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Freshmen Experience

India2013India2013 46 replies24 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Could anyone give me more info on freshmen experience at Penn? I know that it is supposed to create a great sense of community for those involved and the participants lives in one of the high rises. Is it still possible to have the typical college experience living in high rises instead of the quad?

I know the quad is supposed to be very social and although I like that, I would like to keep my room like a quiet sanctuary where I can relax in (relative) peace and quiet. But I still want to be social.

Does anyone have any advice?
edited May 2013
27 replies
Post edited by India2013 on
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Replies to: Freshmen Experience

  • burndtjamb2000burndtjamb2000 51 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I would also appreciate any insight on doing freshman experience/living in a high rise as a freshman. Still debating where I should apply and the private bathrooms in Harrison appeal to me, but I don't want to miss out too much socially.
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  • thej0kerthej0ker 66 replies13 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Live in the Quad, you'll be fine
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  • kbolisetty23kbolisetty23 447 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    ^I agree, especially if your priority is to be social.

    The thing with FreshEx is that it's in the high rises, which are just not particularly social in nature.
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  • burndtjamb2000burndtjamb2000 51 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Any insight on how being in Hill compares to being in the Quad? I'm attracted to Hill's Exploring Philadelphia residential program and like the idea of having a dining hall in the building. Is the atmosphere very different from the quad/are the rooms nicer in the quad? I know Hill doesn't have AC but I don't think that would be an issue for me.
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  • porkpersonporkperson 1948 replies123 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Some observations:

    1. From what I know about people in the FreshEx program, they are very close to each other and seem to really like it.
    2. The amount of social life is highly variable in the quad. It really depends on your luck with your hall. Some halls are super quiet while other always have people around. The quad DOES have air conditioning.
    3. Hill's dorms look like dungeons, but its supposed to be the closest of all of the college houses. This is because the lounges are integrated into the hallways and the small rooms force the students out of their rooms.

    So if you're looking for the best social life, I would rank your options like this.

    1. Hill
    2. Fresh Ex in Harrison
    ??? Quad is unpredictable
    999. Gregory. Don't go here.
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  • trips22trips22 19 replies9 threadsRegistered User New Member
    The freshman experience is LIVING in the quad, hands down. Also, having a quiet hall does not necessarily mean you won't be able to be sociable, considering the majority of freshman live there in a highly condensed environment.

    My rank:
    1. quad
    2. hill
    3. fresh ex
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  • thej0kerthej0ker 66 replies13 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Live in the Quad, you'll be fine
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  • laodiceanlaodicean 511 replies27 threadsRegistered User Member
    Hill is the closest of all the typical freshmen houses; the Quad is less predictable, but there are definitely some extremely social and close halls. I got unlucky with how unsocial my hall ended up, but because I lived in the Quad at all, proximity made it easy to make friends everywhere (and a lot of the time, the closer halls will 'adopt' you if you're friends with enough of the residents). You mentioned that one of your main concerns was having a quiet, sanctuary-like room; I had a hallmate that I saw exactly two times the entire year: the first day of school and once on the way to the bathroom. You can definitely make what you want out of living in the Quad, and a vast majority of people don't regret it. Most Hill residents would not trade their social experience and bonds of friendship for bigger rooms or the aesthetics and classic nature of the Quad, but you probably couldn't maintain a quiet room in Hill.

    That said, the FreshEx hall in Harrison is only truly close with the 50 or so kids that live in it. Out of the hundreds of people I met my freshman year, I don't think I met a single FreshEx kid. I don't recommend it simply because you will have other opportunities to live in a High Rise (not to mention that it's a nightmare to commute to class if you're an engineer), but only one realistic opportunity to live in Hill or the Quad (which, as trips22 said, IS the freshman experience).

    Do not live in Gregory if you plan on enjoying existence; Kings Court is only slightly better.
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  • SeraphsMomSeraphsMom 30 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My daughter lived in Hill last year as a freshman and her dorm room was very quiet and most of her hallmates were able to study in their rooms just fine. There were, however, very close so I think that the fact that you have many friends living very close by can be a distraction. However, all of those issues are easily cured by a trip to the library for studying.
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  • mandypandymandypandy 616 replies15 threadsRegistered User Member
    Do yourself a favor and put the quad first if you want the "freshman experience" here. Doing FreshEx is fine but there's no way you'll be that close with everybody. There are way more people than in a typical dorm and it's apartment style...so you can go days without seeing people on your floor. You have sophomore-senior year to live in a high-rise; def go with the quad your freshman year. You won't regret it!
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  • futurepsych0808futurepsych0808 11 replies3 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I am completing my housing application right now. I am interested in FreshEx, Hill and Gregory. I was looking at the previous posts and wondering why most people seem to hate Gregory. Any insights? Also, does anyone know which halls are not air-conditioned? I'm from FL and I kind of depend on it.
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  • ovrseasmomovrseasmom 186 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Hill is not air conditioned.
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  • coolweathercoolweather 5878 replies82 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited April 2014
    The hottest months in Philly are June-Sept.
    Do students really need air conditioner?
    http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/USPA1276
    edited April 2014
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  • MadaboutxMadaboutx 1583 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    And winter ends in March but I'm glad I didn't put away the snow shovel, coat and boots this year.

    Typically, a kid can survive without AC but it can be pretty hot in September too. Plus, the AC is nice for people with allergies.
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  • rainbowboywonderrainbowboywonder 63 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Many people don't enjoy living in the Quad, but they are afraid to admit it. Why do you think almost nobody wants to stay in the Quad for more than a year? For most people, it doesn't take as long as October to be tired of the constant noise and vomit. FreshEx, Kings Court, and Gregory are such a better way to go.
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  • mandypandymandypandy 616 replies15 threadsRegistered User Member
    People don't usually live in the quad for more than a year because the quad is the typical "freshman experience" that most people are looking for during their first year of college. Most freshman absolutely love the quad! I lived on a residential program floor called Women in Science and it was great! My floor was quiet but still social. Sounds like @rainbowboywonder didn't get into the quad and was a little bitter about it... :P
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  • notpennstatenotpennstate 13 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Or more likely, sounds like @rainbowboywonder‌ is one of those weirdos that stayed in their room all of freshman year.
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  • PoemePoeme 1329 replies0 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think hill actually has the strongest community, but that is because the rooms are so tiny and are not airconditioned. Most people I know were really close with their halls. In the quad, some halls are close and others not nearly as much. While I don't regret living in the quad freshman year, it is way overrated.

    Kings court is okay I guess, but I haven't met anyone who likes Gregory. If you want a quiet dorm with more of a community, Stouffer/Mayer is much better and also closer. If you are very introverted (as in need your own space) but also enjoy socializing, this is the best.

    I would definitely not want to live in a high rise freshman year, and definitely not Harrison. I lived there one year and it felt very depressing. I didn't know anyone on my hall, the walls are paper thin, and the bedrooms itself are tiny. This especially becomes aggravating as an upper class man since I would study at night in my room. Your bed is right on top of you which is not good.
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  • notpennstatenotpennstate 13 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    If you are very introverted but also enjoy socializing, LIVE IN THE QUAD! Stouffer/Mayer and Gregory are social death sentences, and FreshEx comes pretty close. Live in the Quad, or Hill, or even King's Court English (though with the lattermost, you're completely at the mercy of how much your hall doesn't suck).
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  • mdmom4boysmdmom4boys 4 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I know that everyone seems to want the Quad and as a Penn alum who lived in the Quad myself as a freshman, I was crushed when my son got into Hill. However, he LOVED it--despite the tiny rooms, lack of a/c, and noise from the construction now going on next door. He said he thinks people in Hill are happier than those in the Quad because of how close the halls get. I think the really big thing is that the way the halls are arranged with a central gathering place lends itself to more social options than the quad which has its rooms in a row with limited gathering places. Also, the dining commons in Hill is a big asset. Quad only has sort of a snack bar now (it used to have a dining hall at Stouffer). I did not have a good floor on the Quad and met most of my friends through the dining hall experience. I think it would be a lot harder to meet people now that there's not that built in eating community. That being said the Quad is still the Quad and is so incredibly gorgeous compared to the somewhat prison-like feel of Hill.
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