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Credit: Julio Sosa

Students from all over attended this year's ConnectED Quaker Day as they made their first appearance on Penn’s campus Friday as official members of the incoming freshman class of 2022.

Every year, the day-long programming gives students a glimpse of the life they will experience on Penn’s campus in a few short months.

“Every year our goal is to celebrate the achievement of these Early Decision admitted students, but also to give them – and their families – great information about how to thrive at Penn once they arrive here for NSO,” said Vice Dean and Director of Marketing & Communications at the Admissions office, Kathryn Bezella. “We offer suggestions on how to transition to college, and, through the variety of panels and sessions, we highlight the many programs and resources they’ll have access to when they get here.” 

The events of the day ranged from social mixers to panels. 

“The school specific presentations were useful to kind of get a bearing for what part of Penn you were a part of and what it was like,” said incoming Engineering student Nicholas Barra. 

“It was really great being able to meet so many people and being able to talk to them during the mix and mingle and lunch. People would just come over to you and start talking to you which was really cool,” said incoming College student Abigail Lynn Metzler. 

Credit: Julio Sosa

Contrary to many incoming students at ConnectED, some current Penn students had mixed opinions regarding their ConnectED experiences.

College freshman Jesse Liu describes his experience at ConnectED last year as a positive one. Never having come to campus prior to ConnectED, Jesse appreciated the opportunity to see the campus and talk to current students. 

“They tried their best to have really good programming for all the ED kids, and gave us the opportunity to interact with and see a lot of people. At the end of the day it was okay,” he says.

Meanwhile, Wharton freshman Maddie Blake had a more negative experience last year. 

“The programming wasn't that great,” Blake said. “We were just shuttled around to different rooms and listened to panels and frankly I don't even remember what most of them were about. I ended up just meeting up with one of my friends who’s a sophomore here now and just spending the day with her – going to her dorm, going out to dinner with her, and getting more of an actual experience.”

Credit: Julio Sosa

Unlike Quaker Days, Penn doesn’t offer on campus housing accommodations for students attending ConnectED. 

“I think generally, staying overnight in the dorms was a huge part of my ConnectED experience. I feel like it’s a bummer that unless you happen to know someone here, you can't really get that experience with ConnectED,” said Blake.

“Quaker Days was a lot longer than ConnectED and I could see that Penn put a lot more money into Quaker Days,” Wharton and Engineering sophomore Roshan Benefo. “If I had only gone to connectED I wouldn't have gotten to know Penn as I did through Quaker days.”

Although admitted ED, Benefo’s dual degree program — the Jerome FIsher Program in Management and Technology — invited students to Quaker Days instead of ConnectED. 

“This is a really good time to meet people in the program with whom you’ll spend the next four years,” said Benefo. 

Ultimately, since students attending ConnectED have already committed to Penn, there is less pressure on Penn to incentivize attendance. 

“For everyone who applied [ED], Penn was our top choice school. At the end of the day, ED kids are going to come anyway,” said Liu. “It is a little bit unfair, but I am not frustrated about that.”

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