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does living in PA help?

mgu521mgu521 Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
edited August 2012 in University of Pennsylvania
Does Penn, for admissions give students who are applying who are instate any type of advantage? I've heard both sides, from giving good advantages to even detriments. What do you guys think? (or know)
Post edited by mgu521 on

Replies to: does living in PA help?

  • dfree124dfree124 - Posts: 3,712 Senior Member
    In-state: No
    In-city: Yes
  • yoyo17yoyo17 Registered User Posts: 124 Junior Member
    seriously? what kind of advantage are we talking about here?
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 18,073 Senior Member
    It's a really complicated question, actually.

    I don't have the numbers, but I believe that there is a disproportionate number of students from the Philadelphia area (Southeastern PA, South Jersey) at Penn. There are a whole bunch of reasons for that, some of which constitute an "advantage" and others not. In general, the people I know -- mainly alumni with college-age children -- believe that the disproportion has been reduced significantly since Amy Gutmann took over as President six years ago.

    -- Every elite college to some extent has a disproportionate number of students from its local area, or the area it has served historically. Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Stanford (especially Stanford) all have student bodies where local students are disproportionately represented. Penn accepted 27 students from my older child's high school class in 2005, but Harvard accepted a similar number from Boston Latin and Cambridge Rindge and Latin.

    -- Penn, uniquely, has a century-old agreement (as reinterpreted through litigation 20 years ago) that requires it to grant the equivalent of 100 full-tuition scholarships to applicants from the Philadelphia area every year. Since Penn doesn't have merit scholarships, it has to meet that requirement through normal financial aid, which means it would have to enroll at least 150-250 kids/year from the region (and admit enough kids to get that enrollment).

    -- Penn is a big deal in this area, and it has a real advantage in recruiting top students and top athletes, especially those who do not want to go far from home for college, which is the case especially with many kids from minority and immigrant families. Its yield from acceptances here is much higher than its average yield overall, and it tends to get applications from almost all of the top students.

    -- This area is the exclusive source of one of the most favored categories of applicants: faculty brats. They all live here. They can go to Penn without paying tuition. Lots of them do. Children of some administrative personnel, too, of whom there are many.

    -- This area is also disproportionately rich in Penn alumni, and therefore in children who might benefit from its explicit alumni preference in ED admissions.

    -- Even if they are not legacies, fac-brats, or football players, many top science-oriented students here will have been working in the laboratories of Penn faculty for several years before they apply to college, and thus will have meaningful faculty support for their applications (and a real incentive to enroll and to continue working in the same lab).
  • dfree124dfree124 - Posts: 3,712 Senior Member
    ^ Right on. My father, who lived very close to Phili, said that in his graduating class of about 400, 25 or so students (himself included) went to Penn.
  • 45 Percenter45 Percenter Registered User Posts: 4,276 Senior Member
    For more on the Philadelphia Mayor's Scholarship, and Penn Admissions' treatment of Philadelphia residents in general, see this 2005 article from The Daily Pennsylvanian:

    The Daily Pennsylvanian :: The changing face of the Mayor's Scholarship

    Note that under the Mayor's Scholarship program, Penn is required to provide the equivalent of 125 full need-based scholarships a year for all enrolled undergraduates (i.e., it's 125 scholarships distributed among all 4 classes, not 125 for the entering freshman class, alone), and the scholarships are available only to residents of the city of Philadelphia. Also note that as of the early 1990s, only about 2% of incoming Penn freshmen--or about 50 kids--were from Philadelphia. That percentage no doubt has risen a bit as Penn has significantly increased efforts to recruit more students from Philadelphia (as discussed in the article), but note that only 16% of the entering Class of 2016 (394 students) is from the entire state of Pennsylvania (Penn Admissions: Incoming Class Profile), and I'd be surprised if more than 150 or so members of that class are from the city of Philadelphia (based on the usual numbers from feeder schools such as Central, Masterman, GFS, Penn Charter, etc.).

    However, as the DP article to which I linked makes clear, the Penn Admissions Office definitely keeps a special place in its heart for applicants who are residents of Philadelphia. :)
  • 45 Percenter45 Percenter Registered User Posts: 4,276 Senior Member
    dfree124 wrote:
    ^ Right on. My father, who lived very close to Phili, said that in his graduating class of about 400, 25 or so students (himself included) went to Penn.
    That was probably in the days when a much larger percentage of Penn's undergraduate student body was from Pennsylvania. As pointed out in the DP article to which I linked, from the 1970s through the 1990s, Penn embarked on a vigorous program to greatly diversify its student body geographically (Admissions Dean Lee Stetson led that effort) to the point where at least some in Philadelphia began to feel that Penn was turning its back on the city and its residents (and leading to the litigation in the early 1990s over the minimum required number of Mayor's Scholarships). Even with Penn's increased efforts to recruit Philadelphia residents over the past couple of decades, few schools in Philadelphia and the surrounding area send as many kids to Penn each year as did your father's when he graduated, except for a few specific "feeder" schools (such as Central, Masterman, GFS, etc. in Philadelphia).
  • dfree124dfree124 - Posts: 3,712 Senior Member
    ^ My father did attend awhile ago, things certainly have changed since then.
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 18,073 Senior Member
    The DP article is a little misleading. When the litigation was resolved, the definition of "Philadelphia" was expanded to mean "Philadelphia and its contiguous counties in Pennsylvania." So kids from Lower Merion or Central Bucks can get financial aid under the Mayor's Scholarship program. I thought (though maybe I was wrong) that part of the deal when they made that expansion was adopting the higher number measure. I'm pretty certain that there are a lot more than 30 Mayor's Scholars selected every year.

    In practice, what the Mayor's Scholarship usually means is a no-loans financial aid package.

    As for the "usual numbers" from Philadelphia feeders: In the Penn class of 2009, I believe there were originally about 70 kids from the Philadelphia Public School System alone. I would be really surprised if the private schools and Catholic schools didn't produce significantly more than 80 more kids. (Traditionally you would get double-digit numbers from GFS, Penn Charter, St. Joe's, LaSalle, Episcopal, and Springside, not to mention other suburban privates that might have city kids, and meaningful additional numbers from other private schools like Friends Select, Akiba, and Chestnut Hill Academy, as well as diocesan schools.) But those numbers came down pretty sharply for the class of 2011, Gutmann's first year, and thereafter.
  • 45 Percenter45 Percenter Registered User Posts: 4,276 Senior Member
    JHS wrote:
    The DP article is a little misleading. When the litigation was resolved, the definition of "Philadelphia" was expanded to mean "Philadelphia and its contiguous counties in Pennsylvania." So kids from Lower Merion or Central Bucks can get financial aid under the Mayor's Scholarship program.
    Nope--just Philly residents who attend school in the contiguous counties are eligible (in addition to Philly residents who attend school in Philly, of course). Students who aren't residents of Philly are not eligible:
    Q Who is eligible to receive the Mayor’s Scholarship?

    A
    Philadelphia residents who attend high school in Philadelphia or one of its contiguous counties (Bucks, Delaware or Montgomery), and who apply for admission and financial aid, are eligible for consideration of a Mayor’s Scholarship.

    The Mayor's Scholarship

    JHS wrote:
    As for the "usual numbers" from Philadelphia feeders: In the Penn class of 2009, I believe there were originally about 70 kids from the Philadelphia Public School System alone. I would be really surprised if the private schools and Catholic schools didn't produce significantly more than 80 more kids. (Traditionally you would get double-digit numbers from GFS, Penn Charter, St. Joe's, LaSalle, Episcopal, and Springside, not to mention other suburban privates that might have city kids, and meaningful additional numbers from other private schools like Friends Select, Akiba, and Chestnut Hill Academy, as well as diocesan schools.) But those numbers came down pretty sharply for the class of 2011, Gutmann's first year, and thereafter.

    My estimate of 150 or so is just for schools in the city of Philadelphia, proper. Further, while Central, Masterman, and GFS, for example, regularly send numbers in the double digits to Penn (for GFS, fewer than 20, and I would assume generally fewer than 30 each for Central and Masterman, if not even fewer), beyond those and perhaps a few other schools in Philly and its suburbs, my understanding is that very few schools in the Philly area still send double digits to Penn every year. Remember, the Class of 2016 has only 394 students from the entire state of Pennsylvania.
  • mgu521mgu521 Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    Thanks so much for clarifying guys!
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