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Many prospective Penn students sit in introductory classes during Quaker Days.

Credit: Julio Sosa

For prospective students, Quaker Days provides an opportunity to experience what it’s like to actually sleep, eat and live like a Penn student academically as well as socially.

While the University also puts on scheduled lectures and programming for prospective students, many opt to sit in on actual classes. The Admissions Office coordinates with the various schools to organize a list of classes that professors have agreed to allow prospective student visitors for each semester.

The College of Arts and Sciences offers the greatest variety of options, numbering over five hundred; options range from PSYC 001 — a lecture so large it takes place in Irvine Auditorium — to classes like FNAR 258: “Introduction to Clay: The Potter’s Wheel.” The School of Engineering and Applied Science offers around thirty classes for prospective students to visit, many of which vary in subject as well as difficulty. The Wharton School and the School of Nursing have smaller selections — ten and three respectively — focusing on more entry-level courses like Wharton’s “Business Fundamentals,” which include FNCE 100 and MKTG 101.

But some classes, especially this far into the semester, may prove challenging for prospective freshmen.

“[The prospective students] were listening intently, but they eventually just got very bored,” said College freshman Alexander Lee. Three “baby Quakers” sat in on Lee’s class, where psychology professor Joe Kable was lecturing on psychological theories of emotion.

But prospective Quakers may not need to understand everything taught in a class to get something out of it.

“We just wanted to check out what [the class] was like,” prospective student Lekha Yesantharao said.

Yesantharao and a friend sat in on a session of “Introduction to Scientific Computing.” While Yesantharao said the class was challenging to understand, she was still glad she took the opportunity as it helped her get a feel for Penn’s professors and classroom atmosphere.

“It was definitely good because we both came out realizing that the professor seemed really approachable,” she said. “We kind of had a perception that professors — some of them — might be kind of far away from the class, but he seemed like he was very open to questions and helping out students that needed any help.”

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