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Navigating Penn will soon be much easier for prospective students with Spanish-speaking parents.

Starting next semester, the University plans to schedule campus tours in Spanish once or twice a week, according to Dean of Admissions Eric Furda. These tours are the product of a number of conversations between the Office of Admissions, the Kite and Key Society and the University’s five multicultural groups — particularly the Latino Coalition — over the last year.

Though the Latino Coalition has spearheaded the effort, it will not be providing the tours, said College freshman Luis Vargas, chairman of admissions and recruitment for the group.

Bilingual tour guides will be required to go through the Kite and Key Society’s training. The society — a group of undergraduate volunteers who serve as ambassadors of the Penn community — is excited to “increase its volunteer base and create more diversity,” said Valerie Welsh, director of on-campus programs for the Office of Admissions.

She believes that Kite and Key will not be required to actively search for bilingual volunteers because diversity is already occurring “quite naturally.”

Right now, the University provides tours in other languages on a request-only basis. Transforming these into regular occurrences has less to do with a heightened demand rate and more to do with a predicted shift in the cultural landscape of the United States, Furda said.

“This is very forward-looking,” he said. “Pull up the demographics of the U.S. for the next 15 years plus, and you’ll see why we need these.”

As of now, one financial aid pamphlet is in Spanish, but according to Furda, the Office of Admissions is “revamping” publications this year. Soon, the packets for visitors will also be offered in Spanish.

These new options will allow Penn to make connections with parents who might not be familiar with the college application process, Vargas emphasized.

“Penn begins to gain a positive reputation among applicants as an accessible institution that is invested in the student body it actively recruits,” he wrote in an e-mail.

In the past, the Latino Coalition has made other efforts to increase the Latino population on campus. In collaboration with La Casa Latina ­— the cultural resource center for Latino students ­— Latino Coalition members sent out congratulatory letters in Spanish and called students after they had been accepted to initiate “personal connections,” according to Vargas.

“The main motivation is to help families,” Furda said. “The college process is a family decision, and navigating what is already a complicated process in a second or third language is even more of a challenge and even more daunting.”

Wharton sophomore and Latino Coalition Chairman Angel Contrera said he wished he had the option of opting for a Spanish tour as a prospective student. He visited colleges with his friends and only explained the application process to his Spanish-speaking parents after being accepted to Penn.

“One of the reasons they didn’t come on college tours was because I would have had to explain Penn to them while I was just figuring it out myself,” he said. “These tours are amazing because they can teach people what’s great about Penn and what applying to college is about in general.”

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