Location: Philadelphia, PA
Size: 10,319 Full-time Undergraduate
Percent Women: 53%
Tuition (one year): $47,668
Most Popular Majors: Economics, English, History, and Psychology
Greek Life: Yes
Acceptance Rate: 10%
For more information about financial aid, scholarships, majors, study abroad, and average test scores, vist UPenn's website at www.upenn.edu.
Why Choose U Penn?
“I wanted to go to a prestigious school, but I also wanted a place where undergraduate research is really accessible. I do medical research as a sophomore, which is what I want to do in the future, and Penn really makes it easy to get started.”
“I really wanted to study business and also get a liberal arts education, and Wharton was the absolute best place to do that. I also liked how social the campus is.”
“I liked how enthusiastic and friendly all the students I talked to were and how much opportunity there seemed to be here.”
“I chose Penn, because It was close to home, had a great business school, and I always wanted to live in a city that wasn't as overwhelming as NYC. Also, it had an actual campus and is beautiful, old and an ivy league. I liked the campus, the reputation, the intelligent community, the "social ivy" aspect of the school, the history, the beautiful campus, and the amazing business building!”
“The libraries are beautiful, not unlike the rest of the campus, and everyone is really involved and really interesting.”
“I love learning from the best professors and learning through conversations and experiences with my extremely diverse friends.”
“Spring Fling, Wharton Takeover, NSO!”
“The toast throwing at football games is an awesome tradition!
“Huntsman, the old buildings, the countless resources (tutors, advisors, etc.), the amazing professors, the social scene, and the integration with the city are all amazing”
“I love that I'm challenged so much by the demanding academics while being surrounded by some of the most intelligent people in the country. I also love being inspired by the success of the professors. They aren't just talking from a textbook--they have had so much success in their lives.”
“The majority of classes are hard, and a few are easy. It seems like there’s no middle ground.”
“The worst part of Penn is how self-segregating the environment can be. I hate how people from the same religion, race or social class tend to stick together.”
“I don't like how some people are afraid to be different by talking to people who aren't like them or by doing other things than partying to have fun. It brings me down that a lot of social life revolves around superficial things like Greek life.”
“There is strong culture of status. Social class and social groups seem so accentuated and exclusive. There are the rich kids, the sceney kids, the GDI's, the fratty boys, etc. I feel like there are so many stereotypes because the school isn't really that big.”
“I sometimes feel like it's intimidating to be here. Everyone is so competitive, and it is emphasized with all of the curves, especially in Wharton.”
New Collegiette on Campus
“I had the most amazing freshman year experience. I met people at this school that were so different from the people I was used to back home in California, and I got to experience different cultures. I also had so much fun during NSO (New Student Orientation), and I had such a great experience with the social scene at Penn. I feel like this school is really what you make it. If you want to be really studious and focus only on schoolwork, you can do that -- there are plenty of people here that do that. But if you want to go out, meet people, and push yourself out of your comfort zone, then Penn is the perfect place to do that too -- especially because the campus is so close to Center City!”
“First semester was super hard, because I knew absolutely no one and got rejected from every club I applied to. Second semester was better, because I met a lot of new people and knew where to find people I had things in common with.”
“First years are given a lot of opportunities to get to know each other, but if you don’t join a sport, club, frat or sorority, it’s a little harder to meet upperclassmen.”
“There was so much during orientation that was fun: the museum party, the library scavenger hunt (turned into a dance party), the parties, etc.”
All About Academics
“The most popular majors, at least among the people I know, are HSOC, Finance and pre-med (which isn't exactly a major).”
“Because you can take as many classes as you want, your course load can be as heavy as you want it to be.”
“The best place to study is in Huntsman in a quiet room or GRS.”
“The courseload is either really small or really large—one class can take up a lot of your time, while another could only require a couple hours a week outside of class time. It really depends on which classes you take/your major.”
“It's a little crazy, especially with the pressure to double concentrate at Wharton. I have to take 5 classes every semester except for my last. It's doable, but it's a lot.”
Learn from the Best
“Most professors are really passionate and accessible. My favorite class was in the religion department (even though I’m in the Nursing school): Intro to Islam. I absolutely loved my professor, and he really made the class for me.”
“The best professors I’ve had are Stew Friedman and Nicolas Souleles.”
“My favorite class thus far has been PSYC070--Psychology of Food.”
“I’m taking a class right now that I absolutely LOVE! It’s called 3-D Time and Space. It’s an art class where you get to make sculptures out of found materials. It's really interesting and fun.”
“The best teachers are the ones who have real experience in the world. Professor Maxwell is my favorite in Wharton because he has been through so much. I really trust what he teaches and says. Also, I went on a Wharton Leadership Venture with him, so we were able to connect while hiking to Machu Picchu. It's so much better when the professors aren't just involved in your classroom life, and it's great when they allow that.”
“They are awesome sometimes, but sometimes they are only here for research. Classes are sometimes very interesting, but sometimes just so dry and dumb (basically avoid the math classes).”
“My favorite classes are Management classes. They are basically the psychology of business, and I love it. It is so interesting, even if you aren't in Wharton.”
Interests and Involvement
“Participating and being heavily invested in at least two clubs at Penn is almost a requirement. Luckily, there are a wide variety of options that allow students to explore many avenues of intellectual pursuit. The downside of clubs at Penn is that it is currently very hard to form new ones because of a budget moratorium.”
“I'm on the Ski Team. It’s a lot of fun, and there are a lot of different people who do it. It's not a huge commitment; it's as much as you want to make it.”
“I play rugby. It’s a little bit more of a commitment, but it’s still what you want to make of it because its club. Generally most club sports are what you make of them.”
“I'm on the Exec Board for Wharton Women, and I'm in the Swim Club. I'm also a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters and a sister in Sigma Kappa."
“Pretty much everyone is involved in an extracurricular activity or a club. There is a big activities fair on Locust Walk at the beginning of every semester where each club sets up a table with information about their organization. This is how you can sign up for listservs, get more details, etc.”
“Sporting events are definitely not a focus on Penn's campus, especially compared to state schools. Instead, there are plenty of club sports offered at Penn and a decent amount of intramural sports that anybody can participate in.”
“There seems to be two different cultures on campus: the athlete culture and the Greek life culture. This isn't to say that these two groups don't get along or don't like each other, just that they tend to not cross paths that often.”
“The Penn Relays are a really big event that happens in the spring. These take place on historic Franklin Field.”
“There are a lot of Women’s Studies programs and women’s organizations. I have a lot of respect for them. I feel like people who are involved in the Women’s Center and women’s programs are not ostracized at all.”
“There are definitely majors that are cater to different genders. Politics attracts more guys, while Gender Studies is mostly women.”
“I love being able to help empower women in Wharton Women. Wharton Women strives to help facilitate personal and career development with our strong network.”
“The Women’s Center is a really great resource. It is pretty much in the middle of campus, and a lot of clubs are under TWC's umbrella, such as ASAP and 1-in-4, which combat sexual violence on campus.”
“Girls dress up decently for class. People don’t go to class in pajamas.”
Food & Drink
"There are plenty of places to eat on campus. It’s true that the dining plans are expensive, and the quality varies significantly, but you’re guaranteed a decent, convenient meal. That is invaluable when you have deadlines or other commitments and don’t have time to prepare a food. There’s also a variety of chain restaurants and food carts across campus – HipCityVeg and Shake Shack are particularly good. While some are much cheaper than dining halls, others are much more expensive. Also, they are further away than dining halls, so be prepared to walk a couple of blocks. There’s also Fro-Gro and Wawa on campus for all your self-catering needs."
“Recently, my go-to spot, Commons, has expanded their vegan menu exponentially--leading to fun gourmet dishes such as quinoa stuffed tomatoes and sweet potato falafel with cucumber yogurt sauce. All year Commons has been great for vegans and vegetarians, but this semester the head chef, Steve Ferrado, is really coming at the vegan food scene with a passion. It's paying off.”
"Bon Appetit has some great options. While Hill and Commons are a little subpar, Houston is always a great option. The new Mexican restaurant, Tortas Frontera, is also an amazing option -- plus you can bursar there!"
“Bon Appetit has ensured that someone who keeps a plant-based diet will not only have adequate, but also delicious options. Kings Court English House Cafe is the "typical" place for vegan food- given their never ending vegan pizza. The other all-you-care-to-eat dining cafes are excellent options as well.”
Photo from http://instagram.com/uofpenn
“The social scene here kind of revolves around Greek life, but you definitely don’t have to be in Greek life. There are tons of parties that are open to everybody, but being in a sorority definitely makes it easier.”
“My friends and I love going out to parties downtown or just chilling in our dorms watching Netflix.”
"I feel like there’s always something to do on the weekends if you keep your options open. It’s pretty inclusive. If you want to find something, you will. If you don’t want to drink, there are still options. There are a lot of school events to go to.”
“Frat parties are mostly made up of freshmen and some sophomores. Juniors and seniors usually go downtown or to house parties.
“You have a clear option of whether or not you want to be involved in the drinking scene. It’s available if you want to do that, but I don’t think people are pressured into it.”
“You really get a sense of the social scene during New Student Orientation.”
“Dorm life is all about what you make it. The Quad, Hill, and Kings Court/English are the main freshman dorms, and the High Rises, Gregory, Stouffer and DeBois, are more for upperclassmen. During freshman year, dorm social life can be very hit or miss.”
“Some halls, especially ones centered around residential programs, are very social, while others are quiet. It's really all what you make it."
“The dorms are pretty nice. I live in a single in the quad, and I'm really happy with my room. I know everyone's experience is different though, based on what house they are in and what room they get.”
“All freshmen are required to live in dorms, but you can live off campus after that. The dorms definitely do bonding activities. Again, I am only speaking from my perspective, but mine has house cookie nights, espresso nights, math and writing help, and comfort food nights. Our hall also occasionally has activities like dinners or an upcoming skiing trip. I think the dorms are definitely safe!”
“What’s so great about Penn and Philadelphia is that the city is so accessible from campus. On weekends, I love to take the Septa downtown and explore Rittenhouse Square for some great shopping and Reading Terminal Market for great food. Going on runs on the Schuylkill River is also a great way to explore some lesser-known parts of the city. If you go at night, you can run past the lit boathouses which are so pretty!”
“Philadelphia is a very large city geographically and has much more to offer beyond just Center City. However, due to a poorly run and poorly maintained public transportation system, students are often unwillingly to travel much farther than Rittenhouse on SEPTA.”
“The city is definitely a city made up of locals, and it has a bit of an insular feel to it (rather than a diverse and worldly city). There are pockets of modernity, but much of the city is run down and a bit unkempt. Often, security can feel like a bit of an issue. University City is quite a large bubble, and it can be quite difficult to cross the Schuylkill without a lot of pre-planning.”
“SEPTA (the public transport system) is quite grimy, and you certainly would not want to take it at night. Cabs and Uber are thankfully relatively cheap, and Philly’s small size means that it doesn’t take too long to get anywhere. There are some great art museums and interesting bars.”
“At Penn it is sometimes hard to step out of the campus “bubble,” but I try to venture into the city as much as I can. I always have fun visiting the shops at Reading Terminal Market with my friends. Also, First Fridays are fantastic, you can’t beat the deals!"
“I’m studying Art History, and I love exploring Philadelphia’s great museums--especially the Barnes Foundation! I originally went there on a trip with my Art History class, but I had to go back since I’m a huge Post-Impressionist fan.”
HC's Complete College Guide: University of Pennsylvania
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