Author Archives: Dean Furda


How did you find out?

Posted on by Dean Furda
Christian Moore, W’15: “I was hanging out with my mom [before finding out] and we didn’t really talk about the decision. It was kind of one of those things where I knew my mom was thinking about it and she knew I was thinking about it, but no words were spoken. When 5 PM rolled around, [...]

Tomorrow

Posted on by Dean Furda
Penn’s Office of Admissions, alongside all Ivy League universities, will release admissions decisions on Thursday, March 28, at 5PM EDT. As high school seniors log on to their decision sites (we’re watching the numbers spike on our end), there is no doubt that these moments are a definitive part of senior year. At this time [...]

Transfer Perspectives, Part 2

Posted on by Dean Furda
Today, Executive Board members of Penn’s Transfer Student Organization (TSO), Kim Gordon (C’14, E’14), Eric Shapiro (W’15), Adisa Williams (C’15), Nikolai Zapertov (C’14), discuss their transition to a new campus and look back on their experiences thus far.How might you use the summer to prepare for this transition?Eric S.: Find out if there is a [...]

Transfer Perspectives, Part I

Posted on by Dean Furda
Are you a college freshman or sophomore thinking about transferring to a different school? Over two days, Executive Board members of Penn’s Transfer Student Organization (TSO), Kim Gordon (C’14, E’14), Eric Shapiro (W’15), Adisa Williams (C’15), and Nikolai Zapertov (C’14), consider their own experiences and discuss each aspect of the transfer process, from deciding to [...]

Likely Letters

Posted on by Dean Furda
Today, Penn’s Office of Admissions sent out ‘LIKELY’ letters to just over 200 applicants. These letters reflect the strong connection between applicants’ educational goals and opportunities on Penn’s campus.This is a small portion of Penn’s applicant pool and our office is very excited about all of our regular decision candidates.  We look forward to ongoing [...]

Retreat Reflections

Posted on by Dean Furda
Meaningful dialogue, inviting diverse perspectives, backgrounds and ideas, was at the heart of the recent PossePlus Retreat, which brings together student leaders, faculty and staff. My colleagues, Natalie Herring, Associate Dean of Equity and Excellence, Teran Tadal, Associate Director of Equity and Excellence, Camille Green, Equity and Excellence Coordinator, and I were honored to be among [...]

You’ve Got Mail

Posted on by Dean Furda
Sophomores and juniors: you may have noticed that your mailboxes, both virtual and physical, keep filling up. Schools throughout the US, and overseas as well, have obtained your contact information, and a few other pieces of information, such as possible academic interests, through your participation in the PSAT and/or PLAN tests. As spring break and [...]

New Common App Essays

Posted on by Dean Furda
This morning, The Common Application released new essay prompts for the 2013-2014 application cycle. The updated prompts are versatile and thought-provoking, providing students with a starting point for further introspection and insight. Thoughtfully crafted by a team of high school counselors, admissions officers, and members of The Common Application Board and staff, the new essay prompts [...]

Proud

Posted on by Dean Furda
Arriving at Penn in September, eight freshmen identified an opportunity to expand the exchange of ideas on campus. In November, they formed an organization to do just that—Penn Non-Cis focuses on the discussion of gender. Earlier this month, Penn Non-Cis was featured in the New York Times and the Daily Pennsylvanian. I am not only [...]

Winter Break

Posted on by Dean Furda
As the University’s Winter Break approaches (Penn’s Admissions Office  is closed Dec 21- Jan1), I find myself thinking both about the plans I have with my family for the holidays as well as the tasks our office needs to accomplish in the transition to regular decision. Likewise, for high school seniors, spending much needed time [...]

Early Decision Outcomes

Posted on by Dean Furda
Most early decision or early action applicants will be receiving their decisions this week. And on the eve of Penn’s early decision release tomorrow at 6 pm, it is important for us to take a step back and remember the bigger picture. Let’s take this time to prepare for the three possible outcomes… You might [...]

Interviews: Bring Questions

Posted on by Dean Furda
Patrick Bredehoft, Director of the Penn Alumni Interview Program, encourages students to come with questions to demonstrate interest in being part of this lifelong community:“Come with a few questions in mind. Universities are looking for students who hope to share their ideas with others, who are hungry for diverse perspectives, and eager to meet lots of [...]

Interviews: Share Interests

Posted on by Dean Furda
What do you hope to achieve, in academic and extracurricular experiences, on this campus? Patrick Bredehoft, Director of the Penn Alumni Interview Program, provides insight into this important part of the interview:“The interviewer will want to get to know you; be ready to discuss your specific interests and passions. While you should talk about what you have [...]

Interviews: Why This School

Posted on by Dean Furda
To continue the conversation on interviews, Patrick Bredehoft, Director of the Penn Alumni Interview Program, discusses how to highlight your reasons for applying:“Know why you are applying to this university. This doesn’t mean memorizing the names of fifteen buildings on campus or reciting prominent traditions, but rather being able to speak in specific terms about your [...]

Interviews

Posted on by Dean Furda
Over the next few days, Page 217 will cover the interview process. Early decision and early action applicants: you may soon have an opportunity to speak with a local alumni interviewer about your candidacy, your passions, and their experiences. When it comes to this piece of the application, Patrick Bredehoft, Director of the Penn Alumni Interview Program, [...]

Deadlines, Requirements and Life

Posted on by Dean Furda
My thoughts and wishes for a safe recovery are with all those affected by Hurricane Sandy.  In the suburbs of Philadelphia, many homes are still without electricity and some schools are still closed.  It is during times of adversity when citizens of all ages and backgrounds need to pull together.  It is also the time [...]

The Great Question Issue

Posted on by Dean Furda
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 [...]

Early Decision

Posted on by Dean Furda
Penn Admissions is on the road.  After spending a summer together in College Hall, our admissions officers are meeting prospective students in their hometowns across the world.  I hope you share our excitement as we begin the 2012-2013 academic year and admissions cycle.Today, let’s discuss early decision, a path many high school seniors are considering.  [...]

Creating a College List

Posted on by Dean Furda
Last week, I asked readers to reflect on how their summer experiences informed their identity, interests, ideas, and aspirations.  Now, let’s turn to the 5I’s’ counterpart, the 4C’s, and think about how the latter framework informs college lists.  For seniors, creating a college list is important part of the early fall and an integral part [...]

On the Eve of Labor Day Weekend…

Posted on by Dean Furda
For many, this final weekend of summer is reserved for family barbeques and back-to-school shopping.  Today, I hope to add one more activity to your weekend plans.  In the spirit of Labor Day’s original intent–celebration and reflection on behalf of the American worker–I ask each of you to use this time to reflect on your [...]

Thinking like an Engineer

Posted on by Dean Furda
Many universities ask applicants to indicate their interest in engineering on their freshman applications.  Without having opportunities to work alongside engineers–or to engage them in conversation–I know that it can be difficult to envision the impact engineers make across disciplines.  Exposure to cutting edge work within the engineering field is where Coursera, featured on Page [...]

Finding New Spaces for Learning

Posted on by Dean Furda
Online courses are the newest trends in the world of higher ed. as world-class professors bring learning opportunities to internet platforms.  Coursera, co-founded by two Stanford professors, is home to an astounding 119 courses from 19 universities–and the platform continues to grow.  The courses are free for all and attract a great range of students.  [...]

The Penn Supplement: Part II

Posted on by Dean Furda
As he did last week, Patrick Bredehoft, former Admissions Officer and current Director of the Penn Alumni Interview Program, offers his insight into the Penn Supplement. Here, we will go over the second question on the supplement.Ben Franklin once said, “All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those [...]

4 C’s

Posted on by Dean Furda
After looking within yourself, consider the 4 most important characteristics that you want out of your college experience. Then assess colleges with these preferences in mind and through a framework I refer to as the 4 C’s. Culture: What is the history and mission of the institution. How is the mission relevant today? Curriculum: More than [...]

5 I’s

Posted on by Dean Furda
 When looking at colleges, I always ask students to first look within yourself, a self assessment that I call the 5 I’s: Identity: How do you see yourself and how do others see you? Intellect: How do you think and approach the acquisition of knowledge? Ideas: What do you think and why? Interests: What do [...]

The Penn Supplement: Part I

Posted on by Dean Furda
Penn is introducing two new questions on the Penn Supplement for the 2012-2013 admissions cycle.  I’m going to turn the stage over to Patrick Bredehoft, former Penn Admissions Officer and current Director of the Penn Alumni Interview Program, to speak about the first of the two prompts.  We will discuss the second question next week.A Penn [...]

Navigating the College Supplement

Posted on by Dean Furda
“I love the essay because it is the one place that students can put their voices, unfiltered, onto the page.” Patrick Bredehoft, Regional Director  Former English teacher, domestic and international Regional Director of Admissions, and current Director of the Penn Alumni Interview Program, Patrick Bredehoft is an authority on the college essay, including the institution-specific [...]

College Horizons Comes to Penn

Posted on by Dean Furda
Two weeks ago, 150 Native American, Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian students came to Penn’s campus for College Horizons, a week-long program that immerses students in workshops focused on applying to college. College Horizons students, interns and faculty formed a tight-knit community, the third of the 4 C’s, as they attended workshops, a college fair, and [...]

Learning from Questbridge

Posted on by Dean Furda
Over the past two months through last weekend, Penn sent admissions officers to Questbridge’s three College Admissions Conferences at Stanford, Princeton and Northwestern.  Today, I’m bringing you part of what we’ve learned:• Be aware of admissions timelines at each of the institutions you apply to.  While use of the common application centralizes the submission process, each institution [...]

NYT College Life Fair Wrap-up

Posted on by Dean Furda
I recently tweeted about my experience at the New York Times College Life Fair with Penn Admissions Officers Blair Godfrey and Teran Tadal (check out our picture).  We enjoyed presenting Penn to the 6,000 students from Chicago area schools – primarily the Chicago public schools – and their counselors and teachers, who are to be thanked [...]

Thoughts on the Campus Tour

Posted on by Dean Furda
Impending finals or summer plans might be on your mind right now; yet, I hope that the last two posts, featuring On-Campus Programs (OCP) staff, made you excited for a spring road trip to college campuses across the country.  Penn tour guides, Nick Boccardi W’14 and Alicia DeMaio C’13, add a new voice to this [...]

Planning a Campus Visit (Part II)

Posted on by Dean Furda
Here are our next six tips for upcoming campus visits.  We encourage prospective students to ask questions, explore campus and the surrounding areas and, most importantly, enjoy their trip. 7.  SPEAK UP Lara believes that “the number one tip is to ask questions.”  Of questions for admissions counselors, Lara adds, “Do your research beforehand.  If you [...]

Planning a Campus Visit (Part I)

Posted on by Dean Furda
For high school students and families eager to visit college campuses we sat down with Penn’s On-Campus Programs staff, Lara Grieco, Valerie Marchand Welsh, Siobhan O’Neill and Liz Washo, to learn how to make the most of a college visit, while simultaneously navigating high visitor volume and high energy on campus.  The result?  Our top [...]

Choosing Your High School Courses

Posted on by Dean Furda
As seniors await their admission decisions, this is the time of year when guidance counselors can direct more attention to the sophomore and junior classes. The framework of the 5 I’s and 4 C’s developed over many years as I spoke with students and parents at these junior  ’College Night Program’. In fact, I owe [...]

Page 217 – The Likely Letter

Posted on by Dean Furda
Penn’s Office of Admissions contacted just over 200 students who were informed that they are ‘LIKELY’ admits to the class of 2016. This number is approximately 10% of the regular decision offers we will make at the end of March. Along the framework of the 5 I’s and 4 C’s, through their applications, these students [...]

Page 217

Posted on by Dean Furda
Page 217. It’s an essay prompt that was a hallmark of Penn’s application for probably 20 years: “You have just written your 300-page autobiography. Please submit page 217.” Ben Franklin started his own autobiography at the age of 65 (he lived to 84). So let’s ask 18 year olds about their lives. How could I [...]


*PAGE 217
refers to the always legendary and occasionally dreaded essay which was once a mainstay of the University of Pennsylvania application. The question read as follows: “You have just finished your three hundred page autobiography. Please submit page 217.”

SUBSCRIBE TO p.217 UPDATES




© 2014 THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA. 3451 WALNUT STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19104

215 898.5000     |    CONTACT US