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Prospective students tour campus during 2010 Preview Days. This year, there will be one less Preview Day than in the past.

Photo: Mordechai Treiger / The Daily Pennsylvanian

Starting April 12, campus will be filled not only with excitement for Spring Fling, but also with excitement of high-school students hoping to take in as much of Penn in one day as possible.

Students who have been admitted to Penn’s Class of 2016 will begin arriving on campus April 12 for Penn Preview Days. This year, the University will be hosting five one-day sessions designed to give admitted students a taste of life as a Quaker.

Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said the Office of Admissions is reaching out to and engaging all parts of campus to provide students the most accurate Penn experience possible.

“We’re doing as much as we can to make them really feel like they can get a sense of what their life would feel like if they said ‘yes’ to our offer,” he said. “The more communities we’re involving in this conversation, the more authentic a sense of Penn these families will get.”

The program this year will be able to count on the largest group of current student volunteers to date — more than 240 — to help the prospective students navigate their way throughout the day.

Assistant Director of On-Campus Programs Lara Grieco said the Office of Admissions is making a concerted effort to engage the entire Penn community.

“We really want the entire Penn campus to welcome their future classmates during Penn Preview Days,” she said.

This year’s program will include a number of improvements, Grieco added. For instance, instead of a combined student panel, there will be separate student panels for early decision and regular decision admits.

“There are two different conversations. If you were admitted early, you already know you’re coming. You’re psyched and you want to know what it’s like to live, learn and study here,” she said. “If you were admitted regular, you’re still trying to think about if Penn is a great fit and these are a different set of questions.”

Other changes include an online automated check-in system for families, a new event called “The Great Quaker Quest” designed to foster interactions between students, as well as online signups for college house tours.

The Office of Admissions also cut out their lowest attended day, shortening the program to five days instead of the six preview days there were in previous years.

Top Colleges Educational Consultant Steven Goodman, a 1989 Graduate School of Education alumnus, said Preview Days can be influential in a student’s decision to matriculate.

“Students are in a different psychological mindset than they were last month and it’s an important change — students now feel like they’re in control,” he said, adding that those who are qualified to be admitted to Penn are most likely considering other schools as well.

Michele Hernandez, president of Hernandez College Consulting, agreed.

“It’s really important because kids are only coming if they’re serious about the school in the first place,” she said. “These are the kids who are definitely considering attending so it will make a difference because it’s the first time they’ve had a chance to envision themselves at the school.”

Furda emphasized that while increasing yield — the percentage of admitted students who matriculate — is an important part of the program, it is not the only goal.

“At the end of this, yield is critically important, but I also want any family that comes away from here to have a positive impression of the place,” he said. “Maybe there is something that is created so they’ll think about Penn in the future for graduate school or for referrals to other students.”

Sean Carpenter, who was admitted regular decision from St. Joseph High School in St. Joseph, Mich., said he is looking forward to visiting campus as an admitted student. Carpenter, who visited last spring and “fell in love with the campus,” said he feels the information presented will be more important to him now that he has been admitted.

“I just want to meet my new classmates and see what’s in store for me,” he said.

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