A positive experience during Quaker Days was a major motivating factor for many students when deciding whether to volunteer to be a host for admitted students this year.
Early in February, the Office of Admissions emailed current students calling for 1,000 volunteers to apply to be hosts for admitted students for one or two nights during this year's Quaker Days, scheduled for April 11 to April 13.
College and Wharton freshman and representative on the Quaker Days Student Committee Tyler Knox said that his experience during Quaker Days encouraged him to apply to be a host in order to provide this year’s admitted students with the same experiences he had.
“I wanted to reciprocate the great experience I had,” Knox said. “It’s a really great program that is more than just convincing students to go to Penn.”
Wharton junior and volunteer host Christian O’Connor described the application process as "self-selective."
"Kids who volunteer are probably less likely to be the ones dissatisfied with Penn and their choice to enroll," O'Connor said. "My positive experience as a Quaker Days participant encouraged me to volunteer as a host freshman year."
For some students, an enjoyable experience was not enough to motivate them to volunteer to host an admitted student. College freshman Tahira Islam, despite having a positive Quaker Days experience, was reluctant to host this year as she did not feel well-informed about her responsibilities.
“They didn’t really clarify what we would have to do,” Islam said. “It would have helped if they clarified basically what our role would be for them.”
However, other students chose not to host admitted students because of inconveniences with housing setups.
"I live in a suite and being in a suite means I would have to host them in a living room," Wharton freshman Jia Wei Teo said. " I share my living room with four other people and that's not convenient."
Some volunteer hosts did not actually attend Quaker Days, and chose to volunteer in order to gain an experience they missed out on.
“Since I didn’t do Quaker Days last year and I heard it was a really cool thing to do, I thought it would be fun to kind of experience it through freshmen this year but also help someone decide to go to Penn and make a new friend,” College freshman Julia Comer said.
Other students like College freshman Viruj Menon, applied to host admitted students upon encouragement from upperclassmen to share his Penn experience.
“I was initially averse to the idea, but a few of the older brothers in my fraternity encouraged me to consider it,” Menon said. “The idea of showing a future Quaker how awesome Penn can be through my perspective seemed pretty interesting. I’d literally be showing someone what the next four years of their life could be like.”
The ability to help a prospective student with their university decision attracted many volunteer hosts. Some students who have applied to host admitted students for Quaker Days added that the host-guest relationships developed during the three-day experience is a contributing factor to Penn's overall enrollment yields.
“Connecting potential students to motivate current students is the secret sauce in Penn admissions,” O’Connor said. “For many prospective Quakers, evaluating campus life is more important than academic standings when they look at colleges. Meeting enrolled students is the best way to do that.”
Kathryn Bezella, the vice dean of Penn Undergraduate Admissions affirmed the importance of volunteer hosts for prospective students.
"So much of what we hear from students who choose Penn after attending Quaker Days points to how impactful it is to learn about Penn from Penn students like their hosts," Bezella said in an email statement. "This volunteer hosting tradition is something that really drives the creation of the next class of Penn: current students giving back to the campus by welcoming their future classmates, teammates, and friends."