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Like many siblings at Penn, College freshman Eric and College junior Evan Selzer support each other academically and extracurricularly.

Credit: Alex Fisher

When Wharton freshman Sabrina Sidhu found out her older sister got into Penn, she was ecstatic. A sophomore in high school at the time, Sabrina started crying while her sister was “relatively calm” after announcing that she had been admitted. Two years later, Sabrina started looking at colleges for herself, and she said she was influenced by her sister in deciding that Penn was where she wanted to go.

“Since she was my sister she would tell me everything about the school, not just try to present the best side of it,” Sidhu said. “So I felt like I had a better understanding of Penn holistically, which definitely influenced my decision to come here.”

Having an older sibling at Penn may seem as if it could be hard to live up to throughout the admissions process, but many current freshmen with older siblings at the University agree with Sabrina that their sibling was actually a great resource at the time.

Engineering freshman Julian Mark didn’t quite have the same reaction to his older sister getting into Penn. A high school freshman at the time, Mark recounts that he “actually didn’t care that much at the time,” but was “really happy for her.” However, Mark agrees that visiting his sister while applying to colleges himself definitely influenced his decision to come to Penn.

“Her going here gave me a positive feel about this school just in general,” Mark said. “When I went with her I just had a nice experience so it made it easier to see myself here as a student.”

College freshman Eric Selzer had a similar experience when he was applying to Penn. His older brother and College junior Evan, while supportive, “let him make his own decision.”

Selzer, Mark and Sidhu all felt that their siblings didn’t actively try to persuade them to come to Penn, Mark even adding that his sister “joked that she didn’t want me to go here.”

But they said that experiencing the school through their older sibling was a huge influence. “I’m really happy to have someone there for support,” Selzer said of his older brother.

Some speculate that already having a sibling at Penn means higher chances of getting into the school, even though it does not grant an official legacy status — something Sidhu experienced after getting in early decision last year.

“People at my school, after I got into Penn, they would be like, ‘Oh, that’s great. Your sister goes there too, right?’ and I kind of got the sense that they think that helped me,” Sidhu said.

In a 2009 Q&A posted on The New York Times blog, The Choice, Dean of Admissions Eric Furda noted “having a sibling at Penn does not carry the same weight as a parent or grandparent.”

Furda went on to add that he felt the biggest perk of having a sibling at Penn was the conversations one can have with them about the school.

“Conversations with your sibling(s) about faculty and peer interactions and observing their interactions across campus can provide valuable insight into the community,” Furda wrote.

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