This is an exciting time of year for those of us who work with college-bound students. When Penn’s Regular Decision notifications are released tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, many students will receive the good news of their acceptance into Penn’s 266th class. We are thrilled about the possibility of these students joining our community, bringing their intellectual curiosities, analytical minds and collaborative spirits to enrich our campus. We can’t wait to meet them.
We know, however, that many more students will receive less joyful news, including the students who find themselves on a waiting list or those whose applications are denied. We appreciate that these decisions can be deeply disappointing and take time to process. We value – and consider as partners –the counselors, teachers, family members and friends who support students throughout the range of emotions that college decision time can bring. We believe that one’s college acceptance is not an indication of one’s worth as a person or an indication of one’s potential as a student and citizen. The incoming class of 2022, on college campuses across the country, will be filled with the powerful voices of young people who have already made an impact on the local and national stage.
As we reflect on the class that will arrive on Penn’s campus this fall, we are humbled by the talent, compassion and energy of our students. Every class contains a vast array of perspectives, and we continue to be proud of the many diversities represented in this incoming class. This year, one out of seven students in our admitted class are the first in their families to attend college. Since hosting the 2018 1vyG conference at Penn in January, student organizers at Penn have continued to contribute to the local and national conversation around access and equity in higher education. Our newest incoming students will continue to enrich and advance that community and conversation.
Many interests will converge within the class of 2022, on our campus and on campuses across the country. It is this convergence of voices that we most eagerly anticipate each year. The intention of a residential learning community is for students to learn from each other just as much, if not more, as they learn in the classroom. This is the vitality of each entering class. And this learning is made exponentially deeper by the variety of voices that comprise a student community. Our task throughout the past five months has been to craft a class of students who reflect the diversity of our modern world and who will bring each of their unique voices to deepen and enliven their community. And, once they arrive, students will connect across similarities and differences, among diversities and commonalities, of gender identification, race, religion, ethnicity, geography, political inclination, major choice, socio-economic status and more, learning from each other. This is the meaning of a class and community.
To each new student who will arrive at college in the fall, get excited to discover that new class that awakens your enthusiasm in a subject you’ve never previously considered (or even knew existed!). Get excited to meet the student from across the country, or from another country, who shares your exact same interest. Get excited for your world to be expanded, to include the unfamiliar alongside the familiar, the new with the old. We are excited for you to make your impact, simply by being yourself.
We are inspired by the new voices that will comprise that community at Penn and on college campuses across the country. Be excited for your next step. We already are.
Finally, be sure to tune into The Process on the last Friday of every month from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, on SiriusXM Stars Channel 109, and call in with your questions at 888-94-STARS (888-947-8277). The next show is March 30, 2018 and will feature special guest Charlie Javice of Frank., an online platform that aims to simplify the FAFSA application process. We look forward to hearing from you.