Campus is decked out in red and blue as "baby Quakers" — the admitted students to the Class of 2022 — visit Penn for the first time since being admitted through the regular decision process this year.
Quaker Days officially started on Wednesday, with admitted high schoolers previewing their potential future life at Penn. Over the two-day period, students are introduced to the various academic, social, cultural, residential, and extracurricular opportunities that the University has to offer. The Multicultural Scholars Program began a day earlier on Tuesday, in which "traditionally-underrepresented" admitted students connected with one another and with Penn's culturally-focused communities at Penn.
This year, 1,245 admitted students registered to attend at least some portion of the scheduled Quaker Days event. About 900 students requested overnight housing, leaving dozens of admitted students without a place to stay.
With many high schoolers still unsure of their future college at this point, Quaker Days can present valuable insight into campus life.
“I had a tough decision because I’m choosing between here and somewhere else I really like with a full ride, and I think [Quaker Days] definitely influenced it a lot," Sanjana Akula, a senior at Biotechnology High School, said.
She added that being here in person has shown her that Penn students are "pre-professional, but there’s intellectuals here too, and you can find your niche.”
Nicholas Fernandez, a senior at Miami Arts Studio said he was “practically committed” to Penn, citing Quaker Days specifically as his reasoning.
“I went into it kind of nervous, because I have never left my home by myself like this before,” Fernandez said. “But I have had a lot of fun, and I can really see myself enjoying college here and learning a lot.”
Abraham Sandoval, a senior at Dauphin County Technical Institute, agreed with Fernandez and added that the diverse environment and multitude of academic and extracurricular opportunities at Penn, like Penn in Washington and the Model United Nations club, was convincing.
Sandoval added that the MSP Performing Arts Celebration on Tuesday night was particularly interesting, and posited that while the culture change of college life seemed daunting, he could get used to the freedoms it entails.
Today’s events started with various discussions and academic receptions at the Wharton School, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Nursing, and the College of Arts and Sciences. From there, visitors enjoyed welcome lunches and academic and extracurricular programming before a late-night Performing Arts Showcase at Irvine Auditorium.
College Palooza, held on College Green, featured advisors from the College Office and representatives from College departments and programs at various tables to answer questions.
“I am currently choosing between Penn and Princeton, but honestly Penn isn’t doing much to convince me,” Eugene Zhao, an admitted high school senior from Baltimore, Md., said. “I don’t know if I’m being overly cynical, but I think the school is trying too hard and not trying hard enough at the same time.”
“I think the school is obviously trying to get students who are sitting on the fence, but I think there should be more tables than this,” Zhao added about the Palooza.
Some academic programs had special events for their admitted students.
"We have like a mini event and community the minute we walk onto campus," Akula said, who was admitted to the Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management dual-degree program.
Quaker Days events will continue through Thursday, April 19, with faculty talks, open houses, and other student programming running until a "surprise closing event" concluding the visit at 5 p.m.
This incoming freshman class was the most selective in Penn’s history, with only 8.39 percent of the 44,482 applicants being accepted.
Rhea Saggi, a Montclair Kimberley Academy senior who lives in West Orange, N.J., sat in on a managerial economics class and said she got to observe a college classroom environment. Though she got admitted to Wharton's Class of 2022 early, she still decided to attend Quaker Days.
“I sort of came here to get a 'day-in-the-life' kind of thing, so it’s been really helpful for me to get a sneak preview of what the next four years will look like," she said.
Contributing reporter Albert Chou contributed reporting to this story.
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