What is Penn like?
Penn is an amazing college for students who want a good mixture of social and academic life. There are amazing professors, people from all over the world, and great faculty that love helping and working with students.
What is most misunderstood about Penn?
At Penn the only thing people ever complain about is how people confuse Penn with Penn State. Penn is a wonderful place and all students are driven and passionate.
What surprised you the most in college?
I was most surprised by how much knowledge there is in the world. High school consists of a set curriculum and at Penn, there are so many majors and minors that a person can explore whatever they want. I tried classes from majors that I was interested in and finally found one that I truly enjoyed. I was one of the many students who entered college not knowing what I enjoyed or what I was passionate about, and Penn gave me the chance to find it.
What has been one of the greatest challenges in college, and what do you think high school students can do to best prepare themselves?
My greatest challenge was figuring out what I was passionate about. I had my sports and clubs in high school, but there was never really one area or subject that I had a particular interest in. My advice would be for high school students to think about what they really enjoy and continue to learn about it. This will provide for direction and focus in college.
How did you spend your time in high school?
I loved high school. During the day I would hang out with my friends or talk to teachers about class. I played two sports, tennis and badminton. These two kept me busy most of the time after school and on the weekends. In addition, I was a part of the LAHS orchestra. I also held leadership positions in school organizations including Red Cross and Ambassadors.
If you were to start high school all over again, what would you do differently?
Now that I am in college, high school seems so easy. I guess if there was anything I could change I would study for my SAT IIs more or even try taking the ACT. I would also research more about majors and what different colleges offered.
What advice would you give prospective college students to help them prepare for college?
Rest a lot during the summer. College is a crazy time. Philadelphia is on the other coast. People are different and Penn is challenging.
What kind of students do you think Penn is looking for? And why?
I think Penn is looking for diverse students who have knowledge not only in one area but also a strong foundation. The courses are challenging but the faculty loves to help out students. The diversity of knowledge creates a remarkable learning environment for everyone, even if it is in a large class of 300 students. Professors will make time for any student.
What questions would you like us to ask that we have not asked?
What is my strongest advice to finding a solid group of friends? Make sure to participate in all the events during freshman NSO (New Student Orientation). You meet a lot of people in a short amount of time, but you will remember the individuals who you will want to become closer friends with down the line.
Do you recommend any websites and resources that will help students get to know Penn?
The Penn website itself offers a lot of information about the school, faculty, and classes. In addition each Penn class always has a group on Facebook for students to communicate, ask questions, and know people before their first step on campus.
Los Altos High School
University of Pennsylvania