Countdown to May 1

Posted on by Dean Furda

Each spring, admitted students are invited to college campuses to learn more about the college experience and to celebrate their accomplishments with future classmates, professors, and advisors. As a University, we welcomed the Class of 2017 to Penn’s campus, with events like the Quaker Quest (think: cheesesteak eating contests, flying kites in Penn Park), a performance by the Mask & Wig band, and a group picture on the steps of College Hall with the Quaker.

I hope that April has been a time of celebration and reflection for the seniors—and parents—reading this. This moment is well-deserved. Rather than a finale, this year of enlightenment and self-growth provides an organic transition to academic accomplishment and community engagement in the fall.

For students who have not yet committed to a school, experiences at admitted student days and a thorough review of acceptance materials, both in print and online, will be a starting point for your decision at the end of this month.

Put these experiences in conversation with the 5I’s—a look within yourself— as you consider the decision:

Identity: Think about the person you are becoming. Then match this identity to a college campus. Where will you be both supported and challenged? Do you feel innately connected to any of your choices? This spark is something to pay attention to, even if you can’t quite explain it.

Intellect: Where will you find an intellectual home? Think about your academic interests and know how they might be developed on campus. Consider your academic path broadly—75% of Penn freshmen, for example, change their minds about their major.

Ideas: Will this school be receptive to the energy and spirit you bring to campus? All of you are innovators and will need space, resources, and support to develop your ideas.

Interests: What do you like to do? What are you passionate about? Make sure there is an infrastructure in place that enables you to continue these pursuits.

Inspiration: What drives you? What are your short-term goals and long-term aspirations? Will the next four years at this school continually inspire you and move you towards your larger vision?

Best of luck, seniors, as you work through this decision.


*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.”

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