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Every day, hundreds of students and parents flock in and out of Irvine Auditorium to go on a campus tour. As visitors huddle around Benjamin Franklin’s statue in front of College Hall listening to tour guides, they are trying to figure out whether this is the place for them. And in a month, a new group of those prospective students will get their acceptance letters after the early decision round.

President Amy Gutmann has said that engagement is what makes Penn a desirable place . At Convocation this year, she told the freshman class that Penn’s vision is “to engage what we know and engage what we do to create a better world.” Dean of Admissions Eric Furda has said that the all-grant, no-loan policy is something that makes Penn special. But what do prospective students see in the school?

“I’m doing a college tour to schools that have good lacrosse teams,” Alex Nicoletti, a high school sophomore from Colorado said. Penn is in her consideration pool along with Princeton and Georgetown universities and Boston College.

As an NCAA Division I school, Penn has 16 men’s athletic teams and 15 women’s teams . Women’s lacrosse, the team Nicoletti is interested in, currently stands as the best among Ivy League schools . “For athletes, we have to commit to schools early, so I’m doing my college tour relatively early,” she said.

Penn recently received a lot of attention online as it was ranked the top party school in the nation by Playboy Magazine and as the top university with the most billionaire alumni by Wealth-X and UBS . All four students interviewed for this article said that are aware of the recent media attention, but did not think it was an important factor in their college search.

“We pay attention, but not too much,” Sean Ray, a high school junior from New Jersey, said.

Ray said that although he is still in the stage of “getting to know” different colleges, Penn’s strong undergraduate business program drew a lot of attention.

”It’s the best business school in the States,” Agatha Otero, a student from Illinois, said of Wharton. “I looked at the rankings and percentages of people who get good jobs after graduation.”

Otero currently attends a community college, but Wharton made her want to transfer to Penn.

She said she is also excited about the study abroad programs, which allow her to live in another country and still get credit for classes.

Carina Lindrooth, a high school junior from Pennsylvania, just started her college search, and the close distance from her home is an important factor that made her consider Penn.

“Also, I looked at Naviance and saw that Penn matched with me,” she said. Naviance is a college and career readiness software that assists college search and shows each high school’s applicant history and their admission results .

In addition to the closeness and her compatibility with the school, Lindrooth said her academic advisor is a Penn graduate, affecting her interest as well.

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