The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


Over the past two weeks, thousands of newly admitted students descended onto Locust Walk, in hopes that a campus visit would help them decide if they want to call Penn home for the next four years.

This year, 3,709 students and guests registered for Penn Preview Days, which consisted of six day-long events.

If the Class of 2015’s RSVP total is equal to the number of actual attendees, it will be a record high for Penn, said Valerie Welsh, director of on-campus programs for the Admissions Office. The University does not yet have a final tally of guests for this year, she added.

Last year, 3,207 students and guests attended Penn Previews.

For Dean of Admissions Eric Furda, Penn Previews are the University’s “number-one tool to get admitted students to attend,” he said.

This year’s program saw a number of changes “designed to represent Penn in more authentic ways,” Furda added.

In particular, Welsh said students were given more flexibility to pick which college houses to visit. Additionally, the “Meet Your 2015 Classmates” program — which brought admitted students together with current Penn undergraduates for a question-and-answer session — was expanded after its debut last year, she said.

Most students who came to campus said they enjoyed the opportunity to get a taste of life at Penn.

“It definitely showed that there are so many opportunities at Penn, and it gave a sense of what it might feel like to be a student here,” said Ashleigh Seely, a senior at Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley, Wash. Seely, who was admitted regular decision, is deciding between Penn and the University of California at Berkeley.

Tina Voelcker, who was accepted regular decision from Brazil, said Penn Previews made her think more highly of the University. She is still deciding between Penn and Brown University.

The campus visit “definitely made me feel very comfortable here, which was what I was hoping to take from the experience,” Voelcker said.

However, not all were sold by their Penn Previews experience.

Unlike some of its peers in the Ivy League — such as Columbia, Harvard and Princeton universities — Penn’s preview program does not allow students to spend the night.

Not being able to stay for an overnight “will definitely be a negative when I have to make a final decision,” said Raul Mondragon, who was accepted regular decision from Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He added that it “would have been nice to get a better look [at the University] beyond just one day.”

Others were disappointed that a Penn Preview Day fell on the Friday of Spring Fling weekend.

Seeing campus on a different day “would have definitely given a more accurate representation of Penn,” said Donald Zhang, a senior at Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto, Calif.

Because of Fling activities, visitors this past Friday were not able to enter the Quadrangle.

While Zhang was admitted early decision and will be attending Penn next year, he said he was disappointed about not seeing the Quad “because that’s where [he] might want to live.”

However, for Rachel Hirshorn — a senior at The Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York — a visit on the Friday of Fling helped her see the social side of Penn.

“It’s a nice way to show that Penn students are able to have fun,” Hirshorn, who was accepted early decision, said. “I’m definitely looking forward to next year.”

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.