When College and Wharton sophomore Max Grove decided at the end of his freshman year to apply for a dual degree with the Wharton School, he was surprised to find virtually no way to gauge his chances of getting in.
Penn publicizes its general, undergraduate acceptance rate each year, but does not release the precise admissions statistics governing internal transfers or dual degrees. For Grove, applying for a dual degree without any means to judge his application was not only “mysterious," but “scary.”
Despite the lack of available data, internally transferring into Wharton or pursuing a dual degree with the business school is still a common phenomenon among rising sophomores and juniors at Penn.
Out of all College undergraduates who hold dual degrees, 86 percent of students sought a second degree with Wharton, while only 13 percent pursued a second degree in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and one percent pursued a second degree in the School of Nursing, according to a University report. Similarly, an overwhelming 71 percent of students pursuing a dual degree in the Engineering School hold their second degree in Wharton, while the other 29 percent hold their second degree in the College.
“From the chart, we can conclude that the Wharton School is an especially attractive option among Penn students seeking a second degree,” the report stated.
Jonathan Katzenbach, the managing director of the Wharton Undergraduate Division, confirmed that the largest amount of dual degree applications come from College students.
Given the competitive nature of applying to Wharton, students expressed frustration that the school does not have any publicly available statistics regarding the number of internal transfer and dual degree applications or their acceptance rates.
“I found it kind of strange that they did not release any information about [acceptance rates],” said Wharton sophomore Jack Copaken, who transferred into Wharton at the end of his freshman year. “It was pretty difficult to find out information for how competitive it was and how good I thought my chances were.”
The lack of information available to him still did not deter him from applying to transfer.
Wharton’s website only states that the “number of seats available for [both internal transfers and dual degree applicants] vary each semester, depending on the current undergraduate student enrollment at Wharton.”
In an emailed statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian, Wharton spokesperson Peter Winicov said there are no publicly available statistics about internal transfers. Katzenbach said in an email, however, that more students applied for dual degrees with Wharton than internal transfers.
Other undergraduate business schools, like Georgetown's McDonough School of Business, have available statistics. A FAQ page on McDonough's site lists the average acceptance rate for internal transfers as approximately 30 percent.
Wharton is not alone among Penn's undergraduate schools in declining to publicize statistics about internal transfers.
The College also does not track specific statistics on acceptance rates for internal transfers, according to Niel McDowell, the associate director of academic advising in the College. McDowell noted in an email to the DP that the percentage of College acceptances is “quite high," since a student need only meet a minimum 3.0 GPA, be in good standing and have a reasonable academic plan.
Nursing sophomore Erin Boruta, who is looking to internally transfer into the College, said that the College was much more transparent about the process. She was able to receive verbal confirmation from McDowell that she likely would be able to transfer at the end of the semester if she maintained a grade above a B.
“If anything, I feel like it should be an easy process for the person transferring,” Boruta said.