Penn Preview Days sees overhaul in structure

Prospective students will personalize their Penn experience

· January 14, 2014, 6:19 pm   ·  Updated January 14, 2014, 11:42 pm

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In an effort to increase admissions yield and the experience of accepted Penn applicants, the Office of Admissions is revamping Penn Preview Days.

Overnight stays are one of the significant changes Penn Preview Days is undergoing this year. Instead of having multiple single-day events, there will be one main event for students admitted through regular decision that will take place from Monday, April 7 to Wednesday, April 9.

“We want to change the experience [so] that people leave here wanting more,” Director of On-Campus Programs Elizabeth Washo, who is in charge of the changes to Penn Preview Days, said These changes will alter many long-established elements of Penn Preview Days, including the name itself.

The Office of Admissions will be running a survey on Under the Button where Penn students can choose their favorite name for the preview event. Some suggestions for the name change include “Red and Blue Days” and “Quaker Days.”

In addition, Multicultural Scholar’s Weekend, an event for prospective students from underrepresented minority groups, will be combined with the main preview event. Multicultural Scholars will arrive a day earlier to participate in special programming before the rest of the accepted students join them on campus.

Quaker Quest, the scavenger hunt that traditionally takes place during previews, will be replaced with programming hosted by student groups and campus institutions, such as the museums and athletic facilities. Students will be allowed to “tailor their experience” to their interests, Vice Dean of Admissions Yvonne Romero Da Silva said. For example, Washo suggested that interested students could attend a party hosted by the LGBT Center.

Related link: Penn Preview Days and Fling won’t coincide, unlike years past

The changes comes as a result of student feedback on Penn Preview Days, as well as discussions within the Office of Admissions. “We’re the only Ivy that doesn’t do overnight,” Washo said.

She hopes that the new preview event will become a Penn tradition where everyone on campus will host prospective students overnight. “If you go to Princeton, you know that you’re going to overnight someone for Tiger Days,” Washo pointed out.

Wharton sophomore Elias Bernstein, while supportive of the expansion of the preview days, is concerned that having a single preview event, “has the potential to limit attendees.”

Bernstein, who participated in Penn Preview Days as an accepted applicant, said in an email that he would prefer having more than one opportunity for accepted students to preview Penn.

Washo said the Office of Admissions is working on expanding the accessibility of the preview event. “We’re going to use some resources to get students from areas that don’t have the opportunity [to travel to Penn],” she said. The Office of Admissions is reviewing the issue internally to figure out the financial resources they can extend to lower-income students for attending preview days.

The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business and the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology are the only two groups of regular decision students who will have separate preview events.

Students admitted through early decision will attend a Connected Quakers Day held on two separate dates in February, which will not be overnight.

But for regular decision students, Washo hopes that the improved preview event will “affect [Penn’s] yield,” since the preview experience “can totally make or break your choice.”

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