Leading up to the trip, my attitude toward the upcoming college tours was that I would be attentive but my top choices would not be affected. After only one tour, I have adopted a new mindset. In my opinion The University of Pennsylvania does not have a one of a kind campus or any amazing statistic that separates it from any other of the Ivy League schools. It does have a unique concept. After dining with a Penn graduate, 3 current students, and two outreach directors who are very familiar with the campus and admission process, it has become clear that Penn is a college that takes its students’ concerns very seriously.
On the leisurely tour of the campus, we discovered:
- The university employs 400 security and 100 police officers; student safety is clearly a top priority.
- There is a very wide selection of extra-curricular activities to participate in, from club sports to the tree climbing club.
- Penn students have access to the libraries of all Ivy League schools and local Universities
From the outreach directors we learned:
- Grades and courses taken compared to courses offered are the very most important thing
- Students in any of the 4 schools can take classes from any of the other 4 schools and any graduate school relatively easily
- Test scores are a plus, but being a good fit for Penn is a necessity.
I was very pleasantly surprised with my first college tour. There was much more practical, relevant information and much less dull history and tradition than I expected. I was still amused by the student body’s tradition of throwing toast onto the field after the third quarter of football games. This trip is just underway but I am now much more excited about tours of more campuses.