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Credit: Caroline Gibson

On Thursday, March 28, regular decision admits will be hearing “The Red and the Blue” as they open their acceptance letters to the University of Pennsylvania. If you’re among that select group, congratulations! Those of us at The Daily Pennsylvanian recall when we got into Penn, and the excitement and relief that followed.

We know, however, that the decision about where to spend your next four years is incredibly stressful. While we hope to see many of you on campus next year, we also want to provide as much insight as we can to inform your decision.

Penn, like almost all colleges, is successful in crafting an ideal image of itself to prospective students. Campus tours, information sessions, and brochures all contribute to the notion that Penn is a “place for discovery, innovation and revolutionary ideas.” While this holds some truth, Penn is much more nuanced than what appears in its promotional materials. 

You’ve probably already heard that Penn is known as the “social Ivy," and there is a lot of merit to that label. One of the most pervasive aspects of life at Penn is its competitive culture. This extends beyond the classroom to extracurricular and social groups.

Although club recruitment can be stress-inducing, there have recently been efforts to curb practices that make the application process more challenging than necessary. Additionally, clubs often provide a sense of comfort within this large and, at times, overwhelming environment. Clubs also function as social groups and support systems where you can cultivate relationships with people who become your best friends.

Penn does not have the prominent sports culture that many larger universities do. While our teams and athletes often excel in the Ivy League, Penn is not the school to attend if you want to go to tailgates or watch games in packed arenas. Still, you can see school spirit within communities — whether it’s a dance troupe, sorority, debate team, or student newspaper, people are passionate about the groups they belong to. 

Students’ dedication to a variety of communities on campus is long-lasting. As a result, many alumni continue to remain involved with the University after graduation and are keen to give back to this community. This extensive network becomes available to you as soon as you step on campus and will serve you in gaining valuable professional insight.

Penn’s reputation, extensive alumni network, and academic clout make it an attractive option for your college experience. Still, the University has institutional flaws, and isn’t for everyone. Think critically about your choice, but don’t worry too much, because you will be fine wherever you go.

We hope that this information will help you to decide if Penn is the best fit for you. 

Editorials represent the majority view of members of The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. Editorial Board, which meets regularly to discuss issues relevant to Penn's campus. Participants in these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on related topics.