Admitted students get taste of Penn through Scholars' Preview program


Program intended to showcase community at Penn, Furda says


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Students attend a dessert reception as part of Penn’s Scholars Preview program, which was held from Monday through today.

Photo by Muyi Li


Over the past few days, about 200 newly admitted students in the Class of 2016 have gotten an early peek into everyday life at Penn.

Scholars’ Preview, an overnight program designed to give students a more in-depth look into campus life, invited students to explore Penn and Philadelphia firsthand from April 9 to April 11.

The scheduled programming for Scholars’ Preview included a performing arts talent show, information sessions at each school and a dinner and reception with Dean of Admissions Eric Furda at the National Constitution Center.

Furda said this program is targeted toward students demonstrating different types of diversity — cultural, geographic, academic and socioeconomic.

“Even in a diverse class like Penn’s, there are communities that are underrepresented, and in those underrepresented communities it’s important to see that […] there is a community here,” he said.

By giving participants the opportunity to stay on campus overnight — which is not offered through the Penn Preview Program — Furda believes that “Scholars’ Preview can be more purposeful about community and conversations about community.”

About 90 students were flown in from across the country, and all the students were housed in various college houses by volunteer student hosts.

The program was originally held over a weekend until last year, when the Office of Admissions wanted to provide more opportunity for prospective students to explore the academic options at Penn, Furda said.

Regional Director of Admissions Teran Tadal said the admissions officers, along with the Opportunity and Access Team within the Office of Admissions, select the group of students who are invited to Scholars’ Preview.

Jeffrey Durso-Finley — director of college counseling at The Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, N.J. — said he sees the program as beneficial for these students who may have not had the chance to travel to campus and may only know Penn by name or reputation.

“I think giving any student the opportunity to make a connection, to help them feel more connected to the community, helps with their success, with their retention and with their overall happiness,” he said. “That’s worth the effort, from my perspective.”

For Mark Bai, a regular decision admit from Millard North High School in Omaha, Neb., the program has helped sway his decision toward Penn.

“The integration of the current students and the prefrosh made the program successful and everyone is just so excited to have us here,” he said. “We just fed off the enthusiasm.”

Maulik Desai — who was admitted regular decision from Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, OH — agreed. Over the past few days, he was especially excited to see the variety of performing arts groups that existed on campus.

“The talent show was especially impressive and just seeing the different cultural groups that existed was exciting,” he said. “Most of us didn’t know that such variety existed before we got to the previews. Even among our own class, I had no idea that the Class of 2016 had so much talent.”

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