The new Civic Scholars and Engineering Scholars programs are making a splash on campus, exemplifying Penn’s active dedication to integrating community engagement with academics. Campus security was recently rated number six in Security Magazine’s Security 500, the top 500 security executives and their organizations. Of all educational institutions, Penn ranked first by far. While crime in Philadelphia is high, the Penn community can easily avoid any potential danger by using common sense. Penn provides free walking and driving escort services with a simple call, lighting virtually everywhere, emergency calling booths at every block, and a team of security so that you will spot someone in a fluorescent yellow vest at every corner. Dining is excellent, especially for vegetarians. As a vegetarian, I find more options than one who can’t have a meal without meat. Especially recently, the dining company, Aramark, has made an increased effort to change up the menu every day, with great success. Hillel, the Jewish center and best kept secret, has arguably the best on campus food. The slew of off-campus is so enormous that I still haven’t been to many restaurants a couple blocks away. Best things: The central location, the “One University” policy, Academically Based Community Service Courses, excellent financial aid (especially with the new policy to begin implementation in Fall 2008), the dynamic and rich history of Philadelphia, the cultural aspect of Philly, amazing professors, interdisciplinary and integrative learning, a rapidly growing vision and endowment thanks to a charismatic and dedicated president.
My school has all of its academic departments, graduate and undergraduate, in one campus setting. This enables me, as an undergraduate, to have walking distance access to all of the various graduate and undergraduate departments and classes, without taking a shuttle or commuter vehicle to certain departments such as the School of Medicine. My campus is extremely diverse, with numerous international students, and even a residential program called Living Cultures in my college house. Also, my school has numerous opportunities to acquire preprofessional experience, through schools such as Wharton and the Nursing school.
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.
Before you decide to attend VISIT. The school's campus is very big and isn't in your traditional college green setting with trees everywhere and no one else around. Although there are nice grassy areas, we are right by West Phildelphia. Personally, however, I think being in West Philly gives the school culture. In the end your experience at Penn depends on how involved and open-minded you are. You have to be willing to work hard and play hard since at any school you make your college experience what you want it to be.
There are loads of opportunities for students coming in in different groups. Also, it is nice that there is some emphasis on the Greek scene, but you definitely dont need to be a part to benefit from what they do. Our school is very competitive but in some way that actually brings you closer to people. I can guarantee that my best friends here are easily going to be lifelong friends. There is even a statistic that something like 45% of alumni found their spouse at Penn, not a bad statistic!
The availability of banks, grocery stores, and public transportation around the school is second to none. I like the fact that the University of Pennsylvania is a quaint University nestled in the large city of Philadelphia. The university itself is quiet but the city is very "city-like" with the hustle and bustle and the culture available in Philadelphia is exquisite.
The cultural diversity and support for research and independent projects are unparalleled. They say having a Penn degree allows you to do anything in this world, and it's because Penn will allow you to do anything as an undergraduate. They really provide any resources or funding you could ever need to accomplish anything-see the world, start your own non-profit, etc.
The amount of diversity Penn has, the strength of Wharton, its business school, and the location. I came into the application process knowing I wanted to attend an undergraduate business program so Wharton was at the top of the list. But Penn really comes together because it is right in the heart of the city, which really adds to the experience at the school.
Compared to other schools I considered as well as my own upbringing, Penn's urban environment was unique. I had never lived in a large city before, and I did not take full advantage of the opportunities to get involved with the community outside of Penn as much as I had hoped to.
The school loves to tear up precious green space and put down architectural monsters in their place, which is frustrating should you like to play pick-up games of catch, sit out on the lawn working/hanging out, etc. That said, a fantastic school and one where anyone can be happy.