Admissions launches new site to showcase life at Penn

Six current students will blog about Penn to connect with applicants

· October 9, 2012, 11:09 pm

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Prospective students looking for a glimpse into life at Penn now have a new resource — a revamped Office of Admissions website.

The new site, launched on Oct. 3, features new tabs about various aspects of life at Penn, including interdisciplinary learning, extracurricular activities and the city of Philadelphia. It also showcases new videos and links to other Penn websites — including those of the four undergraduate schools and several cultural centers on campus — and connects current students with applicants through a series of student blogs.

“We’re keeping student voices up to date, so if you’re a prospective student and you want to know what’s going on with Penn, it’s not what some old guy wrote four years ago,” said College junior Isabel Oliveres, who is spearheading the student blog. “For me, the coolest part is to be given the opportunity to be a voice of Penn to thousands and thousands of kids that are going on the website.”

The website currently features six bloggers, but Oliveres, a 34th Street editor, is hoping to be able to add more going forward. The six students span three of the four undergraduate schools, and most are posting about activities outside of their classes.

“Penn isn’t just this physical community of bricks and mortar and programs,” Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said. “It’s a dynamic community of 10,000 students and faculty. You want students to get a sense of the dynamism and that energy.”

Furda added that the admissions office has received positive feedback about the new website, which also features a new video with clips of students on Locust Walk, at a basketball game and donning canes and foam hats on Hey Day.

The bloggers — some of whom have worked as campus tour guides or Penn Preview Days volunteers — are paid for the posts they write.

Wharton sophomore and new student blogger Grace Liu said her time volunteering for Penn Preview Days encouraged her to sign on as a blogger.

“I really enjoyed talking to the freshmen and convincing them to come,” Liu said. “I love Penn so I figured if I joined the blog I could get the word out to even more people.”

Others hope they will be able to give prospective applicants a glimpse into what opportunities they would have if accepted to Penn.

“I want to give them an idea of the whole picture of Penn,” Nursing sophomore Sarah Voisine said. “A lot of people think an Ivy League school is just academics — I know I thought that coming in and applying — but I have so much fun on the weekends, the food is great here, there are so many other things to Penn.”

Furda also hopes the bloggers will explain their personal experiences interacting with faculty, participating in research and getting involved with community service. He sees the new website as accessible and inviting for students interested in more than just the application process.

For Oliveres, the updated website will give prospective students an opportunity to interact with a more human side of Penn.

“We want to bring [a personal element] in because what makes Penn such an amazing school is not just that it’s in the Ivy League, with every resource in the world, but that the people who come here are what transform it to another level,” she said.

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