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When Ilicia Stangle was applying to college last fall, she really wanted to be a Quaker. But simply applying to the University as her first choice under the early decision program wasn't enough for the Albuquerque, N.M. native to show her love for the school and her desire to go there. So she took out an ad in the paper. Sure enough, she got in. And now she lives in the Quad. Stangle's ad in the DP did get the attention of the admissions department, officials say, but they also said that it did not affect their decision to accept her in any way. According to Director of Admissions Planning Cristoph Guttentag, Stangle's ad was not an empty gesture, but rather an extension of the portrait of herself she painted in her regular application. "We find that when we evaluate an application, the different parts, such as the transcript, the activities and recommendations come together fairly consistently to create an image of an applicant," said Guttentag. "Like everything students do, [the ad] was in some way reflective of their personality . . . It was not perceived negatively." Stangle, now a College freshman, said that she ran the ad in the DP because a friend of hers who was a University alumni recommended that she "do something out of the ordinary." Stangle said that she and her father thought of the idea of the ad, adding that "it got [the admission office's] attention." But she insists that she was a fully qualified applicant. "I would have been accepted anyway," Stangle said. Stangle said that she recommended pulling a stunt, such as her ad in the DP, to other applicants. "Many people who are applying [to the University] are all equally qualified," Stangle said. "You need something to make you stand out." Guttentag said that occasionally, students will do extraordinary things to get the attention of the admission officers, but generally they are more conservative. "Generally people don't do outrageous things," Guttentag said. "They take the process seriously, they tend to hesitate during anything that involves a risk of being misinterpreted or having a negative judgement." He added, however, that in exception to the general trend, some applicants have done some "interesting" things over the years. He said that the admissions office has received a life preserver with the letters "USS Penn" on it, a stained glass window with the University insignia, a photo of an applicant with his face painted red and blue and a three-foot greeting card. And one "clever" prospective Quaker filled out an application for his dog as well as himself. "The cover letter, talked about how his dog had told him she wanted to go to Penn too, and he signed it with a paw print" Guttentag said. "It was really humorous" "People will do things to try to make an impression," Guttentag said. "Generally it is in good taste and humorous, but alone they don't change an admissions decision and don't have a real impact."

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