Read, The Great Question Issue

The Great Question Issue

As we travel the world, recruiting Penn’s Class of 2017, a sincere thank you is in order to all the students who have come to admissions information sessions, engaged, excited, and ready to learn.  Today’s post is a tribute to the great questions we have received on the road.  Some are specific to Penn, while others speak to admissions generally; all start fantastic discussions.

The questions are listed below; however, in-depth answers are not provided.  I instead ask that you use these questions as a starting point for conversations, in your town, at your high school, or by email, with alumni and admissions professionals.

Of the Penn Specific

“What is the difference between pursuing my interests as a major/minor or major/major student vs. as a dual degree student?”
Quick tip: you can explore the intersection of your interests in any of these paths; however, as a dual degree student your schedule will be more structured as you will be taking on requirements in two undergraduate schools.

“What do the general education requirements look like in each of Penn’s four undergraduate schools?”
Check out our undergraduate schools’ websites: the College of Arts and Sciences, Penn Engineering, Penn Nursing, and the Wharton School of Business,  for a look at the curriculum.

“How will the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) prepare me for a career in research?”
Undergraduate research is at the heart of the VIPER experience.  Students will engage with energy coursework and research throughout their four years at Penn; their work will culminate in a scholarly publication during their senior year.  VIPER students will be active contributors to many labs across Penn’s campus, including Pennergy, The Penn Center for Energy Innovation.

“What is the difference between a BS in Econ from Wharton and a BA in Econ from the College?”
In brief, the latter path focuses on economic theory and application while the former is a hands-on exploration of “business and more.”

“Tell me more about Market and Social Systems Engineering (MKSE).”
A game changing and highly selective program with an interdisciplinary and innovative curriculum, MKSE is only found at Penn.  Check out our feature on Page 217 a few weeks ago.

“How are the graduate schools—and graduate students—an asset for undergraduate students at Penn?”
In short, it comes down to more opportunities for mentoring and research.  The graduate programs at Penn contribute to the resonating intellectual environment at Penn, an environment that fundamentally expands students’ minds. Find out more about the 12 graduates schools on our campus by exploring Penn’s homepage.

“How can I get involved in the global community while a student at Penn?”
Great question.  It’s important to think of yourself not only as a student but as a citizen of and contributor to local and global communities.  Explore Penn’s study abroad programs, global service initiatives, and globally focused student groups.

“Are fried Oreos ‘a thing’ at Penn?”
Our much-anticipated spring festival, Spring Fling, features a concert in Franklin Field, games and gigs in the Quad, as well as fried Oreos for sale.

On general topics

“Can you talk about which supplemental materials/recs you accept and how that works in your office?”
Be deliberate about the supplemental materials you send to schools.  These pieces should present the admissions committee with new information not just more information.  Look for specific instructions on the web or by calling admissions offices.

“Tell me about your early program.”
Penn is an early decision school—to learn more, read our previous blog post.  Every school that has an early program will explain the specifics of its program on  the web.

“What is the value of a broad-based liberal arts degree?”
In brief, you will gain essential skills (in writing, analysis, presentation), which you can then apply to a myriad of academic and professional paths.

“Can you talk about how students are supported academically, culturally, and post-graduation?”
This is a fantastic question that sparks discussion on community and the importance of engaging with the myriad of support systems in place at every college.  College houses, academic advisors, cultural resource centers, learning hubs, and career services support students as they transition from high school to college, go through their undergraduate years, and then transition into graduate school or a job.

“Can you talk about the difference between a school’s sticker price and what my family will actually pay for my college education?”
Penn, alongside many other private and highly-selective colleges, is committed to meeting 100% of families’ demonstrated financial aid need.  This means that the cost of college for your family is directly related to your personal financial situation and is often less than the sticker price.  Take time to explore the financial aid policies of each school on your list; if you have questions about these policies, pick up the phone and speak with financial aid professionals.  You should also use each school’s net price calculator to learn more about the actual cost of college.

I want to share advice from Admissions Counselor Alexandra Feinson, regional representative for Northern California, Louisiana and Alabama, who notes that basic questions are also essential.  She says, “It’s always a good idea to ask about things like food, weather, public transportation, and the cost of living.  You will be a student of Penn as well as Philly and if you are coming from far away it’s a good idea to ask about what your new climate might be like!”

To end for today, I want to thank Penn Admissions representatives Danielle Branch, Alexandra Feinson, Chennery Fife, Megan Red Shirt-Shaw, and Amy Smith for their collaboration.

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