Why not Penn?

<p>This is my completed "Why Penn?" essay. It's due tomorrow, so I would really appreciate getting any feedback I can before then. Thanks!</p>

<p>Why Penn?</p>

<p>I always buy lunch from the Yue Kee food cart on 38th street. It’s not what we call “authentic” around my house, but hey, they make a good orange chicken. On any other day, I would indulge myself outside the Au Bon Pain across the street, but I was studying for my Biology final that day, so I made my way back to my study room at Van Pelt. Strolling down Locust Walk, I noticed from afar what seemed like chalk drawings all over the pavement. Flagrant vandalizing right in the heart of Penn’s campus! Oh the audacity. As I got closer, I saw that the culprits had signed their names as well: The Penny Loafers. Apparently they were holding auditions for new members. Beneath all the curlycues and exclamation marks, the Penny Loafers advertised, “Ass Kicking Acapella!” Shaking my head, I thought to myself, “Only at Penn.”</p>

<p>Over the past summer, I have had the opportunity to explore many of Penn’s programs through the Summer at Penn Program and my internship at the Clinical Research Building. Although I was not able to attend the Penny Loafer’s invitation, I did look into many of Penn’s more academic programs. Most of my explorations were in the scientific field (pun intended.) My summer goal was not to dig up as much dirt on Penn as I could so I can better write this essay, but to see for myself whether I could survive in Penn’s rigorous academic atmosphere.</p>

<p>Biology 101 had the reputation of being the most challenging course in the program. Sadly, I did not learn of this until a week after classes had started. I was suspicious when our professor announced that we were required to read one chapter per night, but I figured, “It’s the Ivy League, what’d you expect?” Little did I know, Biology 101 did not have class five days a week during the regular school year. So I attended lecture every morning and did research for my internship in the afternoon, blissfully unaware of the fact that I my workload was probably equal to that of an actual Penn student.</p>

<p>Every Tuesday, I attended a seminar held by various doctors of the Gastroenterology Division. It was a program designed for undergraduate Biology intern students at Penn, but my supervisor encouraged me to attend. At each session, a doctor presented us with something new or interesting about the medical research field. It was not uncommon that the topic of discussion was something that I had actually learned about earlier in my morning lecture. I found it infinitely more interesting to see the diagrams in my book being put into practice. </p>

<p>At the end of the program, the intern students each gave their own presentation of data they had collected over the course of the summer. Since I wasn’t officially enrolled in the program, my supervisor held a pseudo-seminar at the end of my internship for me to present my data to the rest of the lab. I had designed six primer probes using Polymerase Chain Reactions. Each probe was highly specific and was used to test for certain strands of RNA from tissue samples. The underlying purpose was to test which of the six genes regulated the production of a special protein found in cancerous tissue. My data showed clearly that one pathway was more prevalent than the other in cancerous tissue. Following my presentation, we all discussed how my work could be carried on in other ways and the impact it could have on the medical community.</p>

<p>The most important thing I learned last summer was that research never ends. Whenever someone discovers something new, somebody else can always build off of that person’s work to ask better questions and get better answers. And the best thing about Penn’s research atmosphere is that there are always new questions being asked, and people who want to answer them. It is plain to see that Penn encourages students to get involved in the process and to integrate what they learn in the classroom with real-life dilemmas. As an ambitious student with many questions myself, I believe that Penn is the ideal environment for me to develop my growing curiosity in the biological sciences, not to mention to satiate my need for imitation Chinese food as well.</p>

<p>Ah, this is much better than what you posted prior...at least it's more fleshed out. Bio101 isn't too hard (just a bunch of pre-med curve killers) at Penn...not compared to Chem101 or Mat104. I like the essay...it's good enough that it won't detract from your file and it shows you have a passion for biology.</p>

<p>bump-whoot thanks! any one else?</p>

<p>Hm... well since I understand less than zero about biology, the second half of your essay bored me to death. I felt like you were writing an abstract of your research as a supplement for penn (which i've seen many many people do and is great) rather than a college essay. Since I assumed you're already sending in an abstract of your research, like most students who have had the opportunity to do research, there would be no need to regurgitate your whole project in your college essay.</p>

<p>Overall, it is well-written. I dont understand the pun. I got bored by your explanation of your research project - many of the admissions officers at penn probably did not major in biology either. Sure, it sounds VERY impressive (which I'm sure is what you're going for), but it doesn't add to your essay, i feel like your essay kind of just STOPPED. You hit a pause button in your answer to "why Penn" to explain your research.</p>

<p>I also don't feel like you answered "why penn" at all until your VERY last paragraph. Maybe try to incorporate your answer to the question throughout your essay instead of leaving it all to the end (some admissions officers may not read all of every single essay - but scan them for interest)</p>

<p>Good luck :)</p>

<p>yeah. there's no pun there.</p>

<p>Pebbles makes a good point. I'm a science-guy and I found the bio stuff to be pretty interesting but your average adcom probably won't. I'd go through and maybe work in more general stuff about Penn and what you can add to the school...now that I think about it, I'd definitely get rid of that research stuff (leave in the bare minimum). Work in something about the Wistar Institute (Penn's biomedical research institute) or how you'd love to learn from one of the best medical faculties in the US. </p>

<p>Where do you go to HS (presuming you're in the Philly area)?</p>

<p>Yikes, I already sent it in yesterday. Hmm, the problem was I didn't write a supplemental of my research because my counselor advised against it. I briefly mentioned it in my "summer activities" and my supervisor sent a supplemental. But he told me that he wrote about my work ethic and personality more than my project, so I thought I'd throw in a little explanation to show that I wasn't just shuffling papers. Hopefully what I have is not too damaging. Enviroman, I go to Strath Haven HS in Wallingford-Swarthmore. Ever hear of it?</p>

<p>I went to Interboro HS in Prospect Park, so yeah I have. :) Strath sends a good amount of kids to Penn so that'll help you out. How are your stats? If you have any questions about life here at penn feel free to ask as well.</p>

<p>-Penn '07</p>

<p>i agree with pebbles. :(</p>

<p>Oh cool, Interboro eh? You guys have a good swim team. It'd be great if you could check out my stats. I have to write them up again sometime, recent changes in SAT IIs (for the better) and ECs. I'll try to get it up soon. Have you got an sn or e-mail? It'd be neat to talk more food (for thought) with a real Penn student.</p>

<p>Great first paragraph. I mean, I think you're overly focused on just your summer program, but it should do the trick. How was this only one page??</p>

<p>It was about 700 words, 1.2 spaced, size 11 font. I didn't think it was terribly dense or anything, but I did fill up all the space allowed.</p>

<p>Sure. You can email me at <a href="mailto:thetong@gmail.com">thetong@gmail.com</a></p>