretty big undergraduate program (about 2500 kids in my freshman class), it is still a surprisingly wa...

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

Even though Penn has a pretty big undergraduate program (about 2500 kids in my freshman class), it is still a surprisingly warm environment. Both the teachers and the students are friendly, welcoming, and generally happy to be in Penn.

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

It's happened more often that I'd like to admit: on my way to class, on the main walk of campus, I feel a chilly wetness on my lower back. I turn around and see a trail of water on the brick pathway. I haven't wet my pants; rather, the water bottle in my bag has come open again. In an attempt to be more environmentally-friendly, I purchased a reusable water bottle at the beginning of the semester, and it simply refuses to stay closed. In a perpetual rush, I haphazardly shove the troublemaker into my backpack and dash of to my next lecture, never stopping to think about the last time I made the same mistake and had to leave my notes out to dry overnight. I don't regret buying the sustainable bottle, although it does make my water taste a little weird at times. But my first semster of college has taught me this: take a little time for yourself. Save yourself some stress and walk, don't run, to lecture. You will gain a lot from taking the extra minute to shut your water bottle properly. I guarantee it.

What kind of person should not attend this school?

Penn has something for everyone, for the most part. As a university, it has four undergrad programs - Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Nursing, and Business school. There are countless classes and seminars available in almost any topic imaginable. It's difficult to imagine someone coming here and not finding themselves really interested in what's going on.

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

I would tell my younger self to stay motivated. As a senior, I had just gotten accepted into the Huntsman Program at Penn, on...

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

I would tell my younger self to stay motivated. As a senior, I had just gotten accepted into the Huntsman Program at Penn, one of the country's most competitive college programs; and as a result, I decided that I had accomplished all of my goals. I relaxed. I did little more than was required for school for the rest of the year and I completely slacked off during the summer. I had no more goals. My GPA suffered during my first semester of school because of this. During the middle of the semester, I realized the importance of taking advantage of your college experience, if not only for the knowledge, then for the grades that will count in getting your first job. Being more motivated for the current semester, I am doing substantially better. I have no doubt that if I were as aware of the importance of the future the previous semester, I would have preformed superiorly. If I could, I would tell myself to think about the future and do what would benefit me in the long run. I would also tell myself to buy heavier coat, but for another reason altogether.

What's unique about your campus?

The dual degree programs here, especially the Huntsman program in International Studies and Business, provide a good blend of liberal arts and pre-professional study that will prove extremely beneficial in the future. Not only are these programs well-renowned and extremely competitive, but they provide students with an opportunity to break out of the generic college requirement schedule that defines the college career of most students. Someone can really differentiate themselves by entering one of these very selective and advantageous programs.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League school that?s not as well-known as Harvard or Princeton and that means that students are here more because of the school's performance instead of the early name recognition. Penn's Wharton School of Business is the highest ranked and most competitive undergraduate business school in the country. The school was founded by Benjamin Franklin, the country's most accomplished founding father. Lastly, the study abroad program is great and huge here; there really is nowhere you aren't allowed to go.

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

Penn is career-focused with driven students who care more about money and status than anything else.

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

Penn is career-focused with driven students who care more about money and status than anything else.

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

As a committed athlete in high school, the whole point of going to college seemed to be volleyball. I would tell myself that volleyball really does not matter in the long run and should not be part of my decision. That being said, volleyball did allow me to go to an ivy league school and have opportunities that I would not have otherwise had. I would tell myself that it is difficult to know exactly what you want to do, because college is going to expose you to a lot of new things and you may change as a person. Choose a college that will challenge you and help you in that growing process. Choose a college that is big enough to expose you to new and not yet mainstream ideas. Choose a college that is in a different enviroment than what you grew up in. And trust yourself to make the right decision,. Because no matter what, you will gain experience and learn something and be forever changed. Challenge yourself to embrace this change and change as much as possible.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

THe city of Philadelphia and that I go to an ivy league school. Everyone is smart.

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

Modern, but with a respect for its tradition and history, that values setting students up for success with various internship...

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

Modern, but with a respect for its tradition and history, that values setting students up for success with various internship, job placement, research, and service programs.

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

I would tell myself not to take my grades too seriously. The classes you take and the grades you earn ARE important, but your college experience is not solely academic. College is about managing a schedule of classes and homework assignments, social events, service programs, and projects. If you spend all your time in class, studying, or doing homework, then you won't make the most of your college years and you won't have a well rounded experience. Take your time on applications and essays; how you express your ideas isn't nearly as important as the ideas themselves. Take tours of schools that interest you, and talk to students you meet on campus. No one can tell you more about that college than an actual student; they'll tell you things info sessions and brochures won't. Take time to walk around campus and see places you don't hit on the tour. Watch how people carry themselves and interact with one another. The real essence of a school isn't in the admissions office.

What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

Everyone is so preoccupied with academics, internships, and service programs that sometimes people don't take the time to interact in more social aspects as much as they should.

Samantha
Describe the students at your school.

My classmates are diverse overachievers who know how to study hard and play hard.

Describe the students at your school.

My classmates are diverse overachievers who know how to study hard and play hard.

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

I would have told myself that everything would be fine. In college, you will inevitably face new challenges and pressures from the environment, but nothing is insurmountable. Stay grounded in your faith and have confidence. For most people, college only happens once, so don't waste your life. Push your limits, and don't let fear or self-doubt keep you from trying new things. After all, the sky's the limit! In everything, do your best, but don't stress over perfection. You learn more from your mistakes anyway. Be flexible. Things are susceptible to change, which can be a good thing. Above all else, live purposely and passionately. Spend time pursuing your current passions and exploring new ones. Get to know the vast and vibrant campus community, and care deeply for those around you. REmember at the end of the day, you are still unconditionally and deeply loved, so live much and regret nothing!Such advice would have sufficed for every circumstance. Perhaps, hearing these words would have changed the entire course of my first semester. For now, it is simply a kick-in-the-pants, nudging me in a better direction for 2010 and beyond.

What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

The worst thing is that everyone is consumed by the ridiculous grading system.

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