Hey guys, I have a lot to say so.....buckle up! lol. I'll provide some key points of what I want to get across, and you may take it as you please:
About Me: 32 year old male. Economics Major, Cognitive Science Minor. Graduated from a community college in Minneapolis with an A.A. in Liberals and an Emphasis in Accounting. Started my first semester Fall '12 as a Freshman. Will be a Sophomore next semester.
-I transferred in with a 3.79
-Most of my LPS classmates entered the program ranging from 3.5-4.0
-Apply anyway, even if you feel your GPA is not strong. I've heard of a few students being admitted around a 3.0. Rumor has it, there are a few "traditional students" who got in with below a 3.0, but I think they are student athletes.
-My package is about 80%-grants & scholarships, 20% Fed. Loans
-LPS doesn't have the same financial power as Penn's Student Aid due to funding, donors, and endowments, but for the most part, they're good at covering your financial needs. Just don't expect much more.
-You may need to take outside personal loans
-You are required to have health insurance to attend Penn. What sucks is, Penn is very picky with what insurance you bring in. It basically has to be top notch medical insurance or they wont accept it. I wish I would have known this before I finalized my financial aid package, so I could have planned things better :-/ Penn Ins. is $3,311 a YEAR!!! It's ridiculous. It does cover A LOT, but it was depressing to see the excess money I had borrowed, as a financial cushion for emergencies, was taken away by my Penn Ins. So, plan accordingly!!!
-Graduate dorms are recommended for LPS students. I have a friend who is staying an Sansom East and pays around $850/month. It's about a 9'x13' dorm style room, and he shares a bathroom with his neighboring roommate. I didn't like the feel, because it felt like a jail cell. Maybe it's because I've always lived in a more spacious apartment setting and never had to share a bathroom.
-There are some nicer and larger apt style dorms, but you'd be easily paying $1,000 - $2,500.
-I'm renting off campus (44th/Walnut), and there are many students who do so. I'm paying about $550/month with rent and utilities. I got REALLY lucky! If you can find a place around $600-$750, you are in good shape.
-Try to stay East of 45th street. Some of the neighborhoods are rough and dangerous (between 33rd St.- 45th St. is recommended). I strongly suggest you visit the area and see for yourself before you secure a lease. Penn campus is beautiful though.
-LPS looks for students with various professional and personal backgrounds, with the hunger to succeed in a challenging and rich environment. The more unique and interesting you are, the better your chances.
-I don't know the acceptance rate so if anyone can share what they know, I'd greatly appreciate it.
-During New Transfer Student Orientation on 8/30/12, LPS accepted 90 students from all over the world, not just the country.
-It's competitive, but again I don't know how competitive.
-I met one LPS student during orientation who was 19 years old. So, they do take students under 21. I'm sure it depends on the experience of the applicant though.
Transfer in credits:
-Be ready to not get many of your classes transferred, unless you are coming from a very reputable 4-year college.
-I only received 5.5 CU's (5 classes) from ALL the 20 classes I've completed.
-Wharton School of Business doesn't take in ANY business classes from community colleges. Even if you don't plan on taking Wharton classes, all business related courses are evaluated by a dept. at Wharton. I was hoping to get my Accounting & Business classes as electives. NOPE! It was REJECTED!
My Current Experience:
-I truly enjoy the change in environment, culture, and expectations.
-I'm struggling to stay above a 3.0 this first semester. Penn DOES NOT play! Lol. Most classes are very challenging. I took Calc.1 at my Comm. College, and am taking Calc. 1 again at Penn. It's intense! Most 2 and 4-year colleges would consider Penn's Calc. 1 (Math 104) as Calc 2.
-I enjoy the smaller student to teacher ratio. Most of my classes (seminars) have about 15-20 students.
-LPS classes are diverse, traditional and non-traditional students are all mixed in. So you wont feel segregated from the school.
-Day classes are less diverse. Most are 17-20 year olds. Although, most students at Penn are well composed, intelligent, and thoughtful. I haven't seen any students who are not ambitious, and not want to be at Penn.
-Students come from all over the world. I speak 3 languages (English, Khmer, Spanish) and thought I was ahead of the game coming into Penn, but I was wrong. Ha...It seems like 3 is the average numbers of languages spoken by students here. They're mostly great kids, except for the snotty and arrogant rich kids. lol. If you are all about celebrity status; Denzel Washington, Vera Wang, and Donald Trump's kids are current Penn students
That's just one little interesting fact.
All-in-all, your school experience is exactly what you make of it. If you work hard and smart, you'd succeed. That goes for any school. I'm slowly adjusting to the challenging environment and enjoying it. The opportunities are endless here at Penn, but YOU will have to go out and search for them. It's competitive and nothing is going to be handed to you on a silver platter. Join a club or an intramural sport to help balance your rigorous course load. I'm on Penn's HYPE Dance Team, and they've done a great job making me feel like family and welcomed. LPS student's CAN'T participate in Collegiate Sports, but club and intramural sports are up for grabs. I tried to join the Penn Crew(Rowing) Team, and trained with them for one month, and later found out that I didn't qualify under the NCAA bylaws. :-/ Coach was great about everything though. The Pottruck Fitness Center (one of Penn's Gym) is AWESOME!
As an undergrad student, you pay for it with student fees...so use it!
I was accepted to 5 other Universities and 3 of them offered me decent scholarships. Penn ended up offering me the best aid package of them all, so it was a no brainer for me. The only downfall was the time lost from practically starting fresh again. I have to be in school an extra year because of the limited amount of transferred credits. I'm confident that my time spent here will be well worth it at the end. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. haha. One major reason that convinced me to come to Penn was the Bachelors Degree. At the end of the day, once I graduate, my diploma will say "Bachelors of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania". Just the name alone will separate myself from other schools/job applicants. I know it doesn't apply to all jobs, but most corporations and larger businesses are attracted to the Ivy League brand name.
Remember, this is my personal experience. I hope this helps, and I wish the best of luck to you!